Diagnosis and adaptive management can help improve the ability of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in the developing world to better cope with and adapt to both external drivers and internal sources of uncertainty. This paper presents a framework for diagnosis and adaptive management and discusses ways of implementing the first two phases of learning: diagnosis and mobilising an appropriate management constituency. The discussion addresses key issues and suggests suitable approaches and tools as well as numerous sources of further information. Diagnosis of a SSF defines the system to be managed, outlines the scope of the management problem in terms of threats and opportunities, and aims to construct realistic and desired future projections for the fishery. These steps can clarify objectives and lead to development of indicators necessary for adaptive management. Before management, however, it is important to mobilize a management constituency to enact change. Ways of identifying stakeholders and understanding both enabling and obstructive interactions and management structures are outlined. These preliminary learning phases for adaptive SSF management are expected to work best if legitimised by collaborative discussion among fishery stakeholders drawing on multiple knowledge systems and participatory approaches to assessment.


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