Environmental governance is increasingly turning away from classic top-down hierarchical governance regimes and experimenting with more collaborative forms of governance, e.g., analytic-deliberative participation of resource users. In this paper, we examine the role of the Polish Baltic Sea Fisheries Roundtable as a multi-stakeholder platform in Polish Baltic Sea fisheries governance. The fisheries sector within a country rapidly transitioning from a centrally planned system to (pseudo) market conditions provides an illustrative case in a very difficult context. Employing an action- and learning-based approach, we participated in the initiation and institutionalisation of a process of levelling the playing field and building trust within the fisheries sector in Poland. Using Adler and Birkhoff's collaborative process model for action planning and implementation, we evaluate the approach and outcomes of this project and discuss the results in relation to the existing literature.
Numerous international bodies have advocated the development of strategies to achieve the sustainability of marine environments. Typically, such strategies are based on information from expert groups about causes of degradation and policy options to address them, but these strategies rarely take into account assessed information about public awareness, concerns, and priorities. Here we report the results of a pan-European survey of public perceptions about marine environmental impacts as a way to inform the formation of science and policy priorities. On the basis of 10,106 responses to an online survey from people in 10 European nations, spanning a diversity of socioeconomic and geographical areas, we examine the public’s informedness and concern regarding marine impacts, trust in different information sources, and priorities for policy and funding. Results show that the level of concern regarding marine impacts is closely associated with the level of informedness and that pollution and overfishing are two areas prioritized by the public for policy development. The level of trust varies greatly among different information sources and is highest for academics and scholarly publications but lower for government or industry scientists. Results suggest that the public perceives the immediacy of marine anthropogenic impacts and is highly concerned about ocean pollution, overfishing, and ocean acidification. Eliciting public awareness, concerns, and priorities can enable scientists and funders to understand how the public relates to marine environments, frame impacts, and align managerial and policy priorities with public demand.
Guidelines for spatial planning, including those from integrated coastal management, systematic conservation planning, and marine spatial planning, have conceived planning processes as iterative and adaptive. Adaptive spatial planning is advocated because it allows decisions to be improved with new data, as knowledge accumulates on management within particular contexts, and to fine-tune spatial management arrangements to fit constantly changing social-ecological systems. Yet, to date there have been very few reviews of the process and practice of adaptive spatial planning in real-world contexts. Here we review the theoretical challenges presented in the literature on adaptive spatial planning against 5 case studies of adaptive planning in the marine realm: Kubulau District, Fiji; Southeast Cebu, Philippines; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; central California, USA; and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Our aim is to assess the extent to which the theoretical challenges have been addressed in practice. We find that none of the case studies analyzed effectively addressed all the challenges of adaptive spatial planning. Differences in legislation, resources, and capacity to undertake adaptive spatial planning mean that each planning process is operated differently in each case study. For example, adaptive spatial planning can occur through a structured and institutionalized approach when resources and government support are available, but it can also operate in a relatively more opportunistic and flexible way if governments are weaker but civil society has strong champions. Although the case studies addressed aspects of adaptive planning, some persistent challenges remain, including scientific gaps regarding triggers for adaptation and unsympathetic institutional and policy contexts and planning cultures. These challenges must be addressed before all the benefits of adaptive spatial planning can be realized.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) requires spatially explicit environmental risk assessment (ERA) frameworks with quantitative or probabilistic measures of risk, enabling an evaluation of spatial management scenarios. ERAs comprise the steps of risk identification, risk analysis, and risk evaluation. A review of ERAs in in the context of spatial management revealed a synonymous use of the concepts of risk, vulnerability and impact, a need to account for uncertainty and a lack of a clear link between risk analysis and risk evaluation. In a case study, we addressed some of the identified gaps and predicted the risk of changing the current state of benthic disturbance by bottom trawling due to future MSP measures in the German EEZ of the North Sea. We used a quantitative, dynamic, and spatially explicit approach where we combined a Bayesian belief network with GIS to showcase the steps of risk characterization, risk analysis, and risk evaluation. We distinguished 10 benthic communities and 6 international fishing fleets. The risk analysis produced spatially explicit estimates of benthic disturbance, which was computed as a ratio between relative local mortality by benthic trawling and the recovery potential after a trawl event. Results showed great differences in spatial patterns of benthic disturbance when accounting for different environmental impacts of the respective fleets. To illustrate a risk evaluation process, we simulated a spatial shift of the international effort of two beam trawl fleets, which are affected the most by future offshore wind development. The Bayesian belief network (BN) model was able to predict the proportion of the area where benthic disturbance likely increases. In conclusion, MSP processes should embed ERA frameworks which allow for the integration of multiple risk assessments and the quantification of related risks as well as uncertainties at a common spatial scale.
The biofuels community has shown considerable interest in the possibility that microalgae could contribute significantly to providing a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Microalgae species with high growth rates and high yields of oil that can be grown on domestic wastewater using nonarable land could produce biofuel without competing with agriculture. It is difficult to envision where the cultivation facilities would be located to produce the quantity of algae needed for fuels, given that these facilities must be close to wastewater treatment plants to save energy.
