The rapid development of adaptation as a mainstream strategy for managing the risks of climate change has led to the emergence of a broad range of adaptation policies and management strategies globally. However, the success of such policies or management interventions depends on the effective integration of new scientific research into the decision-making process. Ineffective communication between scientists and environmental decision makers represents one of the key barriers limiting the integration of science into the decision-making process in many areas of natural resource management. This can be overcome by understanding the perceptions of end users, so as to identify knowledge gaps and develop improved and targeted strategies for communication and engagement. We assessed what one group of environmental decision makers, Australian marine protected area (MPA) managers, viewed as the major risks associated with climate change, and their perceptions regarding the role, importance, and achievability of adaptation for managing these risks. We also assessed what these managers perceived as the role of science in managing the risks from climate change, and identified the factors that increased their trust in scientific information. We do so by quantitatively surveying 30 MPA managers across 3 Australian management agencies. We found that although MPA managers have a very strong awareness of the range and severity of risks posed by climate change, their understanding of adaptation as an option for managing these risks is less comprehensive. We also found that although MPA managers view science as a critical source of information for informing the decision-making process, it should be considered in context with other knowledge types such as community and cultural knowledge, and be impartial, evidence based, and pragmatic in outlining policy and management recommendations that are realistically achievable.
Marine debris is preventable, and the benefits associated with preventing it appear to be quite large. For example, the study found that reducing marine debris by 50 percent at beaches in Orange County could generate $67 million in benefits to Orange County residents for a three-month period. Given the enormous popularity of beach recreation throughout the United States, the magnitude of recreational losses associated with marine debris has the potential to be substantial.
To estimate the potential economic losses associated with marine debris, we focused on Orange County, California. We selected this location because beach recreation is an important part of the local culture and residents have a wide variety of beaches from which to choose, some of which are likely to have high levels of marine debris.
We developed a travel cost model that economists commonly use to estimate the value people derive from recreation at beaches, lakes, and parks. We collected data on 31 beaches, including some sites in Los Angeles County and San Diego County, where Orange County residents could choose to visit during the summer of 2013. At each of the 31 beaches, we collected information on beach characteristics, including amenities and measurements of marine debris. Plastic debris and food wrappers were the most abundant debris types observed across all sites. Then, we surveyed residents on their beach activities and preferences through a general population mail survey.
The mail survey data, beach characteristics, and travel costs were then incorporated in the model, and we were able to estimate how various changes to marine debris levels could influence economic losses to this area. The model is flexible in that it allowed us to simulate various levels of debris along these beaches (a percent reduction), from 0-100 percent, and generate economic benefits associated with those different reductions.
The paper evaluates response policies for the management of ecosystem services. It specifically focuses on the implementation of economic response policies and the growing popularity of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Critical aspects of PES are reviewed, such as the measurement of ecosystem services, the valuation of additional services, accountability and trust. This emphasised the importance to include social and cultural contexts of transaction and economic valuation in the design and implementation of PES initiatives. We discuss some of the factors that constrain the use of PES where mediating institutions are not readily available. Finally, the paper highlights elements of the design and implementation of PES schemes that can improve its practical application.
Assessment of the current status of marine ecosystems is necessary for the sustainable utilization of ecosystem services through fisheries and other human activities under changing environmental conditions. Understanding of historical changes in marine ecosystems can help us to assess their current status. In this study, we analyzed Japanese commercial fishery catch data and scientific survey data of the diet of northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus, NFS) to investigate potential long-term ecosystem changes in the western North Pacific Ocean off northeastern Japan over the past 60 years. Total commercial catches experienced peaks around 1960 and during the 1980s, decreasing to low levels around 1970 and after 1990. Catches were substantively impacted by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Species composition of the commercial catch changed over time, resulting in changes in the mean trophic level (MTL) of the catches. Trends in observed commercial catches were affected by many factors, including species population fluctuations potentially related to large-scale environmental shifts, migration and distribution patterns of species related to local oceanography, changes in fishing technology, and the introduction of fishery management frameworks. The composition of NFS diet also changed over time: although overall changes were small, MTL derived from NFS stomach contents declined from the early 1970s to the late 1980s. This fall in the MTL of the diet of NFS is suggestive of a shift in pelagic fish fauna from a “mackerel-dominant regime” to a “sardine-dominant regime”. Inconsistencies between changes in species composition and MTLs of the commercial catch and NFS diet resulted from differences in commercial fishing targeting and NFS foraging behavior strategies. Although commercial catch is a valuable source of information for investigating historical changes in fisheries, biological resources, and ecosystems, catch data should be interpreted carefully and other relevant information available should also be considered.
