The perspective of Polish fishermen on maritime spatial planning
This paper presents the results of a face-to-face survey of the attitudes of Polish fishermen towards Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP). Fishermen's self-assessed knowledge regarding MSP and their expectations were analysed. The conclusion reached shows that, despite similar access to information about MSP, Polish fishermen are less knowledgeable, more sceptical and more fearful of the MSP, than the other stakeholders involved. As a result, better education or more information on MSP would not suffice in making fishermen overcome their scepticism on the planning outcomes. In addition, the governing bodies of MSP should build trust and awareness, stimulate the stakeholders' interests in MSP, and convince the fishermen that MSP is friendly towards this specific sector. These findings did influence the MSP process in Poland, wherein MSP outreach was offered to the targeted groups of fishermen in the form of trust-building measures. A key lesson learned is that a capacity building process should be administered in such a way that the fishermen may easily distinguish it from other governance measures (e.g. under fishery or environment policy). An international component can play an important role in it. In conclusion, a number of observations are proposed with regard to future research on the attitudes of fishermen towards MSP. In particular, greater effort is necessary to better understand the motives of fishermen's scepticism towards the impact of MSP on their sector.