Salaün, J.; Pioch, S., and Dauvin, J.-C., 2022. Socio-ecological analysis to assess the success of artificial reef projects. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(3), 624–638. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

Artificial reefs (ARs) have been deployed for different purposes: to protect marine areas, to increase production in artisanal fisheries, to restore degraded ecological functionality, and to offset the negative impact of development projects. The assessment of ARs is currently based preferentially on physical, chemical, and biological data, whereas the links between these ecological initiatives and social data are rarely taken into account. In this study, ARs were investigated using the actor–network theory (ANT), a holistic approach developed in the social sciences that considers that nonhuman as well as human actors play a role in systems and networks. The findings show that the socio-ecological objectives of ARs are deeply dependent on the interests of the stakeholders active in each phase of the project: project identification, planning, implementation, monitoring, and management. Their position and interests strongly influence how the project is performed, and the objectives of the ARs also evolve in line with the type of stakeholders involved. Based on the interest of each stakeholder, this ANT analysis reveals that French ARs, called production ARs, also have ecological and social support objectives, including reducing conflict between fishermen or increasing natural marine resources diversity and biomass. The translation process steps provide a framework to understand the interest of each stakeholder involved in the AR network and how management actions are deployed to reach their key objectives. This approach could be used as a first step in the assessment process to define clear objectives. It would provide managers a more integrated approach to assess the success of current and future marine environmental management tools.

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