There are numerous examples of no-take marine reserves effectively conserving fish stocks within their boundaries. However, no-take reserves can be rendered ineffective and turned into ‘paper parks’ through poor compliance and weak enforcement of reserve regulations. Long-term monitoring is thus essential to assess the effectiveness of marine reserves in meeting conservation and management objectives. This study documents the present state of the 15-year old no-take zone (NTZ) of South El Ghargana within the Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, South Sinai, Egyptian Red Sea. Previous studies credited willing compliance by the local fishing community for the increased abundances of targeted fish within the designated NTZ boundaries compared to adjacent fished or take-zones. We compared benthic habitat and fish abundance within the NTZ and the adjacent take sites open to fishing, but found no significant effect of the reserve. Instead, the strongest evidence was for a simple negative relationship between fishing pressure and distance from the closest fishing village. The abundance of targeted piscivorous fish increased significantly with increasing distance from the village, while herbivorous fish showed the opposite trend. This gradient was supported by a corresponding negative correlation between the amount of discarded fishing gear observed on the reef and increasing distance from the village. Discarded fishing gear within the NTZ suggested decreased compliance with the no-take regulations. Our findings indicate that due to non-compliance the no-take reserve is no longer functioning effectively, despite its apparent initial successes and instead a gradient of fishing pressure exists with distance from the nearest fishing community.
Ocean acidification is a predictable consequence of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and is highly likely to impact the entire marine ecosystem – from plankton at the base to fish at the top. Factors which are expected to be impacted include reproductive health, organism growth and species composition and distribution. Predicting when critical threshold values will be reached is crucial for projecting the future health of marine ecosystems and for marine resources planning and management. The impacts of ocean acidification will be first felt at the seasonal scale, however our understanding how seasonal variability will influence rates of future ocean acidification remains poorly constrained due to current model and data limitations. To address this issue, we first quantified the seasonal cycle of aragonite saturation state utilizing new data-based estimates of global ocean surface dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity. This seasonality was then combined with earth system model projections under different emissions scenarios (RCPs 2.6, 4.5 and 8.5) to provide new insights into future aragonite under-saturation onset. Under a high emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), our results suggest accounting for seasonality will bring forward the initial onset of month-long under-saturation by 17 years compared to annual-mean estimates, with differences extending up to 35 ± 17 years in the North Pacific due to strong regional seasonality. Our results also show large-scale under-saturation once atmospheric CO2 reaches 486 ppm in the North Pacific and 511 ppm in the Southern Ocean independent of emission scenario. Our results suggest that accounting for seasonality is critical to projecting the future impacts of ocean acidification on the marine environment.
In a context of intensifying anthropogenic pressures on sandy shores, the mapping of benthic habitat appears as an essential first step and a fundamental baseline for marine spatial planning, ecosystem-based management and conservation efforts of soft-sediment intertidal areas. Mapping allows representing intertidal habitats that are basically characterised by abiotic (e.g sediments, exposure to waves…) and biotic factors such as macrobenthic communities. Macrobenthic communities are known to show zonation patterns across sandy beaches and many studies highlighted the existence of three biological zones. We tested this general model of a tripartite biological division of the shore at a geographical scale of policy, conservation and management decisions (i.e. Northern France coastline), using multivariate analyses combined with the Direct Field Observation (DFO) method. From the upper to the lower shores, the majority of the beaches exhibited three macrobenthic communities confirming the existence of the tripartite biological division of the shore. Nevertheless, in some cases, two or four zones were found: (1) two zones when the drying zone located on the upper shore was replaced by littoral rock or engineering constructions and (2) four zones on beaches and estuaries where a muddy-sand community occurred from the drift line to the mid shore. The correspondence between this zonation pattern of macrobenthic communities and the EUNIS habitat classification was investigated and the results were mapped to provide a reference state of intertidal soft-sediment beaches and estuaries. Our results showed evidence of the applicability of this EUNIS typology for the beaches and estuaries at a regional scale (Northern France coastline) with a macroecological approach. In order to fulfil the requirements of the European Directives (WFD and MFSD), this mapping appears as a practical tool for any functional study on these coastal ecosystems, for the monitoring of anthropogenic activities and for the implementation of management plans concerning effective conservation strategies.
