South Australia is among the regions internationally, where there are currently strong drivers for anthropogenic and ecosystem marine planning decisions. Specifically, South Australia, in both State and adjacent Commonwealth Waters, is currently accommodating increasing interests such as oil exploration by multi-national companies in the Great Australian Bight, implementation of recently declared State Marine Parks, an increased public awareness of marine developments, commissioning of a desalinisation plant, government-focused marine science initiatives, long-standing commercial fisheries, a transparent legislative and political stage, and a relatively new aquaculture industry. Amongst this growing diversity in marine-based activities, a dedicated aquaculture legislative framework was created in South Australia with the commencement of the Aquaculture Act 2001 (the Act) to centralise the legislative processes required to underpin aquaculture regulation and administration. This centralisation has helped to create an effective platform to streamline administrative processes, reduce duplication between various government agencies such as planning authorities and environment protection agencies, and ultimately fostered investment in, and growth of, the South Australian aquaculture industry. As such Aquaculture zone policies are a key strategic management tool for sustainable aquaculture development in South Australia into the future. This paper provides a case study (Aquaculture (Zones – Lower Eyre Peninsula) Policy 2013) of the legislated regional marine planning framework for aquaculture development used in South Australia, with a focus on the key functions and processes that may have broader applications.
Seaweeds are receiving increasing attention as third generation biofuels, which do not compete for land or freshwater with agricultural crops and have a high polysaccharide content. Seaweed growth is dependent on the presence of suitable physical and chemical conditions. The selection of cultivation sites with suitable characteristics is therefore essential for the successful establishment of European seaweed mariculture. The growth conditions of the site directly impact the biomass yield and composition of the crop, which in turn control the conversion efficiency of biomass to bioenergy. This review focuses on three European brown phaeophyte kelp species which may be suitable for large-scale offshore cultivation: Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima and Sacchoriza polyschides. It describes the known responses of each to a number of important physical and chemical parameters: temperature, salinity, water motion, nutrient concentrations, carbon dioxide/pH, light and ultra-violet radiation. It also reports density effects on their growth rate and what is known concerning the impact of disease and grazing. Conclusions are made on the conditions necessary for the optimal growth of each species for biofuel production. Where conditions are sub-optimal, this review has made recommendations for the most suitable species for a particular set of environmental conditions.
Territorial planning and management requires that the spatial structure of the socioecological sectors is adequately understood. Several classification techniques exist that have been applied to detect ecological, or socioeconomic sectors, but not simultaneously in the same model; and also, with a limited number of variables. We have developed and applied a new probabilistic methodology – based on hierarchical hybrid Bayesian network classifiers – to identify the different socioecological sectors in Andalusia, a region in southern Spain, and incorporate a scenario of change. Results show that a priori, the socioecological structure is highly heterogeneous, with an altitude gradient from the river basin to the mountain peaks. However, under a scenario of global environmental change this heterogeneity is lost, making the territory more vulnerable to any alteration or disturbance. The methodology applied allows dealing with complex problems, containing a large number of variables, by splitting them into several sub-problems that can be easily solved. In the case of territorial planning, each component of the territory is modelled independently before combining them into a general classifier model. Furthermore, it can be applied to any complex unsupervised classification problem with no modification to the methodology.
Although the expansion of offshore wind has recently increased in Germany, as in other countries, it is still forced to defend its role in long-term energy policy plans, particularly against its onshore counterpart, to secure future expansion targets and financial support. The objective of this article is to investigate the economic effects of offshore wind on the electricity spot market and thus open up another perspective that has not been part of the debate about offshore vs. onshore wind thus far. A comprehensive assessment based on a large amount of market, feed-in and weather data in Germany revealed that the market value of offshore wind is generally higher than that of onshore wind. Simulating the merit order effect on the German day-ahead electricity market for the short term and long term in the years 2006–2014 aimed to identify the reason for this observation and show whether it is also an indication of a lower impact on the electricity spot market due to a steadier wind resource prevailing offshore. Although the results suggest no difference regarding the impact on market price and value, they indeed reveal that offshore wind imposes less variability on the spot market price than onshore wind. In addition, the long-term simulation proved that the ongoing price deterioration cannot be blamed on the characteristic of variable wind production.
Ecological network analysis was applied in the Seine estuary ecosystem, northern France, integrating ecological data from the years 1996 to 2002. The Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) approach was used to model the trophic flows in 6 spatial compartments leading to 6 distinct EwE models: the navigation channel and the two channel flanks in the estuary proper, and 3 marine habitats in the eastern Seine Bay. Each model included 12 consumer groups, 2 primary producers, and one detritus group. Ecological network analysis was performed, including a set of indices, keystoneness, and trophic spectrum analysis to describe the contribution of the 6 habitats to the Seine estuary ecosystem functioning. Results showed that the two habitats with a functioning most related to a stressed state were the northern and central navigation channels, where building works and constant maritime traffic are considered major anthropogenic stressors. The strong top-down control highlighted in the other 4 habitats was not present in the central channel, showing instead (i) a change in keystone roles in the ecosystem towards sediment-based, lower trophic levels, and (ii) a higher system omnivory. The southern channel evidenced the highest system activity (total system throughput), the higher trophic specialisation (low system omnivory), and the lowest indication of stress (low cycling and relative redundancy). Marine habitats showed higher fish biomass proportions and higher transfer efficiencies per trophic levels than the estuarine habitats, with a transition area between the two that presented intermediate ecosystem structure. The modelling of separate habitats permitted disclosing each one's response to the different pressures, based on their a priori knowledge. Network indices, although non-monotonously, responded to these differences and seem a promising operational tool to define the ecological status of transitional water ecosystems.
