This paper compares the perceptions of various actors who come from Maio island's (Cape Verde) small-scale fishing community or are working on or studying its marine management. The research analyses environmental governance perceptions (desired governance) in relation to official (de jure) governance and effective (de facto) governance. It uses the Actor in 4 Dimensions method (including adapted individual interviews on Maio's social-ecological system) to produce graphical environmental footprints that portray a diversity of actors' and groups' perceptions. Footprint results show a clear general tendency for a strong prominence of the “cooperation” (social profile) and “cohabitation” (environmental profile) dimensions, compared with the much lighter stamps of their opposite “conflict” and “domination” dimensions. It appears that although most actors wish to preserve Maio's marine environment, some hope for more economic development while others wish to preserve their island's renowned quiet. Also, many actors feel that despite being included in some territorial discussions, they are not in a position to decide on policies that strongly affect them such as fishing agreements and tourism development. This perceived inability to influence island and community development combined with larger-scale policies that override local interests to various extents are both influenced by path dependence. A redirection of policies and actions in favor of island communities' subsistence and autonomy (empowerment and extensive participative governance) could reverse the harmful “external forces cascade” effects solely if power delegation is accompanied by sufficient economic and human means and is not impaired by larger-scale policies and activities.
This study investigates the association between an index of mesozooplankton biomass, derived from the Continuous Plankton Recorder survey and satellite-derived productivity fronts in the North Atlantic. While chlorophyll-a content (CHL) is commonly described as a proxy for phytoplankton biomass, the size of productivity fronts estimated from the horizontal gradient of CHL appears to be directly linked to mesozooplankton biomass. Our results suggest that the lifespan of productivity fronts, which ranges from weeks to months, meets the time requirement of mesozooplankton to develop. The proposed indicator describes the daily distribution of mesozooplankton’s suitable feeding habitat. It also provides a coherent interpretation of the productivity front development with respect to phytoplankton activity (CHL values) and potential predation by higher trophic levels. Since mesozooplankton are essential for feeding at higher trophic levels, this satellite-derived indicator delivers essential information for research and policy. An unanticipated positive trend of the indicator from 2003 to 2017 is observed at a basin scale under the current effects of climate change, with regional peaks in relatively poorly productive areas. Such monitoring indicator is potentially important to advances in marine food web modelling, fisheries science and the dynamic management of oceans towards sustainability.
Understanding how changes in biodiversity affects ecosystem functioning is imperative in allowing Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), especially when addressing global change and environmental degradation. Research into the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) has indeed increased considerably over the past decades. BEF research has focussed on terrestrial ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems have received considerably less attention. Due to differences in phylogenetic diversity, ecological processes and reported BEF relationships, however, it may at least be questionable whether BEF relationships are exchangeable between these ecosystems (i.e. terrestrial and aquatic). The aim of the present paper was therefore to pinpoint key areas and bottlenecks in establishing BEF relationships for aquatic ecosystems (freshwater, transitional, and marine). To this end, the available literature with special emphasis on the last 10 years was assessed to evaluate: i) reported mechanisms and shapes of aquatic BEF relationships; ii) to what extent BEF relations are interchangeable or ecosystem-specific; and iii) contemporary gaps and needs in aquatic BEF research. Based on our analysis, it may be concluded that despite considerable progress in BEF research over the past decades, several bottlenecks still need to be tackled, namely incorporating the multitude of functions supported by ecosystems, functional distinctiveness of rare species, multitrophic interactions and spatial-temporal scales, before BEF relationships can be used in ecosystem-based management.
