Data required from fisheries monitoring programmes substantially expand as management authorities transition to implement elements of ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). EBFM extends conventional approaches of managing single fishery effects on individual stocks of target species by taking into account the effects, within a defined ecosystem, of local to regional fisheries on biodiversity, from genotypes to ecological communities. This includes accounting for fishery effects on evolutionary processes, associated and dependent species, habitats, trophic food web processes, and functionally linked systems. Despite seemingly insurmountable constraints, through examples, we demonstrate how data routinely collected in most observer programmes and how minor and inexpensive expansions of observer data fields and collection protocols supply ecological data underpinning EBFM. Observer data enable monitoring bycatch, including catch and mortality of endangered, threatened and protected species, and assessing the performance of bycatch management measures. They provide a subset of inputs for ecological risk assessments, including productivity–susceptibility analyses and multispecies and ecosystem models. Observer data are used to monitor fishery effects on habitat and to identify and protect benthic vulnerable marine ecosystems. They enable estimating collateral sources of fishing mortality. Data from observer programmes facilitate monitoring ecosystem pressure and state indicators. The examples demonstrate how even rudimentary fisheries management systems can meet the ecological data requirements of elements of EBFM.
Marine reserves are viewed as flagship tools to protect exploited species and to contribute to the effective management of coastal fisheries. Yet, the extent to which marine reserves are globally interconnected and able to effectively seed areas, where fisheries are most critical for food and livelihood security is largely unknown. Using a hydrodynamic model of larval dispersal, we predict that most marine reserves are not interconnected by currents and that their potential benefits to fishing areas are presently limited, since countries with high dependency on coastal fisheries receive very little larval supply from marine reserves. This global mismatch could be reversed, however, by placing new marine reserves in areas sufficiently remote to minimize social and economic costs but sufficiently connected through sea currents to seed the most exploited fisheries and endangered ecosystems.
Imposex is the superimposition of non-functional male sex organs in gastropod females. This syndrome is a hormonal imbalance induced by tributyltin (TBT) which have been used in antifouling paints formulation. The present study aimed to perform an integrated environmental assessment of imposex and butyltin (BT) contamination using surface sediments and tissues of Thaisella chocolata (an edible gastropod) from northern Chile. The results showed imposex incidence in 11 out of 12 sites. In the most contaminated sites, which are areas under the influence of maritime activities, and also used for fishing and aquaculture, RPLI were over 60 and VDSI over 4 (high incidence of sterile females). Exceptionally high contamination levels and evidences of fresh inputs of tributyltin (TBT) were detected along the studied area. TBT levels above 300 and 90 ng Sn g− 1, respectively, were recorded in sediments and edible gastropod tissues of 6 sites. Thus, a daily ingestion of 90 to 173 g of T. chocolata foot (4 to 8 organisms) from the most contaminated sites will certainly lead to the consumption of BT exceeding the tolerable daily intake recommended by European Food Safety Authority. It is reasonable to consider that human risk is even higher if daily consumption of additional seafood is considered. Moreover, some contaminated sites were located within the marine reserve “Isla Grande Atacama”, indicating that even marine protected areas are under the influence of TBT contamination. These findings suggest that current levels of TBT in the studied area are sufficient to induce harmful effects on the environment and constitutes a potential threat to seafood consumers. Thus, national regulatory actions toward environmental protection and food safety of local populations are still mandatory, even after 8 years of the TBT global ban by IMO.
Environmental conservation initiatives, including marine protected areas (MPAs), have proliferated in recent decades. Designed to conserve marine biodiversity, many MPAs also seek to foster sustainable development. As is the case for many other environmental policies and programs, the impacts of MPAs are poorly understood. Social–ecological systems, impact evaluation, and common-pool resource governance are three complementary scientific frameworks for documenting and explaining the ecological and social impacts of conservation interventions. We review key components of these three frameworks and their implications for the study of conservation policy, program, and project outcomes. Using MPAs as an illustrative example, we then draw upon these three frameworks to describe an integrated approach for rigorous empirical documentation and causal explanation of conservation impacts. This integrated three-framework approach for impact evaluation of governance in social–ecological systems (3FIGS) accounts for alternative explanations, builds upon and advances social theory, and provides novel policy insights in ways that no single approach affords. Despite the inherent complexity of social–ecological systems and the difficulty of causal inference, the 3FIGS approach can dramatically advance our understanding of, and the evidentiary basis for, effective MPAs and other conservation initiatives.
While examining innovation in the ocean conservation space, we asked ourselves a difficult question: why hasn’t the circle hook—a novel, conservation-friendly improvement on fishing gear—achieved scale? This is an important and relevant question in the development field, where we constantly seek to improve the livelihoods of more individuals within a greater geographic range, using our funding as efficiently as possible. Scaling innovations is a critical piece of improving reach and impact, yet it is a notion that hasn’t been examined much in the conservation field. As we investigated the circle hook case and its scaling problem, we learned, as we frequently do, that it’s complicated.
