Fishing activity in waters beyond national jurisdiction generates multiple management issues, such as data poor fisheries, management of straddling fish stocks and lack of impact assessments on deep-sea Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs). Fishing strategy is the key to understanding and managing high seas fisheries, targeting highly migratory resources that are widely distributed. An international fleet, including Spanish flag bottom trawlers, operates along the Patagonian shelf in Southwest Atlantic waters, which includes an unregulated strip of continental shelf beyond national jurisdiction. The Spanish fleet's fishing strategy was analyzed, and based on on-board observer data collected from 1989 to 2015, three main fishing seasons were identified: a first season mainly targeting Argentinean squid (Illex argentinus) from January to March, a second season targeting hake (Merluccius hubbsi) from April to August, and a third season from September to December showing an opportunistic and heterogeneous behavior. Findings were framed within current knowledge on resource distribution. A preliminary observation of the inter-annual CPUE rates of target species during their respective fishing seasons highlights the possible existence of species linkages and bioclimatic cycles which may affect species distribution and abundance in the area and might require future research. Even if current fishing activity from the Spanish fleet does not overlap deep-water VMEs, any slight change in the fishing strategy to deeper waters (i.e. the fleet targeting high density I. argentinus areas below 300 m, or a change in the target species) would be critical for the conservation of VMEs in these waters.
Ocean acidification may pose a major threat to commercial fisheries, especially those for calcifying shellfish species. This study was undertaken to estimate the potential economic costs resulting from ocean acidification on UK wild capture and aquaculture shellfish production. Applying the net present value (NPV) and partial equilibrium (PE) models, we estimate both direct and economy-wide economic losses of shellfish production by 2100. Estimates using the NPV method show that the direct potential losses due to reduced shellfish production range from 14% to 28% of fishery NPV. This equates to annual economic losses of between ö3 and ö6 billion of the UK’s GDP in 2013, for medium and high emission scenarios. Results using the PE model showed the total loss to the UK economy from shellfish production and consumption ranging from ö23–ö88 million. The results from both the direct valuation and predicted estimate for the economic losses on shellfish harvest indicate that there are regional variations due to different patterns of shellfish wild-capture and aquaculture, and the exploitation of species with differing sensitivities to ocean acidification. These results suggest that the potential economic losses vary depending on the chosen valuation method. This analysis is also partial as it did not include a wider group of species in early-life-stages or predator-prey effects. Nevertheless, findings show that the economic losses to the UK and its devolved administrations due to ocean acidification could be substantial. We conclude that addressing ocean acidification with the aim of preserving commercially valuable shellfish resources will require regional, national or international solutions using a combined approach to reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions and shift in focus to exploit species that are less vulnerable to ocean acidification.
Aquatic ecosystems are of global importance for maintaining high levels of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and for the number of livelihoods dependent on them. In Bangladesh, coastal and delta communities rely on these systems for a livelihood, and the sustainability of the productivity is seriously threatened by both climate change and unsustainable management. These multiple drivers of change shape the livelihood dependence and adaptation responses, where a better understanding is needed to achieve sustainable management in these systems, while maintaining and improving dependent livelihoods. This need has been addressed in this study in the region of Satkhira, in the southwest coast of Bangladesh, where livelihoods are highly dependent on aquatic systems for food supply and income. Traditional wild fish harvest in the rivers and aquaculture systems, including ghers, ponds, and crab points have been changing in terms of the uses and intensity of management, and suffering from climate change impacts as well. By means of six focus groups with 50 participants total, and validated by expert consultations, we conduct an analysis to understand the main perceived impacts from climate and human activities; and the adaptation responses from the aquatic system livelihoods. We find that biodiversity has decreased drastically, while farmed species have increased and shrimp gher farming turned more intensive becoming the main source of income. All these changes have important implications for food supply in the region and environmental sustainability. Dramatic responses taken in the communities include exit the fisheries and migration, and more adaptive responses include species diversification, crab fattening and working more on the pond and gherinfrastructure. This study evidences the results of the combination of multiple stressors in productive systems and the barriers to adaptation in aquatic ecosystem dependent communities.
