The exponential increase in the use of plastic in modern society and the inadequate management of the resulting waste have led to its accumulation in the marine environment. There is increasing evidence of numerous mechanisms by which marine plastic pollution is causing effects across successive levels of biological organization. This will unavoidably impact ecological communities and ecosystem functions. A remaining question to be answered is if the concentration of plastic in the ocean, today or in the future, will reach levels above a critical threshold leading to global effects in vital Earth-system processes, thus granting the consideration of marine plastic pollution as a key component of the planetary boundary threat associated with chemical pollutants. Possible answers to this question are explored by reviewing and evaluating existing knowledge of the effects of plastic pollution in marine ecosystems and the 'core planetary boundaries', biosphere integrity and climate change. The irreversibility and global ubiquity of marine plastic pollution mean that two essential conditions for a planetary boundary threat are already met. The Earth system consequences of plastic pollution are still uncertain, but pathways and mechanisms for thresholds and global systemic change are identified. Irrespective of the recognition of plastic as a novel entity in the planetary boundaries framework, it is certain that marine plastic pollution is closely intertwined with global processes to a point that deserves careful management and prevention.
Plastic production is increasing globally and in turn there is a rise of plastic waste lost into the coastal and marine environment. To combat this issue, there is an increase in policies that target specific types of plastic waste (such as microbeads and plastic shopping bags). Given that such anthropogenic waste have environmental impacts, reduce the tourism income of an area and result in human health issues, identifying effective abatement policies is imperative to reducing waste and litter before it enters the ocean. Within Australia, state and local governments employ a plethora of policies, campaigns and strategies to target abatement and reduce litter and waste inputs to the environment. Waste managers were interviewed from 40 local councils around Australia on waste abatement strategies and investments implemented in their council. Generalised linear models (GLMs) were used to compare outreach programs (such as 'Don't be a Tosser', Clean Up Australia and Bin your Butts cigarette campaign) and state-enacted policies (e.g. Plastic Shopping Bag Ban, Zero Waste Strategy and Recycling Strategy) aimed at targeting human behaviour to reduce waste. Investments in campaigns led to larger reductions of waste in the environment than did investment in policies. Illegal dumping, litter prevention, recycling, education and Clean Up Australia programs all significantly reduced waste along a council's coastline. Additionally, councils that invested in a coastal waste management budget had fewer littered or waste items on the coastline within their jurisdictions.
More than 6000 seafarers have been held hostage by pirates in the last ten years. There is a small but developing body of research showing that these seafarers may face lasting challenges in recovery. However, current studies on this question have been limited by a lack of comparison groups, a lack of statistical power, and other methodological challenges. This study contributes to this body of research through a survey of 101 former hostages and 363 seafarers not known to be exposed to piracy from India, the Philippines, and Ukraine. Using clinically validated scales for tracking lasting impact, this research finds that 25.77% of former hostages show symptoms consistent with PTSD, and that hostage experiences and other maritime traumas can have impacts on seafarer wellbeing and decisions about their career through the impact these traumas have on post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Participatory management is widely recognised as a working method of paramount importance, based on the principles of knowledge sharing, accountability and legitimacy. Hence, it is broadly considered suitable for addressing issues related to the sustainable development of the seafood industry, and specifically, of the aquaculture system. A survey focused on the current EU regulatory framework was carried out to elicit stakeholders' preferences, knowledge and experience on key issues for the development of organic aquaculture, supported by science-based regulations. The survey was completed by 65 stakeholders belonging to several categories, and it was supported by the implementation of the Analytic Hierarchy Process method. Stakeholders' preferences were elicited on organic production methods and control systems, the quality of the environment and organic products, fish health and welfare. The views expressed by the participants revealed both competence and awareness, despite the complexity of the subject. Several ideas and useful suggestions emerged regarding unresolved technical issues. In addition, the need for a targeted communication strategy on the quality of organic aquaculture products and the necessity of fostering European/national programs to support the production and marketing of organic aquaculture products were highlighted.
Alaska observes very large differences in precipitation throughout the state; southeast Alaska experiences consistently wet conditions, while northern Arctic Alaska observes very dry conditions. The maximum mean annual precipitation of 5727 mm is observed in the southeastern panhandle at Little Port Arthur, while the minimum of 92 mm occurs on the North Slope at Kuparuk. Besides explaining these large differences due to geographic and orographic location, we discuss the changes in precipitation with time. Analyzing the 18 first-order National Weather Service stations, we found that the total average precipitation in the state increased by 17% over the last 67 years. The observed changes in precipitation are furthermore discussed as a function of the observed temperature increase of 2.1 °C, the mean temperature change of the 18 stations over the same period. This observed warming of Alaska is about three times the magnitude of the mean global warming and allows the air to hold more water vapor. Furthermore, we discuss the effect of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which has a strong influence on both the temperature and precipitation in Alaska.
The present importance of oceanic topics -fishery included- is characterized by the existence of conflicts at a global, not compartmentalized, level that no country can keep out of. The greatest awareness about questions linked to fishery resource sustainability - such as the need to arbitrate acts designed to regulate fishery access conditions; the application of different business strategies and conflicts among both national and international jurisdictions (high sea and transzonal areas). That is why the need of implementing new enhancements regarding behavior codes applied by producers, as well as regarding the decisions adopted by public authorities within the framework of fishery regulation, in the context of a Global Sustainable Development.
