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  • This study demonstrates the utility of combining available scientific data with local ecological knowledge in a Geographic Information System (GIS) to support community-based fisheries management. The approach used provides both the framework for capturing important ecological, economic and social information relevant to marine fisheries management, and also offers coastal citizens a process for active participation in management discussions about their local nearshore marine environment. Thirty-three Local Knowledge Interviews (LKIs) were completed with commercial fishermen and recreational users with knowledge and experience observing the nearshore environment. Drawing on acetate overlays on basemaps of navigational charts and bathymetric contours, ocean users delineated areas of personal and observed human uses and locations of specific fish, invertebrate and plant communities. The individual maps were digitized and subsequently aggregated into thematic maps that represent the highest levels of correspondence among interviewees. This participatory GIS process for developing an ecological inventory of the distribution of marine species and human activities provides a more comprehensive understanding of the nearshore marine environment and its human uses than existing scientific data alone. The accompanying maps created also lay the groundwork for more in-depth economic studies and spatial analyses to support longterm community-based management planning.
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