Skates and rays represent one of the most vulnerable components of fish communities in temperate demersal fisheries such as the Irish Sea. They also tend to be data poor in comparison to commercially exploited teleost fish. Spatial management has been suggested as an important tool to protect these species, but requires an understanding of the abundance distribution, and the relationship the abundance distribution has with the environment at both adult and juvenile life history stages. Here we modelled bottom trawl survey data using delta log-normal boosted regression trees on to derive rays’ spatial abundance, and environmental links. The modelling approach allowed the development of high resolution predictive maps of abundance of four skate and ray species targeted by fishing activity: thornback, spotted, cuckoo and blonde rays. The distributions of these species were driven by a general preference for sand and coarser substrates as well as higher salinities, temperatures and currents speeds. Spatial comparisons between abundance distributions and locations of skate and ray commercial landings indicated that the main hotspots for the investigated species are outside of the main commercial fishing areas and overlap with potential MPAs proposed for wider ecosystem protection. The method offers a useful tool for selecting potential MPA's to assist the management and conservation of data-poor species.
Many definitions of the ecosystem approach circulate, the common denominator being the system approach which seeks to take the entirety of a marine ecosystem into consideration. As marine ecosystems cover large geographical areas this approach calls for cooperation between the riparian states. This has being acknowledged in EU policies such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Marine Spatial Planning Directive. Yet implementing the ecosystem approach in practise runs into some operationalisation issues such as the position of regional cooperation between Member States vis a vis the treaty of the European Union; the positioning of the ecosystem approach between fisheries management and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive; the problem of stakeholder involvement and the balancing of ecological and economic concerns; the tension of the need for relative stability and the introduction of possible new models for organising regional cooperation. These issues appear to be like elephants in the room: obvious issues related to the need for regionalisation which apparently remain undiscussed. In this article, based on analyses within a number of European projects and discussions with relevant actors, the needed discussion on how to organise the management of human activities at the appropriate geo-political level matching the scale of the ecosystem, hence institutionalising marine management at the regional level, is initiated.
The development of regional governance for the protection of the environment, sustainable use of natural resources and conservation of its biodiversity is unquestionably a cornerstone of international environmental law and policy. With regard to marine and coastal issues, it has mainly been taking place through Regional Seas programmes, Regional Fishery Bodies and Large Marine Ecosystems mechanisms. Based on a similar geographical approach, however, these regional mechanisms raise concerns relating to their coordination and efficiency, and possibly overlap in what they aim to achieve. This paper provides a review of existing regional oceans governance mechanisms, assessing their individual and collective capacities to move towards ecosystem-based management, and highlighting options to make the regional landscape more coherent and effective.
ommercial fishing involves locating fish in a variable environment, and a fisher's historical experience with environmental conditions and the influence on fish distribution underpins their economic efficiency. However, in many regions, changing environments are reducing the utility of this experience. In the Great Australian Bight, recent environmental changes have modified the summer distribution of southern bluefin tuna (SBT, Thunnus maccoyii). This has affected the timing and location of fishing activity and contributed to economic impacts, at the same time as international competition is lowering value of the catch. The SBT purse-seine fishery is managed under a strict quota, so catching more fish is not an option to reduce fixed costs; instead fish must be caught more efficiently in a changing environment. Following discussion with industry stakeholders, we developed a seasonal forecast system based on a three stage process. We first assessed needs through discussions with industry. We then developed a SBT habitat forecast system based on a seasonal environmental forecasting model (POAMA: the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia) coupled with a habitat preference model for SBT (developed using data from tagged fish). Based on a historical evaluation of the environmental forecasting model and the habitat model, we expect temperature-based habitat forecasts to have useful skill up to two months into the future during the months of interest. The final stage involved forecast delivery via an industry-specific website and engagement with stakeholders, which led to improved presentation and contextualization of the forecasts. The forecasts, which are updated daily, are now being used by SBT fishers and have proven a useful aid in their decision-making.
The management of widely dispersed marine vertebrates can be facilitated by better understanding their distribution, density, population trends and threats. Unfortunately, for some populations of sea turtle spatial and temporal data are often lacking, particularly along the Atlantic coast of Africa, a region which is considered globally important. Here we combined spatially limited monitoring data from four nesting beaches over seven seasons with an extensive ground-based coastal survey that covered 585 km of Gabon’s Atlantic coast, to provide the first population assessment for the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea. This species is currently classified as data deficient by the IUCN in the eastern Atlantic and so is considered a regional conservation priority. Whilst the logistics required to undertake such a comprehensive ground-based census were complicated, the method proved extremely effective in providing population estimates for a widely dispersed marine vertebrate and demonstrates the importance of focusing beyond intensively monitored beaches. In particular, our findings reveal that the presence of nesting activity spans almost the entirety of Gabon’s coast, the density of which subsequently reveals that Gabon hosts one of the most important olive ridley rookeries in the Atlantic (2370–9814 clutches, approximating to 948–5452 breeding females per annum and a total estimate of 1422–8178 breeding females), with a significant proportion, 81 ± 3.5% (mean ± 1 S.D.) of total nesting effort occurring within protected areas. These findings thus complement our existing knowledge base and further emphasise the regional and global importance of Gabon’s nesting sea turtle populations.