We developed a linked land-sea modeling framework based on remote sensing and empirical data, which couples sediment export and coral reef models at fine spatial resolution. This spatially-explicit (60 × 60 m) framework simultaneously tracks changes in multiple benthic and fish indicators as a function of land-use and climate change scenarios. We applied this framework in Kubulau District, Fiji, to investigate the effects of logging, agriculture expansion, and restoration on coral reef resilience. Under the deforestation scenario, models projected a 4.5-fold sediment increase (>7,000 t. yr−1) coupled with a significant decrease in benthic habitat quality across 1,940 ha and a reef fish biomass loss of 60.6 t. Under the restoration scenario, models projected a small (<30 t. yr−1) decrease in exported sediments, resulting in a significant increase in benthic habitat quality across 577 ha and a fish biomass gain of 5.7 t. The decrease in benthic habitat quality and loss of fish biomass were greater when combining climate change and deforestation scenarios. We evaluated where land-use change and bleaching scenarios would impact sediment runoff and downstream coral reefs to identify priority areas on land, where conservation or restoration could promote coral reef resilience in the face of climate change.
Increased coastal development and rising sea levels as a result of continuing climate-change put coastal regions at risk from flooding and inundation. A common mitigation response is the construction and upgrade of hard coastal protection structures, such as breakwaters, seawalls, and groynes. The alteration of the coast, together with the introduction of novel materials into coastal waters can negatively impact adjacent habitats and associated organisms. The implementation of management plans that involve scientists, as well as a variety of other stakeholders offer an opportunity to minimise adverse effects to biodiversity or even enhance it, while still protecting infrastructure and people. This study examines the management of an Australian breakwater upgrade and the progressive design finding process, including stakeholder engagement, determination of assessment criteria, and environmental impact assessment. In the course of the latter, scientific research led to the rediscovery of a presumed extinct algal species, Nereia lophocladia, which created an additional challenge and temporarily halted the upgrade. To accommodate this, the breakwater design solution was modified to avoid any impacts on the algal population and, in order to maximise the species' survival, novel ecological engineering approaches were proposed as mitigation strategies. Our case study underpins the value of evidence-based conservation and cooperation among stakeholders as important tools for minimising ecological impacts from coastal infrastructure upgrades.
As the ocean has moved into the focus of the political discourse on the “blue economy“, ocean industry plays a key role in shaping “blue growth” as sustainable. However, little is known about the meaning of sustainability and the status of its implementation by corporations invested in the maritime economy. The present paper addresses this gap. Drawing on the discourse theory of Laclau and Mouffe (2001 ), the study explores the discourse on corporate sustainability. It was found that of 396 surveyed companies only 61 provide commitments to and reporting on the issue of sustainability. A detailed analysis of these companies showed that there has been a shift from a voluntary to a mandatory commitment to the concept as a direct consequence of being exposed to massive pressures to meet the expectations of their employees, customers and shareholders to prevent any harm to the environment, to save resources, and follow international regulations. It is argued that Laclau and Mouffe's discourse theory provides an approach to help to explain the practice of corporations in re-framing these challenges as an entrepreneurial opportunity to save costs, i.e. by avoiding fines, lawsuits, and clean-up costs, to optimize efficiency in all business sectors, to stay competitive, and to gain a better public image. The paper concludes that it is likely that the current efforts of companies with regard to the anticipated increases in the exploitation of marine resources will not be sufficient to preserve ocean health in the long run. However, there are corporate opportunities for strengthening the SDGs and contributing to a “sustainable blue growth”.
This paper presents a deterministic bioeconomic model in which the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) is not only a fisheries management tool but also introduced in order to provide tourism amenity benefits. The theoretical model is illustrated with analysis of the Nha Trang Bay (NTB) MPA in Khanh Hoa province in Vietnam, where the anchovy purse seine fishery is considered. An amenity value function of the NTB MPA is estimated from a discrete choice experiment among national tourists. A weighting parameter is added to the bioeconomic model to allow the establishment of a tradeoff between management preferences regarding the two sectors affected by the MPA, fisheries and tourism. Both the theoretical models and the empirical application show how the added amenity values affect optimal fishing practices as well as the identification of the optimal MPA size. Our applied analysis shows that contrary to the argument in most MPA studies with multiple stakeholders, the current management practice in Khanh Hoa prioritizes the fisheries sector heavily compared to tourism, despite high economic cost.
Multiple stresses adversely affect fish catch and livelihoods of marine fishermen. Perceptions regarding these stresses in the fishing community can vary, which can consequently determine adaptation responses. However, there are limited attempts to understand these perceptions and the factors which might be influencing them. This study, first, identifies the specific stresses impacting livelihoods of the fishing community in Maharashtra (India) through the literature and Focus Group Discussions. Thereafter, a household survey is used to examine the factors influencing the perceptions of these stresses. Further, a composite stress perception index, comprising of two factors representing climatic and non-climatic or general stresses, is built. The index suggests that a majority of the community perceive greater risks from the non-climatic stresses compared to changes in temperature and rain. It is found that the perception of stresses varies significantly with the regional background. However, the relation of various other socio-economic factors is not uniform with the perceptions of different stresses. This study is one of the first to comparatively analyze climatic and non-climatic stresses in fishing, and suggests the need for effective implementation of current policy measures to reduce the stresses along with awareness generation regarding impact of climate change in the community.
