In recent years, there has been a health decrease in marine ecosystems. Due to this accelerated degradation, there is a more pressing need to investigate the effectiveness of MPAs in these degraded zones. In this work, we evaluate the effect of MPAs over species richness, biomass and size of reef fishes. The sampling was conducted in 31 sites in the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica in 2013 and 2014. We found a positive effect of MPAs on biomass and community structure, as almost all commercially important species were more abundant in MPAs. Apex predators, carnivores and herbivores showed higher biomasses in protected areas, while planktivorous were similar among sites. As well, target species of artisanal fisheries and dive-ornamental fisheries were larger in MPAs. Areas closed to fishing can contribute to keeping biomass high, improve species richness in the region, and help to recover ecosystem services in coral reefs, even in anthropogenic impacted areas. The improving of regulations in and out of MPAs will assure the ecosystem services and life quality of coastal populations.
Ocean acidification (OA) occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves into oceans. OA and climate change are both caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and many scientists consider them equally critical problems. We assess if preexisting beliefs, ideologies, value predispositions, and demographics affect OA perceptions among the U.S. public. Nearly 80% of respondents know little about OA, but concern increased following a message explaining OA and climate change, especially among females, liberals, and climate change believers. OA information seeking intentions and research support were also greater among females, liberals, and climate change believers. We discuss implications for efforts to increase OA public awareness.
Sectoral management has long dominated the use of coastal zones in Taiwan. This approach addresses concerns faced by individual sectors. However, it fails to offer a holistic view to see the whole picture of interactions between various uses as well as a mechanism to engage in coordination among sectors and between levels of governments. In order to solve this failure, Taiwan's government stipulated a new dedicated law, the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), in 2015 to supplement existing sectoral management and promote sustainable development of coastal zones in an integrated way. This paper aims to examine Taiwan's coastal management framework with an emphasis on the CZMA. It specifically illustrates the practical application of the CZMA on offshore wind farms, which have recently gained momentum in Taiwan's pursuit of renewable energy. Finally, while the paper argues that the CZMA is conducive to an enhanced coastal management framework, it identifies areas deserving attention and proposed recommendations, including: encouraging public participation, employing living shoreline installations wherever appropriate, enhancing human resource capacity and conducting a complete survey of coastal resources so as to make an overall coastal spatial plan.
The deployment of tidal energy arrays is gaining momentum to provide marine renewable energy (MRE) to the global market. However, there are concerns over the potential impacts underwater noise emissions from operational devices may have on marine fauna. Auditory masking (the interference of important biological signals by anthropogenic noise) is a highly pervasive impact to marine fauna. We used a relatively new approach to evaluate the effects of noise from operational tidal energy devices on the listening space of marine mammals. Here, listening space reductions (LSR) for harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) were assessed in winter and summer for two tidal energy devices of different designs. Results demonstrated that LSR was influenced by type of turbine, species, and season. For instance, LSRs for harbour seals were in excess of 80% within 60 m, whilst for harbour porpoises they were in excess of 55% within 10 m of the devices. For both species, LSRs were highest during winter, characterised by low ambient noise conditions. These findings highlight the importance of assessing masking over seasons, as masking effects are highly influenced by ambient noise conditions. Understanding the natural variation within seasons is also particularly relevant for tidal turbine noise assessments as devices are typically situated in highly dynamic environments. Since masking effects occur at the lower level of behavioural impacts in marine mammals, assessing the spatial extent of masking as part of environmental impact assessments is recommended. The listening space formula, which is largely based on measurable environmental factors (device and ambient noise), is transferable to any MRE device, or arrays, for any species (for which an audiogram can be assumed) and therefore provides an effective method to better inform MRE pre- and post-consenting processes.
Asia’s marine waters are divided into 13 Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs), which together generate about 50% of the global marine fish catch of ~110 million tonnes annually. Here, I carry out a comparative analysis and valuation of these 13 LMEs with a focus on fish values even though marine ecosystem valuation is much broader than the valuation of fisheries. The following indicators were employed: Catch level, landed values, and subsidy intensity. These are key indicators of a fishery because (i) catch is an indicator of the amount of fish available in weight for food security purposes; (ii) landed value is the firsthand value from which wages, profits and economic impact originate; and (iii) fisheries subsidy is a policy instrument, which if used wrongly can lead to overcapacity and overfishing. In the second part of this contribution, I use the East and South China Sea LMEs to further illustrate the value of ocean fisheries and some of the threats they face. To carry out the comparative analysis, I extracted data from the Sea Around Us and Fisheries Economics Research Unit databases at the University of British Columbia. I also rely on the data and analysis of the OceanAsia project supported by the ADM Capital Foundation Ltd of Hong Kong. The analysis suggests that Asian LMEs are crucial in terms of food security, economic and social benefits to tens of millions of people in Asia and around the world; are under strong overfishing pressure; and that action is needed through effective management to stem the overfishing tide in order to ensure that these LMEs continue to sustain the delivery of goods and services through time.
Climate change is altering marine ecosystems worldwide and is most pronounced in the Arctic. Economic development is increasing leading to more disturbances and pressures on Arctic wildlife. Identifying areas that support higher levels of predator abundance and biodiversity is important for the implementation of targeted conservation measures across the Arctic.
