Marine recreational fishing from shore and from private boats in Hawaiʻi is monitored via the Hawaiʻi Marine Recreational Fishing Survey (HMRFS), using an access point intercept survey to collect catch rate information, and the Coastal Household Telephone Survey (CHTS) to collect fishing effort data. In response to a recent HMRFS review, roving surveys of shoreline fishing effort and catch rate, an aerial fishing effort survey, and a mail survey of fishing effort were tested simultaneously on one of the main Hawaiian Islands (Oʻahu) and compared with the current HMRFS approach for producing shoreline fishing estimates. The pilot roving surveys were stratified by region (rural vs urban), shift (three 4-h periods during the day), and day type (weekday vs weekend). A pilot access point survey of private boat fishing was also conducted on Oʻahu, using an alternate sampling design created by NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Three overlapping 6-h time blocks and site clusters with unequal inclusion probabilities were used to cover daytime fishing. Group catch was recorded for an entire vessel rather than individual catch, which is the current standard for MRIP intercept surveys. Although catch estimates from the pilot private boat survey were comparable to the current HMRFS catch estimates, the catch estimates from the pilot roving survey were lower than the HMRFS estimates. HMRFS uses effort data from the CHTS, which includes both day and night fishing in all areas, to estimate total catch, whereas effort data from the roving shoreline survey covered only daytime fishing from publicly accessible areas. We therefore suggest that a roving survey conducted during the day should have complementary surveys to include night fishing and fishing in remote and private/restricted areas. Results from these pilot studies will be used to improve the current surveys of marine recreational fishing activities in Hawaiʻi.
Citizen Science projects involve ordinary people in scientific research, providing new insights and perspectives. Interested members of the public may contribute valuable information as they learn about wildlife in their local communities. This study investigates the spatiotemporal occurrence and distribution of cetaceans off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, based on data obtained by citizen scientists (opportunistic observations - 2013/2016) and by cetacean researchers (dedicated observations - 2011/2016). The citizen scientists recorded 178 sightings of eight cetacean species along the whole Rio de Janeiro coast. Boat surveys (N = 118) were conducted by the authors in two Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and adjacent waters, resulting in a total of 77 records of four cetaceans species. Within the same area surveyed, citizen scientists contributed 98 reports of these four species. There was a high degree of information overlap, although the citizen scientists also expanded the database on the occurrence and distribution of cetaceans. The citizen scientists also confirmed the occurrence in the study area of four additional cetacean species, not recorded during the surveys. Opportunistic observations obtained from citizen scientists are thus a fundamentally important complementary tool for this type of investigation. The distribution records of the two datasets were also broadly compatible, in particular for the inshore sightings and the seasonal distribution of three of the four principal species. Overall, then, the data provided by from citizen scientists off the coast of Rio de Janeiro were validated by the boat surveys, which focused specifically on the area of the MPAs and adjacencies. The information provided by the combined dataset provides important insights for the creation of a buffer zone, which provide an additional layer of protection for the region's marine biota.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key tools to mitigate human impacts in coastal environments, promoting sustainable activities to conserve biodiversity. The designation of MPAs alone may not result in the lessening of some human threats, which is highly dependent on management goals and the related specific regulations that are adopted. Here, we develop and operationalize a local threat assessment framework. We develop indices to quantify the effectiveness of MPAs (or individual zones within MPAs in the case of multiple-use MPAs) in reducing anthropogenic extractive and non-extractive threats operating at local scale, focusing specifically on threats that can be managed through MPAs. We apply this framework in 15 Mediterranean MPAs to assess their threat reduction capacity. We show that fully protected areas effectively eliminate extractive activities, whereas the intensity of artisanal and recreational fishing within partially protected areas, paradoxically, is higher than that found outside MPAs, questioning their ability at reaching conservation targets. In addition, both fully and partially protected areas attract non-extractive activities that are potential threats. Overall, only three of the 15 MPAs had lower intensities for the entire set of eight threats considered, in respect to adjacent control unprotected areas. Understanding the intensity and occurrence of human threats operating at the local scale inside and around MPAs is important for assessing MPAs effectiveness in achieving the goals they have been designed for, informing management strategies, and prioritizing specific actions.
