Fishery science and management are concerned with both positive, what happens in a fishery system, and normative, what management should do, questions. Rarely are normative criteria discussed as openly and transparently as the positive techniques and assumptions. Instead, normative criteria are often held implicitly, and often goals, and objectives are defined without careful thought about the normative criteria from which such goals, and objectives derive. Management involves three components: system attributes and dynamics, management options and goals and objectives that stem from normative criteria by which outcomes are judged. There is a need to consider normative frameworks and criteria carefully because normative criteria are intrinsic to any management process. This paper motivates the need to consider normative frameworks and criteria carefully, explores issues associated with developing normative frameworks and criteria that articulate positive science, discusses specific issues to consider when developing normative frameworks for recreational fisheries and provides the bioeconomic framework as an example of a normative framework useful for recreational fisheries.