Puffers are biologically and ecologically fascinating fishes best known for their unique morphology and arsenal of defenses including inflation and bioaccumulation of deadly neurotoxins. These fishes are also commercially, culturally, and ecologically important in many regions. One-hundred-and-fifty-one species of marine puffers were assessed against the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Criteria at a 2011 workshop held in Xiamen, China. Here we present the first comprehensive review of puffer geographic and depth distribution, use and trade, and habitats and ecology and a summary of the global conservation status of marine puffers, determined by applying the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Criteria. The majority (77%) of puffers were assessed as Least Concern, 15% were Data Deficient, and 8% were threatened (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable) or Near Threatened. Of the threatened species, the majority are limited-ranging habitat specialists which are primarily affected by habitat loss due to climate change and coastal development. However, one threatened puffer (Takifugu chinensis – CR) and four Near Threatened puffers, also in the genus Takifugu (which contains 24 species total), are wide-ranging habitat generalists which are commercially targeted in the international puffer trade. A disproportionate number of species of conservation concern are found along the coast of eastern Asia, from Japan to the South China Sea, with the highest concentration in the East China Sea. Better management of fishing and other conservation efforts are needed for commercially fished Takifugu species in this region. Taxonomic issues within the Tetraodontidae confound accurate reporting and produce a lack of resolution in species distributions. Resolution of taxonomy will enable more accurate assessment of the conservation status of many Data-Deficient puffers.
As international pressure for marine protection has increased, Scotland has increased spatial protection through the development of a Marine Protected Area(MPA) network. Few MPA networks to date have included specific considerations of climate change in the design, monitoring or management of the network. The Scottish MPA network followed a feature-led approach to identify a series of MPAs across the Scottish marine area and incorporated the diverse views of many different stakeholders. This feature led approach has led to wide ranging opinions and understandings regarding the success of the MPA network. Translating ideas of success into a policy approach whilst also considering how climate change may affect these ideas of success is a complex challenge. This paper presents the results of a Delphi process that aimed to facilitate clear communication between academics, policy makers and stakeholders in order to identify specific climate change considerations applicable to the Scottish MPA network. This study engaged a group of academic and non-academic stakeholders to discuss potential options that could be translated into an operational process for management of the MPA network. The results of Delphi process discussion are presented with the output of a management matrix tool, which could aid in future decisions for MPA management under scenarios of climate change.
Effective ecosystem-based fishery management involves assessment of foraging interactions among consumers, including upper level predators such as marine birds and humans. Of particular value is information on predator energetic and consumption demands and how they vary in response to the often volatile dynamics of forage populations, as well as the factors that affect forage availability and potential prey switching. We examined the prey requirements of common murre (Uria aalge), Brandt's cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus), and rhinoceros auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) in the central California Current over a 30-year period, 1986–2015. We developed a bioenergetics model that incorporates species-specific values for daily basic energy needs, diet composition, energy content of prey items and assimilation efficiency, and then projected results relative to stock size and levels of commercial take of several species. The most common forage species consumed were juvenile rockfish (Sebastesspp.), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax), smelt (Osmeridae), and market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens). Total biomass of forage species consumed during the breeding season varied annually from 8500 to >60,000 metric ton (t). Predator population size and diet composition had the greatest influence on overall prey consumption. The most numerous forage species consumed in a given year was related to abundance estimates of forage species derived from an independent ecosystem assessment survey within the central place foraging range of breeding avian predators. The energy density of dominant prey consumed annually affected predator energy expenditure during chick rearing and whether prey switching was required. Increased forage species take by predators, as revealed by seabirds, may be adding consumptive pressure to key forage fish populations, regardless of the potential additional impacts of commercial fisheries. Improving estimates of consumption by predators and fisheries will promote more effective management from an ecosystem perspective.
Shoreline recession due to the combined effect of waves, tides and sea level rise is increasingly becoming a major threat to beaches, one of the main assets of seaside tourist destinations. Given such an uncertain future climate and the climate-sensitive nature of many decisions that affect the long term, there is a growing need to shift current approaches towards probabilistic frameworks able to take uncertainty into account. This study contributes to climate change research by exploring the effects of erosion on the recreation value of beaches as a key indicator in the tourism sector. The new paradigm relates eroded sand to geographic and socioeconomic aspects and other physical settings, including beach type, quality and accesses, yielding monetary estimates of risk in probabilistic terms. Additionally, we look into policy implications regarding tourism management, adaptation and risk reduction. The methodology was implemented in 57 beaches in Asturias (north of Spain).
Marine mammal welfare has most frequently been a topic of discussion in reference to captive animals. However, humans have altered the marine environment in such dramatic and varied ways that the welfare of wild marine mammals is also important to consider as most current publications regarding anthropogenic impacts focus on population-level effects. While the preservation of the species is extremely important, so too are efforts to mitigate the pain and suffering of marine mammals affected by noise pollution, chemical pollution, marine debris, and ever-increasing numbers of vessels. The aim of this review is to define welfare for wild marine mammals and to discuss a number of key anthropogenic effects that are currently impacting their welfare.