2015-04-01

Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy

Anon. Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Washington, D.C.: The White House; 2015 p. 95. Available from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/03/27/highlighting-our-national-ocean-policy
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

Since President Obama created America’s first National Ocean Policy in 2010, Federal agencies have made tremendous progress to meet its objectives – working every day with communities across the Nation and stakeholders on the ground to improve the health of our oceans, support our economy, bolster safety and security, and better understand how our activities impact the ocean.

Today, we are releasing the first Report on the Implementation of the National Ocean Policy, which highlights the progress we’ve made since we released an action plan last year. From supporting the ocean economy to ensuring the security of our ports and waterways, and from improving coastal and ocean resilience to providing local communities with tools to plan for a better future, we’ve made tremendous strides in undertaking our role as responsible stewards of this Nation’s great oceans.

Among the activities described are a host of steps to promote sustainable energy development and aquaculture practices—including ensuring that permitting processes for these activities are efficient and streamlined as possible; advancing research and monitoring activities to help protect people and communities from harmful algal blooms;  developing data-driven tools to map the extent of sea-ice and to assist emergency responders and environmental resources managers in dealing with incidents in the Arctic region that may harm the environment; and issuing step-by-step guidance to help coastal communities asses vulnerabilities and develop plans to cope with the impacts of climate change, extreme weather, and ocean acidification.

Our oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes provide us with rich cultural, recreational, and commercial opportunities.  Collectively, these treasured waters support tens of millions of jobs and contribute trillions of dollars a year to the national economy. The actions underway across Federal agencies and in collaboration with states, regions, and communities will ensure that our oceans resources remain safe and healthy, and that our ocean economy continues to thrive for the benefit of all Americans.

Evaluation of ecosystem-based marine management strategies based on risk assessment

Piet GJ, Jongbloed RH, Knights AM, Tamis JE, Paijmans AJ, van der Sluis MT, de Vries P, Robinson LA. Evaluation of ecosystem-based marine management strategies based on risk assessment. Biological Conservation [Internet]. 2015 ;186:158 - 166. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320715001159
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

This study presents a comprehensive and generic framework that provides a typology for the identification and selection of consistently defined ecosystem-based management measures and allows a coherent evaluation of these measures based on their performance to achieve policy objectives. The performance is expressed in terms of their reduction of risk of an adverse impact on the marine ecosystem. This typology consists of two interlinked aspects of a measure, i.e. the “Focus” and the “Type”. The “Focus” is determined by the part of the impact chain (Driver–Pressure–State) the measure is supposed to mitigate or counteract. The “Type” represents the physical measure itself in terms of how it affects the impact chain directly; we distinguish Spatio-temporal distribution controls, Input and Output controls, Remediation and Restoration measures. The performance of these measures in terms of their reduction in risk of adverse impacts was assessed based on an explicit consideration of three time horizons: past, present and future. Application of the framework in an integrated management strategy evaluation of a suite of measures, shows that depending on the time horizon, different measures perform best. “Past” points to measures targeting persistent pressures (e.g. marine litter) from past activities. “Present” favors measures targeting a driver (e.g. fisheries) that has a high likelihood of causing adverse impacts. “Future” involves impacts that both have a high likelihood of an adverse impact, as well as a long time to return to pre-impacted condition after the implementation of appropriate management, e.g. those caused by permanent infrastructure or persistent pressures such as marine litter or specific types of pollution.

Developing a Framework for Measuring Community Resilience: Summary of a Workshop

Anon. Developing a Framework for Measuring Community Resilience: Summary of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2015. Available from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/20672/developing-a-framework-for-measuring-community-resilience-summary-of-a
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Report

The 2012 National Research Council report Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative highlighted the challenges of increasing national resilience in the United States. One finding of the report was that "without numerical means of assessing resilience, it would be impossible to identify the priority needs for improvement, to monitor changes, to show that resilience had improved, or to compare the benefits of increasing resilience with the associated costs." Although measuring resilience is a challenge, metrics and indicators to evaluate progress, and the data necessary to establish the metric, are critical for helping communities to clarify and formalize what the concept of resilience means for them, and to support efforts to develop and prioritize resilience investments. One of the recommendations from the 2012 report stated that government entities at federal, state, and local levels and professional organizations should partner to help develop a framework for communities to adapt to their circumstances and begin to track their progress toward increasing resilience.

