Small-scale fisheries play an important role in contributing to food security, nutrition, livelihoods and local and national economies. However, there is often limited data and information available on their contributions, and hence small scale fisheries tend to be overlooked and marginalized in policy processes, leading to low levels of support for the sector. This proceedings provides a summary of the presentations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations of the “Workshop on Improving our Knowledge on Small-Scale Fisheries: Data Needs and Methodologies,” held at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquarters in Rome, Italy, in June 2017. Through the workshop, it was determined that a comprehensive new study to illuminate the hidden contributions of small-scale fisheries to the three dimensions of sustainable development, as well as identification of key threats to these contributions was needed.
As human impacts on marine ecosystems escalate, there is increasing interest in quantifying sub-lethal physiological and pathological responses of marine mammals. Glucocorticoid hormones are commonly used to assess stress responses to anthropogenic factors in wildlife. While obtaining blood samples to measure circulating hormones is not currently feasible for free-swimming large whales, immunoassay of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCs) has been validated for North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis (NARW). Using a general linear model, we compared fGC concentrations in right whales chronically entangled in fishing gear (n = 6) or live-stranded (n = 1), with right whales quickly killed by vessels (n = 5) and healthy right whales (n = 113) to characterize fGC responses to acute vs. chronic stressors. fGCs in entangled whales (mean ± SE: 1856.4 ± 1644.9 ng g-1) and the stranded whale (5740.7 ng g-1) were significantly higher than in whales killed by vessels (46.2 ± 19.2 ng g-1) and healthy whales (51.7 ± 8.7 ng g-1). Paired feces and serum collected from the live-stranded right whale provided comparison of fGCs in 2 matrices in a chronically stressed whale. Serum cortisol and corticosterone in this whale (50.0 and 29.0 ng ml-1, respectively) were much higher than values reported in other cetaceans, in concordance with extremely elevated fGCs. Meaningful patterns in fGC concentration related to acute vs. chronic impacts persisted despite potential for bacterial degradation of hormone metabolites in dead whales. These results provide biological validation for using fGCs as a biomarker of chronic stress in NARWs.
Low Elevation Coastal Zones (LECZ) are located at less than 10 m above sea level. Because of human encroachment, combined with sea level rise and increased storminess, LECZ are at an increasing risk of flooding and erosion. In consequence, there is a growing need for shoreline protection. Traditionally, hard infrastructure was used, with positive local results, but negative regional impacts when flows were not maintained. Therefore, ecosystem-based coastal protection has been considered as an alternative. We explored the scientific literature to look for evidence that proves the effectiveness of natural ecosystems for protection against flooding and erosion, when these events are a problem to society. We found that although the protective role of vegetation has been mentioned for over 50 years, most of the studies date from the last decade and have been performed in the USA and the Netherlands. Mangroves, saltmarshes and coastal dunes are the ecosystems most frequently studied. The evidence we found includes anecdotal observations, experimental tests, mathematical analyses, models and projections, economic valuations and field observations. Although mostly effective, there are limitations of an ecosystem-based approach and probably, different strategies can be combined so that protection is improved while additional ecosystem services are maintained. We conclude that, besides improving coastal protection strategies, it is fundamental to reduce human pressure by mobilizing populations inland (or at least promoting new developments further inland), and minimizing the negative impact of human activities. We need to be better prepared to deal with the climate change challenges that will affect LECZ in the not very distant future.
This study presents an economic valuation survey to estimate the social demand of a convenience sample for undertaking forest management measures aimed at reducing the negative impact of forest fires on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The paper spans the traditional focus in forest economics by considering also the negative effects caused by forest fires in coastal areas, highlighting this way how the externalities go beyond the terrestrial area and can also affect marine ecosystems. Results from a willingness to pay in space modelling approach show that people are sensitive to the biodiversity losses produced by forest fires and are willing to pay (work on a voluntary basis) to undertake activities that reduce their impact. The main negative externalities are concerned to the terrestrial wildlife (animals and vegetation), following by the erosion and marine biodiversity losses and the pests and diseases prevention.
As the levels of radioactivity in seafood have fallen back into the safe range, Fukushima fisheries are considering reopening. However, even if seafood from the Fukushima area were sufficiently safe to distribute to seafood markets, its value may be undermined because of the damage done to its reputation by the Fukushima disaster. We quantified consumers’ preferences for seafood from Fukushima and adjacent prefectures to examine the extent of the reputational damage to Fukushima seafood. We conducted a choice experiment to measure consumers’ willingness to pay for seafood from the Fukushima area. We also measured the impact of displaying ecolabels [Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Marine Eco-label Japan (MEL)] on Fukushima products. The results indicated that Fukushima products are considerably discounted compared with products displayed as domestic; even products from adjacent prefectures are substantially discounted. By contrast, consumers positively evaluated locally labeled products. We also found that demersal fish are discounted more than pelagic fish that inhabit the ocean surface off the shore of Fukushima.
The degradation of coral reefs is widely reported, yet there is a poor understanding of the adaptability of reef fishes to cope with benthic change. We tested the effects of coral reef degradation on the feeding plasticity of four reef fish species. We used isotopic niche sizes and mean δ15N and δ13C values of each species in two coral reefs that differed in benthic condition. The species chosen have contrasting feeding strategies; Chaetodon lunulatus (corallivore), Chrysiptera rollandi (zooplanktivore), Halichoeres melanurus (invertivore) and Zebrasoma velifer (herbivore). We predicted that the corallivore would have a lower mean δ15N value and a smaller isotopic niche size in the degraded reef, that the herbivore and the invertivore might have a larger isotopic niche size and/or a different mean δ13C value, whereas the zooplanktivore might be indifferent since the species is not linked to coral degradation. Some results matched our predictions; C. lunulatus had a smaller niche size on the degraded reef, but no difference in mean δ15N and δ13C values, and H. melanurus displayed an increase in niche size and a lower mean δ15N value on the degraded reef. Some other results were contrary to our predictions; whereas Z. velifer and C. rollandi had smaller mean δ13C values but no difference in niche size. Our findings suggest there may be feeding plasticity to maintain a similar diet despite contrasting habitat characteristics, with different amplitude depending on species. Such findings suggest that certain species guilds would probably adapt to changes linked to habitat degradation.
