Anthropogenic threats to natural systems can be exacerbated due to connectivity between marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, complicating the already daunting task of governance across the land-sea interface. Globalization, including new access to markets, can change social-ecological, land-sea linkages via livelihood responses and adaptations by local people. As a first step in understanding these trans-ecosystem effects, we examined exit and entry decisions of artisanal fishers and smallholder farmers on the rapidly globalizing Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. We found that exit and entry decisions demonstrated clear temporal and spatial patterns and that these decisions differed by livelihood. In addition to household characteristics, livelihood exit and entry decisions were strongly affected by new access to regional and global markets. The natural resource implications of these livelihood decisions are potentially profound as they provide novel linkages and spatially-explicit feedbacks between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Our findings support the need for more scientific inquiry in understanding trans-ecosystem tradeoffs due to linked-livelihood transitions as well as the need for a trans-ecosystem approach to natural resource management and development policy in rapidly changing coastal regions.
Marine Recreational Fishing (MRF) is an important activity in Europe, with 9 million fishers and generating annually € 6 billion in direct expenditures. However, there is a lack of data and understanding of MRF in Europe, particularly in Southern countries, which prevents a number of fish stocks from being effectively assessed and managed. In November 2016, a participatory workshop on MRF was held in Vigo (Spain) to identify challenges and opportunities for data collection, and to diagnose key research gaps and management issues for MRF in the Southern European Atlantic. Experts from a wide range of disciplines (researchers, policy makers, fisheries managers and commercial and recreational fishers) highlighted that the management of MRF is a challenge due to complex and dispersed legal frameworks, with multiple administrations involved, and overlapping uses of space with commercial fishing, aquaculture, navigation and tourism, among others. The lack of strong and representative fishing associations hampers research and management initiatives. Effective communication between recreational fishers, researchers and fisheries managers is also lacking. Despite the ecological, social and economic relevance of MRF, there is no systematic and comprehensive collection of information on fishing effort, recreational catches, expenses, social profile and access conditions of European recreational fishers. These data would be useful to avoid biases in the assessment of recreational fisheries due to the great diversity of ecosystems, species and typologies of users. Strategic recommendations and research priorities were also identified to address knowledge gaps and are discussed in the context of the management of MRF across Europe.
Spatial fishing closures are typically implemented for conservation and fisheries benefits, but the effects of such initiatives are often not tested. This study examined whether the densities and size compositions of beach clams differed between commercially fished and non-fished zones on beaches. Sampling of clams was stratified across two habitats (swash and dry sand) on two commercially fished beaches, before and during (early and late) the 6-month harvesting period. Two beaches that had no commercial fishing were also sampled the same way and acted as external controls. Differences in densities, but not size compositions, of clams were evident between zones on the commercially fished and control beaches, but they were mostly apparent only across short (day and week) periods before, early and late harvesting, and thus were most likely pulse responses of clams to stochastic, non-fishing related events that acted independently across the different zones on each beach. The potential movements of clams along and across beaches as well as current restrictions on commercial fishing probably dampened detection of longer-term fishing-related impacts and demographic differences in clams between commercially fished and non-fished zones. Direct fishing-related impacts on clams may only be discernable in the immediate vicinity of, and persist for a short period following, an actual fishing event on a beach. Nevertheless, the zones closed to commercial fishing may provide valuable protection to a portion of clams on each beach and alleviate beach-wide harvesting impacts. The broader value of these closed fishing zones requires knowledge of the impacts of fishing on other beach organisms and ecosystem functioning. Further experimentation that tests other aspects of management arrangements of beach clams may help determine their global applicability for sustainable harvesting, and contribute to the overall conservation management of sandy beach ecosystems.