To build upon this recommendation and begin to help communities formulate such a framework, the Resilient America Roundtable of the National Academies convened the workshop Measures of Community Resilience: From Lessons Learned to Lessons Applied on September 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The workshop's overarching objective was to begin to develop a framework of measures and indicators that could support community efforts to increase their resilience. The framework will be further developed through feedback and testing in pilot and other partner communities that are working with the Resilient America Roundtable. This report is a summary of the one-day workshop, which consisted of a keynote address and two panel sessions in the morning and afternoon breakout sessions that began the discussion on how to develop a framework of resilience measures.

Patterns and Emerging Trends in Global Ocean Health

Halpern BS, Longo C, Lowndes JSStewart, Best BD, Frazier M, Katona SK, Kleisner KM, Rosenberg AA, Scarborough C, Selig ER. Patterns and Emerging Trends in Global Ocean Health. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2015 ;10(3):e0117863. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0117863
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

International and regional policies aimed at managing ocean ecosystem health need quantitative and comprehensive indices to synthesize information from a variety of sources, consistently measure progress, and communicate with key constituencies and the public. Here we present the second annual global assessment of the Ocean Health Index, reporting current scores and annual changes since 2012, recalculated using updated methods and data based on the best available science, for 221 coastal countries and territories. The Index measures performance of ten societal goals for healthy oceans on a quantitative scale of increasing health from 0 to 100, and combines these scores into a single Index score, for each country and globally. The global Index score improved one point (from 67 to 68), while many country-level Index and goal scores had larger changes. Per-country Index scores ranged from 41–95 and, on average, improved by 0.06 points (range -8 to +12). Globally, average scores increased for individual goals by as much as 6.5 points (coastal economies) and decreased by as much as 1.2 points (natural products). Annual updates of the Index, even when not all input data have been updated, provide valuable information to scientists, policy makers, and resource managers because patterns and trends can emerge from the data that have been updated. Changes of even a few points indicate potential successes (when scores increase) that merit recognition, or concerns (when scores decrease) that may require mitigative action, with changes of more than 10–20 points representing large shifts that deserve greater attention. Goal scores showed remarkably little covariance across regions, indicating low redundancy in the Index, such that each goal delivers information about a different facet of ocean health. Together these scores provide a snapshot of global ocean health and suggest where countries have made progress and where a need for further improvement exists.

Combining Genetic and Demographic Data for the Conservation of a Mediterranean Marine Habitat-Forming Species

Arizmendi-Mejía R, Linares C, Garrabou J, Antunes A, Ballesteros E, Cebrian E, Díaz D, Ledoux J-B. Combining Genetic and Demographic Data for the Conservation of a Mediterranean Marine Habitat-Forming Species. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2015 ;10(3):e0119585. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0119585
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The integration of ecological and evolutionary data is highly valuable for conservation planning. However, it has been rarely used in the marine realm, where the adequate design of marine protected areas (MPAs) is urgently needed. Here, we examined the interacting processes underlying the patterns of genetic structure and demographic strucuture of a highly vulnerable Mediterranean habitat-forming species (i.e. Paramuricea clavata (Risso, 1826)), with particular emphasis on the processes of contemporary dispersal, genetic drift, and colonization of a new population. Isolation by distance and genetic discontinuities were found, and three genetic clusters were detected; each submitted to variations in the relative impact of drift and gene flow. No founder effect was found in the new population. The interplay of ecology and evolution revealed that drift is strongly impacting the smallest, most isolated populations, where partial mortality of individuals was highest. Moreover, the eco-evolutionary analyses entailed important conservation implications for P. clavata. Our study supports the inclusion of habitat-forming organisms in the design of MPAs and highlights the need to account for genetic drift in the development of MPAs. Moreover, it reinforces the importance of integrating genetic and demographic data in marine conservation.

