In the past 40 years, the fishery in the Mediterranean Sea has seen numerous changes in technology, fleet composition, effort allocation, and management strategies. In this paper, our aim is to summarize the improvements, and highlight the flaws and difficulties that have characterized fisheries management in the Mediterranean Sea in the past decades. We (the authors) advocate the importance of the regionalization of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in the Mediterranean. We focussed on the Adriatic Sea, with two case studies—the fishery for sardine and anchovy, and the fishery for Nephrops. The former is emblematic as it is one of the most valuable and well-studied fisheries in the Mediterranean but it is also an example of a management process that is slowly bearing fruit. Nephrops, on the other hand, has been facing the same destiny as other stocks in the Mediterranean; namely, its peculiar biology, a complex fishery, a poorly tailored data collection and inadequate assessments, have delayed action until very recent times. We use these examples to cover several aspects of Mediterranean fisheries management: (i) a historical overview of the development of these fisheries and their management; (ii) an overview of the main players involved in the scientific analysis and management process and their current and ideal roles; (iii) the flaws of the current stock assessment system; and (iv) recent developments and potential solutions to comply with the latest reform of the CFP before 2020. We argue that to align Mediterranean management with the CFP and achieve MSY targets, the lack of coordination and definition of roles between the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries and the Joint Research Centre need to be resolved. There is a need for adequate assessment models and data to answer increasingly complex management questions, as well as regular external review of the stock assessment models to assure their quality. Finally, the need for the implementation of a TAC system as an effective tool for Mediterranean fisheries to achieve sustainability is discussed and advocated.
The Spermonde Archipelago holds one of the largest artisanal fisheries in Indonesia, providing livelihoods for local communities and many other people involved in international trade networks of seafood. High demand and a lack of enforcement of existing fisheries regulations turn into high pressure for the coral reef ecosystem, contributing to its overall degradation. Estimations on the ecological impacts of different levels of fishing pressure, as well as fisheries stock assessments and marine resource management require precise information of the spatial distribution of fishing effort, which involves great uncertainty when only anecdotal information is considered. We explored the feasibility of applying participatory boat tracking to complement fisheries data during the NW monsoon season 2014–2015. We conducted interviews, measured catch landings, and distributed GPS data loggers among hook and line fishermen to identify fishing grounds by gear-dependent patterns of boat movement. Most of the fishing activities involved two gears (octopus bait and trolling line for live groupers) and three fishing grounds. The mass of catch landings was dominated by Octopoda (CPUE = 10.1 kg boatday−1) while the most diverse group was the fish family Serranidae, with Plectropomus leopardus being the main target species. In conclusion, boat tracking combined with interviews and catch surveys has proven a useful tool to reduce uncertainty in information on spatial resource use, while allowing a high level of participation by fishermen.
Human dimensions researchers and fisheries managers have long recognized the value of exploring the heterogeneity that exists amongst recreational fishers. Understanding the differences between fishers has the potential to assist managers in developing targeted communication strategies, direct resources to active management more efficiently and improve understanding of how fishers will respond to changes in regulations or new management interventions. Human dimensions research has traditionally explored fisher heterogeneity through research into the different reasons why people choose to fish, as well as attempts to categorize or segment fishers using variable based approaches. These studies have, to date, relied primarily on large scale, quantitative survey techniques with a particular focus on fisher avidity and commitment. They are therefore limited in their ability to explain how different fishing motivations might interact within an individual, why particular motivations are prioritized, and how this might influence fisher behavior and attitudes. This study trialed a mixed methods approach to understanding fisher heterogeneity based primarily on motivations using a case study in NSW, Australia. This trial involved utilizing a person-centered approach known as Latent Class Analysis (LCA), followed by qualitative, in depth focus group discussions. This revealed five distinct fisher classes; Social fishers, Trophy Fishers, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Generalists and Hunter-Gatherers, each with distinct and significantly different combinations of catch and non-catch-related motivations. The qualitative analysis sought to explore the intersection of motivations and attitudes towards management within and across the different fisher classes. The results highlighted the importance of more detailed examination of the intersection between motivations and attitudes in future LCA, with a particular focus on the potential influence of mastery (or challenge/experience) motivations on fisher attitudes towards marine and fisheries management approaches.
