Ziegler et al. (2018) assessed tourists’ perceptions of the ethics of feeding an endangered species for tourism purposes. The ethical decisions made, and justifications provided, were assessed using utilitarian and animal welfare ethical philosophies. We concluded that despite the substantial social and economic benefits of this activity, it remains unclear whether these benefits outweigh the potential costs to the whale sharks, the community, and the greater environment. There is no evidence that provisioning is not detrimental to the sharks. Consequently, we invoke the precautionary principle whereby the onus to prove no detrimental impact should be on the proponents of provisioning whale sharks. Due to the lack of published, peer-reviewed “robust and unequivocal” scientific evidence of the impacts of this activity alluded to by Meekan and Lowe, our conclusions stand until thorough cost-benefit analyses are completed.
This paper draws on the published literature on marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine protected areas targets to argue that the MPA target (14.5) will dominate in the pursuit, measurement, and evaluation of the much broader ‘oceans’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2015. MPAs are a ‘privileged solution’ in marine conservation, in part because their expansion is relatively easy to measure and there is opportunity for further expansion in the mostly unprotected global ocean. However, the evolution of MPA targets over time in organizations like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) illustrates the importance of other means for achieving conservation and of elements other than area coverage, including the need to ensure MPAs are effectively and equitably managed. By excluding these important, but contested, complex, and difficult to measure components, Target 14.5 is likely to be met. However, the meaning of this success will be limited without concerted efforts get beyond area coverage.
Global initiatives have been increasingly focusing on mainstreaming the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making at all levels. Due to the accelerated rate at which biodiversity is declining and its consequences for the functioning of ecosystems and subsequently, the services they provide, there is need to develop comprehensive assessments of the services and the benefits nature delivers to society. Based on expert evaluation, we identified relevant flow linkages in the supply-side of the socio-ecological system, i.e. from biodiversity to ecosystem services supply for eight case studies across European aquatic ecosystems covering freshwater, transitional, coastal and marine waters realms. Biological mediated services were considered, as well as those reliant on purely physical aspects of the ecosystem, i.e. abiotic outputs, since both have implications for spatial planning, management and decision-making. Due to the multidimensional nature of ecosystems and their biodiversity, our approach used ecosystem components such as habitats and biota as proxies for biodiversity and as the focal point for linkage identification. Statistical analysis revealed the importance of considering mobile biota in the spatial assessment of habitats. Contrary to literature evidences so far, our results showed significantly different and complementary ecosystem services supply patterns across the continuum of aquatic realms. The implemented score of ecosystem services supply has a high potential for integrated aquatic ecosystem service supply assessments in the context of ecosystem-based management.
As the world's population continues to grow, the way in which ocean industries interact with ecosystems will be key to supporting the longevity of food and social securities. Aquaculture is crucial to the future supply of seafood, but challenges associated with negative impacts could impede increased production, especially production that is efficient and safe for the environment. Using the typology established by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Initiative, we describe how marine aquaculture could be influential in supporting ecosystem services beyond solely the production of goods, through provisioning services, regulating services, habitat or supporting services, and cultural services. The provision of these services will vary, depending on functional traits of culture species, biotic and abiotic characteristics of the surrounding environment, farm design, and operational standards. Increasing recognition, understanding, and accounting of ecosystem service provision by mariculture through innovative policies, financing, and certification schemes may incentivize active delivery of benefits and may enable effects at a greater scale
Aquatic ecosystems are indispensable for life on earth and yet despite their essential function and services roles, marine and freshwater biomes are facing unprecedented threats from both traditional and emerging anthropogenic stressors. The resultant species and ecosystem-level threat severity requires an urgent response from the conservation community. With their care facilities, veterinary and conservation breeding expertise, reintroduction and restoration and public communication reach, stand-alone aquariums and zoos holding aquatic taxa have great collective potential to help address the current biodiversity crisis, which is now greatest in freshwater than land habitats. However, uncertainty regarding the number of species kept in such facilities hinders assessment of their conservation value. Here we analyzed standardized and shared data of zoological institution members of Species360, for fish and Anthozoa species (i.e. Actinopterygii, Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Myxini, Sarcopterygii and Anthozoa). To assess the conservation potential of populations held in these institutions, we cross-referenced the Species360 records with the following conservation schemes: the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), the IUCN Red List, Climate Change Vulnerability, Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) and The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). We found that aquariums hold four of the six fish species listed by the IUCN Red List as ‘Extinct in the Wild’, 31% of Anthozoa species listed by Foden et al. (2013) as Vulnerable to Climate Change, 19 out of the 111 Anthozoa EDGE species, and none of the species prioritized by the AZE. However, it’s very likely that significant additional species of high conservation value are held in aquariums that do not manage their records in standardized, sharable platforms such as Species360. Our study highlights both the great value of aquarium and zoo collections for addressing the aquatic biodiversity crisis, as well as the importance that they maintain comprehensive, standardised, globally-shared taxonomic data.
