Forage fish support the largest fisheries in the world but also play key roles in marine food webs by transferring energy from plankton to upper trophic-level predators, such as large fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Fishing can, thereby, have far reaching consequences on marine food webs unless safeguards are in place to avoid depleting forage fish to dangerously low levels, where dependent predators are most vulnerable. However, disentangling the contributions of fishing vs. natural processes on population dynamics has been difficult because of the sensitivity of these stocks to environmental conditions. Here, we overcome this difficulty by collating population time series for forage fish populations that account for nearly two-thirds of global catch of forage fish to identify the fingerprint of fisheries on their population dynamics. Forage fish population collapses shared a set of common and unique characteristics: high fishing pressure for several years before collapse, a sharp drop in natural population productivity, and a lagged response to reduce fishing pressure. Lagged response to natural productivity declines can sharply amplify the magnitude of naturally occurring population fluctuations. Finally, we show that the magnitude and frequency of collapses are greater than expected from natural productivity characteristics and therefore, likely attributed to fishing. The durations of collapses, however, were not different from those expected based on natural productivity shifts. A risk-based management scheme that reduces fishing when populations become scarce would protect forage fish and their predators from collapse with little effect on long-term average catches.
The sixteenth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-16) convened from 6-10 April 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions to examine this year’s topic: “oceans and sustainable development: integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely, environmental, social and economic.”
On Monday and Thursday, there was a general exchange of views in plenary. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, delegates heard panel presentations and engaged in discussion on the first segment, “the environmental, social and economic dimensions of oceans and progress made in integrating the three dimensions, including an overview of activities and initiatives promoting their integration.” On Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday, delegates engaged with the second segment on: “opportunities for, and challenges to, the enhanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in relation to oceans.”
On Thursday, delegates convened in plenary to discuss: inter-agency cooperation and coordination; process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the General Assembly; and issues that could benefit from attention in the future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea. The Co-Chairs, Amb. Don MacKay (New Zealand) and Amb. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), distributed a Co-Chairs’ summary of discussions on Friday morning. After all the paragraphs of the report had been reviewed, Co-Chair Meza-Cuadra gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:03 pm.
Protected Area Governance and Management presents a compendium of original text, case studies and examples from across the world, by drawing on the literature, and on the knowledge and experience of those involved in protected areas. The book synthesises current knowledge and cutting-edge thinking from the diverse branches of practice and learning relevant to protected area governance and management. It is intended as an investment in the skills and competencies of people and consequently, the effective governance and management of protected areas for which they are responsible, now and into the future.
The global success of the protected area concept lies in its shared vision to protect natural and cultural heritage for the long term, and organisations such as International Union for the Conservation of Nature are a unifying force in this regard. Nonetheless, protected areas are a socio-political phenomenon and the ways that nations understand, govern and manage them is always open to contest and debate. The book aims to enlighten, educate and above all to challenge readers to think deeply about protected areas—their future and their past, as well as their present.
The book has been compiled by 169 authors and deals with all aspects of protected area governance and management. It provides information to support capacity development training of protected area field officers, managers in charge and executive level managers.
This report on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program was undertaken by Marine Conservation Institute for the pur- pose of enhancing the conservation of one of the world’s most endangered seals. In 2004, our attention was drawn to the continued population decline of the Hawaiian monk seal when we joined conservation organizations in Hawaiʻi to advocate for the establishment of a permanently protected marine reserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the area where the majority of monk seals live. After Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was created in 2006, we concluded that the monk seal, one of the monument’s iconic species, needed to be a higher conservation priority for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency with legal responsibility for its recovery.
To prepare this report, we interviewed federal and state agency officials throughout the management hierarchy, met with congressional staff and members of the Hawaiʻi legislature, analyzed agency documents and reports, and conducted outreach meetings with fishermen and community leaders on Kauaʻi who are particularly concerned about the monk seal’s impact on their lives. Our interviews were conducted with the understanding that interviewees would remain anonymous to foster free expression and frankness. However, the report’s findings and conclusions are solely those of Marine Conservation Institute.
Increases in international trade and global seafood consumption, along with fluctuations in the supply of different seafood species, have resulted in fraudulent product mislabeling. Grouper species, due to their high demand and varied commercial availability, are common targets for mislabeling by exploiting inefficient inspection practices. Compounding this problem is the fact that there are currently 64 species of fish from eleven different genera allowed to be labeled “grouper” per U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines. This wide diversity makes it difficult for regulators to discern legally salable groupers from restricted species. To obviate taxonomic misidentification when relying on external phenotypic characteristics, regulatory agencies are now employing genetic authentication methods which typically offer species-level resolution. However, standard genetic methods such as DNA barcoding require technical expertise and long turnover times, and the required instrumentation is not amenable for on-site analysis of seafood. To obviate some of these limitations, we have developed a handheld genetic sensor that employs a real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay (RT-NASBA) previously devised in our lab, for the analysis of fish tissue in the field. The base RT-NASBA assay was validated using a lab-based, benchtop RNA purification method as well as non-portable, commercial RT-NASBA analyzer. Described herein, is an uncomplicated method for purifying RNA from fish tissue in the field, which had similar efficiency to the benchtop method demonstrated through direct comparisons. We have also demonstrated that the field sensor is only slightly less sensitive than the benchtop instrument, and could discern 80.3% of groupers (no target sequence available for three species) on the 2014 FDA Seafood List from potential impostors. The complete field assay requires fewer than 80 min for completion and can be performed outside of the lab in its entirety.