Spatial planning is expected to facilitate climate change adaptation by directing future spatial and infrastructure developments away from zones that are exposed to climate-related hazards. This study attempts to confirm this understanding by mapping the effects of the various spatial plans on the northern coast of Java, Indonesia. First, the study maps the extent of coastal hazards for the baseline year of 2010 using a GIS-based inundation model. An overlay in GIS demonstrates the influence of spatial plans for the projection year of 2030. This allows for calculating the economic losses of the planned developments. The case study shows that the current provincial spatial plans direct land use conversions along the northern coast of Java to continue to occur in the future. This could significantly decrease the regional capacity in dealing with the exposure to coastal inundation. The analysis also demonstrates that a total area of 55,220 ha of land prone to inundation, consisting of protected area (1488 ha), fishponds (32,916 ha) and agricultural land (20,814 ha), is planned to be converted into industry (13,399 ha) and settlements (41,821 ha). Thus, these areas will be also prone to inundation in 2030. This change would potentially lead to an economic loss of 246.6 billion USD. The spatial plans issued by the national and provincial governments for regulating the future land use on the northern coast of Java have not integrated measures against hazards related to global sea level rise. Meanwhile, many existing developments have already been affected by coastal inundation. Rather than reducing the exposure towards coastal flood hazards, the case study shows that spatial plans could even increase the risk of climate-related hazards and cause higher economic losses. These findings provide a different perspective on the role of spatial planning for climate change adaptation than what is stated in the literature.
Initial reports on the presence of microplastics in the Ocean date from the 1970's. In spite of the noted potential risks these debris posed to both the environment and humans, the scientific community paid little attention to then raised alarms. Recently, however, there has been an increasing interest by both the general public and the scientific community in the contamination and pollution of the marine environment by micro- and nanoplastic particles.
Due to their physical and chemical characteristics, these pervasive contaminants can be found across the Globe and are distributed across the water column and have been shown to be ingested by numerous organisms. Although generally considered biochemically inert, such materials can adsorb other chemical substances, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), hence potentially leading to bioaccumulation and bioamplification phenomena.
However, despite this recognized harmfulness, and although microplastics are a recognized threat to the “Blue Economy”, there are still multiple research gaps that should be adequately addressed, in order to obtain a realistic assessment of their prevalence in the environment. Additionally, despite the numerous national, regional and international regulatory instruments aiming at reducing the contamination by plastic litter, these appear to have been, so far, insufficient for reaching their proposed goal. Herein, the current gaps in micro- and neoplastic research and regulation are evaluated and some suggestions for overcoming such limitations are proposed.
Marine protected areas are currently recognized as an alternative for the conservation of marine ecosystems. Although the protection reduces the area available for fishing, it has been argued that the spillover effect can increase resources in the adjoining areas. The purpose of this study is to calculate the value of the provision of fishing resources resulting from an increase in the system of marine protected areas in Colombia. To do that, a surplus-production based dynamic bio-economic model is developed for white shrimp (Litopenaeus occidentalis), a species important socially and economically in Colombia. The model includes a protected area with essential habitats, a nonprotected area, and mobility of species between them. Changes in biomass, catch, effort and the economic benefits of fishing through time, under different protection scenarios, are analyzed. Despite the reduction of the area available for fishing, in the mid-term, the protected areas generate increased levels of biomass and greater benefits associated to the fishing activity, because of the spillover effect. In that sense, the marine protected areas constitute a valid alternative for fishery conservation with the potential to generate economic benefits in the midterm.
Biodiversity is a multifaceted concept, yet most biodiversity studies have taken a taxonomic approach, implying that all species are equally important. However, species do not contribute equally to ecosystem processes and differ markedly in their responses to changing environments. This recognition has led to the exploration of other components of biodiversity, notably the diversity of ecologically important traits. Recent studies taking into account both taxonomic and trait diversity have revealed that the two biodiversity components may exhibit pronounced temporal and spatial differences. These apparent incongruences indicate that the two components may respond differently to environmental drivers and that changes in one component might not affect the other. Such incongruences may provide insight into the structuring of communities through community assembly processes, and the resilience of ecosystems to change. Here we examine temporal and spatial patterns and drivers of multiple marine biodiversity indicators using the North Sea fish community as a case study. Based on long-term spatially resolved survey data on fish species occurrences and biomasses from 1983 to 2014 and an extensive trait dataset we: (i) investigate temporal and spatial incongruences between taxonomy and trait-based indicators of both richness and evenness; (ii) examine the underlying environmental drivers and, (iii) interpret the results in the context of assembly rules acting on community composition. Our study shows that taxonomy and trait-based biodiversity indicators differ in time and space and that these differences are correlated to natural and anthropogenic drivers, notably temperature, depth and substrate richness. Our findings show that trait-based biodiversity indicators add information regarding community composition and ecosystem structure compared to and in conjunction with taxonomy-based indicators. These results emphasize the importance of examining and monitoring multiple indicators of biodiversity in ecological studies as well as for conservation and ecosystem-based management purposes.
