Many fisheries policies, management processes, improvement projects and funding portfolios have explicit or implicit socio-economic development or human well-being objectives. Thus, it is common for decision-makers, managers, practitioners, and funders to want to monitor and evaluate the socio-economic or human well-being aspects of fisheries before, during and after management or programmatic interventions at scales ranging from local to national.
While numerous frameworks have been developed that focus on socio-economic assessments in fisheries, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. Socio-economic monitoring and evaluation processes should be designed to fit the specific context, analytical purpose, and objectives of the fisheries policy, management intervention, program, or investment being studied. Furthermore, these processes need to include clear plans for evaluation, communication, deliberation, and application of recommendations so that results inform decision-making. Yet, comprehensive guidance on the development of bespoke socio-economic monitoring and evaluation plans for fisheries is lacking.
This paper fills this gap through outlining the steps in the process of designing a socio-economic assessment plan, providing reference materials for various aspects (e.g., indicators, methods, analysis) of the process, and discussing how results can be communicated and used to better inform fisheries management, programs and investments. Our aim is to support the efforts of various organizations wishing to improve socio-economic and human well-being outcomes in fisheries. This paper will be useful to governments, non-governmental organizations, and funders working in fisheries – as well as applied marine social scientists who are working with them to develop socio-economic monitoring and evaluation plans.