The Potential for Spatial Distribution Indices to Signal Thresholds in Marine Fish Biomass

Reuchlin-Hugenholtz E, Shackell NL, Hutchings JA. The Potential for Spatial Distribution Indices to Signal Thresholds in Marine Fish Biomass. PLOS ONE [Internet]. 2015 ;10(3):e0120500. Available from: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120500
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The frequently observed positive relationship between fish population abundance and spatial distribution suggests that changes in distribution can be indicative of trends in abundance. If contractions in spatial distribution precede declines in spawning stock biomass (SSB), spatial distribution reference points could complement the SSB reference points that are commonly used in marine conservation biology and fisheries management. When relevant spatial distribution information is integrated into fisheries management and recovery plans, risks and uncertainties associated with a plan based solely on the SSB criterion would be reduced. To assess the added value of spatial distribution data, we examine the relationship between SSB and four metrics of spatial distribution intended to reflect changes in population range, concentration, and density for 10 demersal populations (9 species) inhabiting the Scotian Shelf, Northwest Atlantic. Our primary purpose is to assess their potential to serve as indices of SSB, using fisheries independent survey data. We find that metrics of density offer the best correlate of spawner biomass. A decline in the frequency of encountering high density areas is associated with, and in a few cases preceded by, rapid declines in SSB in 6 of 10 populations. Density-based indices have considerable potential to serve both as an indicator of SSB and as spatially based reference points in fisheries management.

Ecology and Education in Marine Protected Areas: Insights from Brazil and South America

Berchez F, Mansilla A, Ghilardi-Lopes NP, Schwindt E, Leite K, Rozzi R. Ecology and Education in Marine Protected Areas: Insights from Brazil and South America. In: Earth Stewardship. Vol. 2. Earth Stewardship. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2015. pp. 351 - 366. Available from: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-12133-8_23
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Book Chapter

South American coastal habitats include a wide range of benthic ecosystems, many of which are unique and constitute hotspots of biodiversity. Marine protected areas (MPAs), instituted mostly during the second half of the twentieth Century, are considered a key management tool to conserve regional biodiversity, prevent overexploitation, and generate economic benefits. Educational actions to promote changes in basic values, principles, and attitudes – although considered also as a main objective – frequently have a poor conceptual basis. In conjunction with the evaluation of their effectiveness by long-term, site-based ecological and socio-economic research, in Brazil MPAs are aiming to implement a holistic approach. This will allow the development and testing of environmental practices that integrate ecology, economy, ethics, and conflict resolution in the different uses of marine space. However, ecological long-term studies, socio-economic long-term evaluation, and the integration of education and ethics are still incipient. With the recent creation of some independent networks in different South American countries related to the assessment of biological communities, marine biologists of this continent are now focusing more on: (1) sharing methodologies and data to allow comparative and integrated continental analyses, and (2) integrating social components, including not only economic but also ethical values and participatory approaches. Toward this aim, the Chilean Long Term Socio- Ecological Research network (LTSER-Chile) has developed a Field Environmental Philosophy program that could be adapted to MPAs educational programs, and also contribute to the integration of ecology and ethics in theory and praxis for an Earth Stewardship initiative.

Modelling the impacts of marine protected areas for mobile exploited fish populations and their fisheries: what we recently learnt and where we should be going

Grüss A. Modelling the impacts of marine protected areas for mobile exploited fish populations and their fisheries: what we recently learnt and where we should be going. Aquatic Living Resources [Internet]. 2014 ;27(3-4):107 - 133. Available from: http://www.alr-journal.org/10.1051/alr/2014013
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being considered and used for the management of fisheries targeting mobile fish populations. Here, the recent modelling literature on MPA effects for mobile fish populations and their fisheries is reviewed. Modelling studies conducted since 2011 have filled a considerable number of knowledge gaps on the impacts of MPAs for species exhibiting home-range behaviour, nomadic movements or behavioural polymorphism, and on the effects of “targeted MPAs”, which aim to protect relatively small areas where migratory fishes spend an inordinate fraction of time or are highly vulnerable to fishing (e.g., nursery or spawning zones). Also, in recent years, two studies investigated the consequences of MPAs targeting highly migratory (tuna-like) fish populations for the first time in the history of MPA modelling. Recent modelling studies found that MPAs aimed at protecting mobile species may have positive conservation effects under a relatively wide range of situations, but may generate long-term fisheries benefits only under a very limited set of conditions. In particular, MPAs were not found to be beneficial for the fisheries targeting highly migratory populations. Strategies producing both conservation and fisheries benefits were identified, which depend on fish movement patterns and numerous aspects of fish life history and fisheries dynamics. However, in view of the diversity of fish movement patterns in MPA systems and current dynamics in resource management, it is clear that additional modelling work is needed to fully understand how protected areas affect mobile fish populations and their fisheries and to be able to implement pertinent MPAs. In particular, future modelling studies should systematically assess the effects of MPAs in relation to other management tools to find strategies that are most effective in meeting management objectives, and explore the impacts of “dynamic” MPAs that follow highly migratory fish populations in space and time.

