The management of the coastal environment is a complex issue, which needs for appropriate methodologies. Erosional processes and longshore currents present in the submerged beach represent a serious danger for both people and human infrastructures. A proper integration between traditional and innovative techniques can help in the characterization and management of the beach environment. Several different multispectral and hyperspectral techniques were used to retrieve information about the hydro and morphodynamic settings of the Pisa province coast (Tuscany, Italy). Results were validated using about 130 samples collected along the study area, between the mouths of the Serchio river and the Scolmatore canal. The composition of sand samples was evaluated by means of petrographic microscopy and grain size analyses. The same samples were analyzed using an Analytical Spectral Device (ASD) Fieldspec. The obtained sediment spectral library was used to evaluate the differences in mineralogical composition, which can be related to different source areas. Results coming from spectroscopy were compared to those obtained from the petrographic and grain size analysis. Furthermore a multispectral aerial image was used to evaluate sediment distribution along the submerged beach, to map the geomorphic features and to detect the presence of longshore and rip currents. This works suggests that optical remote sensing technique can be profitably used in order to reduce the need for expensive and time consuming conventional analysis.
Much knowledge is emerging about the past and potential effects of climate change on the unique and complex marine ecosystems of Canada's Pacific, including variations in the resilience, sensitivities, responsiveness, and non-stationarity of the biota. Such knowledge, however, is rarely synthesized or summarized with any overall integrated analyses that could guide the development of proactive planning for the effects of climate change. Regional and local planning of climate adaptation strategies, for example, requires an examination of ecological sensitivities and vulnerabilities at relevant spatial resolutions. We developed an illustrative example of a habitat-based ecological vulnerability assessment for the whole of Canada's Pacific marine area using existing spatial information from this region and from the California Current ecosystem. Potential climate impacts were calculated as the product of estimated exposure (E) of habitats to multiple dimensions of changing climate variables and expert-derived sensitivity (S) ratings of those habitats to changes in those climate variables. Vulnerability was then derived as the product of the estimated potential climate impacts in a location and the estimated cumulative impacts (CI) of non-climate stressors there, which we considered to be an inverse proxy of the adaptive capacity (AC) of the biota in those habitats. We found considerable spatial variability of potential climate impacts and vulnerability on the scales of the 12 Ecosections of Canada's Pacific, 25 habitat categories, and at finer scales. We produced maps of ecological vulnerability to climate change as an example output for use in spatially-oriented adaptation planning. Our initial assessment indicated that the Strait of Georgia in particular followed by Queen Charlotte Strait, Juan de Fuca Strait, Vancouver Island Shelf, and Johnstone Strait have relatively high vulnerabilities to climate change, in part due to concentrations of local stressors there. On a coast wide basis the habitats that were indicated as most vulnerable are shallow rocky reefs, seagrass habitats, kelp habitats, and deep rocky reefs. This approach for mapping vulnerability to climate change could be improved with finer scale climate data, additional climate variables, and stressor-habitat sensitivity estimates derived specifically for this system. We provide a stepwise manual for policy-makers, managers, or other practitioners to map ecological vulnerability to climate change in other marine settings.
Activities and resources found in the ocean and coastal realm of Trinidad and Tobago contribute critically to the identity and well-being of the country's citizenry. However, the current governance framework and capacity to manage facets of the coastal zone is proving to be inadequate, with resource mismanagement, degradation and depletion evident. This is compounded by the absence of a co-ordinating mechanism and collaborative process through which stakeholders can seek to cohesively manage the ocean and coastal sphere in order to minimise conflict and maintain its flows of ecosystem goods and services in the long term.
This paper recommends more sustainable, equitable and feasible means to manage the ocean and coastal realm for which Trinidad and Tobago has claimed stewardship. It critically analyses the current governance framework and juxtaposes it against identified theoretical and observed ICZM best practices worldwide. A more co-ordinated, cohesive and collaborative approach to governance is proposed that is participatory and co-operative in nature and underpinned by principles aligned to achieving sustainability in economic, social and ecological realms.
The wave energy resource is usually characterized by a significant variability throughout the year. In estimating the power performance of a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) it is fundamental to take into account this variability; indeed, an estimate based on mean annual values may well result in a wrong decision making. In this work, a novel decision-aid tool, iWEDGE (intra-annual Wave Energy Diagram GEnerator) is developed and implemented to a coastal region of interest, the Death Coast (Spain), one of the regions in Europe with the largest wave resource. Following a comprehensive procedure, and based on deep water wave data and high-resolution numerical modelling, this tool provides the monthly high-resolution characterization matrices (or energy diagrams) for any location of interest. In other words, the information required for the accurate computation of the intra-annual performance of any WEC at any location within the region covered is made available. Finally, an application of iWEDGE to the site of a proposed wave farm is presented. The results obtained highlight the importance of the decision-aid tool herein provided for wave energy exploitation.
