Governing agencies increasingly employ collaborative forms of decision-making in fisheries management to improve decision quality and legitimacy. However, crafting fair and effective collaborative processes that will achieve these benefits is often difficult. In an effort to identify keys and obstacles to success, this research examined participants' evaluations of a collaborative planning process in Canada's Pacific groundfish fisheries. Results indicate that an incentive to participate, consensus decision-making, and independent facilitation were essential to ensuring the fairness and effectiveness of the process. Together, these elements motivated agreement while providing security against process manipulation by both participants and governing agencies.