This research explores whether millennials’ interest in plastic pollution, ocean trash, and debris can be an entry point to engagement on other ocean conservation issues. The research found that, for millennials, plastic in the ocean has traction as a top pollution concern. This generation believes we can make progress and find compelling solutions through personal actions and the work of conservation groups.
Estuaries are threatened by intense and continuously increasing human activities. Here we estimated the sensitivity of fish assemblages in a set of estuaries distributed worldwide (based on species vulnerability and resilience), and the exposure to cumulative stressors and coverage by protected areas in and around those estuaries (from marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems, due to their connectivity). Vulnerability and resilience of estuarine fish assemblages were not evenly distributed globally and were driven by environmental features. Exposure to pressures and extent of protection were also not evenly distributed worldwide. Assemblages with more vulnerable and less resilient species were associated with estuaries in higher latitudes (in particular Europe), and with higher connectivity with the marine ecosystem, moreover such estuaries were generally under high intensity of pressures but with no concomitant increase in protection. Current conservation schemes pay little attention to species traits, despite their role in maintaining ecosystem functioning and stability. Results emphasize that conservation is weakly related with the global distribution of sensitive fish species in sampled estuaries, and this shortcoming is aggravated by their association with highly pressured locations, which appeals for changes in the global conservation strategy (namely towards estuaries in temperate regions and highly connected with marine ecosystems).
Government-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) can restore small fish stocks, but have been heavily criticized for excluding resource users and creating conflicts. A promising but less studied alternative are community-managed MPAs, where resource users are more involved in MPA design, implementation and enforcement. Here we evaluated effects of government- and community-managed MPAs on the density, size and biomass of seagrass- and coral reef-associated fish, using field surveys in Kenyan coastal lagoons. We also assessed protection effects on the potential monetary value of fish; a variable that increases non-linearly with fish body mass and is particularly important from a fishery perspective. We found that two recently established community MPAs (< 1 km2 in size, ≤ 5 years of protection) harbored larger fish and greater total fish biomass than two fished (open access) areas, in both seagrass beds and coral reefs. As expected, protection effects were considerably stronger in the older and larger government MPAs. Importantly, across management and habitat types, the protection effect on the potential monetary value of the fish was much stronger than the effects on fish biomass and size (6.7 vs. 2.6 and 1.3 times higher value in community MPAs than in fished areas, respectively). This strong effect on potential value was partly explained by presence of larger (and therefore more valuable) individual fish, and partly by higher densities of high-value taxa (e.g. rabbitfish). In summary, we show that i) small and recently established community-managed MPAs can, just like larger and older government-managed MPAs, play an important role for local conservation of high-value fish, and that ii) these effects are equally strong in coral reefs as in seagrass beds; an important habitat too rarely included in formal management. Consequently, community-managed MPAs could benefit both coral reef and seagrass ecosystems and provide spillover of valuable fish to nearby fisheries.
Three to six-month-old juveniles of Acropora tenuis, A. millepora and Pocillopora acutawere experimentally co-exposed to nutrient enrichment and suspended sediments (without light attenuation or sediment deposition) for 40 days. Suspended sediments reduced survivorship of A. millepora strongly, proportional to the sediment concentration, but not in A. tenuis or P. acuta juveniles. However, juvenile growth of the latter two species was reduced to less than half or to zero, respectively. Additionally, suspended sediments increased effective quantum yields of symbionts associated with A. milleporaand A. tenuis, but not those associated with P. acuta. Nutrient enrichment did not significantly affect juvenile survivorship, growth or photophysiology for any of the three species, either as a sole stressor or in combination with suspended sediments. Our results indicate that exposure to suspended sediments can be energetically costly for juveniles of some coral species, implying detrimental longer-term but species-specific repercussions for populations and coral cover.
Marine aquaculture presents an opportunity for increasing seafood production in the face of growing demand for marine protein and limited scope for expanding wild fishery harvests. However, the global capacity for increased aquaculture production from the ocean and the relative productivity potential across countries are unknown. Here, we map the biological production potential for marine aquaculture across the globe using an innovative approach that draws from physiology, allometry and growth theory. Even after applying substantial constraints based on existing ocean uses and limitations, we find vast areas in nearly every coastal country that are suitable for aquaculture. The development potential far exceeds the space required to meet foreseeable seafood demand; indeed, the current total landings of all wild-capture fisheries could be produced using less than 0.015% of the global ocean area. This analysis demonstrates that suitable space is unlikely to limit marine aquaculture development and highlights the role that other factors, such as economics and governance, play in shaping growth trajectories. We suggest that the vast amount of space suitable for marine aquaculture presents an opportunity for countries to develop aquaculture in a way that aligns with their economic, environmental and social objectives.
Recreational fisheries can play a significant role in the population dynamics of threatened fish species, but have received much less research and management attention than commercial fisheries. Land-based anglers are a group of recreational fishers that fish from beaches or piers; however, comparatively little is known about the practices and perceptions of this stakeholder group. In order to gather data for an initial assessment of the fishing practices of land-based anglers and their perspectives on shark conservation issues, we performed a content and discourse analysis of an online discussion forum used by the largest land-based shark fishing club in Florida. Discussion board content analysis can identify evidence that certain perceptions or practices exist within a studied sample, but cannot be used to estimate how common those perceptions and practices are among the wider population. We found evidence that forum users are demographically distinct from other recreational anglers in Florida, and are mostly young males. Some forum users perceive themselves as relatively low-income compared with other fishing stakeholder groups. There was no evidence in forum discussions that patterns of reported landing and release of hammerhead and tiger sharks changed following the introduction of new legal protections for these species in 2012. This study identified a minimum of dozens of cases of illegal shark fishing practices among forum users, and found evidence that some users are aware that these practices are illegal. There was evidence that some users believe that their own practices have no effect on shark populations and should not be regulated. Additionally, this study found the existence of mixed attitudes and levels of trust towards scientific researchers and environmentalists.