Increasing maritime traffic in the Arctic has heightened the oil spill-related risks in this highly sensitive environment. To quantitatively assess these risks, we need knowledge about both the vulnerability and sensitivity of the key Arctic functional groups that may be affected by spilled oil. However, in the Arctic these data are typically scarce or lacking altogether. To compensate for this limited data availability, we propose the use of a probabilistic expert elicitation methodology, which we apply to seals, anatids, and seabirds. Our results suggest that the impacts of oil vary between functional groups, seasons, and oil types. Overall, the impacts are least for seals and greatest for anatids. Offspring seem to be more sensitive than adults, the impact is greatest in spring, and medium and heavy oils are the most harmful oil types. The elicitation process worked well, yet finding enough skilled and motivated experts proved to be difficult.
Both Venice and Miami are highly vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change. We examine the two cities´ biophysical environments, their socioeconomic bases, the legal and administrative structures, and their vulnerabilities and responses to sea level rise and flooding. Based on this information we critically compare the different adaptive responses of Venice and Miami and suggest what each city may learn from the other, as well as offer lessons for other vulnerable coastal cities.
Remote coastal communities often lack direct exposure to tourism activities, resulting in low levels of awareness of tourism. Low levels of awareness and limited understanding of tourism may nullify meaningful participation in widely advocated tourism planning and development strategies, such as community-based tourism (CBT). This paper presents data from a research project that sought to explore the viability of tourism as a development strategy for remote fishing communities in the Philippines. Interviews revealed that awareness of tourism within two remote coastal communities in the Philippines was minimal. These results indicate the limited potential for effective and meaningful participation by locals in tourism development planning as called for by the CBT strategy. Thus, the discussion focuses on theoretical and alternative approaches to tourism development when tourism awareness levels are lacking. As a consequence, a new approach, the Social Entrepreneurship Tourism Model, is proposed, to address the shortcomings of CBT for remote fishing communities with low tourism awareness levels as defined by this study.
Persistent plastics, with an estimated lifetime for degradation of hundreds of years in marine conditions, can break up into micro- and nanoplastics over shorter timescales, thus facilitating their uptake by marine biota throughout the food chain. These polymers may contain chemical additives and contaminants, including some known endocrine disruptors that may be harmful at extremely low concentrations for marine biota, thus posing potential risks to marine ecosystems, biodiversity and food availability. Although there is still need to carry out focused scientific research to fill the knowledge gaps about the impacts of plastic litter in the marine environment (Wagner et al. in Environ Sci Eur 26:9, 2014), the food chain and human health, existing scientific evidence and concerns are already sufficient to support actions by the scientific, industry, policy and civil society communities to curb the ongoing flow of plastics and the toxic chemicals they contain into the marine environment. Without immediate strong preventive measures, the environmental impacts and the economic costs are set only to become worse, even in the short term. Continued increases in plastic production and consumption, combined with wasteful uses, inefficient waste collection infrastructures and insufficient waste management facilities, especially in developing countries, mean that even achieving already established objectives for reductions in marine litter remains a huge challenge, and one unlikely to be met without a fundamental rethink of the ways in which we consume plastics. This document was prepared by a working group of Regional Centres of the Stockholm and Basel Conventions and related colleagues intended to be a background document for discussion in the 2017 Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Basel Convention on hazardous wastes and the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The COP finally approved that the issue of plastic waste could be dealt by its Regional Centres and consistently report their activities on the matter to next COP’s meetings.
