Meeting the United States׳ offshore renewable-energy goals for 2030 necessitates deploying approximately 9000 wind turbines along U.S. coastlines. Because siting bottom-mounted turbines in most nearshore coastal zones is either impractical or politically difficult, turbine developers are testing floating-platform turbine technologies for deeper waters. Deepwater, floating-platform turbines have the advantages of being sited in the highest quality winds farther offshore, movable if desired, and located beyond the horizon, out of sight from shore. This paper reports on conversations with 103 coastal stakeholders at community meetings regarding development and testing of floating turbines off the coast of Maine, U.S.A. Using naturalistic field methods, this essay reports common questions and concerns of commercial lobstermen, fishermen, and coastal civic leaders. Early-stage conversations suggest that once coastal community members understand the benefits and impacts of wind farm development on their quality of life, many share specific preferences for where offshore developments could be located. Citizens׳ remarks are sophisticated, nuanced, and innovative and include robust ideas for pairing turbine siting with fishery conservation. Findings imply that when looking to site offshore turbines in public, multiple-use ocean spaces, developers, planners, and coastal communities should engage early and often in two-way conversation rather than one-way outreach.
A conceptual framework was developed for assessing the sub-level of protection in 185 multiple-use marine protected areas (MPAs) in the English Channel through a survey on management effort. Data were retrieved from 153 MPAs: 4.56% were assigned low management effort, 83.70% were assigned medium management effort, and 11.76% were assigned high management effort. Overall, French MPAs performed better in terms of management effort than English MPAs and lack of consistency in ratings by different management bodies in England was found. Lack of correlation between management effort and conservation status within an available subset of 13 MPAs suggests that management may not be as influential a factor for the effective conservation of MPAs, especially in marine environments under heavy human pressure such as the English Channel. It is suggested that MPAs in such areas may therefore require an upgrade of their legal level of protection to be effective.
Despite recent efforts to increase the global coverage of marine protected areas (MPAs), studies investigating the effectiveness of marine protected areas within temperate waters remain scarce. Furthermore, out of the few studies published on MPAs in temperate waters, the majority focus on specific ecological or fishery components rather than investigating the ecosystem as a whole. This study therefore investigated the dynamics of both benthic communities and fish populations within a recently established, fully protected marine reserve in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom, over a four year period. A combination of photo and diver surveys revealed live maerl (Phymatolithon calcareum), macroalgae, sponges, hydroids, feather stars and eyelash worms (Myxicola infundibulum) to be significantly more abundant within the marine reserve than on surrounding fishing grounds. Likewise, the overall composition of epifaunal communities in and outside the reserve was significantly different. Both results are consistent with the hypothesis that protecting areas from fishing can encourage seafloor habitats to recover. In addition, the greater abundance of complex habitats within the reserve appeared to providing nursery habitat for juvenile cod (Gadus morhua) and scallops (Pecten maximus and Aequipecten opercularis). In contrast, there was little difference in the abundance of mobile benthic fauna, such as crabs and starfish, between the reserve and outside. Similarly, the use of baited underwater video cameras revealed no difference in the abundance and size of fish between the reserve and outside. Limited recovery of these ecosystem components may be due to the relatively small size (2.67 km2) and young age of the reserve (<5 years), both of which might have limited the extent of any benefits afforded to mobile fauna and fish communities. Overall, this study provides evidence that fully protected marine reserves can encourage seafloor habitats to recover, which in turn, can create a number of benefits that flow back to other species, including those of commercial importance.
The selection of spawning habitat of a population of Octopus vulgaris that is subject to a small-scale exploitation was studied in the Cíes Islands within the National Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia (NW Spain). The technique used was visual censuses by scuba diving. We conducted 93 visual censuses from April 2012 to April 2014. The total swept area was 123.69 ha. Habitat features (season, depth, zone, bottom temperature, swept area, bottom substrate type, and creels fishing impact) were evaluated as predictors of the presence/absence of spawning dens using GAM models. O. vulgaris has a noteworthy preference for spawning in areas with hard bottom substrate and moderate depth (approximately 20 m). The higher density of spawning dens (1.08 ha−1) was found in a surveyed area of 50.14 ha located in the northeastern part of the northern Cíes Island. We propose to protect the area comprised from Punta Escodelo to Punta Ferreiro between 5 and 30 m depth. This area has a surface of 158 ha equivalent to 5.98% of the total marine area of the Cíes islands. The strengths and weaknesses of a management strategy based on the protection of the species’ spawning habitat are discussed.
A key component of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) is explicit consideration of trade-offs. Ecosystem models can be used to quantify trade-offs and focus discussion around objectives. Given large structural uncertainties inherent in ecosystem models, however, comparative approaches are recommended to identify results that are robust to model formulation. We developed ecosystem models of the continental shelf and slope of New South Wales, Australia, using two ecosystem modelling frameworks, Atlantis and Ecopath with Ecosim. The models were calibrated to emulate large-scale changes in ecosystem structure between 1976 and 1996, as predicted by data from fishery-independent trawl surveys. Calibrated models were projected forward under a range of “optimal” fishing efforts designed to achieve economic, conservation or biodiversity objectives. While there were large differences in model predictions for individual species, the models gave very similar qualitative results when ranking fishing policies and describing trade-offs. Our results illustrate the importance of identifying fishery objectives before build-up of fleet capacity, and the need to consider trade-offs when simultaneously stating multiple ecosystem-level goals. Our finding that structurally-distinct ecosystem models can provide consistent qualitative advice highlights the capacity of ecosystem models for informing strategic management questions, even in the presence of considerable uncertainty in ecosystem-level processes.
