A decision support concept (DSC) for sustainable management of the bottom trawl fleet was created in line with ecosystem-based management. It is based on principles that integrate ecological, social and techno-economic aspects of trawl fisheries in a multicriteria analysis approach. For the sake of greater transparency and improved stakeholder participation, elements of the proposed multicriteria models were discussed, generated and evaluated in collaboration with designated experts from four stakeholder groups: fishers, environmentally focused non-governmental organizations, fisheries scientists and government representatives. The proposed DSC management could facilitate management and assist decision makers in adequately using data and scientific advice to shape management strategies and related policies for the bottom trawl fleet. It may also assist in finding compromise solutions based on deliverables from the multicriteria analysis, while taking stakeholder requirements into account by using the multicriteria Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE) methods. The final decision is then based on a vast amount of knowledge and relevant information collected from different sources. The proposed DSC represents a novel approach to fishery fleet management and assists in systematizing management processes and instruments to make it operational at the strategic level. The method was applied to the Adriatic bottom trawl fishery, and the obtained results confirmed its managerial potential in the strategic decision-making process, aimed at improving conventional management, while considering the specific requirements of an ecosystem-based approach and ensuring stakeholder participation.
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