Compliance with a policy, law, standard or code requires understanding of its provisions. However, for someone to understand it, he must be aware of its existence and be provided access to it. A qualitative-quantitative research was conducted to determine the awareness of milkfish farmers about the Philippine Code of Practice for Aquaculture in the municipalities of Leganes and Zarraga, Iloilo Province, the Philippines and their information-seeking behaviors. Results revealed that the majority of the respondents were not aware of the existence of the Code, hence, there is a low level of compliance. When seeking everyday life information, the majority of the milkfish farmers depended on television, personal or person-to-person communication and radio, while when seeking for fish farming information, personal communication was the preferred source. None of the respondents was aware of the existence of their municipal libraries.
Coral and macroalgal communities are threatened by global stressors. However, recently reported community shifts from temperate macroalgae to tropical corals offer conservation potential for corals at the expense of macroalgae under climate warming. Although such community shifts are expanding geographically, our understanding of the driving processes is still limited. Here, we reconstruct long-term climate-driven range shifts in 45 species of macroalgae, corals, and herbivorous fishes from over 60 years of records (mainly 1950–2015), stretching across 3,000 km of the Japanese archipelago from tropical to subarctic zones. Based on a revised coastal version of climate velocity trajectories, we found that prediction models combining the effects of climate and ocean currents consistently explained observed community shifts significantly better than those relying on climate alone. Corals and herbivorous fishes performed better at exploiting opportunities offered by this interaction. The contrasting range dynamics for these taxa suggest that ocean warming is promoting macroalgal-to-coral shifts both directly by increased competition from the expansion of tropical corals into the contracting temperate macroalgae, and indirectly via deforestation by the expansion of tropical herbivorous fish. Beyond individual species’ effects, our results provide evidence on the important role that the interaction between climate warming and external forces conditioning the dispersal of organisms, such as ocean currents, can have in shaping community-level responses, with concomitant changes to ecosystem structure and functioning. Furthermore, we found that community shifts from macroalgae to corals might accelerate with future climate warming, highlighting the complexity of managing these evolving communities under future climate change.
Recreational fisheries can have a significant impact on fish populations and can suffer from the same symptoms of open access as commercial fisheries. However, recreational fisheries receive little attention compared with their commercial counterparts. Regulations designed to allocate scarce fish, such as seasonal closures and bag limits, can result in significant losses of value to anglers. We provide an estimate of these foregone benefits by estimating the potential gains to implementing management reforms of the headboat portion of the recreational red snapper fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico. This fishery has suffered from a regulatory spiral of shortened seasons and lowered bag limits in spite of rebuilding stocks. We gather primary survey data of headboat anglers that elicit trip behavior and their planned number and seasonal distribution of trips under status-quo and alternative management approaches. We use these data to estimate a model of anglers’ seasonal trip demand as a function of the ability to retain red snapper, bag limits, and fees. We find that a hypothetical rights-based policy, whereby vessels with secure rights to a portion of annual catch could offer their customers year-round fishing in exchange for lower per-angler retention and increased fees, could raise the average angler’s welfare by $139/y. When placed in the global context of recreational fishing, these estimates suggest that status-quo management may deprive anglers of billions of dollars of lost economic value per year.
Area-based management tools (ABMTs), including marine protected areas (MPAs) are widely recognized as a key mechanism for conserving and restoring biodiversity. The developing international legally-binding instrument (ILBI) on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) is considering a range of approaches to ABMTs. While the process is still in early stages, this paper looks ahead to anticipate implementation challenges for ABMTs, given previous experiences with regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and high seas MPAs. Drawing on the implementation of MPAs under the OSPAR Convention and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR), key suggestions revolve around: (1) improving the evidence basis for protecting BBNJ, (2) designing effective compliance and enforcement mechanisms, and (3) engaging adequately with relevant stakeholders. In addition to the case studies, which are primarily marine pollution and fishing-oriented, considerations related to mitigating the effects of deep sea mining and the harvesting of marine genetic resources are also touched upon.
Policies to conserve sharks have generally struggled to gain broad public support. Ecotourism programs have been suggested as a way to promote support for conservation by increasing participants’ knowledge of ecology, fostering positive environmental attitudes, and driving increases in conservation behaviour. Yet the evidence is mixed, and some argue that its effectiveness is constrained by the “ceiling effect”, i.e., people attracted to ecotourism programs are already environmentally minded, thus their participation does not result in meaningful conservation gains. Surveys of 547 tour participants in a cage free shark diving ecotourism program and 488 members of the general public were conducted in Hawaii to test whether the program resulted in conservation benefits or whether it was constrained by the ceiling effect. The results show evidence of the ceiling effect, suggesting that the program is attracting more environmentally minded participants. Despite this, tour participants reported a significant increase in knowledge regarding the ecological role of sharks and improved attitudes towards sharks after the tour compared to before. Critically, once responses from tour participants and the general public were pooled and previous engagement in conservation was controlled for, participation in the tour still had a significant positive effect on intentions to engage in shark conservation in the future, suggesting that the program does result in meaningful conservation gains. The usefulness of the information provided on the tour in addition to participants’ age, gender, and satisfaction with the tour all played a role in determining its effectiveness as a conservation strategy.