Predicting how species will respond to climate change is a growing field in marine ecology, yet knowledge of how to incorporate the uncertainty from future climate data into these predictions remains a significant challenge. To help overcome it, this review separates climate uncertainty into its three components (scenario uncertainty, model uncertainty, and internal model variability) and identifies four criteria that constitute a thorough interpretation of an ecological response to climate change in relation to these parts (awareness, access, incorporation, communication). Through a literature review, the extent to which the marine ecology community has addressed these criteria in their predictions was assessed. Despite a high awareness of climate uncertainty, articles favoured the most severe emission scenario, and only a subset of climate models were used as input into ecological analyses. In the case of sea surface temperature, these models can have projections unrepresentative against a larger ensemble mean. Moreover, 91% of studies failed to incorporate the internal variability of a climate model into results. We explored the influence that the choice of emission scenario, climate model, and model realisation can have when predicting the future distribution of the pelagic fish, Electrona antarctica. Future distributions were highly influenced by the choice of climate model, and in some cases, internal variability was important in determining the direction and severity of the distribution change. Increased clarity and availability of processed climate data would facilitate more comprehensive explorations of climate uncertainty, and increase in the quality and standard of marine prediction studies.
There is global consensus that marine protected areas offer a plethora of benefits to the biodiversity within and around them. Nevertheless, many organisms threatened by human impacts also find shelter in unexpected or informally protected places. For coral reef organisms, refuges can be tourist resorts implementing local environment-friendly bottom-up management strategies. We used the coral reef ecosystem as a model to test whether such practices have positive effects on the biodiversity associated with de facto protected areas.
North Ari Atoll, Maldives.
We modelled the effects of the environment and three human management regimes (tourist resorts, uninhabited and local community islands) on the abundance and diversity of echinoderms and commercially important fish species, the per cent cover of reef benthic organisms (corals, calcareous coralline algae, turf and macroalgae) and the proportion of coral disease. We used multivariate techniques to assess the differences between reef components among the management regimes.
Reefs varied between the management regimes. A positive “resort effect” was found on sessile benthic organisms, with good coral cover and significantly less algae at resort islands. Corals were larger and had fewer diseases in uninhabited islands. Minor “resort effect” was detected on motile species represented by commercial fish and echinoderms.
In countries where natural biodiversity strongly sustains the tourist sector and where local populations rely on natural resources, a balance between tourism development, local extraction practices and biodiversity conservation is necessary. The presence of eco-friendly managed resorts, which practices would need to be certified on the long term, is beneficial to protect certain organisms. House reefs around resorts could therefore provide areas adding to existing marine protected areas, while marine protection efforts in local community islands should focus on improving fishing management.
Data scarcity in small-scale fisheries hinders the effective management of marine resources. This is particularly true within small island developing states that often have limited capacity for monitoring activities that could inform policy decisions. This study estimates the spatial distribution of fishing activity in the data-poor nearshore reef fisheries of Barbados using low cost interview surveys of fishers combined with a geospatial platform. With data from over 150 fishers in the island's major reef fisheries, the estimated total annual yield ranged from 272.6 to 409.0 mt, with seine fishing accounting for 65% of landings. This estimate is substantially higher than the recorded landings in official databases. Fishing activity is concentrated on the sheltered and heavily populated West Coast of the island. Reef fishing effort decreases markedly during the months associated with the offshore pelagic fishery season, as many fishers switch fisheries during this time and rough sea conditions restrict access to the nearshore windward reefs. The high levels of fishing intensity and low yields per unit of reef area appear to validate anecdotal evidence that the nearshore reefs of Barbados are heavily overexploited. The qualitative nature of interview data and other data gaps hinder the precise estimation of fishing effort and yield, where relative values are likely to be more accurate than absolute values. Nonetheless, the spatially and temporally explicit data generated here demonstrates how simple cost-effective methods can be used to fill important information gaps for marine resource management and spatial planning.
1.Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly integrated into fishery management for coastal systems. Size and spacing rules (SSRs) have been proposed as simple MPA design guidelines, especially in regions where population connectivity data are limited.
2.We assessed whether SSRs allow managers to design effective MPA networks under spatiotemporally varying dispersal patterns using a spatially realistic population model parameterized for a commercially-exploited fish species on the Great Barrier Reef.
3.SSRs are used to design MPA networks, and population simulations are used to measure the mean and variance of the resulting population size and fishery catch.