Deepwater exploration has been developed for more than 40 years since 1975; generally, its exploration history can be divided into the beginning stage (1975–1984), the early stage (1985–1995) and the rapid development stage (1996-now). Currently, deepwater areas have become the hotspot of global oil and gas exploration, and they are also one of the most important fields of oil and gas increase in reserves and production all over the world. In 40 years, global deepwater oil and gas discoveries are mainly distributed along five deepwater basin groups which are characterized by “three vertical and two horizontal” groups: (1) In deepwater basins of the Atlantic Ocean, giant discoveries of oil are mainly concentrated in Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, and significant discoveries of natural gas are mainly on the west coast of Norway in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean; (2) In deepwater basins of the East African continental margin, a group of giant gas fields has been found in the Rovuma Basin and Tanzania Basin; (3) In deepwater basins of the West Pacific Ocean, giant discoveries of oil and gas are mainly concentrated in the South China Sea and Southeast Asian waters; (4) The deepwater basins of the Neo-Tethys Region are rich in gas, and the most important gas discoveries are mainly distributed in the northwest shelf of Australia and the eastern Mediterranean; and (5) In deepwater basins around the Arctic Pole, major discoveries of oil and gas have been only found in deepwater areas of the Barents sea. Global deepwater oil resources are mainly concentrated in the middle and south sections of the Atlantic Ocean. Deepwater gas resources are relatively widely spread and mainly distributed in the northern part of Atlantic Ocean deepwater basins, the deepwater basins of East Africa, the deepwater basins of the Neo-Tethys region and the deepwater basins around the Arctic Pole. There will be six domains for future oil-gas exploration of global deepwater basins which are characterized by “two old and four new” domains; specifically, “two old” domains referring to the Atlantic offshore deepwater basins and offshore deepwater basins of the Neo-Tethys structural domain, where the exploration degree is relatively high, and the potential is still great. While the “four new” domains stand for pre-salt and ultra deepwater basin formations, offshore deepwater basins surrounding the North Pole area and West Pacific offshore deepwater basins and the new fields will be the main fields of deepwater oil and gas exploration in the future.
The Arctic is being influenced dramatically by climate change and new environmental conditions. As a result, there are increasing opportunities for local economic development and one of the sectors that is responding rapidly is marine tourism. In particular, Arctic cruise and yacht tourism has increased across all Arctic regions as sea ice declines and shipping season length increases with warming temperatures. The territory of Nunavut, in Arctic Canada, provides an interesting case study for examining the role of tourism in economic development in a region that is marketed as exotic and remote. Further, this is an important case study given the recent boom in marine tourism: the territory has experienced a 70% and 400% increase respectively in expedition cruise tourism and pleasure craft (yacht) tourism over the past decade. Nunavut is a settled land claim area and these changing environmental and economic conditions require focused attention within the context of adaptation to climate change and evolving self-determination. This chapter examines the place of marine tourism in economic development through the concepts of adaptation and ‘nation-building’ to explore the challenges and opportunities that are part of a complex and rapidly changing economic environment in the region of Nunavut Canada.
Aquaculture is a major contributor to global food production, but has attracted considerable controversy. Disagreements over the social and ecological impacts of aquaculture (positive and negative) have hindered further expansion of aquaculture production, particularly in wealthy democratic countries. This article presents findings from a series of workshops bringing international aquaculture scholars together from the natural and social sciences to examine and compare social-ecological challenges facing aquaculture development in five nations: Canada, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This multinational comparison provides unique insights into common and particular challenges in aquaculture governance – a dimension that is missing in current literature about the industry. A political ecology framework from the environmental social sciences is used to examine how natural and human phenomena interact to shape these challenges and frame the conflicts that often result. The analysis reveals a wide range of social-ecological factors limiting aquaculture expansion in the five countries, including access to suitable environments, interactions with other sectors, and policy and regulatory gaps – not only with respect to aquaculture, but also on related issues such as marine spatial planning and the involvement of indigenous peoples in decision-making. The findings provide preliminary guidance for future policy development and comparative aquaculture research.
This article explores stakeholder views on tidal energy in the state of Washington. Through compiling and analyzing three qualitative datasets, we take a triangulated approach to better understand stakeholders’ positive and negative views, concerns, and needs regarding tidal energy and if and how these are represented through print and online news sources. We analyzed comments submitted during the permitting process for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project, comments included as part of a tidal energy mail survey sent to Washington residents, and media articles about tidal energy. We found four types of concern themes within negative views towards tidal energy: environmental, social, economic, and technical. Shared concerns between organized stakeholder groups and resident stakeholders about the project and tidal energy in general included concerns related to the harm to marine life, the loss of native fishing rights, expensiveness of development, increased electricity costs, and the engineering challenge of developing tidal energy. Concerns unique to stakeholder groups for the project included threats from scaling up, issues related to public safety and security, damage to cables, inability to stop the turbine, harm to terrestrial flora, and sediment disruption and contamination. Positive views were commonly associated with the need to address environmental issues, technological innovation and leadership, desire to have a diverse energy portfolio, and economic benefits.