Utilization of marine and terrestrial protected areas is fundamentally important for their acceptance and success. Yet even appropriate uses can negatively impact resources requiring managers to make decisions as to when the impacts become unacceptably large. These decisions can be difficult because the level at which impacts occur may be far below the level at which resource persistence is threatened. In Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, managers must make a recurring decision regarding the number of cruise ships that are allowed to enter the park each year. Cruise ships bring >95% of all visitors to the park but have been involved in several lethal collisions (ship strikes) with humpback whales. Using an individual-based simulation model, we demonstrate that increasing the annual ship volume from current to maximum allowable levels would have negligible impacts on population growth of whales. Over the next 30 years the median number of collisions would likely increase from 3 (95% CI: 0–7) to 4 (1–8) or, worst case scenario, from 5 (0–7) to 8 (3−13), while median annual growth rates would, at most, shift from 4.4% (3.7%–5.2%) to 4.2% (3.5%–4.9%), depending upon assumptions. By comparison, a median of 67 (50–82) ship strikes would need to occur over the next 30 years to threaten the persistence of whales. Confronted with an impact level that is far below what would threaten the conservation of whales, managers are tasked with the decision of placing values on 2 million additional visitors for every additional dead whale. We argue that decision-making related to use-impact trade-offs for protected areas could be more consistent and effective if site-values are defined explicitly, clearly communicated among stakeholders, and linked to biological metrics. Protected areas managers can then utilize monitoring programs to evaluate management effectiveness when the objective is conserving both resources and values.
The competition for marine space is a recognized challenge, and the implementation of new activities, such as those emerging from Blue Growth initiatives, may amplify this competition. The marine spatial planning (MSP) framework requires decision makers to analyse spatially explicit environmental and socio-economic data to determine where user conflicts are or might emerge and consider several potential management scenarios. In the present research, a spatially explicit Bayesian belief network (BBN) was applied for this purpose. The BBN was developed to analyse the potential reallocation of artisanal fishing effort to alternative sites due to the introduction of a new, non-take area: an offshore aquaculture site along the Basque continental shelf. The constructed model combined discrete, operational fisheries data, continuous environmental data, and expert judgment to produce fishing activity suitability maps for three different métiers (longlines, nets and traps). The BBN was run with various effort reallocation scenarios for each metier, and the best alternative fishing locations were identified based on environmental suitability, past revenue, and past fishing presence. The closure had a lesser effect on net and longline activity, displacing 10% and 7% of local fishing effort respectively. Comparatively, 50% of all local effort by traps took place within the closed grounds, and few alternative sites were identified. Nets were found to have the greatest number of alternative fishing grounds surrounding the aquaculture site. The present research demonstrates how BBNs can support spatially explicit scenario building and user-user conflict analysis for sustainable and successful ecosystem-based marine spatial planning.
Stakeholder involvement plays a crucial role within Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and is considered beneficial for gaining trust and knowledge and reducing conflicts. Nevertheless, disagreement and opposition among stakeholders and lack of manager experiences in participatory approaches have caused delays in ICM processes. A major challenge is to systematically guide target oriented discussions of heterogenic groups in order to reach consensus decisions based on sustainability objectives. Hence, this research aims to provide a stakeholder preference and planning tool that can be used to support participatory processes. For this, the DeCyDe-4-Sustainability methodology was tested and built upon. Seventeen applications with coastal experts, graduate students and stakeholders of ICM initiatives were carried out, which showed how the methodology can be adjusted and used for guiding stakeholder discussions systematically and generating a common understanding, for raising awareness about sustainability and evaluating concrete measures using success criteria. With a sound preparation, adaptation to local needs and combination with an indicator-based evaluation, the methodology can be applied to guide stakeholder involvement processes within ICM. The System Approach Framework (SAF) with its stepwise approach from the issue identification to the implementation of a solution and evaluation of success was found to serve as a suitable frame. Hereby, the modified stakeholder preference and planning tool can guide discussions from generating a general view of an area and problems therein, down to the selection and evaluation of concrete measures to tackle the problem and its effects on a larger level and contribution to a sustainable coastal development.