Spatial management tools, such as marine spatial planning and marine protected areas, are playing an increasingly important role in attempts to improve marine management and accommodate conflicting needs. Robust data are needed to inform decisions among different planning options, and early inclusion of stakeholder involvement is widely regarded as vital for success. One of the biggest stakeholder groups, and the most likely to be adversely impacted by spatial restrictions, is the fishing community. In order to take their priorities into account, planners need to understand spatial variation in their perceived value of the sea. Here a readily accessible, novel method for quantitatively mapping fishers' spatial access priorities is presented. Spatial access priority mapping, or SAPM, uses only basic functions of standard spreadsheet and GIS software. Unlike the use of remote-sensing data, SAPM actively engages fishers in participatory mapping, documenting rather than inferring their priorities. By so doing, SAPM also facilitates the gathering of other useful data, such as local ecological knowledge. The method was tested and validated in Northern Ireland, where over 100 fishers participated in a semi-structured questionnaire and mapping exercise. The response rate was excellent, 97%, demonstrating fishers' willingness to be involved. The resultant maps are easily accessible and instantly informative, providing a very clear visual indication of which areas are most important for the fishers. The maps also provide quantitative data, which can be used to analyse the relative impact of different management options on the fishing industry and can be incorporated into planning software, such as MARXAN, to ensure that conservation goals can be met at minimum negative impact to the industry. This research shows how spatial access priority mapping can facilitate the early engagement of fishers and the ready incorporation of their priorities into the decision-making process in a transparent, quantitative way.