The main objective of this work is reviewing the successive policies related to the management of the fishery resources, as well as to determine the key elements of the governance, in relation to the behavior of the actors involved in this activity. Fisheries management is also taken into consideration from the institutional level and from the actors involved. The information analyzed was obtained from an extensive review of the academic literature and through interviews with companies and personalities related to the fishing activity. As a conclusion, some measures are proposed to promote a better organizational functioning of the sector, eliminating the existing dysfunctional ones and reconciling conflicting interests. These measures suggest incorporating dimensions from ecosystems, socio-economic systems and institutional aspects. We conclude that management systems should be institutional agreements and administrative processes with the capacity to articulate a fisheries policy.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are powerful management tools used worldwide for conserving marine species and habitats. Yet, many MPAs fail to achieve their management objectives because of shortfalls in understanding the level of legitimacy stakeholders afford to an MPA. Legitimacy refers to the ability of a political action, in this case an MPA, to be perceived as right and just by the various people who are involved, interested, and/or affected by it. Using responses from key stakeholders and managers at two coastal MPAs in Atlantic Canada, this study examined the importance of various factors shaping perceptions of MPA effectiveness and the role of legitimacy in influencing those perceptions. Results indicate that most indicators of legitimacy are important to stakeholders for MPA effectiveness. Specifically, there was consensus across case studies on the importance of community leadership and the establishment of trust in determining the level of legitimacy afforded to MPAs. However key differences in perceptions were evident from stakeholders both between and within groups, and between stakeholders and MPA managers. A novel legitimacy framework and a stakeholder-vetted suite of indicators for legitimacy are presented and recommended for use by MPA managers in assessing the legitimacy of coastal MPAs, before, during and after MPA designation. The results provide an increased understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions of legitimacy, giving managers key additional information needed to establish effective MPAs in the future.
Laboratory-based CO2 experiments and studies of naturally low pH coral reef ecosystems reveal negative impacts of ocean acidification on the calcifying communities that build coral reefs. Conversely, in Palau's low pH lagoons, coral cover is high, coral communities are diverse, and calcification rates of two reef-building corals exhibit no apparent sensitivity to the strong natural gradient in pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar). We developed two methods to quantify rates of Net Ecosystem Calcification (NEC), the ecosystem-level balance between calcification and dissolution, in Risong Lagoon, where average daily pH is ∼ 7.9 and Ωar ∼ 2.7. While coral cover in the lagoon is within the range of other Pacific reefs (∼ 26%), NEC rates were among the lowest measured, averaging 25.9 ± 13.7 mmol m−2 d−1 over two 4 d study periods. NEC rates were highly variable, ranging from a low of 13.7 mmol m−2 d−1 in March 2012 to a high of 40.3 mmol m−2 d−1in November 2013, despite no significant changes in temperature, salinity, inorganic nutrients, Ωar, or pH. Our results indicate that the coral reef community of Risong Lagoon produces just enough calcium carbonate to maintain net positive calcification but comes dangerously close to net zero or negative NEC (net dissolution). Identifying the factors responsible for low NEC rates as well as the drivers of NEC variability in naturally low pH reef systems are key to predicting their futures under 21st century climate change.
The decline of reef-building corals in conjunction with shifts to short-lived opportunistic species has prompted concerns that Caribbean reef framework-building capacity has substantially diminished. Restoring herbivore populations may be a potential driver of coral recovery; however, the impact of herbivores on coral calcification has been little studied. We performed an exclusion experiment to evaluate the impact of herbivory on Orbicella faveolata coral growth over 14 months. The experiment consisted of three treatments: full exclusion cages; half cage procedural controls; and uncaged control plates, each with small O. faveolata colonies. We found that herbivorous fish exclusion had a substantial impact on both macroalgal cover and coral growth. Fleshy macroalgae reached 50% cover within some exclusion cages, but were almost absent from uncaged control plates. Critically, O. faveolata calcification rates were suppressed by almost half within exclusion cages, with monthly coral growth negatively related to overgrowth by fleshy macroalgae. These findings highlight the importance of herbivorous fishes for coral growth and the detrimental impact of macroalgal proliferation in the Caribbean. Policy makers and local managers should consider measures to protect herbivorous fishes and reduce macroalgal proliferation to enable coral communities to continue to grow and function.
This article reports on new research that finds certain messages reduce fear of sharks, key to promoting conservation-minded responses to shark bites. Here it is argued that the sophistication in public feelings toward these highly emotional events has allowed new actors to mobilize and given rise to the ‘Save the Sharks’ movement. In a unique experiment coupling randomly assigned intent-based priming messages with exposure to sharks in a ‘shark tunnel’, a potential path to reduce public fear of sharks and alter policy preferences is investigated. Priming for the absence of intent yielded significant fear extinction effects, providing a viable means of increasing support for non-lethal policy options following shark bite incidents. High levels of pride and low levels of blame for bite incidents are also found. In all, this article provides a step towards improving our understanding of fear and fear reduction in public policy.