Multi-species fisheries are complex to manage and the ability to develop an appropriate governance structure is often seriously impeded because trading between sustain ability objectives at the species level, economic objectives at the fleet level, and social objectives at the community scale, is complex. Many of these fisheries also tend to have a mix of information, with stock assessments available for some species and almost no information on other species. The fleets themselves comprise fishers from small family enterprises to large vertically integrated businesses. The Queensland trawl fishery in Australia is used as a case study for this kind of fishery. It has the added complexity that a large part of the fishery is within a World Heritage Area, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which is managed by an agency of the Australian Commonwealth Government where as the fishery itself is managed by the
Queensland State Government. A stakeholder elicitation process was used to develop social, governance, economic and ecological objectives, and then weight the relative importance of these. An expert group was used to develop different governance strawmen (or management strategies) and these were assessed by a group of industry stakeholders and experts using multi-criteria decision analysis techniques against the different objectives. One strawman clearly provided the best overall set of outcomes given the multiple objectives, but was not optimal in terms of every objective, demonstrating that even the ‘‘best’’ strawman may be less than perfect.