Primarily Canadian Arctic marine waters but also parts of the United States, Greenland and Russia.
We compiled the largest data set of existing telemetry data for marine predators in the North American Arctic consisting of 1,283 individuals from 21 species. Data were arranged into four species groups: (a) cetaceans and pinnipeds, (b) polar bears Ursus maritimus (c) seabirds, and (d) fishes to address the following objectives: (a) to identify abundance hotspots for each species group in the summer–autumn and winter–spring; (b) to identify species diversity hotspots across all species groups and extent of overlap with exclusive economic zones; and (c) to perform a gap analysis that assesses amount of overlap between species diversity hotspots with existing protected areas.
Abundance and species diversity hotpots during summer–autumn and winter–spring were identified in Baffin Bay, Davis Strait, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Amundsen Gulf, and the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering seas both within and across species groups. Abundance and species diversity hotpots occurred within the continental slope in summer–autumn and offshore in areas of moving pack ice in winter–spring. Gap analysis revealed that the current level of conservation protection that overlaps species diversity hotspots is low covering only 5% (77,498 km2) in summer–autumn and 7% (83,202 km2) in winter–spring.
We identified several areas of potential importance for Arctic marine predators that could provide policymakers with a starting point for conservation measures given the multitude of threats facing the Arctic. These results are relevant to multilevel and multinational governance to protect this vulnerable ecosystem in our rapidly changing world.
Over the past decades, the nature of the management of marine fisheries in Galicia (NW Spain) has changed substantially. In addition to a powerful commercial fleet and high fisheries dependence of coastal communities, Galicia has a long and strong tradition in marine recreational fisheries, with 60 000 fishers and 4000 boats engaged in this activity in coastal waters. This paper analyses, for the first time, key changes in the management framework of marine recreational fisheries in Galicia by investigating past and current regulations and research initiatives developed so far. Three periods in the management of marine recreational fisheries (1963–1982; 1983–2000; and 2001-present) have been identified. The results show that the management of marine recreational fishing (MRF) moved from a poorly regulated and de facto open access system under the rule of the Spanish administration in the 1980's to a current highly regulated fishery under regional, national and European Union (EU) governments. EU regulations are being fundamental to promote the ecological and socioeconomic sustainability of MRF. However, the lack of scientific data, with only eight papers about MRF in Galicia published in international referred journals, the absence of experts in the field working in the fisheries administration and in research centers, and the lack of strong fishers' organizations are jeopardizing the sustainability of this complex socioecological system in the long term. The development of a strategic plan for MRF in Galicia is needed, including a diagnosis of its current status in relation to other sectors sharing coastal ecosystems, like commercial fisheries, and tourism. Co-management initiatives and adaptive policies favoring both the development of commercial fisheries and the promotion of MRF-based economies to offer new opportunities to local communities are encouraged.
Resilience underpins the sustainability of both ecological and social systems. Extensive loss of reef corals following recent mass bleaching events have challenged the notion that support of system resilience is a viable reef management strategy. While resilience-based management (RBM) cannot prevent the damaging effects of major disturbances, such as mass bleaching events, it can support natural processes that promote resistance and recovery. Here, we review the potential of RBM to help sustain coral reefs in the 21st century. We explore the scope for supporting resilience through existing management approaches and emerging technologies and discuss their opportunities and limitations in a changing climate. We argue that for RBM to be effective in a changing world, reef management strategies need to involve both existing and new interventions that together reduce stress, support the fitness of populations and species, and help people and economies to adapt to a highly altered ecosystem.
Pot fisheries occur worldwide with a significant proportion of the gear becoming derelict. Derelict pots induce detrimental ecological and economic impacts, and more recently were found to reduce blue crab harvests in the Chesapeake Bay commercial fishery. We simulated the presence of derelict pots near actively fished pots in seasonal field experiments to quantify the effect derelict pots have on blue crab harvest. Derelict pots reduced harvests by 30% during the summer, but not during the fall. Female blue crab capture rates were consistently lower when derelict pots were present; while capture rates of the less abundant males were not negatively affected by derelict pots. Variable responses to derelict pots may be due to seasonal differences in female and male blue crab behavior and movements. The costly effect that derelict pots have on harvest should be investigated in other pot fisheries to recognize the magnitude and mechanisms behind these impacts.
Effective site selection is a key component of maximising debris removal during coastal cleanup actions. We tested a GIS-based predictive model to identify marine litter hotspots in Lofoten, Norway based on shoreline gradient and shape. Litter density was recorded at 27 randomly selected locations with 5 transects sampled in each. Shoreline gradient was a limiting factor to litter accumulation when >35%. The curvature of the coastline correlated differently with litter density at different spatial scales. The greatest litter concentrations were in small coves located on larger headlands. A parsimonious model scoring sites on a scale of 1–5 based on shoreline slope and shape had the highest validation success. Sites unlikely to have high litter concentrations were successfully identified and could be avoided. The accuracy of hotspot identifications was more variable, and presumably more parameters influencing litter deposition, such as shoreline aspect relative to prevailing winds, should be incorporated.