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A desk-based study was conducted to evaluate 'conservation-relevant elements' of local governments involved in coastal and aquatic resource management, particularly bycatch mitigation. Four sites were looked at: 1) Trat, Thailand, 2) Mahakam River, Indonesia, 3) Malampaya Sound Philippines and 4) Guimaras and Iloilo Straits, Philippines. The species of interest was Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) caught in small-scale fisheries. Several attributes were looked at including; extent to which conservation-relevant governance elements are active and effective, contribute to enforcement, coordinate across institutions and engage communities. These attributes appeared to vary across sites with noticeable differences between Malampaya Sound and Trat. Malampaya Sound has mostly low ratings for the assessed attributes, compared to high ratings for Trat. Involvement of local communities and support from external institutions were determined as being necessary. Bridging organizations were some of the most active, effective and engaged institutions at all of the sites.