Abstract A key aspect for a successful management of marine non-indigenous species (NIS) is the cooperation with local stakeholders. In this study we assessed stakeholders' baseline knowledge and perceptions on marine NIS foreseeing support for their management in the Azores and Madeira archipelagos (Portugal). Survey questionnaires were designed to assess: i) current knowledge and stakeholder perception of NIS and associated problems; ii) influence of communication media on NIS dissemination; iii) stakeholder willingness to be involved in NIS management actions and; iv) which factors predict stakeholder participation in NIS management actions. Face-to face survey questionnaires were administered in recreational marinas of Sao Miguel (Azores) and Madeira islands. Four groups of stakeholders classified based on their putative relation with NIS were selected as target. In total 214 survey questionnaires were collected and analysed. Our results showed no significant differences between stakeholders based in Sao Miguel and the ones from Madeira. Overall a strong baseline knowledge on NIS and associated consequences was found but a weak accuracy to identify NIS examples was demonstrated. Types of communication media revealed to be stakeholder-specific and information-specific. Decision tree predictive models showed three powerful factors to forecast the respondent's participation in NIS management actions: 1- to belong to one of the four stakeholder groups; 2- to have a good level of NIS knowledge; and 3- to have the perception that NIS introduction is an important issue. Despite the positive attitude exhibited by stakeholders in engaging NIS management, our results highlighted a consensus to attribute governmental responsibility to such activities. The results of this work constitute a baseline to develop further management actions aiming to reduce the local spread of marine NIS and so contributing to a better environmental status of Portuguese marine waters.

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