The Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) is one of the largest and most important globally. In recent years Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand have come together to build consensus around a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters, Norway, Sweden and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) process identified a number of key issues including overexploitation of marine living resources, degradation of critical habitats and pollution and water quality. The TDA process identified several key drivers which contribute to these issues. These include socio-economic drivers, institutional, legal and administrative drivers and climate change. The agreed SAP identified four key objectives including that fisheries and other marine living resources are restored and managed sustainably; degraded, vulnerable and critical marine habitats are restored, conserved and maintained; coastal and marine pollution and water quality are controlled to meet agreed standards for human and ecosystem health; and social and economic constraints are addressed, which should lead to increased resilience and empowerment of coastal people. Analysis of the BOBLME SAP shows that just over 70% of the identified activities are being undertaken to some extent by countries already. SAP implementation recognises the importance of approaches such as the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and the focus on Small Scale Fisheries. Whilst BOBLME countries vary considerably in their governance arrangements and capacity to implement, they recognise the importance of regional coordination and cooperation to address transboundary issues.
This research investigates consumers’ responses to products made of recycled ocean plastic. A quantitative study was conducted online with 258 Dutch consumers in which attitudinal and behavioural responses to products made of ocean plastic were investigated. The most important predictors of consumers’ purchase intention were anticipated conscience, value for money and perceived functionality. In addition, risks of contamination negatively influenced purchase intention. For willingness-to-pay (WTP) a price premium, anticipated conscience, recognisability and perceived safety appeared to be the most important predictors. Through a cluster analysis, four different consumer groups were identified. Two consumer clusters consisting of ‘sustainability experts’ and the ‘sustainability benevolent’ (59% of our sample) demonstrated a strong interest and a willingness to pay a price premium for these products. When comparing consumers’ responses in different product categories, results showed that quality expectations and purchase intention were generally lower for textile products than for durables and fast-moving consumer goods packages. This research contributes to the theoretical understanding of consumer responses to products made of recycled ocean plastic and can help companies to develop strategies to launch such products effectively.
Increasingly studies are reporting sudden and dramatic changes in the structure and function of communities or ecosystems. The prevalence of these reports demonstrates the importance for management of being able to detect whether these have happened and, preferably, whether they are likely to occur. Ecological theory provides the rationale for why such changes occur and a variety of statistical indicators of approach that have generic properties have been developed. However, whether the theory has successfully translated into monitoring programmes is unknown. We searched the literature for guidelines that would drive design of monitoring programmes able to detect past and approaching tipping points and analysed marine monitoring programmes in New Zealand. We found very few guidelines in the ecological, environmental or monitoring literature, although both simulation and marine empirical studies suggest that within-year sampling increases the likelihood of detecting approaching tipping points. The combination of the need to monitor both small and medium scale temporal dynamics of multiple variables to detect tipping points meant that few marine monitoring programmes in New Zealand were fit for that purpose. Interestingly, we found many marine examples of studies detecting past and approaching TP with fewer data than was common in the theoretical literature. We, therefore, suggest that utilizing ecological knowledge is of paramount importance in designing and analyzing time-series monitoring for tipping points and increasing the certainty for short-term or infrequent datasets of whether a tipping point has occurred. As monitoring plays an important role in management of tipping points by providing supporting information for other locations about when and why a tipping point may occur, we believe that monitoring for tipping points should be promoted.
In the early 2000s, Senegal set up several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along its coastal zone with the purpose of biodiversity conservation and to support sustainable management of fisheries. However, the impact of MPAs may vary according to the type of fisheries. In Senegal, the sardinella fishery accounts for 70% of total catches. This fishery is of crucial importance for national food security and employment. Given this importance, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of MPAs, often being considered as a tool for fisheries management. An analytical, dynamic and spatial bio-economic model of sardinella fishery, considering fish and fisher migration, has been developed and scenarios over forty years have been analyzed. The results show that the fishery is economically overexploited and that Senegal could lose about 11.6 billion CFA over forty years of exploitation, i.e. 290 million CFA per year. To achieve an optimal level of exploitation, it would be necessary to halve the current fishing capacity. Implementing MPAs for 10, 20 and 30% of the Senegalese exclusive economic zone lead to slight increases in biomass (1%) and rent (5–11%). In addition, spatio-temporal closures can lead to increased exploitation in unclosed areas, due to the absence of enforcement. Achieving target 11 of the Aichi Convention, i.e., 10% of coastal and marine areas protected per country, will have a reserve effect on the resource but also only lead to weak improvements in economic indicators for the Senegalese fishery. Finally, because the sardinella resource is shared among many countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), a sub-regional cooperation is necessary for a sustainable management.
Studying the feeding ecology of seabirds is important not only to understand basic aspects of their ecology and threats but also for the conservation of marine ecosystems. In this regard, tropical seabirds have been relatively neglected, and in particular the trophic ecology of tropicbirds is scarcely known. We combined GPS tracking, environmental variables and sampling of regurgitates during incubation and brooding to understand the feeding ecology of red-billed tropicbirds Phaethon aethereus as well as how foraging strategies may change between 2 contrasting marine environments: a coastal island in the Canary Current upwelling (Îles de la Madeleine) and an oceanic island in the middle of the south Atlantic (St Helena). Tropicbirds breeding on the Îles de la Madeleine headed west, foraging on and beyond the shelf slope, probably to associate with subsurface predators which bring pelagic fish close to the surface. Birds from St Helena showed a greater foraging effort and a strong attraction to areas with the greatest species richness of Scombridae, possibly due to a greater difficulty in finding prey in the oligotrophic oceanic waters. Tropicbirds ranged much beyond the extension of the protected areas around their colonies, indicating that current protected areas are insufficient for these populations. We found no evidence to suspect direct mortality of tropicbirds in regional fisheries, but overexploitation of small epipelagic fish and tuna may decrease feeding opportunities and lead to competition with fisheries. The substantial differences in foraging behaviour demonstrated by individuals from both colonies indicates that caution should be taken when extrapolating foraging patterns of tropical seabirds breeding in contrasting oceanographic environments.
