Understanding the perspectives of knowledge users and the demands of their decision-making environment would benefit researchers looking to enhance the utility of the knowledge they generate. Using the Fraser River Pacific salmon fishery as a case study, we investigate the views of 49 government employees and stakeholders regarding the barriers to incorporating new knowledge into fisheries management. Our study uses analysis of qualitative data structured by a knowledge–action framework, which revealed that 90% of respondents perceived the contextual dimension (e.g., institutional structures and norms) as a barrier for incorporating new knowledge, followed by barriers related to the characteristics of knowledge actors (52% of respondents), characteristics of the knowledge (27%), time and timing (27%), knowledge transfer strategies (17%), and relational dimension (8%). The identified barriers have indirect–direct relationship with knowledge producers and appear hierarchical in nature. We note that informal relationships can enable conditions whereby knowledge users can access new knowledge, and knowledge producers can gain insights on users’ needs. We discuss lessons learned from the case, which we believe can be applied more beyond fisheries.
We combined different data sources to analyse key changes in the shellfisheries of Galicia (NW Spain). The shellfishing capacity of this region, a major fishing power in Europe, has been severely reduced in recent decades. The number of vessels has fallen by 13%, vessel length, capacity and engine power have decreased by 10%, 7% and 3%, respectively, while the number of on-foot shellfishers has halved. Landings and sale value of shellfish species have declined in the last decade by 16% and by 13%, respectively. This decline follows a period of recovery from the mid-1980s, when coastal fishery management were transferred from the Spanish to the regional government. Production of local clam species has been progressively abandoned in favour of the foreign Japanese carpet shell Ruditapes philippinarum, leading to losses in sales value and increasing market risks. Overfishing, poaching, degradation of habitats, pollution, disease outbreaks and ocean warming may be responsible for the drop in landings and sales value of key species like edible cockle Cerastoderma edule and Atlantic goose barnacle Pollicipes pollicipes. Despite the development of new fisheries, e.g. algae, anemone and polychaete harvesting, the overall declining trend has important socioecological implications for Galician society, because of the traditional link between shellfishing and coastal communities. The socioecological sustainability of this sector requires policies to be developed by the regional government regarding the support of multidisciplinary research and surveillance, increase control over pollution and poaching, a greater focus on the production of native species and the strengthening of co-management frameworks.
In the French West Indies (Caribbean), the insecticide Chlordecone (CLD) has been extensively used to reduce banana weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) infestations in banana plantations. Previous studies have shown high CLD concentrations in freshwater and coastal communities of the region. CLD concentrations, however, have not yet been assessed in marine top predators. We investigated CLD concentrations in cetacean blubber tissues from Guadeloupe, including Physeter macrocephalus, Lagenodelphis hosei, Stenella attenuataand Pseudorca crassidens. Chlordecone was detected in all blubber samples analysed, with the exception of four P. macrocephalus. Concentrations (range: 1 to 329 ng·g−1 of lipid weight) were, however, lower than those found in species from fresh and brackish water. Ecological factors (open ocean habitat), CLD kinetics, and cetacean metabolism (high or specific enzymatic activity) might explain low concentrations found in cetacean blubber. Future analyses that include internal organ sampling would help to confirm CLD levels observed in this study.
Recent decades have seen an increasing emphasis on (re)structuring marine governance regulation to fit relevant natural systems in terms of scale and spatial scope, and thus also on the delimitation of spatial units. Being at the heart of ecosystem based management, this focus on the relationship between scale and space in nature and in regulatory systems necessitates an increased awareness of the use of spatial and scale-related concepts in marine governance regulation. Using the regulatory context of the Baltic Sea as the focal point, this article examines concepts central to marine governance such as ‘ecosystem’, ‘water body’ and ‘marine waters’. It investigates how changes in the physical environment are reflected in the legal concepts, but also how these concepts affect the understanding or definition of the ‘natural’ phenomena ostensibly representing the scales on which the regulatory system should be premised.
Inland aquatic ecosystems play an important part in the delivery and support of ecosystem services. However, these ecosystems are subject to stressors associated with human activities such as invasive species introduction and landscape alteration. There is a delicate balance between maintaining good status of the ecosystem whilst meeting the needs of those stakeholders dependent on the ecosystem services it supplies, and where there are many different stakeholders, each with different aspirations and dependencies on the ecosystem, it can be difficult to strike a balance on suitable management measures to put in place. A better understanding of the interactions between the human and ecological functions of the ecosystem (a socio-ecological systems (SES) approach) can enable an effective dialogue to be opened to secure management solutions of best fit. In this study we took a SES approach to explore the dependencies and interactions in the Lough Erne catchment with a range of stakeholders representing the use of the Lough. In particular, we explored how individual stakeholder goals were perceived to be affected by both the biodiversity and activities found in the catchment. Results suggest there are distinct components deemed integral to the success of stakeholder goals in this system, including ‘key habitat components’ and ‘policy relevant species’, as well as activities associated with ‘conservation and recreation’ and ‘scientific research’. Those components which were seen to limit the potential achievement of most goals included invasive species, and in particular, more recently introduced invasives, as well as extractive industries. Consideration of the similarity in goals based on their perceived interactions with the activities and biodiversity of the system indicated that there were shared dependencies between some stakeholders, but also differences that highlight the potential for conflict. Future management scenarios should take consideration of the key limiting and enabling factors identified here.