Betweenness has been used in a number of marine studies to identify portions of sea that sustain the connectivity of whole marine networks. Herein we highlight the need of methodological exactness in the calculation of betweenness when graph theory is applied to marine connectivity studies based on transfer probabilities. We show the inconsistency in calculating betweeness directly from transfer probabilities and propose a new metric for the node-to-node distance that solves it. Our argumentation is illustrated by both simple theoretical examples and the analysis of a literature data set.
Over the last 25 years, research on biodiversity has expanded dramatically, fuelled by increasing threats to the natural world. However, the number of published studies is heavily weighted towards certain taxa, perhaps influencing conservation awareness of and funding for less-popular groups. Few studies have systematically quantified these biases, although information on this topic is important for informing future research and conservation priorities. We investigated: i) which animal taxa are being studied; ii) if any taxonomic biases are the same in temperate and tropical regions; iii) whether the taxon studied is named in the title of papers on biodiversity, perhaps reflecting a perception of what biodiversity is; iv) the geographical distribution of biodiversity research, compared with the distribution of biodiversity and threatened species; and v) the geographical distribution of authors’ countries of origin. To do this, we used the search engine Web of Science to systematically sample a subset of the published literature with ‘biodiversity’ in the title. In total 526 research papers were screened—5% of all papers in Web of Science with biodiversity in the title. For each paper, details on taxonomic group, title phrasing, number of citations, study location, and author locations were recorded. Compared to the proportions of described species, we identified a considerable taxonomic weighting towards vertebrates and an under-representation of invertebrates (particularly arachnids and insects) in the published literature. This discrepancy is more pronounced in highly cited papers, and in tropical regions, with only 43% of biodiversity research in the tropics including invertebrates. Furthermore, while papers on vertebrate taxa typically did not specify the taxonomic group in the title, the converse was true for invertebrate papers. Biodiversity research is also biased geographically: studies are more frequently carried out in developed countries with larger economies, and for a given level of species or threatened species, tropical countries were understudied relative to temperate countries. Finally, biodiversity research is disproportionately authored by researchers from wealthier countries, with studies less likely to be carried out by scientists in lower-GDP nations. Our results highlight the need for a more systematic and directed evaluation of biodiversity studies, perhaps informing more targeted research towards those areas and taxa most depauperate in research. Only by doing so can we ensure that biodiversity research yields results that are relevant and applicable to all regions and that the information necessary for the conservation of threatened species is available to conservation practitioners.
- Marine protected areas (MPAs) and freshwater protected areas (FPAs), collectively aquatic protected areas (APAs), share many commonalities in their design, establishment, and management, suggesting great potential for sharing lessons learned. However, surprisingly little has been exchanged to date, and both realms of inquiry and practice have progressed mostly independent of each other.
- This paper builds on a session held at the 7th World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea, in May 2016, which explored crossover lessons between marine and freshwater realms, and included case studies of four MPAs and five FPAs (or clusters of FPAs) from nine countries.
- This review uses the case studies to explore similarities, differences, and transferrable lessons between MPAs and FPAs under five themes: (1) ecological system; (2) establishment approaches; (3) effectiveness monitoring; (4) sustaining APAs; and (5) challenges and external threats.
- Ecological differences between marine and freshwater environments may necessitate different approaches for collecting species and habitat data to inform APA design, establishment and monitoring, but once collected, similar spatial ecological tools can be applied in both realms. In contrast, many similarities exist in the human dimension of both MPA and FPA establishment and management, highlighting clear opportunities for exchanging lessons related to stakeholder engagement and support, and for using similar socio-economic and governance assessment methods to address data gaps in both realms.
- Regions that implement MPAs and FPAs could work together to address shared challenges, such as developing mechanisms for diversified and sustained funding, and employing integrated coastal/watershed management to address system-level threats. Collaboration across realms could facilitate conservation of diadromous species in both marine and freshwater habitats.
- Continued exchange and increased collaboration would benefit both realms, and may be facilitated by defining shared terminology, holding cross-disciplinary conferences or sessions, publishing inclusive papers, and proposing joint projects.