In the delimitation of a coastal zone management problem, it is important to identify the boundaries of the coastal zone itself and to identify the stakeholders in that zone. These identifications very much depend on the character of the problem itself.
When the problem refers to an eroding coastline, the problem formulation is relatively easy:
When the problems refer to the quality of the coastal waters, then both the identification of the coastal zone and the stakeholders can be much more complex:
To come to a useful problem definition it is necessary that all parties involved (representing all relevant functions) are identified, and that they come to an agreement on the goals of the project and on the standards to be reached. With the use of these goals and standards the desired end-situation after completion of the project can be described in objective units. Then it becomes possible to test the expected effect of a project to the goals and standards.