Although it has been established that there is a strong geographical component to conflicts, previous studies on Protected Area (PA) conflicts have tended to focus on assessing the underlying causes of PA conflicts without considering how these conflicts vary across development contexts. Our review therefore assessed the similarities and differences that characterise PA conflicts in developing and developed countries with the view to drawing the implications of the findings for management practice. We reviewed a total of 65 publications from an initial pool of 516 drawn from biological, ecological, social sciences as well as an emerging interdisciplinary literature in conservation conflict studies from 1993 to 2016. Results of this literature review indicate that: 1) the types of PA conflict, why they occur, where they occur and how they are managed varied between developed and developing countries and were determined by geographical location and specific socio-economic and cultural contexts; 2) while PA conflicts in developing countries were primarily driven by impacts on livelihoods, PA conflicts in developed countries were driven by social considerations including emotional, recreational and cultural values people attached to PAs; and 3) conflict management strategies that promoted participation of other stakeholders including local people in PA management and provided economic incentives to local people promoted cooperation and fostered the meeting of conservation goals while conflict management strategies which employed deterrent strategies such as guards, fencing and policing especially in developing countries often resulted in resentment and sometimes led to the escalation of the conflicts. Conflict management strategies must therefore take into consideration the differences in the context within which conflicts develop at various locations to inform the specific conflict management strategies to be applied.
Total mercury (Hg) and stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon were determined in the muscle tissue of 50 species of fishes and invertebrates collected at two sites along the Florida reef tract from April 2012 to December 2013. The objective was to test the hypothesis that high biodiversity in coral reefs leading to complex food webs with increased lateral links reduces biomagnification. However, Hg levels ranged as high 6.84 mg/kg. Interestingly, it was not highest in great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), considered the top predatory fish, but instead in small porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus), possibly due to their role as a cleaner fish. Trophic magnification slopes (TMS; from regression of log Hg on δ15N) as a measure of biomagnification did not differ between sites, ranging from 0.155 ± 0.04 (± 95% CI) to 0.201 ± 0.07. These TMS also were within the ranges of slopes reported for food webs in other ecosystems; thus, biomagnification of Hg in muscle tissue was not reduced in the system.
The role of traditional fishing institutions appears, paradoxically, to be waning despite scientific support and rhetoric about the value of fishers’ involvement in local marine management. Relational data of fishers have been used in this paper as a lens through which to explore the status of their participation in Marine Protected Area (MPA) management and to identify structural and contextual barriers to participation. Fieldwork was carried out during 2013–2015 in Cabo de Palos-Islas Hormigas MPA (CPH-MPA) using a mixed method approach involving the collection and analysis of data from institutional surveys and community meetings. The analysis shows that the fishers’ self-perception of having low influence in decision-making is consistent with the perception towards fishers of the wider social system. Several barriers and constraints to participation in CPH-MPA management are identified. The inefficient structure of the information exchange network further explained fishers’ feelings of distrust and marginalisation regarding decision-making. Understanding how structural barriers make it difficult to set in motion a collective learning process – necessary for an efficient decision-making process – breaks new ground for the design of interventions. Recommendations include clarifying the scope for participation in an appropriate institutional setting and careful consideration of the space in which dialogue takes place in order to integrate diverse knowledge and to acknowledge differential power relations.
Identifying priority areas for biodiversity conservation requires systematic approaches and integrated ecological and biological information. Here, we applied a range of ecological criteria to assess areas of biodiversity importance in the Coral Triangle region, a priority region for marine biodiversity conservation because of its high species richness and endemicity. We used distribution data of three biogenic habitats to assess the criterion of sensitive habitat, modeled geographic distributions of 10,672 species ranges and occurrence records of 19,251 species to evaluate the criterion of species richness, distributions of 834 species of special conservation concern to examine the criterion of species of conservation concern, distributions of 373 reef fish species to assess the criterion of restricted-range species, and distribution of nesting sites and migratory route of six species of sea turtle to evaluate the criterion of areas of importance for particular life history stages. We identified areas of biodiversity importance by superimposing each of the different criterion. We performed two tiers of multi-criteria analysis: (1) a Coral Triangle regional level analysis to identify “clustered hotspots” (i.e., groups of cells) of biodiversity significance, and (2) a site-based analysis to identify the specific sites (cells) of greatest biodiversity importance. We found that approximately 13% of the Coral Triangle was clustered into hotspots of high biodiversity importance. These areas occurred along the southern part of the Philippines, the north-eastern part of Malaysian Sabah, central to eastern reaches of Indonesia, the eastern part of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. By comparison, the site-based analysis identified seven sites of highest biodiversity importance in the Coral Triangle include: (1) the northern tip of Sulawesi Island, (2) Ambon Island, (3) Kei Islands, (4) Raja Ampat Archipelago of Indonesian Papua, (5) the Verde Island Passage, (6) the southern part of Negros Island, and (7) Cebu Island. This information is useful to inform participatory decision-making processes in the Coral Triangle region to identify priority areas for conservation and management.
We conduct a framed field experiment in Indonesian fishing communities, with an eye toward evaluating alternative decision-making processes for setting extraction restrictions to preserve coral reef fisheries in the absence of stringent monitoring and enforcement. We explore whether the individual extraction decision varies according to three non-binding recommended extraction levels originating from (1) a democratic process, (2) a group leader or (3) an external source. For the sample as a whole, we find a strong effect of the external treatment, with a weaker effect of the democratic treatment and no effect of the leadership treatment. Closer inspection reveals that the results are driven by one of the three sites where the experiment was conducted – that having the highest levels of ethnic and religious diversity. There we find that democratic decision-making as well as information originating from outside the community reduces the extraction level, a result that is robust to regressions controlling for individual and community attributes. The absence of effects in two of the three sites suggests that a non-binding recommendation may often be insufficient in promoting the cooperative behavior that underpins contemporary approaches to managing coral reefs.
