The continued degradation of marine ecosystems, along with the ecosystem services they provide, suggest that new, innovative approaches are needed to scale up marine biodiversity protection and promote sustainable fishery practices. We synthesize information from Chile on the key processes involved in the development of alternative strategies for scaling up marine biodiversity conservation and discuss the complementarities with marine protected areas. Defined as “ancillary” marine conservation initiatives under the Convention of Biological Diversity, we suggest that these alternative strategies have the potential to capitalize on local stakeholders’ participation and contribute to solving livelihood and governance issues while playing a significant role in scaling up marine conservation. We specifically focus on two recent ancillary initiatives being piloted in Chile. The development of business model innovations which could enable biodiversity benefits from territorial user rights fisheries policies and the creation of municipal conservation areas. We identify how these initiatives could eventually help scale up marine conservation, discuss opportunities and challenges from these pilot experiences and conclude with the need for developing policy frameworks and cross-scale governance approaches which formally acknowledge marine ancillary conservation measures as part of an integrated way to manage marine biodiversity. Exploring and supporting alternative complementary marine conservation strategies is particularly relevant in Chile and Latin America, if biodiversity conservation initiatives are to scale in coverage, contribute to livelihood improvement of local communities, replenish fisheries and play key roles in adaptation to climate change.
Broad-scale food web inferences of 534 albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, in the south-west Pacific Ocean in 2009 and 2010 were made using bulk nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) stable isotopes. Condition was also examined for the same fish using C:N ratios. A Generalized Additive Modeling (GAM) approach was used to analyze spatio-temporal, biological and environmental drivers that impact the distribution of tuna isotopes and to create oceanographic maps. Based on model formulations, five bioregions with distinct isotopic signatures were identified and were related to known biological, nutrient cycling and oceanographic (temperature, primary productivity and eddy) features associated with the East Australian Current. δ15N values showed a large-scale, uniform latitudinal gradient decreasing from the south to north, in a region encompassing oligotrophic waters in the Coral Sea. In contrast, δ13C values were lower in the nutrient rich Tasman Sea waters and offshore East Australia. C:N ratios suggested that albacore occupying southern and offshore waters were in better condition. Ontogenetic trends in all three biochemical parameters were identified and related to differences in size distribution. Regional-specific temporal variations were detected including similar monthly changes for both isotopes and significantly less enriched δ13C (by 1.9‰) than in previous work undertaken in 2006, potentially signifying a substantial shift in the carbon cycle that supports food webs off central east Australia. Our results showed that isotopic measurements in tuna and the GAM framework provide powerful tools to assess ecosystem functioning and change by linking sources of nutrients and organic matter to local food web assembly. Such knowledge is vital to support an ecosystem based approach to fisheries management including biogeochemical whole-of-ecosystem models and monitoring programs at regional and landscape-scales.
Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) involves characterizing the potential socioeconomic consequences of locating one or more human uses in place of others in the coastal ocean. Most commonly, the focus of CMSP is on the siting of alternative uses across ocean space. This article examines the broader economic and distributional effects of the potential siting of a renewable energy facility (wind power) in a southern New England offshore area that also is used intensively for commercial fishing. For a leading siting alternative, a counterfactual involving the complete displacement of commercial fishing would result in estimated direct output impacts to the regional economy of $5 million, leading to $11 million in direct, indirect, and induced impacts and a corresponding loss of about 150 jobs. Total economic welfare losses were estimated at $14 million, reflecting not only output reductions but also the effects of price increases in the relevant markets. The welfare losses would be progressively distributed, such that households in mid- to high-income categories would likely bear the most significant impacts. Adjusting these welfare losses for society׳s aversion to income inequality, inequality-adjusted impacts would be more pronounced in areas that are not necessarily located in close proximity to the coastline. Individual low-income households located in five non-coastal census tracts would bear estimated median impacts (≥$140/year), which would be an order of magnitude larger than those borne by the next group of impacted households. When implementing CMSP, it is critically important to characterize not only the distribution of effects over the coastal ocean but also the distribution of impacts on coupled human communities onshore, including those communities that may not be considered strictly coastal.
