Improving the social acceptability or ‘social licence’ of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a key challenge facing countries all around the world. As the world moves slowly towards the establishment of a global network of MPAs, it is increasingly apparent that a greater understanding of social responses to MPAs is required, given they are often met with resistance from local communities. A series of in-depth, semi structured interviews were conducted across coastal users in New South Wales, Australia, including surfers, recreational fishers, professional fishers, spearfishers, walkers, divers, snorkellers, kayakers and other community members. The research identified the values, images and principles at work amongst coastal users to determine the dominant ‘cultural models’ within the community and how these models influenced attitudes towards MPAs. This research indicates that traditional consultation models may not be sufficient to address the full spectrum of community needs, and in fact suggests the need to re-conceive the make -up of ‘the community’ itself. In the context of MPA planning ‘the community’ is not an amalgamation of a range of homogenous stakeholder groups but instead a diverse and complex mix of identities and value systems which are not confined to particular interest groups. Incorporating consideration of the diverse range of values, images and principles found within and across stakeholder groups will require new and innovative approaches to participation and management.
The world׳s oceans are currently undergoing an unprecedented period of industrialisation, made possible by advances in technology and driven by our growing need for food, energy and resources. This is placing the oceans are under intense pressure, and the ability of existing marine governance frameworks to sustainably manage the marine environment is increasingly being called into question. Emerging industries are challenging all aspects of these frameworks, raising questions regarding ownership and rights of the sea and its resources, management of environmental impacts, and management of ocean space. This paper uses the emerging marine renewable energy (MRE) industry, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK), as a case study to introduce and explore some of the key challenges. The paper concludes that the challenges are likely to be extensive and argues for development of a comprehensive legal research agenda to advance both MRE technologies and marine governance frameworks.
Ecosystem based ocean management processes seek to manage intricately linked social–ecological systems. These processes are intended to include and integrate appropriate economic, environmental, and social input into decision-making. To address identified challenges with gathering social data this study uses the Q-method to characterize different perspectives about what is valued about the ocean, seafood, and the community in the seafood sector of a single coastal community in British Columbia, Canada. Drawing on a sample of 42 people from the sector, this study identified a range of values, that group together into five distinct perspectives. These perspectives provide insight into how people value the experience versus the utility of the ocean and the different value they attribute to the outcomes of ocean management versus the process deployed. Values do not group together by seafood sub-sector, although the importance of teaching, stewardship, and conservation and respect for the ocean’s resilience are common to all. On the other hand, the various perspectives most sharply diverge with respect to the role of aquaculture and special rights of access. This work demonstrates how the Q-method can help to identify, capture, and compare social values within a sector. In addition, this method can provide participants with a forum to discuss what is important and can provide a common vocabulary that cuts across existing constituencies. This has the potential to facilitate the consideration of a broad range of social values in ocean management.
Socioeconomic considerations are crucial in the design process of marine protected areas (MPAs). Most systematic planning processes that incorporate socioeconomic aspects mainly concentrate on extractive user interests by integrating spatial data on fisheries thus overlooking other interests such as non-extractive recreational uses of the marine environment such as wildlife observation, diving or kayaking. Additionally, most theory on systematic spatial conservation planning is focused on the design of single zone reserves. The present study, focused in Wales (UK), uses the systematic conservation software Marxan with Zones to quantify the benefits of integrating extractive and non-extractive interests in the planning process of MPAs and assesses whether the impacts on affected users differs between single vs. multiple zones MPAs. Results indicate that MPAs designed with consideration of non-extractive interests reduced the potential economic impacts on this sector by approximately 50% more than MPAs designed without that consideration, without extra cost to the extractive sector. The design of a multiple-zone MPA outperformed that of a single-zone MPA by reducing and generating more equitable impacts for both extractive and non-extractive interests. This study highlights the importance of including the interests of any groups that might be impacted by the designation of an MPA.
MPAs and stakeholder education are marine conservation cornerstones, but data to assess adherence to regulations and the success of educational methods are missing. Local MPAs have been established to protect inter-tidal mudflats and shore users from bait collection which is a contentious worldwide issue. Video cameras monitored activity and confirmed if collectors adhered to the rules at three UK sites with different MPA systems. An educational approach (a voluntary code leaflet) was also assessed through stakeholder discussion and observation. Fareham Creek and Dell Quay supported a considerable number of collectors with none observed at Pagham Harbour. At Fareham Creek bait dug areas were evident in discrete patches in unprotected and protected areas, but observed collectors mainly used the latter. The failure to exclude collectors is due to the lack of enforcement. At Dell Quay virtually all dug areas were outside protected areas and was confirmed by the camera footage. Success is attributed to regular on-the-ground ‘unofficial’ enforcement by the managing NGO. Of the retailers, 75% had heard of the code and the majority stated they followed it. However, none of the 26 collectors observed followed a key rule (e.g. backfilling holes). Local marine conservation is relatively cheap and can be effective, but only if: management matches the actual pressure; scientific evaluation for all components (including education) is integrated from the beginning; adequate site enforcement is included; education methods are active, two-way and sustained.