Coastal communities depend on the marine environment for their livelihoods, but the common property nature of marine resources poses major challenges for the governance of such resources. Through detailed cases and consideration of broader global trends, this volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attributes of governance that foster deliberate transformations and help to build resilience of social and ecological systems.
The design of efficient monitoring programmes required for the assurance of offshore geological storage requires an understanding of the variability and heterogeneity of marine carbonate chemistry. In the absence of sufficient observational data and for extrapolation both spatially and seasonally, models have a significant role to play. In this study a previously evaluated hydrodynamic-biogeochemical model is used to characterise carbonate chemistry, in particular pH heterogeneity in the vicinity of the sea floor. Using three contrasting regions, the seasonal and short term variability are analysed and criteria that could be considered as indicators of anomalous carbonate chemistry identified. These criteria are then tested by imposing a number of randomised DIC perturbations on the model data, representing a comprehensive range of leakage scenarios. In conclusion optimal criteria and general rules for developing monitoring strategies are identified. Detection criteria will be site specific and vary seasonally and monitoring may be more efficient at periods of low dynamics. Analysis suggests that by using high frequency, sub-hourly monitoring anomalies as small as 0.01 of a pH unit or less may be successfully discriminated from natural variability – thereby allowing detection of small leaks or at distance from a leakage source. Conversely assurance of no leakage would be profound. Detection at deeper sites is likely to be more efficient than at shallow sites where the near bed system is closely coupled to surface processes. Although this study is based on North Sea target sites for geological storage, the model and the general conclusions are relevant to the majority of offshore storage sites lying on the continental shelf.
Climate change in the Norwegian and Barents (NorBar) Seas is expected to generate major alterations to the marine food-web and its associated uses. However, our current capacity to quantify the potential ecological impact of physical change is hindered by a lack of fundamental knowledge regarding the forces and trophic interactions which have driven historic ecosystem dynamics. Here we used a historic (1950) food web model (Ecopath with Ecosim, EwE) of the NorBar Seas fitted to time series between 1950 and 2014 to simulate ecosystem response to changes in ocean temperature over the next 85 years to 2100 under a range of temperature scenarios including a large scale climate variability indices (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, AMO). Fishing, top-down/bottom-up trophic interactions, a primary production anomaly and annual ocean temperature were all found to be important drivers of modelled ecosystem dynamics in the NorBar Seas from 1950 to 2014. Under projected temperature scenarios, the biomass of pelagic species, such as mackerel and blue whiting, increased with rising ocean temperature, whereas the biomass of boreal species, such as redfish, prawns and capelin, decreased. Whilst within favourable temperature conditions, cod biomass is predicted to decrease under the warmest scenarios due to the reduced availability of preferred prey and the increased pressure of pelagic predation upon juvenile cod. The model produced by this study provides a useful baseline approximation of the 1950–2014 NorBar ecosystem, from which future research can propagate, and offers valuable insight into the systems potential response to changing ocean temperature. Such quantitative advancements are fundamental to achieve sustainable development in rapidly changing marine ecosystems.
Adaptive management is essential to the practical application of the Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA). Despite there are frequent assertions that adaptive management is being used, evidence on its success is still limited. Indeed, it is difficult to bring the different elements of adaptive management together in a robust way and to choose the appropriate tools to do it. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a practical framework for adaptive policy action, consistent with the EBA. Accordingly, to operationalize the design and implementation of adaptive policies on the basis of the EBA, the Adaptive Marine Policy toolbox has been developed. The objective of the toolbox is to provide policy-makers a practical framework to design and implement adaptive policies. To show the functionality of the toolbox, the guidelines and resources provided within the toolbox have been applied to the marine litter issue in the Mediterranean and Black Sea as an example. The example application has shown that the toolbox is a useful and operational framework to build a science-policy interface according to the EBA. Despite some resources could be missing from the toolbox, they provide a practical and useful starting point to support the application of the different steps and key activities.
In Bangladesh, export-oriented shrimp farming is one of the most important sectors of the national economy. However, shrimp farming in coastal Bangladesh has devastating effects on mangrove forests. Mangroves are the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics, and blue carbon (i.e., carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems) emissions from mangrove deforestation due to shrimp cultivation are accumulating. These anthropogenic carbon emissions are the dominant cause of climate change, which in turn affect shrimp cultivation. Some adaptation strategies including Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), mangrove restoration, and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) could help to reduce blue carbon emissions. Translocation of shrimp culture from mangroves to open-water IMTA and restoration of habitats could reduce blue carbon emissions, which in turn would increase blue carbon sequestration. Mangrove restoration by the REDD+ program also has the potential to conserve mangroves for resilience to climate change. However, institutional support is needed to implement the proposed adaptation strategies.