Climate change is negatively affecting the stability of natural ecosystems, especially coral reefs. The dissociation of the symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal symbiont, or coral bleaching, has been linked to increased sea surface temperatures. Coral bleaching has significant impacts on corals, including an increase in disease outbreaks that can permanently change the entire reef ecosystem. Yet, little is known about the impacts of coral bleaching on the coral immune system. In this study, whole transcriptome analysis of the coral holobiont and each of the associate components (i.e. coral host, algal symbiont and other associated microorganisms) was used to determine changes in gene expression in corals affected by a natural bleaching event as well as during the recovery phase. The main findings include evidence that the coral holobiont and the coral host have different responses to bleaching, and the host immune system appears suppressed even a year after a bleaching event. These results support the hypothesis that coral bleaching changes the expression of innate immune genes of corals, and these effects can last even after recovery of symbiont populations. Research on the role of immunity on coral's resistance to stressors can help make informed predictions on the future of corals and coral reefs.
Continuing degradation of coral reef ecosystems has generated substantial interest in how management can support reef resilience1, 2. Fishing is the primary source of diminished reef function globally3, 4, 5, leading to widespread calls for additional marine reserves to recover fish biomass and restore key ecosystem functions6. Yet there are no established baselines for determining when these conservation objectives have been met or whether alternative management strategies provide similar ecosystem benefits. Here we establish empirical conservation benchmarks and fish biomass recovery timelines against which coral reefs can be assessed and managed by studying the recovery potential of more than 800 coral reefs along an exploitation gradient. We show that resident reef fish biomass in the absence of fishing (B0) averages ~1,000 kg ha−1, and that the vast majority (83%) of fished reefs are missing more than half their expected biomass, with severe consequences for key ecosystem functions such as predation. Given protection from fishing, reef fish biomass has the potential to recover within 35 years on average and less than 60 years when heavily depleted. Notably, alternative fisheries restrictions are largely (64%) successful at maintaining biomass above 50% of B0, sustaining key functions such as herbivory. Our results demonstrate that crucial ecosystem functions can be maintained through a range of fisheries restrictions, allowing coral reef managers to develop recovery plans that meet conservation and livelihood objectives in areas where marine reserves are not socially or politically feasible solutions.
Good governance of consumptive wildlife tourism, a complex socio-ecological system, requires finding the right balance between natural resource and tourism management. Fishing takes the lead globally as the most popular product offering within consumptive wildlife tourism, and both Iceland and Norway offer a marine angling tourism product. The two countries offer similar pristine Arctic fjord topography and similar fish species; but the management strategies are very different. Iceland’s management strategy for marine angling tourism prioritizes ecosystem-based management of the fish as a living resource, and requires a full accounting of all statistics related to marine angling tourists’ activities. Norway’s strategy relies on estimates of key statistics such as total seasonal catch, and the regulations put the burden of accountability primarily on the tourists. Using data from a multiple case study analysis of marine angling tourism in Iceland and Norway, the differences in governance inter-dynamics are examined using a theoretical model developed to analyse a complex socio-ecological system as an institution. This paper analyses how the differing management strategies influence institutional function, conflict creation and mitigation. Special focus is placed on the impacts of non-compliance by the tourists. This study demonstrates how such a model can serve as a tool to perform an analysis of a socio-ecological system in order to better understand institutional inter-dynamics, thereby assisting in the creation of a more effective governance strategy.
This technical paper provides an inventory of, and describes trends in, legal, administrative and management frameworks in place for managing marine capture fisheries in the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) area. This review includes 16 countries and overseas territories and is part of an ongoing process initiated by FAO to report on the state of world marine capture fisheries management. The review identifies a number of challenges in fisheries management, including: inadequate legislation; ad hoc management processes and plans; uncoordinated monitoring and enforcement; non-management-driven scientific information; insufficient stakeholder identification and participation, conflict resolution and fishing capacity measurements; limited incorporation of issues pertaining to the operation of multispecies fisheries and use of the ecosystem approach; unequal application of management tools and measures across fisheries subsectors; and rising fisheries management costs coupled with stagnant budgets for governments. Actions are listed to address the challenges, and specific recommendations are made to address legislative issues, apply participatory approaches and implement a successful fisheries management process.
The fifteenth session of WECAFC (March 2014) endorsed the review outcomes and adopted recommendation WECAFC/15/2014/4 “on strengthening fisheries management planning in the WECAFC area”. This technical paper aims to inform fishery policy decision-makers, fishery managers and other stakeholders with interest in fisheries in the Wider Caribbean Region.
The Tupinambás Ecological Station (TES) is a Marine Protected Area consisting of two sectors: the Archipelago of Alcatrazes and the Cabras and Palmas islets. This investigation aimed to provide a first diagnosis of the concentrations of metals (Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn), As and P in sediments from the TES. 24 sediment samples were collected in both sectors using a Van Veen grab sampler. Sediment textures and levels of Organic Matter (OM) and CaCO3 were determined, as well as the concentrations of the above-mentioned elements after partial acid digestion. Sediments were predominantly sandy. Higher levels of CaCO3 occurred in the Alcatrazes sector, whereas the OM contents were higher in the islets sector. Metals concentrations were low and associated with fines, while P and As presented a different behavior. The observed concentrations to all studies elements in sediments from the TES were considered as background values.