A vast range of theoretical and empirical studies now suggests that MPAs can conserve marine biodiversity and, under some circumstances, increase fishery yields. However, despite the importance of pelagic apex predators to ecosystem function, the effectiveness of spatial management for the conservation of pelagic apex predator species is still unknown. I used fishery-dependent logbook and observer datasets to assess fishing effort and both the catch and size of pelagic apex predator species around five different MPAs. The US Hawaii-based deep-set or Atlantic pelagic longline fisheries fish the waters around these MPAs; both of these fisheries have experienced multiple management measures over time to protect species and maximize fishery yield. The MPAs selected for this study range in size, age, level of protection, and reason for establishment. I found that only two MPAs of the five appeared to be benefitting the pelagic apex predator species that I selected: the DeSoto Canyon and East Florida Coast MPAs, both in the Atlantic Ocean. The size of yellowfin tuna around the DeSoto Canyon MPA borders has increased over time, as has fishing effort. In contrast, the size of swordfish has decreased near the boundary of the East Florida Coast MPA, although the catch of swordfish has increased. The increase in catch of smaller swordfish was not a surprise because the East Florida Coast MPA was established around an area that is a nursery habitat for swordfish. These results are promising for the use of static MPAs for the conservation of pelagic apex predators, but three of the MPAs in my study did not show any indication of increased fishing effort, increased catch, or changes in pelagic apex predator size near their boundaries over time. Therefore, the characteristics of the DeSoto Canyon and East Florida Coast MPAs may provide a template for how to best design new MPAs for pelagic apex predators. Both of these MPAs were established with the specific intent of reducing pelagic apex predator bycatch, in areas where there were historically high catch rates. Both areas are relatively large (> 85,000 km2) and are also closed year-round. In combination, these characteristics may provide protection for pelagic apex predators.
Spatial management of the highly dynamic pelagic realm, and the highly mobile species it supports, requires dynamic processes to be incorporated into reserve design. To achieve this, planners need information on how these processes vary across space and time, and how this variation relates to species of conservation interest. This study presents a new method of quantifying variability that captures both between- and within-year changes in variables of interest. We applied this method to remotely-sensed chlorophyll-a in the Coral Sea to find five distinct regimes of variation that serve as surrogates for assemblages of species of conservation interest. We performed a gap analysis to determine protection of the regimes both internationally and nationally within Australia's network of marine reserves in the Coral Sea. We also identified key areas for protection within each regime, in terms of chlorophyll-a variability and species associations, and examined their protection status. Depending on conservation objectives, reserve systems that span multiple national jurisdictions and a rezoning of Australian national waters might be necessary to meet protection requirements for the regimes and for key areas within them. The current suspension and review of the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve management plans and the recent proclamation of New Caledonia's as yet unzoned Coral Sea Nature Park offer planners an opportunity to incorporate dynamic processes into conservation planning for the Coral Sea. The method we present can be applied at other locations for time-series of any variable/s of interest, aiding the spatial management of dynamic features in both marine and terrestrial contexts.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is the dominant paradigm, at least in theory, for coastal resource management. However, there are still relatively few case studies illustrating thorough application of principles of EBM by stakeholders and decision-makers. At Elkhorn Slough, a California estuary, we launched an EBM initiative in 2004. Stakeholders collaboratively developed and evaluated large-scale restoration alternatives designed to decrease two types of rapid habitat change occurring in the estuary, erosion of channels and dieback of salt marsh. In the end, decision-makers rejected large-scale alternatives altering the mouth of the estuary, and instead opted for small- to medium-scale restoration projects and recommended an added emphasis on reduction of nutrient-loading. We describe seven challenges encountered during the application of EBM principles: (1) interdisciplinary collaboration is difficult due to differences in professional culture and values, (2) roles and responsibilities of different participants are often not sufficiently clear, (3) implementing EBM is very costly in time and human resources, (4) an ecosystem services framework may not resonate with stakeholders already committed to biodiversity conservation, (5) conflicts arise from differences in desired restoration targets, (6) multiple geographic and jurisdictional scales cannot be simultaneously addressed, and (7) understanding of ecosystem drivers and processes may change rapidly. We recommend approaches to overcoming each of these challenges so that our experiences implementing EBM at one estuary can inform collaborative decision-making initiatives elsewhere.