Regional efforts have increased the number and amount of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Caribbean, yet few studies have examined how these MPAs are progressing toward their goals and objectives. Using social and ecological data from a rapid assessment of 31 MPAs and their associated human communities in the wider Caribbean, this study investigates (1) the stated social and ecological objectives of MPAs; (2) the extent to which MPAs are making progress toward their stated social and ecological objectives; and (3) tradeoffs in progress toward social and ecological objectives. Findings indicate that Caribbean MPAs have multiple objectives related to both social and ecological conditions, and that most MPAs are making at least some progress towards achieving these objectives. Those MPAs with stated objectives to promote education and serve as a model for other MPAs seem to be making good progress on these objectives, while those with the objective of reducing conflict are not. Where MPAs are not meeting their goals and objectives, planners and managers should consider reallocating human and financial resources to address deficiencies and re-evaluating existing goals and objectives. It is important to consider how existing marine protected areas are performing as efforts in the Caribbean region and elsewhere continue to promote the establishment of new MPAs.
We engaged in collaborative research with two small-scale fishing communities inside the Upper Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, San Felipe (SF) and El Golfo de Santa Clara (GSC), to test how well the geographic heterogeneity of fishing activities within the reserve coincided with current regulations. We compared the two communities in terms of catch composition, fishing effort, ex-vessel prices and revenues, seasonal patterns in fishing activities in relation to the reproductive seasons of target species, and spatial patterns of fishing in relation to managed zones within the reserve. The top four species (Cynoscion othonopterus, Micropogonias megalops, Scomberomorus concolor, Litopenaeus stylirostris) in terms of relative effort, catch, and revenues were the same for both communities but overall fisheries production, effort, and revenues were higher in GSC than SF for these species. Fishing activities in GSC followed a predictable annual cycle that began with L. stylirostris and were followed sequentially by the harvesting of C. othonopterus, M. megalops, and S. concolor during their respective spawning seasons, which were associated with seasonal variations in ex-vessel prices. Conversely, catch and revenues in SF were more diversified, less dependent on those four species, less seasonal, and did not show seasonal variations in prices. Interactions between fisheries and managed zones also differed such that SF interacted mainly with the southwest portion of the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) refuge, whereas GSC fished over a larger area and interacted mainly with the northeast portion of the vaquita refuge and the no-take zone. Our results indicate the two communities differ markedly in their socio-economic dependence on fisheries, their spatio-temporal patterns of fishing, their use of and impacts on species, coastal ecosystems and managed areas, and how different regulations may affect livelihoods. Regional management and conservation efforts should account for these differences to ensure the protection of endangered species and to sustain ecosystem services that maintain livelihoods and healthy coastal ecosystems. This study provides further evidence of the ability of collaborative research between scientists and fishers to produce robust and fine-scale fisheries and biological information that improves the collective knowledge and management of small-scale fisheries within marine protected areas.
The designation of marine protected areas (MPAs) may have intense social and economic effects on human communities. Driven by overarching global and European policies and national legislations, current systematic conservation planning in the UK and France requires an ecosystem approach that takes into account not only nature but also the human activities that take place in an area. Here, we identified a set of 64 socioeconomic variables potentially relevant for marine and coastal stakeholders in a European context and a comprehensive set of 20 marine and coastal stakeholder categories. Ninety national organisations in the UK and France belonging to those categories and potentially affected by/interested in the designation of multiple-use MPAs were identified and surveyed. Results show that environmental NGOs, research centres, local councils, managing agencies and statutory nature conservation bodies perceived that they are positively affected by these MPAs, whereas fishers’ organisations, shipping and aggregate industrial organisations and recreational organisations perceived to be chiefly negatively affected by MPAs. On average, the ecological effects of multiple-use MPAs are perceived as ‘largely positive’, though 30% of respondents did not perceive any positive ecological effects from these MPAs. The social, economic and cultural effects of such MPAs are perceived as ‘moderately positive’. Most respondents perceived broad range (>10 km) and permanent ecological, social, economic and cultural effects from multiple-use MPA designation suggesting high societal expectations towards these areas. However, only five variables were perceived to vary in intensity after the designation of multiple-use MPAs: ‘research’, ‘environmental performance by citizens, businesses and towns’, ‘number of green businesses’, ‘tourism’ and ‘economic activities’. The most important ‘social’ variables for stakeholder organisations referred to local populations’ engagement with the MPA, tourism and research. The most important ‘economic’ variables were linked to fishing, shipping and aquaculture activities. These variables highlight relevant topics to be considered in MPA planning, designation and management processes, especially in the UK and France. There were statistically significant differences in the ratings of socioeconomic variables between many organisations belonging to the same intuitive stakeholder categories, suggesting the importance of including as wide a range of stakeholder organisations as feasible in MPA socioeconomic-related processes. Our methods and findings can help to inform and streamline ongoing and future participatory MPA planning, management and monitoring processes in Europe and in other regions with similar socioeconomic characteristics.