Small-scale capture fisheries have a very important place globally, but unfortunately are still mostly unregulated. Typically, they are defined based on capture fisheries characteristics, technical attributes of fishing vessels, and socio-economic attributes of fishers. Indonesia uses the term ‘small-scale fisher’ (nelayan kecil), currently defined to include fishing boats of < 10 gross tons (GT), which previously covered only boats of < 5 GT. Because small-scale fishers are by law granted a privilege by government to be exempted from fisheries management measures (e.g. fisheries licensing system), its current definition jeopardizes fisheries sustainability and significantly increases the size of unregulated and unreported fisheries. It is also unfair, as it legitimizes the payment of government support to relatively well-off fishers. This paper aims to develop a functional definition of small-scale fisheries (perikanan skala kecil) to guide policy implementation to improve capture fisheries management in Indonesia. A definition of small-scale fisheries is proposed as a fisheries operation, managed at the household level, fishing with or without a fishing boat of < 5 GT, and using fishing gear that is operated by manpower alone. This definition combines attributes of the fishing vessel (GT), the fishing gear (mechanization), and the unit of business decision making (household) to minimize unregulated and unreported fishing and focus government aid on people who are truly poor and vulnerable to social and economic shocks. The terms small-scale fisheries and small-scale fishers must be legally differentiated as the former relates to fisheries management and the latter relates to empowerment of marginalized fishers.
Sustainable management of coastal ecosystems requires engaged communities—communities that support sustainable management policies and are willing to adopt behaviours that promote waterway health. Information provision is a common component of engagement practices, yet little is known about what type of information will most effectively motivate engaged communities. We conducted an experimental study (N = 702) examining the effectiveness of different messages about benefits of sustainable coastal management. We examined two messages about cultural ecosystem services (economic benefits and lifestyle benefits), messages focused on conservation benefits, and a ‘control’ message, which mentioned threats to coastal ecosystems but no benefits of management. We also compared the effect of factual and moral arguments on engagement outcomes. Overall, economic messages generated lower intentions to adopt household behaviours, and reduced information seeking across the whole sample. Moral arguments were not more effective than messages using factual arguments. In fact, factual arguments were associated with greater policy support and behavioural intentions. We also examined the role of participant values, political orientation and knowledge on message effectiveness. Participants with a conservative political orientation exhibited poorer responses to framed messages, compared with the control message. These findings highlight the importance of considering message content when communicating with communities. Specifically, messages about ecosystem services may not be superior to environmental messages when communicating about local issues. Recommendations for effective communication commonly suggest aligning messages with audience values. While our findings do not contradict this, they do serve as a reminder to avoid simple assumptions about what these values may entail, and that groups less supportive of conservation goals are likely to require more specific strategies to enhance communication effectiveness.
This paper aims to discuss Chinese legislation in the exploration of marine mineral resources and its adoption in the Arctic Ocean. The journey commences by providing comments on the ‘Law of the People's Republic of China on the Exploration and Development of Resources in the Deep Seabed Area’ and to explore Chinese domestic legislation regulating Chinese enterprises' development activities in the Arctic area. Attention also pays to legislation regulating Chinese and foreign enterprises in the exploitation of mineral resources in China's continental shelf with special concern toward the protection of ecological environment. This paper concludes by suggesting that there is a need to further improve Chinese domestic legislation and draw on advanced legislative experience from various States and international law, in order to provide strong domestic legal protection for exploitation activities.
Anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) is a global problem and the identification of its sources is essential for adequate mitigation strategies. Herein we examined whether AMD density and composition differed between two countries with contrasting socio-economic backgrounds and marine litter sources (i.e. Chile and Germany). In nationwide beach litter surveys, we used a citizen science approach with schoolchildren and their teachers. Litter densities were substantially higher in Chile than in Germany. The different geographic zones surveyed in both countries showed strong grouping tendencies according to their main economic activities (tourism, shipping, fisheries/aquaculture), major litter sources, and AMD composition, in terms of dominance and diversity of AMD types. The results suggest that beach litter composition can be used as a simple proxy to identify AMD sources, and also that law enforcement and education can help mitigate the problem; however, for efficient solutions, production and consumption of plastics must be reduced.
To cope with fisheries unsustainability, the Mexican government has recently promoted strategies of public participation to support decision making. This type of strategy is important in the Huave Lagunar System (HLS) in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, where fishers have historically maintained close ethnobiological interactions with their natural resources. This chapter describes the pre-Hispanic fishery system of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo under the premise that self-government practices in HLS favor the pursuit of social resilience, the ability of a self-organizing system to return to its original state after being disturbed by extreme events. The design of a Fisheries and Climate Planning Agenda that includes strategies considering key aspects of social diversity presents itself as an opportunity to facilitate the reach of social support for decision making, an essential step toward supporting a realistic panorama of sustainability for the sector.