This study presents an estimation of the anthropogenic CO2 (CANT) concentrations and acidification (ΔpH=pH2013–pHpre-industrial) in the Mediterranean Sea, based upon hydrographic and carbonate chemistry data collected during the May 2013 MedSeA cruise. The concentrations of CANT were calculated using the composite tracer TrOCA. The CANT distribution shows that the most invaded waters (>60 µmol kg−1) are those of the intermediate and deep layers in the Alboran, Liguro- and Algero-Provencal Sub-basins in the Western basin, and in the Adriatic Sub-basin in the Eastern basin. Whereas the areas containing the lowest CANT concentrations are the deep layers of the Eastern basin, especially those of the Ionian Sub-basin, and those of the northern Tyrrhenian Sub-basin in the Western basin. The acidification level in the Mediterranean Sea reflects the excessive increase of atmospheric CO2 and therefore the invasion of the sea by CANT. This acidification varies between −0.055 and −0.156 pH unit and it indicates that all Mediterranean Sea waters are already acidified, especially those of the Western basin where ΔpH is rarely less than −0.1 pH unit. Both CANTconcentrations and acidification levels are closely linked to the presence and history of the different water masses in the intermediate and deep layers of the Mediterranean basins. Despite the high acidification levels, both Mediterranean basins are still highly supersaturated in calcium carbonate minerals.
Heavy maritime traffic and the subsequent increase in vessel density in anchorages have recently become a focal issue in maritime traffic safety. In this study, we consider the problem of determining the optimal berth locations of incoming vessels in an anchorage area with the goals of maximizing utilization and minimizing the risk of accidents. We introduce novel performance metrics aimed at measuring achievement of these two goals. In this context, we propose a multi-objective optimization strategy and benchmark it against current state-of-the-art anchorage planning algorithms using real-world data as well as Monte Carlo simulations. Our results indicate that the proposed strategy yields much safer berth locations while maintaining similar utilization levels.
Most spatial marine management techniques (e.g., marine protected areas) draw stationary boundaries around often mobile marine features, animals, or resource users. While these approaches can work for relatively stationary marine resources, to be most effective marine management must be as fluid in space and time as the resources and users we aim to manage. Instead, a shift towards dynamic ocean management is suggested, defined as management that rapidly changes in space and time in response to changes in the ocean and its users through the integration of near real-time biological, oceanographic, social and/or economic data. Dynamic management can refine the temporal and spatial scale of managed areas, thereby better balancing ecological and economic objectives. Temperature dependent habitat of a hypothetical mobile marine species was simulated to show the efficiency of dynamic management, finding that 82.0 to 34.2 percent less area needed to be managed using a dynamic approach. Dynamic management further complements existing management by increasing the speed at which decisions are implemented using predefined protocols. With advances in data collection and sharing, particularly in remote sensing, animal tracking, and mobile technology, managers are poised to apply dynamic management across numerous marine sectors. Existing examples demonstrate that dynamic management can successfully allow managers to respond rapidly to changes on-the-water, however to implement dynamic ocean management widely, several gaps must be filled. These include enhancing legal instruments, incorporating ecological and socioeconomic considerations simultaneously, developing ‘out-of-the-box’ platforms to serve dynamic management data to users, and developing applications broadly across additional marine resource sectors.
Coastal habitats provide a variety of benefits for citizens living in littoral countries. The economic value of changes in coastal habitats in the context of the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, targeting good ecological status by 2021, in two coastal sites was estimated using the choice experiment method. The selected aspects of marine ecosystem were described in conjunction with ecological changes modeled within the Finnish–Swedish archipelago and the Lithuanian coast. The benefits for Finns, Swedes, and Lithuanians for changes in the adjacent coastal site were estimated with the conditional logit and random parameters logit models accounting for preference heterogeneity. The willingness to pay estimates for healthy perennial vegetation, protection of currently pristine areas, and size of fish stocks differed significantly between populations. The transfer errors ranging from 40%, when transferring the estimates for the same coastal site between populations, to 400%, when transferring between both sites and populations, underline careful consideration in value transfers.