This review focuses on the recent data on Mediterranean fishing fleets and landings, results from stock assessments and ecosystem models to provide an overview of the multiple impacts of fishing exploitation in the different Mediterranean geographical sub-areas (GSAs). A fleet of about 73,000 vessels is widespread along the Mediterranean coasts. Artisanal activities are predominant in South Mediterranean and in the eastern basin, while trawling features GSAs in the western basin and the Adriatic Sea. The overall landings of fish, crustaceans and cephalopods, after peaking during mid 90s at about one million tons, declined at about 700,000 tons in 2013. However, while landings are declining in EU countries since the 90s, in non-EU countries a decreasing trend was observed only in the last 5–10 years. The current levels of fishing effort determine a general overexploitation status of commercial stocks with more than 90% of the stock assessed out of safe biological limits. Indicators obtained from available ecosystem models were used to assess the sustainability of the fisheries. They included primary production required to sustain fisheries (PPR), mean trophic level of the catch (mTLc), the loss in secondary production index (L index), and the probability of the ecosystem to be sustainably exploited (psust). In areas exploited more sustainably (e.g., Gulf of Gabes, Eastern Ionian, and Aegean Sea) fishing pressure was characterized by either low number of vessels per unit of shelf area or the large prevalence of artisanal/small scale fisheries. Conversely, GSAs in Western Mediterranean and Adriatic showed very low ecosystem sustainability of fisheries that can be easily related with the high fishing pressure and the large proportion of overfished stocks obtained from single species assessments. We showed that the current knowledge on Mediterranean fisheries and ecosystems describes a worrisome picture where the effect of poorly regulated fisheries, in combination with the ongoing climate forcing and the rapid expansion of non-indigenous species, are rapidly changing the structure and functioning of the ecosystem with unpredictable effects on the goods and services provided. Although this would call for urgent conservation actions, the management system implemented in the region appears too slow and probably inadequate to protect biodiversity and secure fisheries resources for the future generations.
The United States Virgin Islands are comprised of two separate insular platforms separated by the deep water Anegada Passage. Although managed by the same regulations, as one fishery, several physical and spatial differences exist between the two northern shelf islands, St. Thomas and St. John, and isolated St. Croix. Based on two long-term fisheries independent datasets, collected by the U.S. Virgin Islands Territorial Coral Reef Monitoring Program and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, there were significant differences between the northern USVI and St. Croix in both the occurrence and size of several species of large and commercially important reef fishes. These fishes are primarily apex piscivores and generally the first species over-exploited in small-scale fisheries. The disparities between the fish communities on the two island shelves cannot be explained solely by differences in habitat (coral cover, rugosity) or fisheries management, such as relative amount of marine protected area in local waters. They are instead probably caused by a combination of several other interrelated factors including water depth, fishing methodology, fishable area, and the presence or absence of viable fish spawning areas. This study considers those aspects, and illustrates the need for management of island artisanal fisheries that is tailored to the physical and spatial constraints imposed by insular platforms.
This paper examined the eutrophication literatures from 1998 to 2015 using bibliometric techniques basing on the database of Science Citation Index. Bibliometric techniques, social network analysis, and mapping knowledge domains in this paper were used. The results revealed that article was the most used document type accounting for 94.79% (14,006) of the records. With the rapid development of eutrophication domain after 2004, the annual article publishing amount also grew notably in each country, with the list of US tops. International cooperation was not enough to compare with that between institutions. An author keyword analysis showed that "phosphorus," "nutrients," "nitrogen," "water quality," "phytoplankton," and "sediment" were the most popular keywords. And it was also found that climate change, life cycle assessment, and chlorophyll a appear with high frequency in recent years, indicating that the eutrophication mechanism analysis might turn from uni-factor microresearch to multi-factor macroresearch, and the eutrophication management research tends to be whole-process management research. In addition, the future focuses of research directions, including (1) eutrophication and its ecosystem response, (2) eutrophication management, (3) eutrophication and climate change interactions, (4) eutrophication monitoring and forecast, and (5) ecological restoration of eutrophication. These findings are useful for the future endeavor of eutrophication academic research.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been the subject of many reports released by Mexican Federal Authorities along the Mexican Coast of the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (MC-GoM-LME), but extensive research that delves deeply into this issue is lacking. Although Karenia brevis blooms have appeared in all Mexican states (except Quintana Roo) and blooms of Cladophora spp., Chattonella marina, Chattonella subsalsa, Glenodinium pseudostigmosum and Chaetoceros holsaticus are fairly new to the MC-GoM-LME, their spatial and temporal variations are largely unknown. It appears that anthropogenic nutrient over-enrichment is the main driver of eutrophication along the MC-GoM-LME. Trophic conditions based on physicochemical parameters, phytoplankton and submerged aquatic vegetation along the northern coast of Yucatan show the influence of Gulf of Mexico LME and Caribbean Sea LME waters, seasonal upwelling and polluted inputs from submarine groundwater discharges. Meso-eutrophic and oligo-mesotrophic conditions on the coast are associated with human activities such as domestic sewage discharges from septic tanks, harbor effluents and brackish waters from artificial inlets. Coastal lagoons in Veracruz have been impacted by urbanization expansion leading to wastewater discharges, fertilizer runoff and changes in land use. Overall, trophic conditions in Veracruz have improved relative to historic trophic index values. At least for the Yucatan State and the Quintana Roo State, there are sites that appear to link the occurrence of HABs and anthropogenic eutrophication. Additional research over inshore, estuarine, coastal and offshore environments requires future monitoring efforts and collaboration with the international community (especially the U.S.).