4.We show that SSR performance is contingent on the extent of the MPA network, and whether species’ connectivity data can be used to target areas for protection. For example, in the absence of connectivity data, a ‘many small’ MPAs rule provides the least variable management outcome.
5.Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that the performance and usefulness of size and spacing rules (SSRs) as guidelines for marine protected areas (MPAs) depend on the level of knowledge about larval dispersal, as well as the level of current exploitation in the fishery. These context-dependent results offer particularly relevant guidance to future MPA design projects in regions with limited connectivity data.
Anthropogenic carbon (Cant) concentration is determined according to the TrOCA method, from carbonate system data and hydrographic parameters collected during two consecutive spring cruises (2007 and 2008) in the Argentinean Patagonian shelf-break zone between 36°S and 50°S. Cant has intruded the water column until intermediate depths, with no Cant below 1000 m, in the deeper waters (i.e., North Atlantic Deep Water and Antarctic Bottom Water) of the Northern sector of the study area (i.e., North of 38°S). The higher Cant concentration is observed in Subantarctic Shelf Water in the Southern region, whereas in the Northern sector both Tropical Water and South Atlantic Central Water are equally affected by Cant intrusion. The Antarctic Intermediate Water represents the depth-limit achieved by Cant penetration, reinforcing the role that this water mass plays as an important vehicle to transport Cant to the oceans interior. The estimated Cantaverage (± method precision) is 46.6 ± 5.3 μmol kg− 1, considering the full depth of the water column. The ocean acidification state (ΔpH) shows an average (± standard deviation) of − 0.11 ± 0.05, thus, indicating an annual pH reduction of − 0.0010 yr− 1 since the Industrial Revolution (c.a. 1750). The degree of aragonite saturation is lowered towards undersaturation levels of calcite. The Patagonian shelf and shelf-break zones—a strong CO2 sink region in the global ocean—are likely a key area for Cant intrusion in the southwestern South Atlantic Ocean.
Although tourism destination governance has been a subject of academic enquiry for some time now, in practice, governance is still a challenge for many tourism destinations around the world. Adaptive co-management (ACM) is a dynamic approach to governance whereby institutional arrangements and ecological knowledge are continually revised through a process of ‘learning-by-doing’. Founded on the active participation and collaboration of diverse stakeholder groups, ACM has been used extensively in the governance of natural resource contexts and so may offer valuable synergies for tourism governance; particularly the governance of tourism in protected areas. This review paper presents a critical review and synthesis of the ACM literature, identifying synergies and opportunities for enhancing tourism governance practices in protected area contexts through an ACM approach. A conceptual framework is developed from the review that identifies principles, stages, variables and expected outcomes of the ACM approach. Future research directions for ACM in tourism are proposed that incorporate governance, social learning and multi-stakeholder engagement.
Feedbacks among inundation, sediment trapping, and vegetation productivity help maintain coastal wetlands facing sea-level rise (SLR). However, when the SLR rate exceeds a threshold, coastal wetlands can collapse. Understanding the threshold helps address key challenges in ecology—nonlinear response of ecosystems to environmental change, promotes communication between ecologists and resource managers, and facilitates decision-making in climate change policies. We studied the threshold of SLR rate and developed a new threshold of SLR acceleration rate on sustainability of coastal wetlands as SLR is likely to accelerate due to enhanced anthropogenic forces. Deriving these two thresholds depends on the temporal scale, the interaction of SLR with other environmental factors, and landscape metrics, which have not been fully accounted for before this study. We chose a representative marine-dominated estuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, Grand Bay in Mississippi, to test the concept of SLR thresholds. We developed a mechanistic model to simulate wetland change and then derived the SLR thresholds for Grand Bay. The model results show that the threshold of SLR rate in Grand Bay is 11.9 mm/year for 2050, and it drops to 8.4 mm/year for 2100 using total wetland area as a landscape metric. The corresponding SLR acceleration rate thresholds are 3.02 × 10−4 m/year2and 9.62 × 10−5 m/year2 for 2050 and 2100, respectively. The newly developed SLR acceleration rate threshold can help quantify the temporal lag before the rapid decline in wetland area becomes evident after the SLR rate threshold is exceeded, and cumulative SLR a wetland can adapt to under the SLR acceleration scenarios. Based on the thresholds, SLR that will adversely impact the coastal wetlands in Grand Bay by 2100 will fall within the likely range of SLR under a high warming scenario (RCP8.5), highlighting the need to avoid RCP8.5 to preserve these marshes.