Historically, it was common practice to dispose of landfill waste in low‐lying estuarine and coastal areas where land had limited value due to flood risk. Such ‘historic landfills’ are frequently unlined with no leachate management and inadequate records of the waste they contain. Globally, there are 100,000s such landfills, for example, in England there are >1200 historic landfills in low‐lying coastal areas with many in close proximity to designated environmental sites or in/near areas influencing bathing water quality; yet, there is a very limited understanding of the environmental risk posed. Hence, coastal managers are more likely to select conservative management policies, for example, hold‐the‐line, when alternative more sustainable policies, for example, managed realignment, may be preferred. Some historic coastal landfills have already started to erode and release waste, and with the anticipated effects of climate change, erosion events are likely to become more frequent. Strategies to mitigate the risk of contaminant release from historic landfills such as excavation and relocation or incineration of waste would be prohibitively expensive for many countries. Therefore, it will be necessary to identify which sites pose the greatest pollution risk in order that resources can be prioritized, and to develop alternative management strategies based on site specific risk. Before such management strategies can be achieved there remain many unknowns to be addressed including the extent of legacy pollution in coastal sediments, impacts of saline flooding on contaminant release and the nature, behavior and environmental impact of solid waste release in the coastal zone.
The estimated impact of the EU Landing Obligation was investigated, which bans discards of regulated species, in South European fisheries through stakeholders’ perceptions with the intention to identify implementation shortcomings and practicalities that might lead to obstacles to enforcement. Structured interviews were conducted with 173 fishers in 4 countries practicing 4 generic fisheries (as typified by the dominant fishing gear) asking a total of 26 questions. Results show that fishers estimate that the full implementation of the discards ban will result in longer sorting times. Added to the limited space on board, especially in the more productive trawl and purse seine vessels, this may lead to practical difficulties in relation to compliance. Most of the respondents estimate that there are no realistic possibilities of utilizing the formerly discarded fish in the short term, because of the lack of adequate infrastructure on land Furthermore, the possible utilization types foreseen in the regulation will not help offset the costs of bringing former discards to land. The outcomes of this study have confirmed the implementation difficulties of the landing obligation, especially when the fishing industry cannot expect any medium to long-term benefits.
This chapter considers legal, institutional and policy aspects concerning maritime activities. Following the Introduction, the chapter considers the legal and institutional framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Then, it discusses the activities of the United Nations relating to maritime activities, in particular the work of the General Assembly, which is at the centre of policy-making relating to any activities in the oceans and seas, and the outcome of summits and conferences on sustainable development. This is followed by the discussion of other legal instruments and institutions related to the governance of maritime activities, as well as cooperation and coordination between relevant institutions. The chapter concludes with brief concluding remarks.
Despite the increasing attention given to marine spatial planning and the widely acknowledged need for transnational policy coordination, regional coherence has not yet improved a great deal in the Baltic Sea region. Therefore, the main objectives in this article are: (a) to map existing governance structures at all levels that influence how domestic marine spatial planning policy strategies are formed, (b) to identify specific challenges to improved regional cooperation and coordination, and (c) to discuss possible remedies. Based on data from in-depth case studies carried out in the BONUS BALTSPACE research project, it is shown that, despite the shared goal of sustainability and efficient resource use in relevant EU Directives, action plans and other policy instruments, domestic plans are emerging in diverse ways, mainly reflecting varying domestic administrative structures, sectoral interests, political prioritisations, and handling of potentially conflicting policy objectives. A fruitful distinction can be made between, on the one hand, regulatory institutions and structures above the state level where decision-making mechanisms are typically grounded in consensual regimes and, on the other hand, bilateral, issue-specific collaboration, typically between adjacent countries. It is argued that, to improve overall marine spatial planning governance, these two governance components need to be brought together to improve consistency between regional alignment and to enhance opportunities for countries to collaborate at lower levels. Issue-specific transnational working groups or workshops can be one way to identify and act upon such potential synergies.