Accurate wetland maps are a fundamental requirement for land use management and for wetland restoration planning. Several wetland map products are available today; most of them based on remote sensing images, but their different data sources and mapping methods lead to substantially different estimations of wetland location and extent. We used two very high-resolution (2 m) WorldView-2 satellite images and one (30 m) Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) image to assess wetland coverage in two coastal areas of Tampa Bay (Florida): Fort De Soto State Park and Weedon Island Preserve. An initial unsupervised classification derived from WorldView-2 was more accurate at identifying wetlands based on ground truth data collected in the field than the classification derived from Landsat 8 OLI (82% vs. 46% accuracy). The WorldView-2 data was then used to define the parameters of a simple and efficient decision tree with four nodes for a more exacting classification. The criteria for the decision tree were derived by extracting radiance spectra at 1500 separate pixels from the WorldView-2 data within field-validated regions. Results for both study areas showed high accuracy in both wetland (82% at Fort De Soto State Park, and 94% at Weedon Island Preserve) and non-wetland vegetation classes (90% and 83%, respectively). Historical, published land-use maps overestimate wetland surface cover by factors of 2–10 in the study areas. The proposed methods improve speed and efficiency of wetland map production, allow semi-annual monitoring through repeat satellite passes, and improve the accuracy and precision with which wetlands are identified.
While wind and solar have been the leading sources of renewable energy up to now, waves are increasingly being recognized as a viable source of power for coastal regions. This study analyzes integrating wave energy into the grid, in conjunction with wind and solar. The Pacific Northwest in the United States has a favorable mix of all three sources. Load and wind power series are obtained from government databases. Solar power is calculated from 12 sites over five states. Wave energy is calculated using buoy data, simulations of the ECMWF model, and power matrices for three types of wave energy converters. At the short horizons required for planning, the properties of the load and renewable energy are dissimilar. The load exhibits cycles at 24 h and seven days, seasonality and long-term trending. Solar power is dominated by the diurnal cycle and by seasonality, but also exhibits nonlinear variability due to cloud cover, atmospheric turbidity and precipitation. Wind power is dominated by large ramp events–irregular transitions between states of high and low power. Wave energy exhibits seasonal cycles and is generally smoother, although there are still some large transitions, particularly during winter months. Forecasting experiments are run over horizons of 1–4 h for the load and all three types of renewable energy. Waves are found to be more predictable than wind and solar. The forecast error at 1 h for the simulated wave farms is in the range of 5–7 percent, while the forecast errors for solar and wind are 17 and 22 percent. Geographic dispersal increases forecast accuracy. At the 1 h horizon, the forecast error for large-scale wave farms is 39–49 percent lower than at individual buoys. Grid integration costs are quantified by calculating balancing reserves. Waves show the lowest reserve costs, less than half wind and solar.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) mandates that European Union (EU) member states achieve Good Environmental Status (GEnS) based on an ecosystem-based approach to management. For commercial fisheries, the primary target under the MSFD is one of maximum sustainable yield. Of Black Sea riparian nations, only Romania and Bulgaria are EU member states. Focusing at the supranational level, we review institutions and instruments relevant to management of the Black Sea. The economic values of current fish catches are assessed, and the results of a recent analytical assessment of fish stocks are used to estimate potential future values based on maximum sustainable yields. In the Black Sea region, despite long-standing attempts to improve fisheries management, there remains a lack of effective regional cooperation. Evidence from the scenario analysis suggests that achieving GEnS would not have an undue negative impact on overall fishery sector incomes, and could, with appropriate investments in processing and marketing, deliver increased economic benefits for Black Sea countries. The ongoing policy debate between and within Black Sea coastal states needs to be extended to include recognition of the potential economic and social benefits of effective fisheries management. More work is required to assess returns on investment in interim management measures to deliver GEnS.
The Black Sea has suffered severe environmental degradation. Governance of the Black Sea region is complex and results in a series of scale mismatches which constrain management. This paper develops a simple classification of spatial scale mismatches incorporating the driver, pressure, state, welfare, response (DPSWR) framework. The scale mismatch classification is applied to two major environmental problems of the Black Sea, eutrophication and small pelagic fisheries. A number of scale mismatches are described and classified and potential solutions are identified.
The Mediterranean region is of fundamental importance to Europe given its strategic position. The responsibility for its overall ecosystem integrity is shared by European Union Member States (EU-MS) and other Mediterranean countries. A juxtaposition of overlapping governance instruments occurred recently in the region, with the implementation of both the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) for EU-MS and the Ecosystem Approach Strategy (ECAP) for all Mediterranean countries, including EU-MS. Both MSFD and ECAP are structured around vision-driven processes to achieve Good Environmental Status and a Healthy Environment, respectively. These processes have clear ecosystem-based, integrated policy objectives to guarantee the preservation and integrity of Mediterranean marine ecosystem goods and services. However, adoption of these instruments, especially those related to the new EU-MS directives on marine policy, could result in a governance gap in addition to the well-known economic gap between the EU and the non-EU political blocs. We identify two complementary requirements for effective implementation of both MSFD and ECAP that could work together to reduce this gap, to ensure a better alignment between MSFD and ECAP and better planning for stakeholder engagement. These are key issues for the future success of these instruments in a Mediterranean region where discrepancies between societal and ecological objectives may pose a challenge to these processes.