Mass media is a useful way to inform the public about marine conservation, however studies about its effectiveness are lacking. This research explores the role of mass media in the diffusion of marine conservation information. Coverage of marine environmental issues in the mass media are assessed for Chile using a diversity of sources, namely, newspaper and broadcast television. In addition, public interest about conservation topics was assessed using Google Trends for Chile. Results show that there is a relatively low coverage of marine news in broadcast television and in newspapers. During the last decade, internet searches show the interest in marine conservation issues decreased and the only conservation related term, whose search increased over time, is sustainability. There is a tendency towards an increase in the number of newspaper publications related to economic and business issues. There seems to be no strategy from the environmental ministry or research institutions focused on developing a storyline related to marine conservation news in the mass media. Results stress the need to develop a long-term communications plan in order to strengthen diffusion of marine environmental impacts and conservation issues through mass media
Assessing risks to marine ecosystems is critical due to their biological and economic importance, and because many have recently undergone regime shifts due to overfishing and environmental change. Yet defining collapsed ecosystem states, selecting informative indicators and reconstructing long-term marine ecosystem changes remains challenging. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems constitutes the global standard for quantifying risks to ecosystems and we conducted the first Red List assessment of an offshore marine ecosystem, focusing on the southern Benguela in South Africa. We used an analogous but collapsed ecosystem – the northern Benguela – to help define collapse in the southern Benguela and derived collapse thresholds with structured expert elicitation (i.e. repeatable estimation by expert judgment). To capture complex ecosystem dynamics and reconstruct historical ecosystem states, we used environmental indicators as well as survey-, catch- and model-based indicators. We listed the ecosystem in 1960 and 2015 as Endangered, with assessment outcomes robust to alternative model parametrizations. While many indicators improved between 1960 and 2015, seabird populations have suffered large declines since 1900 and remain at risk, pointing towards ongoing management priorities. Catch-based indicators often over-estimated risks compared to survey- and model-based indicators, warning against listing ecosystems as threatened solely based on indicators of pressure. We show that risk assessments provide a framework for interpreting data from indicators, ecosystem models and experts to inform the management of marine ecosystems. This work highlights the feasibility of conducting Red List of Ecosystems assessments for marine ecosystems.
Phytoplankton are an extremely important component of the functioning of ecosystems and climate regulation. Because concentrations of phytoplankton are highly patchy in both space and time, it is proposed that more consideration concerning the potential impact from human developments and activities on the service provision afforded by phytoplankton should be accounted for in marine management processes. The multiple species of primary producers provide important provisioning and regulating ecosystem services (ES) and form the basis of marine food-webs, supporting production of higher trophic levels (a provisioning ES), and act as a sink of CO2 (a climate regulation ES). Spatial and temporal patchiness in the production of phytoplankton can be related to patchiness in the provision of these ES. Patches of naturally high phytoplankton productivity should be afforded consideration within processes to assess environmental status, within marine spatial planning (including marine protected areas) and within sectoral licensing, with marine planning and licensing acting at scales most in harmony with scales of phytoplankton heterogeneity (meters to tens of kilometres). In this study, consideration of phytoplankton in marine management decision making has been reviewed. This paper suggests that potential impacts of maritime developments and activities on the natural patchiness of phytoplankton communities be included in management deliberations, and mitigation be considered. This affords opportunities for researchers to engage with management authorities to support ecosystems-based management. Doing so will assist in maintaining or achieving good environmental status and support further, reliant, ES.
Fisheries can have significant impacts on the structure and function of marine ecosystems, including impacts on habitats and non-target species. As a result, management agencies face growing calls to account for the ecosystem impacts of fishing, while navigating the political and economic interests of diverse stakeholders. This paper assesses the impacts of two specific factors on the attitudes and well-being of shrimp fishers in the context of a selective fisheries closure designed to protect crabs in the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: (1) the species portfolios of fishers; and (2) democratic rulemaking. The results of this analysis suggest that shrimp fishers were more likely to support selective closures for the shrimp fishery if they also fished for crab, and felt they had an influence on the management of the fishery. The results further indicate that species portfolio diversification had a positive and statistically significant impact on the subjective economic well-being of fishers. This study contributes to an emerging literature on the human dimensions of ecosystem-based fisheries management, highlighting opportunities to address trade-offs in fisheries through species diversification and by enhancing the role and influence of fishers in management processes.
The world’s oceans supply food and livelihood to billions of people, yet species’ shifting geographic ranges and changes in productivity arising from climate change are expected to profoundly affect these benefits. We ask how improvements in fishery management can offset the negative consequences of climate change; we find that the answer hinges on the current status of stocks. The poor current status of many stocks combined with potentially maladaptive responses to range shifts could reduce future global fisheries yields and profits even more severely than previous estimates have suggested. However, reforming fisheries in ways that jointly fix current inefficiencies, adapt to fisheries productivity changes, and proactively create effective transboundary institutions could lead to a future with higher profits and yields compared to what is produced today.