The large-scale dimension of wetland reclamations in the wider Yellow Sea region is reviewed with particular emphasis on the Korean coast, followed by positioning the current protection strategy of the Korean tidal wetlands in a multi-dimensional protection framework as established in the ecosystem based management of the Wadden Sea in northwestern Europe. While roughly half of the Korean tidal flats (∼2400 km2 from the 1970s through the 2000s) have been embanked, only a fragmented total of ∼220 km2 has received protection status. In the Wadden Sea also about one half of the coastal wetlands had been embanked. However, this long history came to an end in the 1980s, and almost all remaining wetlands are under high protection status, now designated as a World Heritage Site. Prior to the designation of the Getbol (in Korean meaning an extensive mud flat) Protected Areas (GPAs) field surveys under the Korean Survey and Monitoring Program (SMP) were performed to archive an inventory of the available tidal wetlands. After the designation of a GPA, monitoring for that area was commenced under the SMP. Sediment composition and macrozoobenthos received particular attention in the surveys in terms of parameters and frequency. While the Korean SMP aims to carry out inventories, the Trilateral Monitoring and Assessment Program (TMAP) in the Wadden Sea aims to identify spatio-temporal changes in habitats and selected species populations. The current Korean GPAs are exclusively designated to tidal flats. In contrast to the Wadden Sea, where the protected area consists of salt marshes, tidal flats and the adjacent shallow waters, there is poor awareness of the significant role of the tidal channels in the functioning of the Getbol ecosystem. Broadening the current GPAs to a comprehensive ecosystem entity to ensure natural development, is the next challenge. Following the ‘success story’ of the Wadden Sea, the Korean tidal wetlands should be designated as one integral protected area. A supposed offshore boundary for the arrangement of a full scale ecosystem unit is proposed here as a leverage point for the future protection of what can be called then the Korean ‘Getbol Sea’. The Korean SMP is advised to incorporate the habitat classification and to improve the monitoring and its frequency, methodologically as well as financially, without losing the overall assessment. Scaling up the sciencepolicy interactions via policy-making processes is strongly recommended. As in the Wadden Sea, we further suggest international cooperation in the protection of all coastal wetlands in the entire Yellow Sea region.
The large tuna resources of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean are delivering great economic benefits to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) through sale of licences to distant water fishing nations and employment in fish processing. However, tuna needs to contribute to Pacific Island societies in another important way—by increasing local access to the fish required for good nutrition to help combat the world’s highest levels of diabetes and obesity. Analyses reported here demonstrate that coastal fisheries in 16 of the 22 PICTs will not provide the fish recommended for good nutrition of growing Pacific Island populations, and that by 2020 tuna will need to supply 12% of the fish required by PICTs for food security, increasing to 25% by 2035. In relative terms, the percentages of the region’s tuna catch that will be needed in 2020 and 2035 to fill the gap in domestic fish supply are small, i.e., 2.1% and 5.9% of the average present-day industrial catch, respectively. Interventions based on expanding the use of nearshore fish aggregating devices (FADs) to assist small-scale fishers catch tuna, distributing small tuna and bycatch offloaded by industrial fleets at regional ports, and improving access to canned tuna for inland populations, promise to increase access to fish for sustaining the health of the region’s growing populations. The actions, research and policies required to implement these interventions effectively, and the investments needed to maintain the stocks underpinning the considerable socio-economic benefits that flow from tuna, are described.
