One of 6 background papers presented at The Expert Workshop on Marine Protected Areas and Fisheries Management: Review of Issues and Considerations held in Rome from June 12-14, 2006. The workshop was a response to the FAO Committee on Fisheries' call for technical guidelines for marine protected areas (MPAs) to assist Members to establish representative networks of MPAs by 2012, as agreed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This paper focuses on three key themes. First, it highlights the commonalities between discussions of marine protected areas and of fisheries management, with emphasis on their mutual use of spatial measures and ecosystem approaches. Second, the paper draws on the other Background Papers prepared for the Workshop, as well as a range of additional literature, to produce a substantial compilation of issues and considerations relating to the development and implementation of MPAs, within a fisheries management context. The third key theme of the paper is a focus on the 'preliminary steps' of decision-making, in which scoping of needs, gaps and feasibility takes place from the dual perspectives of MPAs and fisheries management. A relative paucity of information and analysis on this topic is noted, along with a consequent need for additional work on the subject. An initial effort is undertaken to explore the key decision-making elements in this 'preliminary stage'.