A prototype for a Responsive Fisheries Management System (RFMS) was developed in the context of the European FP7 project EcoFishMan and tested on the Portuguese crustacean trawl fishery. Building on Results Based Management principles, RFMS involves the definition of specific and measurable objectives for a fishery by the relevant authorities but allows resource users the freedom to find ways to achieve the objectives and to provide adequate documentation. Taking into account the main goals of the new Common Fisheries Policy, such as sustainable utilization of the resources, end of discards and unwanted catches, a management plan for the Portuguese crustacean trawl fishery was developed in cooperation with the fishing industry, following the process and design laid out in the RFMS concept. The plan considers biological, social and economic goals and assigns a responsibility for increased data collection to the resource users. The performance of the plan with regard to selected indicators was evaluated through simulations. In this paper the process towards a RFMS is described and the lessons learnt from the interaction with stakeholders in the development of an alternative management plan are discussed.
Hydrokinetic energy conversion systems are the electromechanical devices that convert kinetic energy of river streams, tidal currents, man-made water channels or waves into electricity without using a special head and impoundment. This new technology became popular especially in the last two decades and needs to be well investigated. In this study, the hydrokinetic energy conversion systems were reviewed broadly. They have been categorized into two main groups as current and wave energy conversion devices. Their technology, working principles, environmental impacts, source potential, advantages, drawbacks and related issues were detailed.
Recognized as one of the most mature renewable energy technologies, wind energy has been developing rapidly in recent years. Many countries have shown interest in utilizing wind power, but they are concerned about the environmental impacts of the wind farms. The continuous growth of the wind energy industry in many parts of the world, especially in some developing countries and ecologically vulnerable regions, necessitates a comprehensive understanding of wind farm induced environmental impacts. The environmental issues caused by wind farms were reviewed in this paper by summarizing existing studies. Available mitigation measures to minimize these adverse environmental impacts were discussed in this document. The intention of this paper is to provide state-of-the-art knowledge about environmental issues associated with wind energy development as well as strategies to mitigate environmental impacts to wind energy planners and developers.
Anthropogenically enhanced delivery of sediments and other land-based sources of pollution represent well-recognized threats to nearshore coral reef communities worldwide. Land cover change is commonly used as a proxy to document human-induced alterations to sediment and pollutant delivery rates to coral reef bearing waters. In this article, land cover change was assessed for a 69-km2 watershed in Puerto Rico between 1936 and 2004 by aerial photograph interpretation. Forests and sugar cane fields predominated from 1936 through the late 1970s, but while cropland dipped to negligible levels by 2004, net forest cover doubled and built-up areas increased tenfold. The watershed-scale land cover changes documented here mimicked those of the entire Puerto Rican landmass. Sediment yield predictions that rely on the sort of land cover changes reported here inevitably result in declining trends, but anecdotal and scientific evidence in the study watershed and throughout Puerto Rico suggests that sediment and pollutant loading rates still remain high and at potentially threatening levels.
The simultaneous reduction in living coral cover that accompanied reforestation and urbanization patterns since the 1970s in our study region is discussed here within the context of the following non-mutually exclusive potential explanations: (a) the inability of land cover change-based assessments to discern spatially-focused, yet highly influential sources of sediment; (b) the potentially secondary role of cropland and forest cover changes in influencing nearshore coral reef conditions relative to other types of stressors like those related to climate change; and (c) the potentially dominant role that urban development may have had in altering marine water quality to the extent of reducing live coral cover. Since identification of the causes for coral reef degradation has proven elusive here and elsewhere, we infer that coral reef management may only be effective when numerous land- and marine-based stressors are simultaneously mitigated.
To assess gaps in the representation of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity among coastal fishes in Mediterranean marine-protected areas (MPAs).
We first assessed gaps in the taxonomic representation of the 340 coastal fish species in Mediterranean MPAs, with representation targets (the species range proportion to be covered by MPAs) set to be inversely proportional to species' range sizes. We then asked whether MPAs favoured representation of phylogenetically and functionally more distinct species or whether there was a tendency to favour less distinctive ones. We finally evaluated the overall conservation effectiveness of the MPAs using a metric that integrates species' phylogenetic and functional relationships and targets achievement. The effectiveness of the MPA system at protecting biodiversity was assessed by comparison of its achievements against a null model obtained by siting current MPAs at random over the study area.
Among the coastal fish species analysed, 16 species were not covered by any MPA. All the remaining species only partially achieved the pre-defined representation target. The current MPA system missed fewer species than expected from siting MPAs at random. However, c. 70% of the species did not achieve better protection in the current MPAs than expected from siting MPAs at random. Functional and evolutionary distinctiveness were weakly correlated with target achievement. The observed coverage of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity was not different or lower than expected from siting MPAs at random.
The Mediterranean MPA system falls short in meeting conservation targets for coastal fish taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity. Mediterranean MPAs do not encompass more biodiversity than expected by chance. This study reveals multiple ongoing challenges and calls for regional collaboration for the extension of the Mediterranean system of MPAs to meet international commitments and reduce the ongoing loss of marine biodiversity.