Evaluating the relative conservation value of fully and partially protected marine areas

Sciberras M, Jenkins SR, Mant R, Kaiser MJ, Hawkins SJ, Pullin AS. Evaluating the relative conservation value of fully and partially protected marine areas. Fish and Fisheries [Internet]. 2015 ;16(1):58 - 77. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/faf.12044/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly of no-take areas, is often viewed as a conflict between conservation and fishing. Partially protected areas (PPAs) that restrict some extractive uses are often regarded as a balance between biodiversity conservation and socio-economic viability. Few attempts have been made to generalize the ecological effects of PPAs. We synthesized the results of empirical studies that compared PPAs to (i) no-take reserves (NTRs) and (ii) to open access (Open) areas, to assess the potential benefits of different levels of protection for fish populations. Response to protection was examined in relation to MPA parameters and the exploitation status of fish. Our syntheses suggest that while PPAs significantly enhance density and biomass of fish relative to Open areas, NTRs yielded significantly higher biomass of fish within their boundaries relative to PPAs. The positive response to protection was primarily driven by target species. There was a large degree of variability in the magnitude of response to protection, although the size of the PPA explained some of this variability. The protection regime within the PPA provided useful insights into the effectiveness of partial MPAs. We conclude that MPAs with partial protection confer advantages, such as enhanced density and biomass of fish, compared to areas with no restrictions, although the strongest responses occurred for areas with total exclusion. Thus, MPAs with a combination of protection levels are a valuable spatial management tool particularly in areas where exclusion of all activities is not a socio-economically and politically viable option.

Environmental education and ecotourism concepts in Marine Protected Area of Armação de Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: reflections for the adoption of coastal ecotourism

Pedrini Ade Gusmão, Brotto DShimada, Ghilardi-Lopes NPirani, Lopes MCoronel, Ferreira LPegrucci. Environmental education and ecotourism concepts in Marine Protected Area of Armação de Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: reflections for the adoption of coastal ecotourism. Revista Brasileira de Ecoturismo [Internet]. 2015 ;8(1):59 - 73. Available from: http://www.sbecotur.org.br/rbecotur/seer/index.php/ecoturismo/article/view/838/780
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility (EESS) is aimed at transforming society and its negative impacts on the environment by way of financial and political emancipation, whence ecotourism becomes one of the best options towards environmental sustainability. This study aimed at evaluating social actors' conceptions on Environmental Education and ecotourism, in order to base the development of future marine-ecotourism activities in the Marine Environmental Protection Area of Armação de Búzios (MEPAAB). Sampling involved 73 respondents interested in the implementation of marine ecotourism in the area. Their concepts, as regards ecotourism and EESS, were analyzed according to individual profiles. The sample was mainly composed of Argentine and Brazilian tourists from the cities of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, when visiting MEPAAB. Since most of the concepts were limited to environmental conservation and public awareness, these were considered entirely or not entirely adequate. The results could not be significantly associated with the age of respondents or any other factor (Kruskal-Wallis, p>0.05). The concept of ecotourism was the better known. Even so, significant differences were observed only among the different classes by income. There were clear indications of the urgent application of EESS in the coastal environment, as a plausible management tool for the littoral municipalities of Rio de Janeiro State.

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