For Pacific Island communities, social change has always been a part of their socio-political lives, while environmental changes were always transient and reversible, so that they understood and engaged with their ocean as a provider for food, culture and life. However, recent unprecedented and irreversible changes brought on by global climate change challenge this norm and alter their lagoons and adjacent oceans into unfamiliar territories. Climate change already is affecting, and has been projected to continue to disproportionately impact, Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) through rising temperatures, sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion of freshwater resources, coastal erosion, an increase in extreme weather events, altered rainfall patterns, coral reef bleaching, and ocean acidification. While knowledge is building about potential impacts on ecosystems and some target stocks, there is little information available for communities, governments and regional institutions on how to respond to these changes and adapt. What are the consequences for marine conservation, fisheries management and coastal planning at local, national and regional scales? What strategies and policies can best support and enable responses to these challenges across different scales? What opportunities exist to finance necessary climate change adaptation and mitigation measures? To consider these urgent issues, this paper synthesises innovative research methods, and studies many of the looming scientific, policy and governance challenges from a diversity of perspectives and disciplines.
Spatial planning has to deal with trade-offs between various stakeholders’ wishes and needs as part of planning and management of landscapes, natural resources and/or biodiversity. To make ecosystem services (ES) trade-off research more relevant for spatial planning, we propose an analytical framework, which puts stakeholders, their land-use/management choices, their impact on ES and responses at the centre. Based on 24 cases from around the world, we used this framing to analyse the appearance and diversity of real-world ES trade-offs. They cover a wide range of trade-offs related to ecosystem use, including: land-use change, management regimes, technical versus nature-based solutions, natural resource use, and management of species. The ES trade-offs studied featured a complexity that was far greater than what is often described in the ES literature. Influential users and context setters are at the core of the trade-off decision-making, but most of the impact is felt by non-influential users. Provisioning and cultural ES were the most targeted in the studied trade-offs, but regulating ES were the most impacted. Stakeholders’ characteristics, such as influence, impact faced, and concerns can partially explain their position and response in relation to trade-offs. Based on the research findings, we formulate recommendations for spatial planning.
Antarctica's status as a unparalleled place of international scientific collaboration was entrenched in the Antarctic Treaty 1959, and its designation as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” formally referenced in the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (PEPAT) 1991 (PEPAT 1991, Article 2). The continent's importance for maintenance of the global ecosphere has more recently been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Anisimov et al., 2007). However, the expanded scale and scope of commercial tourism in Antarctica over the last quarter century raises issues about whether the laissez-faire approach to tourism management that has been taken under the auspices of Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) governance is sufficient to protect the Antarctic environment and its “wilderness” values from the negative impacts of tourism (PEPAT, Article 3(1)). This is an subject that has occupied a number of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties (ATCPs), who form the decision-making group within the ATS, and resulted in a recent question by The Netherlands to fellow ATCPs as to whether “a system of obligatory or voluntary payments by individual tourists or tourist organizations (as a payment for ‘ecosystem services’)?” should be established within the ATS (The Netherlands, ATCM XI, 2012).
This paper considers the Dutch question about payment for ecosystem services in Antarctica as a potential tourism regulatory tool. It also examines the legal and related political issues that a proposal for introduction of ecosystem services would generate in an area of the earth which, de facto, is treated as an international commons, but is also the site of continuing contestation and challenge over abeyant claims to sovereignty by seven states within the ATCP group. Issues canvassed in this context include: the different political-philosophical approaches to tourism and the environment evinced by the ATCPs; the limited number of states signatory to the Treaty and the increase in non-state actor activity in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, and concomitant difficulties of monitoring and compliance in a geographically expansive and remote area of the earth; and the potential of ecosystem services in Antarctica to help realise some of the United Nations’ post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
A spatially and temporally stratified scientific observer program was used to examine variation in the diversity and composition of retained and discarded catches in a coastal charter-vessel line fishery. The 181 observed trips yielded 126 species and 13,357 individuals. Overall, 88 and 92 species were retained and discarded, respectively, with 34 and 38 species either solely retained or discarded. The 10 most numerous species accounted for 75% of total individuals, with 40 species encountered only once. Regional-scale differences in retained and discarded catch compositions and diversity were consistent across seasons, with species diversity being greatest in the northern region that encompassed the convergence zone of tropical and temperate waters. Within-region port-related differences in catch compositions were driven by particular species being captured in different quantities and frequencies from vessels at one port compared to the other, and together with the high level of trip-to-trip variation in catches, were the result of localised and often vessel-specific differences in fishing practices, grounds and habitats fished, and client/operator preferences. Habitat-related differences in catch compositions were greatest between bare sand and structured reef and reef/gravel substrata. Discarding patterns varied among regions, with 25–52% of individuals with a prescribed legal length limit, and 14–72% of individuals with no length limit, being discarded. Discarding was due to a combination of compliance with length-based and no-take regulations, as well as client and operator preferences for particular species and sizes, and not the result of catch quotas. The results show that assessments and management of charter fisheries need to consider the human dimensions, as well as the ecological, aspects of catch variation.