Decadal-scale climate variability can cause trends in oceanographic conditions that impact demographic rates. Rebuilding scenarios, therefore, developed assuming constant demographic rates may not be realistic. Winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) is an important commercial and recreational species that has declined in the southern portion of its range despite reduced exploitation. Laboratory and mesocosm studies suggest that stock productivity is reduced under warmer conditions and that rebuilding to historical levels may not be possible. Our goal was to examine the rebuilding potential of Winter Flounder in the face of regional warming. We integrated winter temperature into a population model to estimate environmentally driven stock-recruit parameters and projected the stock into the future under different climate and fishing scenarios. The inclusion of winter temperature had minor impacts on the estimates of current abundance, but provided greater understanding of the drivers of recruitment. Projections which included the environment suggest that rebuilding the stock to historical levels is unlikely. The integration of both fishing and the environment has the potential to provide more realistic expectations of future stock status.
Ocean currents profoundly impact all life in the oceans and over a broad size spectra species may show both horizontal and vertical movements to stay on preferred locations. As a corollary it might be expected that individuals in preferred oceanic habitats may simply drift with flows. We explored these scenarios by both satellite tracking young pelagic loggerhead turtles and examining the genetic structuring of individuals on coastal foraging areas across the Mediterranean in relation to ocean flows measured both with Lagrangian drifters and a numerical ocean circulation model for the area. Both patterns of movement (n = 18 turtles ranging in size from 41.2 to 68.5 cm CCL tracked for up to 460 days) and genetic structuring (n = 165 individuals from six sites across the ocean basin) suggested that ocean flows profoundly impact the movements of immature turtles and suggest a pattern of largely passive drift within an ocean basin that, throughout, is broadly favourable for developing loggerhead turtles. The situation contrasts with more heterogeneous habitats in the Atlantic and Pacific, where larger amounts of directional swimming may be required to avoid sub-optimum areas.
The offshore wind industry is expanding rapidly around the world due to several factors enabling this source of renewable energy. Stronger wind resources in offshore areas, lack of social and geographical constraints related to onshore wind power, the evolution of technology, and increasing demand for electricity in coastal regions as a result of a massive increase in population are some of the factors favoring the use of wind energy. The assessment of the potential global capacity that considers the different economic, environmental, and social factors and the dynamics of market, policy, and technology are vital for estimating the competitiveness of offshore wind energy in the future energy profile. There are several studies and technical reports that evaluate the potential of offshore wind energy in different countries or regions. They used a different source of data, metrics, and quantitative approaches in appraising the potential offshore wind power capacity and its cost efficiency. The critical factors that have been considered are geographical, technical, economic, environmental, and social and market elements. This paper provides a systematic review for analyzing the studies that address the potential offshore wind energy around the world and published during the 2000–2016 period. This study highlights the key criteria for assessing the potential for offshore wind energy deployment and the related tools and methods.
