Understanding and engaging the public is key for ensuring the success of government and industry initiatives aimed at addressing the problem of plastic waste. However, there has been little focus on documenting the general public’s attitudes towards plastics. This study examines public beliefs and attitudes towards plastics in Australia and provides insight on a global level. The research was conducted using an online survey of a nationally representative sample (2518 respondents). Overall, the survey results indicate that the public view plastics as a serious environmental issue. Plastic in the ocean had the highest mean rating for seriousness out of nine environmental issues, followed by two other issues relating to plastic waste production and disposal. Whilst there was an association of plastics with food packaging and convenience, there was more of a negative association with the use of plastic overall. Eighty percent of respondents indicated a desire to reduce plastic use and the majority of respondents believe that paper and glass are more environmentally friendly packaging materials than plastics. However, the results showed that many respondents do not translate their aspiration to reduce plastic use into action. Overall, while a majority of the Australian public are concerned about plastics as an environmental issue, they place the bulk of the responsibility for reducing the use of disposable plastic on industry and government.
This article reviews the state of coral reefs in French Pacific territories in the context of global change (especially threats linked to climate change). We first outline the specific local characteristics, vulnerabilities, and threats faced by the coral reefs of New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna. We also emphasize local and other human communities’ economic and cultural reliance on coral reefs. Secondly, we discuss the natural and anthropogenic threats facing coral reefs in French Pacific territories, and current ecological responses such as mitigation and adaptation strategies. We conclude by proposing socio-economic solutions for the Pacific region across varying scales, with a special focus on enforcement measures and socio-political issues.
Marine litter is a global, persistent, and increasing threat to the oceans, and numerous initiatives aim to address this challenge. Fishing For Litter (FFL) is a voluntary clean-up scheme, where litter is collected as part of routine fishing operations. We surveyed fishers (n = 97) and stakeholders (n = 22) in the UK to investigate perceptions of FFL, its strengths and weaknesses, and potential co-benefits of the scheme. Fishers reported being aware of and concerned about the negative impacts of litter. Overall, FFL was evaluated very positively (7.85/10). In addition, FFL fishers reported less environmentally harmful waste managementbehaviors both out at sea and in other contexts than did non-FFL fishers. Fishers and stakeholders listed strengths and weaknesses of the scheme and made suggestions for future changes. As well as directly helping to remove litter, this paper demonstrates that clean-up schemes can make a contribution to addressing the underlying causes of marine pollution.
We propose a fish detection system based on deep network architectures to robustly detect and count fish objects under a variety of benthic background and illumination conditions. The algorithm consists of an ensemble of Region-based Convolutional Neural Networks that are linked in a cascade structure by Long Short-Term Memory networks. The proposed network is efficiently trained as all components are jointly trained by backpropagation. We train and test our system for a dataset of 18 videos taken in the wild. In our dataset, there are around 20 to 100 fish objects per frame with many fish objects having small pixel areas (less than 900 square pixels). From a series of experiments and ablation tests, the proposed system preserves detection accuracy despite multi-scale distortions, cropping and varying background environments. We present analysis that shows how object localization accuracy is increased by an automatic correction mechanism in the deep network's cascaded ensemble structure. The correction mechanism rectifies any errors in the predictions as information progresses through the network cascade. Our findings in this experiment regarding ensemble system architectures can be generalized to other object detection applications.
Marine social-ecological systems are influenced by the way humans interact with their environment, and external forces, which change and re-shape the environment. In many regions, exploitation of marine resources and climate change are two of the primary drivers shifting the abundance and distribution of marine living resources, with negative effects on marine-dependent communities. Governance systems determine ‘who’ makes decisions, ‘what’ are their powers and responsibilities, and ‘how’ they are exercised. Understanding the connections between the actors comprising governance systems and influences between governance and the environment is therefore critical to support successful transitions to novel forms of governance required to deal with environmental changes. The paper provides an analytical framework with a practical example from Vanuatu, for mapping and assessment of the governance system providing for management of coral reef fish resources. The framework enables a rapid analysis of governance systems to identify factors that can encourage, or hinder, the adaptation of communities to changes in abundance or availability of marine resources.
Oxygen restricted conditions were widespread in European shelf seas after the end-Triassic mass extinction event and they are reported to have hindered the recovery of marine benthos. Here we reconstruct the redox history of the Early Jurassic Blue Lias Formation of southwest Britain using pyrite framboid size analysis and compare this with the recovery of bivalves based on field and museum collections. Results suggest widespread dysoxia punctuated by periods of anoxia in the region, with the latter developing frequently in deeper water settings. Despite these harsh conditions, initial benthic recovery occurred rapidly in the British Jurassic, especially in shallowest settings, and shows no relationship with the intensity of dysoxia. A stable diversity was reached by the first recognised ammonite zone after the end-Triassic mass extinction. This contrasts with the deeper-water, more oxygen-poor sections where the diversity increase was still continuing in the earliest Sinemurian Stage, considerably longer than previously reported. Similar recovery rates are seen amongst other groups (brachiopods and ammonites). Oxygen-poor conditions have been suggested to delay recovery after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction, but this is not the case after the end-Triassic crisis. We suggest that this was because the European dysoxia was only a regional phenomenon and there were plenty of well-ventilated regions available to allow an untrammelled bounce back.