The procedure for designating and establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPA) has changed profoundly since the 1990s, as a consequence of global changes and new dictates related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Far beyond protection of flagship species such as marine turtles and large marine mammals, the goal is now to conserve and even increase the services associated with coastal ecosystems to the benefit of all stakeholders. References to community management of resources, territorial solidarity, or environmental justice have become common. The political processes undertaken have nevertheless taken a range of different trajectories, since the stakeholders (private, public, NGOs, local collectives) have different interests; their standards and rules are often incompatible; the efficacy of the negotiation process is debatable. In this article, after questioning the legitimacy of MPA (to what extent are they useful tools ? —in responding to what aims?), the difficulties of putting into practice this new paradigm of participative governance is analysed and illustrated using three case studies of coastal Senegalese MPAs and the consequences of local intervention: the Saint Louis MPA, the Bamboung Community-Managed MPA in the Saloum Delta, and the Mangagoulack ICCA (Indigenous and Community Conserved Area) in Casamance. In conclusion, the principal lessons and perspectives of these approaches are presented.
In April 2003, California established a network of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) around the northern Channel Islands located within the Santa Barbara Bight. Prior to the MPAs enclosing 17% of the islands' lobster fishing grounds, 25 commercial lobster fishermen caught 50% of the regional annual landings from the Channel Islands. To best manage MPAs and affected fisheries we ask a critical question: Where did the fishermen go? Spillover theory emerging from models of MPAs and adjacent fisheries suggests displaced fishermen will concentrate their effort along MPA borders; a phenomenon called “fishing the line”. These models do not consider habitat-specific fishing effort, habitat heterogeneity, nor fixed-gear fisheries such as lobster where traps are set, soaked for 1 to 3 nights, pulled and re-set. With fixed-gear fishing, space is “marked” or occupied, and reduces the possibility of another fisherman to fish that space. Lobster trap fisheries are notoriously territorial as a result. Lobster fisheries therefore stand to experience a skewed impact based on a priori territorial distributions and habitat quality. We use a Geographic Information System (GIS) to map 10 years (5 before reserves and 5 after) of fishery-dependent logbook data assisted with fishery interviews to test if commercial lobster fishermen aggregated fishing effort at MPA borders as an adaptive fishing strategy. We found that fishermen around the Channel Islands MPAs did not concentrate effort at MPA boundaries but instead the proportion of total traps pulled in close proximity (within 1 km of reserve borders) to MPAs declined from 10% to 5%. Chi2 analysis found a significant decrease in the proportion of a season's traps pulled in areas near MPA borders (n = 157,071; p < .001). T test analysis testing the difference in CPUE between areas far from MPAs and areas adjacent to MPA borders showed a significant reduction in the difference between CPUE following MPA designation (n = 50,206; p < .001).
Marine protected areas (MPAs) – or sections of the ocean set aside where human activities such as fishing are restricted – have been growing in popularity as a marine conservation tool. As a result, it is important to examine the socioeconomic consequences of MPAs and how they may affect nearby communities. This study explores social and equity issues surrounding the designation of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, an MPA that includes protections around the three most northern islands in the US territory of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). We gathered oral history interviews with 40 individuals from CMNI and Guam who had connections to the waters in the newly-designated MPA and reviewed key documents in order to (1) document historical and current use of the waters in the MPA and (2) consider the implications that proposed fishing regulations in the MPA may have for the local communities. Our study documented 129 trips to visit the waters in the MPA in living memory. We found that due to distance, trips to the MPA waters were rare but culturally significant events that provided residents from CNMI and Guam with connections to their indigenous roots. Regulation of fishing in the new MPA has the potential to directly and indirectly restrict local access to these culturally important waters. This research highlights the importance of better collaboration with local partners and better consideration of social and equity concerns in the siting and regulation of MPAs.