Results of this research focuses on microplastic contents (levels, type, size, colour) in maricultured and natural mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from different Italian stocks. No significant differences were found among maricultured and natural stocks. All recovered MPs are filaments ranging within 750–6000 μm of maximum length (average values 1150–2290 μm). Feeding raw mussel could produce median MP intakes of 6.2–7.2 items/g w.w. Concerning human exposure by diet, both raw and cooked values are important. Some preliminary tests performed in this study evidenced that the cooking process determined lower MPs levels (−14%) in cooked tissues compared to raw ones, MPs were recorded in cooking water and were characterized by a lower size than in raw mussels. Results obtained by this study represent an important baseline on MPs level to evaluate environmental and human exposure risks by diet.
To understand and predict current and future distributions of animals under a changing climate it is essential to establish historical ranges as baselines against which distribution shifts can be assessed. Management approaches also require comprehension of temporal variability in spatial distributions that can occur over shorter time scales, such as inter-annually or seasonally. Focussing on the Southern Ocean, one of the most rapidly changing environments on Earth, we used Species Distribution Models (SDMs) and satellite ocean data to reconstruct the likely historical foraging habitats of Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) from three populations during the non-breeding winter (Marion Island, Bird Island and Cape Shirreff), to assess whether habitat quality has changed in recent decades. We then quantified temporal variability in distributions to assess overlap with management areas (CCAMLR – Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) and the potential for competition with fisheries. Despite notable physical ocean changes, the quality of foraging habitat during the non-breeding season has remained relatively consistent over 20 years at Marion and Bird Islands, but less so at Cape Shirreff, where reduced sea ice cover has improved habitat accessibility. Spatio-temporally explicit SDMs identified variability in habitats across the winter. Some areas overlapped significantly with fisheries activities, suggesting a potential for competition for prey resources at several key periods. A significant component of core habitat at all populations was not within the CCAMLR Convention Area. Although organisations such as CCAMLR adopt a precautionary, ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, changes to the physical environment and developments in the fishing industry can affect how dependant species are impacted. The hindcasting of historical spatial distributions shown here are baselines against which future changes can be assessed. Given recent proposals for a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean, our results can be used in the design and evaluation of MPAs, be they static or dynamic. Our study also demonstrates that the core habitat of species may fall outside of areas of active management, providing an important context for the interpretation of monitoring programs and management efforts.
The availability of marine habitats maps remains limited due to difficulty and cost of working at sea. Reduced light penetration in the water hampers the use of optical imagery, and acoustic methods require extensive sea-truth activities. Predictive spatial modelling may offer an alternative to produce benthic habitat maps based on complete acoustic coverage of the seafloor together with a comparatively low number of sea truths. This approach was applied to the coralligenous reefs of the Marine Protected Area of Tavolara - Punta Coda Cavallo (NE Sardinia, Italy). Fuzzy clustering, applied to a set of observations made by scuba diving and used as sea truth, allowed recognising five coralligenous habitats, all but one existing within EUNIS (European Nature Information System) types. Variable importance plots showed that the distribution of habitats was driven by distance from coast, depth, and lithotype, and allowed mapping their distribution over the MPA. Congruence between observed and predicted distributions and accuracy of the classification was high. Results allowed calculating the occurrence of the distinct coralligenous habitats in zones with different protection level. The five habitats are unequally protected since the protection regime was established when detailed marine habitat maps were not available. A SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis was performed to identify critical points and potentialities of the method. The method developed proved to be reliable and the results obtained will be useful when modulating on-going and future management actions in the studied area and in other Mediterranean MPAs to develop conservation efforts at basin scale.
Regulations for boaters can help mitigate adverse effects on threatened marine mammals. One management tool to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales is a 460-m distance restriction rule for all vessels. This study is the first effort to analyze factors that influence recreational boaters’ intentions to comply with this regulation. Using the theory of planned behavior, we analyzed 362 mail surveys of recreational boaters using the offshore waters of the southeastern United States. We found that two constructs of the theory significantly explained 58% of the intention to comply with the rule: (1) positive attitude toward the rule and (2) stronger belief that other people are complying. Boaters recommended increasing knowledge about whales to improve compliance, but they were divided with respect to increasing fines for violators to increase compliance. This information can be useful for designing outreach strategies to protect whales.
Sea ice throughout the Arctic is undergoing profound and rapid change. While ice conditions in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago have historically been more stable than conditions in the open ocean, a growing body of evidence indicates that the major thoroughfares in much of the western and central Canadian Arctic, including the Northwest Passage, are increasingly vulnerable to climatic forcing events. This is confirmed by the observations of Inuit elders and experienced hunters in the communities of Cambridge Bay, a hamlet along Dease Strait, and Kugluktuk, a hamlet situated at the mouth of the Coppermine River where it meets Coronation Gulf. People in these hamlets now face new navigational challenges due to sea-ice change. Navigation practices described by elders and hunters reflect an intimate knowledge of the land and ice topography, currents, and weather conditions for hundreds of kilometers around their communities, although people reported increasing unpredictable weather and ice conditions, making travel more treacherous. Many emphasized the importance of traditional knowledge and survival skills as necessary to adapt to ongoing and impending changes. They expressed particular concern that younger generations are untrained in traditional navigation practices, landscape- and weather-reading abilities, and survival practices. However, elders and hunters also stressed the need for more localized weather information derived from weather stations to help with navigation, as current weather and ice conditions are unprecedented in their lifetimes.