Researchers investigated a possible solution called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae for coastal cities. This system involved growing fast-growing, oil-producing freshwater algae in flexible, inexpensive clear plastic photobioreactors attached to floating docks anchored offshore in naturally or artificially protected bays. Wastewater and carbon dioxide from coastal facilities provided water, nutrients, and carbon. The surrounding seawater controlled the temperature inside the photobioreactors and killed any algae that might escape. The salt gradient between seawater and wastewater created forward osmosis to concentrate nutrients and to facilitate algae harvesting. Both the algae and forward osmosis cleaned the wastewater, removing nutrients as well as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, so-called compounds of emerging concern.
This report provided the results of two years of research into the feasibility of the Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae system in which prototype systems were studied, built, and tested in seawater tanks. A 110-liter floating system was developed and scaled up to 1,600 liters. Algae’s ability to grow on and treat wastewater was described. The impact of biofouling on photobioreactors and forward osmosis membranes floating in the marine environment was considered. Life-cycle and technoeconomic analyses provided a perspective on what must be done to make this system commercially viable. Outreach efforts have carried the concept worldwide. sions from conversion for development.
Cultural ecosystem services are generally understood to be the non-material value that can be gained through ecosystems such as a sense of well-being, reflection and spiritual enhancement. These are often linked with a sense of place, culture, heritage and identity. The assessment of cultural ecosystem services, particularly in the marine environment is an inherently complex and difficult task, because they often involve making value judgments which can be hard to quantify. Methods applied to determining the value of these services are often focused on their financial value. Whilst methodologies have been developed to assess the non-material importance of these services, this paper argues that Q methodology provides a highly appropriate way of examining unmeasurable values by being able to convert qualitative, subjective data into quantitative information. The research presents two data sets derived from Q methodology which examined stakeholder views of the cultural values from two marine protected areas; the Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, Canada and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Chichester Harbour, UK. The relevance of using Q methodology as a valuation mechanism in this type of study is examined and justified; whilst highlighting the advantages of tackling a subject of values and intangibility, highly qualitative information, with a structured, semi-automated and primarily quantitative methodology. The findings show that the case-study areas hold three predominant ‘factors’ of value for its stake holders. These include the protected areas; as a place of care for each other and oneself through the natural world; a place of spirituality; and as a place of freedom and refuge. The paper strongly argues for the use of Q methodology in such a study, which ultimately helps to bring about a depth of information that arguably traditional methods are incapable of in the same capacity.
On a national level, the law of 14 April 2006 saw the creation of the Marine Protected Areas Agency and established the first six categories of marine protected areas, including the new category of marine nature park.
The current strategy specifies how France intends to expand its action to develop and manage the network of marine protected areas: objectives, geographical priorities, principles, etc.
The French Marine Protected Areas Agency was established in 2006, particularly to define and implement an ambitious strategy to create and manage France’s marine protected areas. Developing a national assessment process, the MPA dashboard, is an integral part of this strategy. The first step consists in developing dashboards in each French MPA.
The Agency must be able to assess the effectiveness of MPAs that it manages directly, such as marine nature parks or Natura 2000 sites, and provide technical support for the assessment of MPAs managed by other entities.
The Internet provides a unique opportunity for scientists to be in direct contact with the public in order to promote citizens’ scientific literacy. Recently, Internet users have started to spend most of their online time on social networking sites (SNS). Knowledge of how these SNSs work as an arena for interaction, as well as for the development of scientific literacy, is important to guide scientists’ activities online, and to be able to understand how people develop knowledge of science. This was evaluated by scrutinizing the Facebook page of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the consequences for users’ ocean literacy. We investigated which practices could increase the number of users reached by a Facebook story. We also found that Facebook pages do not offer the appropriate social context to foster participation since it has only a few of the features of an arena where such practices could develop.
Integrated coastal and ocean management requires transparent and accessible approaches for understanding the influence of human activities on marine environments. Here we introduce a model for assessing the combined risk to habitats from multiple ocean uses. We apply the model to coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds in Belize to inform the design of the country's first Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan. Based on extensive stakeholder engagement, review of existing legislation and data collected from diverse sources, we map the current distribution of coastal and ocean activities and develop three scenarios for zoning these activities in the future. We then estimate ecosystem risk under the current and three future scenarios. Current levels of risk vary spatially among the nine coastal planning regions in Belize. Empirical tests of the model are strong—three-quarters of the measured data for coral reef health lie within the 95% confidence interval of interpolated model data and 79% of the predicted mangrove occurrences are associated with observed responses. The future scenario that harmonizes conservation and development goals results in a 20% reduction in the area of high-risk habitat compared to the current scenario, while increasing the extent of several ocean uses. Our results are a component of the ICZM Plan for Belize that will undergo review by the national legislature in 2015. This application of our model to marine spatial planning in Belize illustrates an approach that can be used broadly by coastal and ocean planners to assess risk to habitats under current and future management scenarios.