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In a particular sector (e.g., fisheries), a continuing process through which governments, institutions, and stakeholders of the sector and of other interacting sectors elaborate and adopt appropriate policies, plans, and management strategies to ensure sustainable and responsible resource utilization. In the process, conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and cooperative action may be taken.

The formal and informal arrangements, institutions, and mores that determine how resources or an environment are utilized, how problems and opportunities are evaluated and analyzed, what behavior is deemed acceptable or forbidden, and what rules and sanctions are applied to affect the pattern of resource and environmental use.