The development of offshore wind energy and other competing interests in sea space are a major incentive for designating marine and coastal areas for specific human activities. Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) considers human activities at sea in a more integrated way by analysing and designating spatial and temporal distributions of human activities based on ecological, economic and social targets. However, specific tools supporting spatial decisions at sea incorporating all relevant sectors are rarely adopted. The decision support tool Marxan is traditionally used for systematic selection and designation of nature protection and conservation areas. In this study, Marxan was applied as a support tool to identify suitable sites for offshore wind power in the pilot area Pomeranian Bight / Arkona Basin in the western Baltic Sea. The software was successfully tested and scenarios were developed that support the sites indicated in existing national plans, but also show options for alternative developments of offshore wind power in the Pomeranian Bight / Arkona Basin area.
Disease outbreaks can have substantial impacts on wild populations, but the often patchy or anecdotal evidence of these impacts impedes our ability to understand outbreak dynamics. Recently however, a severe disease outbreak occurred in a group of very well-studied organisms–sea stars along the west coast of North America. We analyzed nearly two decades of data from a coordinated monitoring effort at 88 sites ranging from southern British Columbia to San Diego, California along with 2 sites near Sitka, Alaska to better understand the effects of sea star wasting disease (SSWD) on the keystone intertidal predator, Pisaster ochraceus. Quantitative surveys revealed unprecedented declines of P. ochraceus in 2014 and 2015 across nearly the entire geographic range of the species. The intensity of the impact of SSWD was not uniform across the affected area, with proportionally greater population declines in the southern regions relative to the north. The degree of population decline was unrelated to pre-outbreak P. ochraceus density, although these factors have been linked in other well-documented disease events. While elevated seawater temperatures were not broadly linked to the initial emergence of SSWD, anomalously high seawater temperatures in 2014 and 2015 might have exacerbated the disease’s impact. Both before and after the onset of the SSWD outbreak, we documented higher recruitment of P. ochraceus in the north than in the south, and while some juveniles are surviving (as evidenced by transition of recruitment pulses to larger size classes), post-SSWD survivorship is lower than during pre-SSWD periods. In hindsight, our data suggest that the SSWD event defied prediction based on two factors found to be important in other marine disease events, sea water temperature and population density, and illustrate the importance of surveillance of natural populations as one element of an integrated approach to marine disease ecology. Low levels of SSWD-symptomatic sea stars are still present throughout the impacted range, thus the outlook for population recovery is uncertain.
Estimation of visibility bias is critical to accurately compute abundance of wild populations. The franciscana, Pontoporia blainvillei, is considered the most threatened small cetacean in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean. Aerial surveys are considered the most effective method to estimate abundance of this species, but many existing estimates have been considered unreliable because they lack proper estimation of correction factors for visibility bias. In this study, helicopter surveys were conducted to determine surfacing-diving intervals of franciscanas and to estimate availability for aerial platforms. Fifteen hours were flown and 101 groups of 1 to 7 franciscanas were monitored, resulting in a sample of 248 surface-dive cycles. The mean surfacing interval and diving interval times were 16.10 seconds (SE = 9.74) and 39.77 seconds (SE = 29.06), respectively. Availability was estimated at 0.39 (SE = 0.01), a value 16–46% greater than estimates computed from diving parameters obtained from boats or from land. Generalized mixed-effects models were used to investigate the influence of biological and environmental predictors on the proportion of time franciscana groups are visually available to be seen from an aerial platform. These models revealed that group size was the main factor influencing the proportion at surface. The use of negatively biased estimates of availability results in overestimation of abundance, leads to overly optimistic assessments of extinction probabilities and to potentially ineffective management actions. This study demonstrates that estimates of availability must be computed from suitable platforms to ensure proper conservation decisions are implemented to protect threatened species such as the franciscana.