Coastal ecosystem goods and services (EGS) have steadily gained traction in the scientific literature over the last few decades, providing a wealth of information about underlying coastal habitat dependencies. This meta-analysis summarizes relationships between coastal habitats and final ecosystem goods and services (FEGS) users. Through a “weight of evidence” approach synthesizing information from published literature, we assessed habitat classes most relevant to coastal users. Approximately 2800 coastal EGS journal articles were identified by online search engines, of which 16% addressed linkages between specific coastal habitats and FEGS users, and were retained for subsequent analysis. Recreational (83%) and industrial (35%) users were most cited in literature, with experiential-users/hikers and commercial fishermen most prominent in each category, respectively. Recreational users were linked to the widest diversity of coastal habitat subclasses (i.e., 22 of 26). Whereas, mangroves and emergent wetlands were most relevant for property owners. We urge EGS studies to continue surveying local users and identifying habitat dependencies, as these steps are important precursors for developing appropriate coastal FEGS metrics and facilitating local valuation. In addition, understanding how habitats contribute to human well-being may assist communities in prioritizing restoration and evaluating development scenarios in the context of future ecosystem service delivery.
Fish are an important food source for South Pacific (SP) island countries, yet there is little information on contamination of commercial marine fish species by plastic. The aim of our study was to perform a broad-scale assessment of plastic ingestion by fish common in the diet of SP inhabitants. We examined 932 specimens from 34 commercial fish species across four SP locations, and some of the prey they ingested, for the presence of marine plastics. Plastic was found in 33 species, with an average ingestion rate (IR) of 24.3 ± 1.4% and plastic load of 2.4 ± 0.2 particles per fish. Rapa Nui fish exhibited the greatest IR (50.0%), significantly greater than in other three locations. Rapa Nui is located within the SP subtropical gyre, where the concentration of marine plastics is high and food is limited. Plastic was also found in prey, which confirms the trophic transfer of microplastics.
The paper investigates the construction of strategies aiming to up-scale low-carbon innovations from pilot to full commercial scale. This requires a systemic understanding of the evolution of the technology along with the organizations and infrastructures supporting its development. Technological innovation systems concepts operationalize system building processes, including the establishment of constituent elements and the performance of key innovation activities. The study surveys the national roadmaps published between 2009 and 2014 for offshore wind energy in deepwaters (more than 50 m deep) which inform on how actors expect the system to grow, including the innovation activities crucial to achieve it. The roadmaps point to the role of guidance and legitimacy as triggers of changes in other innovation processes (knowledge creation, experimentation and so on) needed for take-off. The analysis reveals that the growth plans conveyed in the roadmaps are overly optimistic when compared with the time taken to develop offshore wind energy in fixed structures for shallow waters. Several countries have adopted supporting policies following the publication of the roadmaps, but weaknesses in crucial innovation processes (e.g. specialized skills) and external factors (e.g. crisis, regulatory approval) resulted in a delay of the first large investments. Policy should be based on realistic expectations and adequate to the phase of innovation, such as the promotion of technology-specific institutions (standards, codes, regulations and so on) in technology up-scaling. New directions for research are also provided.
Citizen science projects are an advantageous method to carry out research in the marine environmental field, especially concerning high mobile and often elusive species like cetaceans, allowing the collection of data in wide spatial-temporal scale. This project aims to validate the feasibility and accuracy of cetacean monitoring program through the citizen science approach and to test the efficiency of this method to large scale study area. In this work data obtained by researchers monitoring were compared with data coming from citizen, which followed specifically developed protocol. Data collected were used to investigate the presence and distribution of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Sicilian Channel and to evaluate the contribution of citizen scientist to improve knowledge about species, in this case for bottlenose dolphin a vulnerable species listed in the Annex II of Habitat Directive (92/43 CE). The results show that citizen dataset contributes to increase the distribution map of the 22% more than only research data were considered. Citizen science programme results useful to gain information in small areas not monitored by scientific programs, such as in this study, and they would be very useful if applied at large-scale. The promotion of citizen science programs in specified small areas could be helpful to cover unmonitored zones, to gain preliminary results and bridge the gap of knowledge about species occurrence and distribution. For this reason, citizen support might help competent authorities to answer to the environmental policies as Habitat Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This study is a demonstration of how citizen can encourage scientists to start long-term research project in not regularly monitored areas.
The ecosystem approach has become a common tool in environmental governance over the last decade. Within the EU context, this is most clearly accentuated through the adoption of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning, that both include requirements for Member States to apply the approach. This paper examines the organization of marine spatial planning (MSP) by the EU countries in the Baltic Sea Region in terms of management levels and geographic delimitations. The research shows that there is no consistent interpretation of what is the appropriate level of management, or ecosystem scale. These findings are used to inform a discussion on the application of the ecosystem approach in the countries around the Baltic Sea, and its effect on the potential of transboundary cooperation initiatives.