The emerging threat to the coastal urban ecosystems from increased intensity and frequency of weather events is a compelling reason for improving our understanding of the integrity of the existing ecosystem. Resilience of an ecosystem is a critical property that aids recovery and adaptation when subject to intense stress. Quantifying the resilience of an ecological system requires a detailed understanding of the vulnerabilities and interactions within a complex web of interconnected social, technological and economic networks. Through an ecological network analysis of ascendency and redundancy of the flux of energy and material flows, the causal relationships are established through structural equations modeling (SEM) techniques. A model based-on the five factors of driving force (D), pressure (P), state (S), impact (I), and response (R) (DPSIR), recognizes the different roles these factors play in the coastal urban ecological security system of China. Energy and material flows transmission equations of the ecological security network are developed to evaluate the resilience of the ecological security network. The results show that the ecological security network of Chinese coastal cities has a relatively high network occupation rate (A/C = 0.6898), indicating a relatively mature state of the ecological security network of coastal cities with sufficient metabolic capacity and steady status. The low vacancy rate (R/C = 0.3102) shows that the coastal ecological security network lacks flexibility of surplus space. The energy and material flows conversion and dissipation ability in the network are strong: the five factors of DPSIR are highly interdependent, and the ecological security network framework is both steady and mature. However, the resilience of the coastal urban ecosystem against external impacts is weak. It is critical for coastal cities to broaden their planning protocols to introduce more flexible space to increase resilience and guarantee a robust pathway for sustainable development. This study contributes to a rational method for testing the internal causal relationships among DPSIR linkages toward quantifying our understanding of the resilience of a security ecosystem.
As one of the first countries to implement marine spatial planning, known in China as marine functional zoning (MFZ), China has developed MFZ into an integral part in its territorial spatial planning. Today, MFZ has become an important basis for the development, regulation and integrated management of marine space as well as an important tool for the management of its sea area, the protection of the marine environment, and development of its marine economy. This paper reviews China's MFZ system from a perspective of institutions, technologies and management requirements, and studies the resultant effects of MFZ in applications for sea-use projects, marine environmental monitoring and marine ecosystem protection by means of quantitative and comparative analysis. It is concluded that China's MFZ promotes the rational allocation of marine resources and the coordination of marine spaces for social and economic development based on its important role in sea-use project approval, marine environmental monitoring, and marine environmental protection. After three generations of evolution, it has formed a relatively mature classification system, technical system and institutional arrangement for China's MFZ with targets specified at three administrative levels and management requirements defined for different marine functional zones, which in turn facilitate the implementation of MFZ. China now is aiming to build the next generation of MFZ into a land and sea integrated zoning plan guided by the principles of ecosystem-based management. The well-established institutional arrangement and technical systems of MFZ, and the experiences accumulated in practice are available for reference by other countries.
Long-term environmental records are among the most valuable assets for understanding the trajectory and consequences of climate change. Here we report on a newly recovered time-series from Project Oceanology, a non-profit ocean science organization serving New England schools (USA) since 1972. As part of its educational mission, Project Oceanology has routinely and consistently recorded water temperature, pH, and oxygen as well as invertebrate and fish abundance in nearshore waters of the Thames River estuary in eastern Long Island Sound (LIS). We digitized these long-term records to test for decadal trends in abiotic and biotic variables including shifts in species abundance, richness, and diversity. Consistent with previous studies, the data revealed an above-average warming rate of eastern LIS waters over the past four decades (+0.45 °C decade−1), a non-linear acidification trend twice the global average (−0.04 pH units decade−1), and a notable decline in whole water-column dissolved oxygen concentrations (−0.29 mg L−1 decade−1). Trawl catches between 1997 and 2016 suggested a significant decrease in overall species diversity and richness, declines in cold-water adapted species such as American lobster (Homarus americanus), rock crab (Cancer irroratus), and winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), but concurrent increases in the warm-water decapod Libinia emarginata (spider crab). Our study confirmed that Long Island Sound is a rapidly changing urban estuary, while demonstrating the value of long-term observations made by citizen-scientists, educators, and other stakeholders.