There are many marine protected areas (MPAs) containing coral reef aggregations in the eastern Pacific region. However, the connectivity of corals between MPAs is still poorly known, especially in the Marine Conservation Corridor of the Eastern Tropical Pacific (MCCETP). Here, we assess the potential connectivity of corals across equatorial eastern Pacific MPAs through a Lagrangian particle-tracking algorithm coupled offline with an ocean-circulation numerical model. Connectivity metrics and graph theory were used to analyze the networks and highlight those MPAs that are critical for maintaining the connectivity of corals across the region. Our results show that the equatorial eastern Pacific MPAs form a relatively well-connected network, at least 40% of coral larvae released per year end up within the boundaries of an MPA. MPAs like Malpelo and Gorgona islands included in the MCCETP were found to be critical for connectivity of corals because of their high betweenness centrality and potential role as stepping-stones between coastal MPAs and offshore MPAs such as the Galapagos Islands. Two pelagic larval duration (PLD) scenarios (40 and 130 days) indicate a quasi-unidirectional larval flow from coastal MPAs toward oceanic MPAs, where the only resilient MPAs (Coiba and Malpelo islands) depend mostly on subsidiary recruitment from MPAs located along the coast of Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. In the two PLD scenarios, Cocos Island maintains a very low resilience potential. Our results indicate the imperative need to include coastal MPAs in the MCCETP network initiative, since connectivity and resilience of coral reefs in the equatorial eastern Pacific region rely heavily on coastal MPAs.
Oil spills at sea remain a serious threat to coastal settlements and sensitive ecosystems. Although the impacts of spills are contingent upon a variety of environmental factors and the chemical composition of the oil itself, spill effects can be long lasting in the pelagic zone with broad impacts on sensitive bacterial, microbial, plant, and animal communities. Efforts to contain, deflect, protect, and mitigate the effects of oil are increasingly important, given the massive social, economic, and environmental fallout connected to large spills. The purpose of this paper is to provide geographic perspective for protecting coastal areas with exclusion booms during oil spill events. Specifically, we introduce a generalized, extendable, spatial optimization model that simultaneously minimizes spill effects on vulnerable shorelines and the total costs associated with dispatching booms. The multiobjective model is solved with a weighting method to produce a Pareto optimal curve that reveals how the costs and protection operations change under different priorities. A simulated tanker spill near Mobile Bay, AL, USA, is used as an illustrative example.
Most large-scale conservation policies are anticipated or announced in advance. This risks the possibility of preemptive resource extraction before the conservation intervention goes into force. We use a high-resolution dataset of satellite-based fishing activity to show that anticipation of an impending no-take marine reserve undermines the policy by triggering an unintended race-to-fish. We study one of the world’s largest marine reserves, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), and find that fishers more than doubled their fishing effort once this area was earmarked for eventual protected status. The additional fishing effort resulted in an impoverished starting point for PIPA equivalent to 1.5 y of banned fishing. Extrapolating this behavior globally, we estimate that if other marine reserve announcements were to trigger similar preemptive fishing, this could temporarily increase the share of overextracted fisheries from 65% to 72%. Our findings have implications for general conservation efforts as well as the methods that scientists use to monitor and evaluate policy efficacy.
Oceanographers have an increasing responsibility to ensure that the outcomes of scientific research are conveyed to the policy-making sphere to achieve conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. Zooplankton monitoring projects have helped to increase our understanding of the processes by which marine ecosystems respond to climate change and other environmental variations, ranging from regional to global scales, and its scientific value is recognized in the contexts of fisheries, biodiversity and global change studies. Nevertheless, zooplankton data have rarely been used at policy level for conservation and management of marine ecosystems services. One way that this can be pragmatically and effectively achieved is via the development of zooplankton indicators, which could for instance contribute to filling in gaps in the suite of global indicators to track progress against the Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010–2020. This article begins by highlighting how under-represented the marine realm is within the current suite of global Aichi Target indicators. We then examine the potential to develop global indicators for relevant Aichi Targets, using existing zooplankton monitoring data, to address global biodiversity conservation challenges.
Recreational boating increases globally and associated moorings are often placed in vegetated habitats important for fish recruitment. Meanwhile, assessments of the effects of boating on vegetation, and potential effects on associated fish assemblages are rare. Here, we analysed (i) the effect of small-boat marinas on vegetation structure, and (ii) juvenile fish abundance in relation to vegetation cover in shallow wave-sheltered coastal inlets. We found marinas to have lower vegetation cover and height, and a different species composition, compared to control inlets. This effect became stronger with increasing berth density. Moreover, there was a clear positive relationship between vegetation cover and fish abundance. We conclude that recreational boating and related moorings are associated with reduced cover of aquatic vegetation constituting important habitats for juvenile fish. We therefore recommend that coastal constructions and associated boating should be allocated to more disturbance tolerant environments (e.g. naturally wave-exposed shores), thereby minimizing negative environmental impacts.