Sea turtles have responded to climate change in the past, but it is unclear whether they will be able to respond to the unprecedented rate of anthropogenic climate change. One way to respond would be altering the timing of their nesting to align with changes in temperature, which may lead to altered incubation conditions, hatching success, sex ratios, and hatchling dispersal. This study aims to determine whether the timing of the nesting season for three populations of leatherback turtles (Playa Grande, Costa Rica; Tortuguero, Costa Rica; and St. Croix, US Virgin Islands) vary with (and putatively in response to) sea surface temperatures at either their nesting or foraging grounds, as a proxy for how they would respond to warming trends. Several candidate temperatures were examined at the foraging grounds: annual maximum and minimum of the year prior to nesting and month in which turtles were estimated to leave their foraging grounds. At the nesting grounds, candidate temperatures were: temperatures at the start of nesting and over the whole season as well as a measure of seasonality at the foraging grounds. Seasonality at the foraging grounds and temperatures at the nesting beaches do not affect nesting phenology, while temperatures at some foraging grounds do. Different temperature signals appeared related to nesting at different foraging grounds as was the direction in which these increased temperatures shifted nesting, suggesting that there might be a mediating factor explaining the temperature effect. The relationship between temperature and primary production at the foraging grounds was studied to explain these differences but no consistent relation was found. The overall pattern is that increased temperatures at the foraging grounds tend to delay nesting, which is different from previous studies for other species of sea turtles that show earlier nesting with increased temperatures either at nesting or foraging grounds. Further study is needed at the nesting beaches to determine how environmental conditions change within the season and how these changes affect nesting success. It will then be possible to predict what temperature, humidity, and currents will look like in the new, shifted nesting seasons and how that will affect hatching success, sex ratios, and hatchling dispersal; i.e., will delayed nesting seasons help mitigate climate change effects on these populations or exacerbate them?
European consumers are willing to pay more for “green” electricity, as they highly value renewable energy sources for the contribution to combating climate change. There is a push for getting higher levels of sustainability, leading to a differentiation of Europe‘s electricity market. In this differentiation, the large potential of wind energy is recognized. More specifically, North Sea countries prefer to plan wind arrays (far) out at sea. This article offers a review of the main arguments for offshore wind energy, described in comparison with its onshore counterpart. It is stated that offshore wind farms (OWFs) generate “dark green” electricity as they mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the protection of (some) marine life. Applying an informational governance framework, this article further assesses whether this dark green message has been exploited through further differentiation of the electricity market, and provides an analysis of why this is not (yet) the case. It is concluded that the dominant discourse in onshore wind power development hinders a favorable ecological differentiation toward offshore wind power.
There are more than 3000 protected areas (PAs) situated on or near international boundaries, and amongst them there is an increasing trend towards the establishment of transboundary cooperation initiatives. Proponents of Transboundary PAs (TBPAs) highlight the potential for biodiversity protection through spatial, management and socio-economic benefits. However, there have been few formal studies that assess these benefits. It is possible that the relaxation of boundary controls to optimise transboundary connectivity may increase the risk of impacts from invasive species or illegal human incursion. We sought to investigate the validity of these proposed benefits and potential risks through a questionnaire survey of 113 PAs, of which 39 responded and met our inclusion criteria. 82% felt that transboundary cooperation has benefits for biodiversity and, across PAs, the self-reported level of transboundary communication was positively associated with some improved spatial, management and socio-economic benefits. However, 26% of PAs reported that they never communicated with their internationally adjoining protected area, indicating unrealised potential for greater gains.
We used stochastic simulations to evaluate accuracy and precision of parameter estimates from spatial tag-recovery models under different combinations of high- and low-reward tagging levels, allocations of tags to different age groups, and patterns in age-specific natural mortalities. Our evaluations were based on Lake Erie walleye (Sander vitreus), which exhibit complex spatial structuring and support economically important recreational and commercial fisheries. In conducting our evaluations, we assumed inter-regional movements of tagged individuals could be treated as fixed (i.e., known) values. Accuracy and precision of parameter estimates generally stabilized at the mid-range tagging levels that were evaluated, suggesting limited gains would result from tagging more fish. Tag-allocation designs did not have large influences on accuracies of fishing mortalities, selectivities, and reporting rates, but accuracies of natural mortality estimates were sensitive to different designs. A skewed tag-allocation design most often had the best level of accuracy for age-5 and older natural mortalities, whereas proportional and balanced designs most often had the best level of accuracy for age-2 and 3 and age-4 natural mortalities, respectively. Results were far from being consistent, however, with other allocation designs sometimes exhibiting better performance under different factor-level combinations. These same tag-allocation designs resulted in the best precision for natural mortalities for these same age groups and in this regard results were consistent (i.e., did not vary by factor-level combinations). Our simulations help to understand how accuracy and precision of estimates from spatial tag-recovery models can vary with different design features of tagging studies and should provide beneficial insight for designing tagging studies for spatially structured fish populations.