Assessing the stock status of mixed and/or multi-species fishery resources is challenging. This is especially true in highly diverse systems, where landed catches are small, but comprise many species. In these circumstances, whole-of-ecosystem management requires consideration of the impact of harvesting on a plethora of species. However, this is logistically infeasible and cost prohibitive. To overcome this issue, selected ‘indicator’ species are used to assess the risk to sustainability of all ‘like’ species susceptible to capture within a fishery resource. Indicator species are determined via information on their (1) inherent vulnerability, i.e. biological attributes; (2) risk to sustainability, i.e. stock status; and (3) management importance, i.e. commercial prominence, social and/or cultural amenity value of the resource. These attributes are used to determine an overall score for each species which is used to identify ‘indicator’ species. The risk status (i.e. current risk) of the indicator species then determines the risk-level for the biological sustainability of the entire fishery resource and thus the level of priority for management, monitoring, assessment and compliance. A range of fishery management regimes are amenable to the indicator species approach, including both effort limited fisheries (e.g. individually transferable effort systems) and output controlled fisheries (e.g. species-specific catch quotas). The indicator species approach has been used and refined for fisheries resources in Western Australia over two decades. This process is now widely understood and accepted by stakeholders, as it focuses fishery dependent- and/or independent-monitoring, biological sampling, stock assessment and compliance priorities, thereby optimising the use of available jurisdictional resources.
Improper solid waste management practices are harmful to riverine and coastal ecosystems. In the Philippines, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (Republic Act No. 9003) decentralized the management structure and mandated Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt new integrated solid waste management (SWM) plans. However, LGUs often lack the capacity, understanding, and enforcement authority for effective SWM. With minimal SWM awareness leading to socio-economic and environmental problems, alternative management approaches may be effective. This paper discusses the creation and implementation of a community-based program to educate community members and develop sustainable initiatives to improve SWM practices that have been observed to affect riverine and coastal environments in Tabaco City, Albay, Philippines. The Save the Rivers, Save the Seaprogram was designed as a way to engage students and local youth in environmental issues in their communities. The program's first year mobilized a team of students and collected data from a community needs assessment, water quality analyses, and workshops, which we utilized to create a sustainable action plan for the remainder of the program. The action plan provides the program with goals and objectives in order to affect SWM change in Tabaco City's rivers and coastal environments. First-year program and observational findings demonstrated that community-based programs are effective tools for addressing SWM challenges but, to be sustainable, need to co-exist with a supportive and committed LGU.
Bio-constructions by Sabellaria worms play a key functional role in the coastal ecosystems being an engineer organism and for this reason are the object of protection. The most widespread reef building species along Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts is S. alveolata (L.), while the aggregations of S. spinulosa are typically limited to the North Sea coasts. This paper constitutes the first detailed description of unusual large S. spinulosareefs in the Mediterranean Sea. Defining current health status and evaluating the most important threats and impacts is essential to address conservation needs and design management plans for these large biogenic structures. Present knowledge on Mediterranean reefs of S. alveolata is fragmentary compared to Northeast Atlantic reefs, and concerning S. spinulosa, this paper represents a focal point in the knowledge on Mediterranean reefs of this species. A one-year study on temporal changes in reef structure and associated fauna is reported. The annual cycle of S. spinulosa reef shows a spawning event in winter-early spring, a period of growth and tubes aggregation from spring-early summer to autumn and a degeneration phase in winter. The variations exhibited in density of the worm aggregation and the changes in the reef elevation highlight a decline and regeneration of the structure over a year. The many ecological roles of the S. spinulosa reef were mainly in providing a diversity of microhabitats hosting hard and sandy bottom species, sheltering rare species, and producing biogenic structures able to provide coastal protection. The Mediterranean S. spinulosa reef does not shelter a distinctive associated fauna; however the richness in species composition underscores the importance of the reef as a biodiversity hot-spot. Finally, the roles of the biogenic formations and their important biotic and physical dynamics support the adoption of strategies for conservation of Mediterranean S.spinulosa reefs, according to the aims of the Habitat Directive.
The Ecosystem Services (ES) concept highlights the varied contributions the environment provides to humans and there are a wide range of methods/tools available to assess ES. However, in real-world decision contexts a single tool is rarely sufficient and methods must be combined to meet practitioner needs. Here, results from the OpenNESS project are presented to illustrate the methods selected to meet the needs of 24 real-world case studies and better understand why and how methods are combined to meet practical needs. Results showed that within the cases methods were combined to: i) address a range of ES; ii) assess both supply and demand of ES; iii) assess a range of value types; iv) reach different stakeholder groups v) cover weaknesses in other methods used and vi) to meet specific decision context needs. Methods were linked in a variety of ways: i) as input–output chains of methods; ii) through learning; iii) through method development and iv) through comparison/triangulation of results. The paper synthesises these case study-based experiences to provide insight to others working in practical contexts as to where, and in what contexts, different methods can be combined and how this can add value to case study analyses.