Value achieved from time spent at sea is a central driver of fishing decisions and fishing behaviors. Value per unit effort (VPUE) is an important indicator of economic performance in itself and a useful metric within integrated mixed fisheries models. A time series of Irish first sale prices and total per trip landings values (VPT) highlight heterogeneity in fish prices and VPTs achieved by the Irish fleet spatially and temporally, as well as variability with species targeting. This investigation compared models to standardize fishing trip VPUE accounting for species targeting (métier groupings), engine power (a kW proxy for vessel size), seasonal and annual variability, fishing effort, and individual vessels (encompassing variability in vessel characteristics and skipper effects). Linear mixed effects models incorporating random vessel effects and within-group variance between métier groupings performed best at describing the variability in the dataset. All investigated factors were important in explaining variability, and thus important in standardizing VPUE. Models incorporating fishing days (days with reported fishing activity) and engine power as separate variables resulted in improved AIC values. Therefore, fishing days were considered to be the most appropriate effort measure to generate VPUE. The effort unit traditionally applied in measures of per unit effort, fishing hours, performed comparatively poorly in relation to VPT.
Fishery management measures to reduce interactions between fisheries and endangered or threatened species have typically relied on static time-area closures. While these efforts have reduced interactions, they can be costly and inefficient for managing highly migratory species such as sea turtles. The NOAA TurtleWatch product was created in 2006 as a tool to reduce the rates of interactions of loggerhead sea turtles with shallow-set longline gear deployed by the Hawaii-based pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish. TurtleWatch provides information on loggerhead habitat and can be used by managers and industry to make dynamic management decisions to potentially reduce incidentally capturing turtles during fishing operations. TurtleWatch is expanded here to include information on endangered leatherback turtles to help reduce incidental capture rates in the central North Pacific. Fishery-dependent data were combined with fishing effort, bycatch and satellite tracking data of leatherbacks to characterize sea surface temperature (SST) relationships that identify habitat or interaction ‘hotspots’. Analysis of SST identified two zones, centered at 17.2° and 22.9°C, occupied by leatherbacks on fishing grounds of the Hawaii-based swordfish fishery. This new information was used to expand the TurtleWatch product to provide managers and industry near real-time habitat information for both loggerheads and leatherbacks. The updated TurtleWatch product provides a tool for dynamic management of the Hawaii-based shallow-set fishery to aid in the bycatch reduction of both species. Updating the management strategy to dynamically adapt to shifts in multi-species habitat use through time is a step towards an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in pelagic ecosystems.
This study aims to evaluate the potential for impacts of ocean acidification on North Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems in response to IPCC AR5 Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). Deep-sea biota is likely highly vulnerable to changes in seawater chemistry and sensitive to moderate excursions in pH. Here we show, from seven fully coupled Earth system models, that for three out of four RCPs over 17% of the seafloor area below 500 m depth in the North Atlantic sector will experience pH reductions exceeding −0.2 units by 2100. Increased stratification in response to climate change partially alleviates the impact of ocean acidification on deep benthic environments. We report on major pH reductions over the deep North Atlantic seafloor (depth >500 m) and at important deep-sea features, such as seamounts and canyons. By 2100, and under the high CO2 scenario RCP8.5, pH reductions exceeding −0.2 (−0.3) units are projected in close to 23% (~15%) of North Atlantic deep-sea canyons and ~8% (3%) of seamounts – including seamounts proposed as sites of marine protected areas. The spatial pattern of impacts reflects the depth of the pH perturbation and does not scale linearly with atmospheric CO2 concentration. Impacts may cause negative changes of the same magnitude or exceeding the current target of 10% of preservation of marine biomes set by the convention on biological diversity, implying that ocean acidification may offset benefits from conservation/management strategies relying on the regulation of resource exploitation.