We studied the persistence of fishing impacts on coral reef fish assemblages by sampling 2 protected and 2 fished locations, using random replicate stereo baited remote underwater video. At each location we sampled a variety of coral reef habitats on 4 separate occasions between 2006 and 2007. We tested for consistency in differences in the biomass of target and non-target species, trophic groups and overall assemblages. Generally, target species were more abundant and/or larger at protected locations. Many non-target species were either more abundant or depleted at protected sites, and some of these species were significantly larger or smaller. Trophic groups such as piscivores, piscivore invertivores, invertivores and planktivores were consistently more abundant within protected locations. Generally, greater numbers of species and individuals were found on protected reefs, though this was not consistent in all cases across all 4 sampling periods. These findings are consistent with the theory that protected areas can increase the abundance of not just target species but overall fish assemblages. These findings provide evidence for ecological mechanisms such as predator–prey interactions, competitive release, and benefits to invertivores, omnivores and other non-target groups from the presence of more abundant and larger target species within marine protected areas.
We present a framework for evaluating fisheries management plans comprehensively, both rebuilding plans and others. The framework includes a first rapid appraisal of the likelihood that the plan will result in management meeting its objectives, and guides subsequent quantitative analyses of potential weaknesses in the proposed plan. The framework includes four steps: (i) evaluating if a set of management objectives, if achieved, would result in a sustainable fishery, (ii) using qualitative analysis of a bio-economic model to evaluate whether the set of stock management tactics might be capable of achieving the specified fisheries objectives, (iii) using empirical criteria derived from the literature to evaluate if other management measures in the plan related to the ecological, social or economic context of the fishery actually contribute to sustainability, and (iv) carrying out quantitative simulations to compare alternative implementation options. Generally, several management measures have to be combined to increase stock size without sacrificing the economic benefits to the fishers remaining in the fishery. We demonstrate application of the framework for evaluating the stock rebuilding plan for plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and sole (Solea solea) in the North Sea and, the management measures currently in place for the roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) stock exploited to the west of the British Isles.
The management of marine resources is a politically and culturally driven process, shaped by human livelihoods and perceptions, where notions of both space and place shape policies and decision-making in fundamental ways. An emerging sub-field within geography critically explores geographic aspects of marine resource management. However, there has been little work to fully articulate this field and to describe the contributions of geographic methodologies and lenses to understanding marine resource management processes. This special issue provides one of the first collections of geographic papers focused on the socio-cultural and socio-spatial dimensions of marine resource management, emphasizing research that has or can be applied to management and policy discussions. The papers in this issue cover critical topics within this emerging field, examining the combined influences of social, ecological, cultural, political, economic, historical, and geographic factors on how marine spaces and resources are used, perceived, and managed. Important themes include: emerging spatial approaches to marine resource management, human dimensions of marine protected areas, the roles of mapping and GIS, the integration of quantitative and qualitative data, and the varying ways in which marine spaces and places are conceptualized by marine resource users and managers. Issues of marine resource governance, community engagement, and vulnerability also play key roles in the future of marine resource management. The papers in this issue shed light on space, place, and human-environment interactions in coastal marine systems, making it clear that questions about stakeholder inclusion and representation, particularly in spatial forms, will continue to dominate the field for some time to come. Future research in this field will be fruitfully informed by core geographical heuristics of space, place, and human-environment dynamics.
Restoration activities inherently depend on understanding the spatial and temporal variation in basic demographic rates of the species of interest. For species that modify and maintain their own habitat such as the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica, understanding demographic rates and their impacts on population and habitat success are crucial to ensuring restoration success. We measured oyster recruitment, density, size distribution, biomass, mortality and Perkinsus marinus infection intensity quarterly for 3 yr on shallow intertidal reefs created with shell cultch in March 2009. All reefs were located within Sister Lake, LA. Reefs were placed in pairs at 3 different locations within the lake; pairs were placed in low and medium energy sites within each location. Restored reefs placed within close proximity (<8 km) experienced very different development trajectories; there was high inter-site and inter-annual variation in recruitment and mortality of oysters, with only slight variation in growth curves. Despite this high variation in population dynamics, all reefs supported dense oyster populations (728 ± 102 ind. m-2) and high live oyster biomass (>14.6 kg m-2) at the end of 3 yr. Shell accretion, on average, exceeded estimated rates required to keep pace with local subsidence and shell loss. Variation in recruitment, growth and survival drives local site-specific population success, which highlights the need to understand local water quality, hydrodynamics, and metapopulation dynamics when planning restoration.