In the context of fisheries decline, Coulthard (2012) argues that a ‘wellbeing approach’ could contribute to the goal of sustainability in two ways: first, by providing a deeper form of social impact assessment, capable of illuminating some of the social and psychological impacts of fisheries loss on affected communities, recognizing that these factors are often overlooked and usurped by economic and biological assessments (Symes and Phillipson 2009, Urquhart et al 2011). Second, it may give new insights into fisher behaviour, if behaviour can be understood as the pursuit of wellbeing for the fisher and his or her family, and the social values and meanings that frame fishing as an occupation. These two assessments of wellbeing – the extent to which it is experienced, and how the pursuit of it might shape behaviour, are different but closely connected. The former considers wellbeing as a measurable outcome for people; the latter recognizes wellbeing as a process, which emphasizes what people do, and the choices they make, in their pursuit of wellbeing outcomes (McGregor et al 2007, Coulthard 2012)5. Underlying these debates is the implicit assumption that people do actually pursue wellbeing for themselves and their families and that this serves as a key influence on their behaviour [Deci and Ryan 2000, McGregor 2007].