Aquaculture production of finfish has seen rapid growth in production volume and economic yield over the last decades, and is today a key provider of seafood. As the scale of production increases, so does the likelihood that the industry will face emerging biological, economic and social challenges that may influence the ability to maintain ethically sound, productive and environmentally friendly production of fish. It is therefore important that the industry aspires to monitor and control the effects of these challenges to avoid also upscaling potential problems when upscaling production. We introduce the Precision Fish Farming (PFF) concept whose aim is to apply control-engineering principles to fish production, thereby improving the farmer's ability to monitor, control and document biological processes in fish farms. By adapting several core principles from Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), and accounting for the boundary conditions and possibilities that are particular to farming operations in the aquatic environment, PFF will contribute to moving commercial aquaculture from the traditional experience-based to a knowledge-based production regime. This can only be achieved through increased use of emerging technologies and automated systems. We have also reviewed existing technological solutions that could represent important components in future PFF applications. To illustrate the potential of such applications, we have defined four case studies aimed at solving specific challenges related to biomass monitoring, control of feed delivery, parasite monitoring and management of crowding operations.
Asymmetrical intraguild predation (AIGP), which combines both predation and competition between predator species, is pervasive in nature with relative strengths varying by prey availability. But with species redistributions associated with climate change, the response by endemic predators within an AIGP context to changing biotic–abiotic conditions over time (i.e. seasonal and decadal) has yet to be quantified. Furthermore, little is known on AIGP dynamics in ecosystems undergoing rapid directional change such as the Arctic. Here, we investigate the flexibility of AIGP among two predators in the same trophic guild: beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides), by season and over 30 years in Cumberland Sound—a system where forage fish capelin (Mallotus villosus) have recently become more available. Using stable isotopes, we illustrate different predator responses to temporal shifts in forage fish availability. On a seasonal cycle, beluga consumed less Greenland halibut and increased consumption of forage fish during summer, contrasting a constant consumption rate of forage fish by Greenland halibut year-round leading to decreased AIGP pressure between predators. Over a decadal scale (1982–2012), annual consumption of forage fish by beluga increased with a concomitant decline in the consumption of Greenland halibut, thereby indicating decreased AIGP pressure between predators in concordance with increased forage fish availability. The long-term changes of AIGP pressure between endemic predators illustrated here highlights climate-driven environmental alterations to interspecific intraguild interactions in the Arctic.
The increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last century has modified oceanic conditions, affecting marine ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide to society. Pacific Island countries and territories are highly vulnerable to these changes because of their strong dependence on ocean resources, high level of exposure to climate effects, and low adaptive capacity. Projections of mid-to-late 21st century changes in sea surface temperature (SST), dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary productivity (NPP) were synthesized across the tropical Western Pacific under strong climate mitigation and business-as-usual scenarios. These projections were used to model impacts on marine biodiversity and potential fisheries catches. Results were consistent across three climate models, indicating that SST will rise by ≥ 3 °C, surface dissolved oxygen will decline by ≥ 0.01 ml L−1, pH will drop by ≥ 0.3, and NPP will decrease by 0.5 g m−2 d−1 across much of the region by 2100 under the business-as-usual scenario. These changes were associated with rates of local species extinction of > 50% in many regions as fishes and invertebratesdecreased in abundance or migrated to regions with conditions more suitable to their bio-climate envelope. Maximum potential catch (MCP) was projected to decrease by > 50% across many areas, with the largest impacts in the western Pacific warm pool. Climate change scenarios that included strong mitigation resulted in substantial reductions of MCP losses, with the area where MCP losses exceeded 50% reduced from 74.4% of the region under business-as-usual to 36.0% of the region under the strong mitigation scenario.