The two stocks of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Alaska include an endangered western stock, recently recovering in parts of its range following decades of decline, and an eastern stock which was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2013 following increasing numbers since the 1970s. Information on overlapping distributions of eastern and western sea lions is needed for management considerations. We analyzed >30,000 sightings collected from 2000–2014 of 2,385 sea lions that were branded as pups at 10 Alaskan rookeries to examine mesoscale (mostly <500km) spatial distribution, geographic range, and geographic population structure based on natal rookery, sex, and age during breeding and non-breeding seasons. Analyses of summary movement measures (e.g., natal rookery, sex, and age-class differences in spatial distribution and geographic range) indicate wide variation in rookery-specific movement patterns. Correlations between movement measures and population dynamics suggested movement patterns could be a function of density dependence. Animals from larger rookeries, and rookeries with slower population growth and lower survival, had wider dispersion than animals from smaller rookeries, or rookeries with high growth and survival. Sea lions from the largest rookery, Forrester Island, where survival and population trends are lowest, were the most widely distributed. Analysis of geographic population structure indicated that animals born in the eastern Aleutian Islands had the most distinct movements and had little overlap with other western sea lions. Northern Southeast Alaska, within the eastern stock, is the area of greatest overlap between stocks, and is important to western animals, especially those born in Prince William Sound. Detailed knowledge of distribution and movements of western sea lions is useful for defining recovery and population trend analysis regions that better reflect dispersion and population structure and provides valuable information to managers as critical habitat is re-evaluated and the location of the stock boundary reconsidered.
The Ecosystem Approach in Ocean Planning and Governance takes stock of the challenges associated with implementing an ecosystem approach in ocean governance. In addition to theorizing the notion of Ecosystem Approach and its multifaceted implications, the book provides in depth analyses of lessons learned and remaining challenges associated with making the Ecosystem Approach fully relevant and operational in different marine policy fields, including marine spatial planning, fisheries, and biodiversity protection. In doing so, it adds much needed legal and social science perspectives to the existing literature on the Ecosystem Approach in relation to the marine environment. While focusing predominantly on the European context, the perspective is enriched by analyses from other jurisdictions, including the USA.
Principal approaches to ecosystem-based ocean management in the United States include five major strands: Legislation for EBM, Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, Integrated Ecosystem Assessment, Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning and Marine Protected Areas. The presence of multiple strands of action is indicative of a lack of an agreed goal for what ecosystem-based management of the ocean is expected to achieve. It also leads to uncoordinated and sometimes competitive processes that are confusing to ocean users and observers. This paper identifies the principal evolving trends in ecosystem-based approaches in the federal arena in the United States in both sectoral and integrated regional approaches. How these emerging national policies work illustrates how such approaches are generally inadequate to implement EBM.
The Red Sea is a unique body of water, hosting some of the most productive and diverse coral reefs. Human populations along coasts of the Red Sea were initially sparse due to the hot and arid climate surrounding it, but this is changing with improved desalination techniques, accessible energy, and increased economic interest in coastal areas. In addition to increasing pressure on reefs from coastal development, global drivers, primarily ocean acidification and seawater warming, are threatening coral reefs of the region. While reefs in southern sections of the Red Sea live near or above their maximum temperature tolerance and have experienced bleaching events in the recent past, coral reefs in northern sections are considered a coral reef refugia from global warming and acidification, at least for the coming decades. Such differential sensitivities along the latitudinal gradient of the Red Sea require differential solutions and management. In an effort to identify the appropriate solutions to conserve and maintain resilience of these reefs along a latitudinal gradient, we used a SWOT analysis (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats) to frame the present situation and to propose policy solutions as useful planning procedures. We highlight the need for immediate action to secure the northern sections of the Red Sea as a coral reef climate change refuge by management and removal of local stressors. There is a need to strengthen the scientific knowledge base for proper management and to encourage regional collaboration on environmental issues. Based on scientific data, solutions such as marine protected areas, fishing regulation, and reef restoration approaches were ranked for five distinct latitudinal sections in the Red Sea and levels of interventions are recommended.
Recent years have witnessed growing interest in applying ecosystem service (ES) frameworks to promote holistic decision-making and develop sustainable aquaculture. The goal of this review was to analyze the status quo of research on aquaculture ES and identify knowledge gaps and research priorities to better align ES with holistic decision-making. This study conducted a systematic review of the academic literature and analyzed the coverage of aquaculture ES across 94 publications. The research field has evolved substantially in the last ten years, reaching a multidisciplinary audience around the world. While research coverage included all major production environments (coastal marine, brackishwater, and freshwater) and cultured species groups (finfish, bivalves, crustaceans, and seaweeds), emphasis is currently limited towards certain types of aquaculture and study areas (namely, brackishwater shrimp farming). This review found a flexible but inconsistent application of ES concepts and methods to support multiple decision-contexts including policy, development, and conservation. This paper proposes a research agenda to address research gaps, adopt more holistic ES-driven research, and apply consistent and comparable ES measures through an aquaculture lens. Ultimately, this should be supported by a shift in thinking that frames aquaculture as ‘aqua-ecosystems’, recognizing aquaculture as fundamentally embedded within linked social and ecological systems.