For seventy years, mass plastic production and waste mismanagement have resulted in huge pollution of the environment, including the marine environment. The first mention of seafood contaminated by microplastics was recorded in the seventies, and to date numerous studies have been carried out on shellfish, fish and crustaceans. Based on an ad hoc corpus, the current review aims to report on the numerous practices and methodologies described so far. By examining multiple aspects including problems related to the definition of the term microplastic, contamination at the laboratory scale, sampling and isolation, and quantification and identification, the aim was to point out current limitations and the needs to improve and harmonise practices for future studies on microplastics in seafood. A final part is devoted to the minimum information for publication of microplastics studies (MIMS). Based on the aspects discussed, MIMS act as a starting point for harmonisation of analyses.
Natural ecosystems hold great place within the hearts and lives of people, particularly those within which people live and work. However, whether people equally value natural ecosystems that they regularly frequent is effectively unknown. Such knowledge would greatly assist natural resource managers to better understand what they are protecting, why and for whom. In this paper we look at the different values that people hold for different ecosystems within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We test the relationship between eight different cultural values (using ecosystem services framing), and the use of seven different ecosystems (beaches, creeks and estuaries, islands and cays, inshore reefs, mid-shelf and outer reefs, open water, and shipwrecks) from face-to-face surveys of 1934 residents living within the GBR. We also look at whether the relationships that people have with each ecosystem inspires them to; (i) do more to help protect the GBR, (ii) learn more about the GBR, and (iii) feel personally affected if the health of the GBR declines. Results suggest that there are common reasons why all ecosystems are valued. All seven ecosystems were valued because they provide identity, quality of life and well-being, and inspired people to do more to help protect the GBR. Many were valued for their desirable and active way of life, learning about the environment through scientific discoveries, and learning about the condition of the GBR. However, some ecosystems were valued for special reasons. People that used beaches tended to have more pride in the World Heritage Area status of the GBR and appreciated the aesthetics of the GBR. People that used the mid-shelf and open-water areas were more likely to value biodiversity and aesthetics qualities. People that used inshore reefs were more likely to value economic benefits from the GBR. All residents said that they would be personally affected if the health of the GBR declined, except for those that used beaches, creeks and estuaries. Levels of concern for each of the ecosystems within the GBR varied, where people were more concerned about inshore areas than they were about coral reef condition. Specifically, people were most concerned about the level of rubbish on the beaches in their region and least about mangroves. These results suggest that, even though the GBR is valued in its entirety for many reasons, the GBR is not perceived as an entire ecosystem, but that people have different relationships within it. We discuss how environmental sustainability might be optimised through understanding and incentivising the multi-functionality of landscapes.
Understanding changes in wave attenuation by emergent vegetation as wetlands degrade or accrete over time is crucial for incorporation of wetlands into holistic coastal risk management. Linked SLAMM and XBeach models were used to investigate potential future changes in wave attenuation over a 50-year period in a degrading, subtropical wetland and a prograding, temperate wetland. These contrasting systems also have differing management contexts and were contrasted to demonstrate how the linked models can provide management-relevant insights. Morphological development of wetlands for different scenarios of sea-level rise and accretion was simulated with SLAMM and then coupled with different vegetation characteristics to predict the influence on future wave attenuation using XBeach. The geomorphological context, subsidence, and accretion resulted in large predicted reductions in the extent of vegetated land (e.g., wetland) and changes in wave height reduction potential across the wetland. These were exacerbated by increases in sea-level from +0.217 m to +0.386 m over a 50-year period, especially at the lowest accretion rates in the degrading wetland. Mangrove vegetation increased wave attenuation within the degrading, subtropical, saline wetland, while grazing reduced wave attenuation in the temperate, prograding wetland. Coastal management decisions and actions, related to coastal vegetation type and structure, have the potential to change future wave attenuation at a spatial scale relevant to coastal protection planning. Therefore, a coastal management approach that includes disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, and climate change, can be informed by coastal modeling tools, such as those demonstrated here for two contrasting case studies.
The severely degraded condition of many coral reefs worldwide calls for active interventions to rehabilitate their physical and biological structure and function, in addition to effective management of fisheries and no‐take reserves. Rehabilitation efforts to stabilize reef substratum sufficiently to support coral growth have been limited in size. We documented a large coral reef rehabilitation in Indonesia aiming to restore ecosystem functions by increasing live coral cover on a reef severely damaged by blast fishing and coral mining. The project deployed small, modular, open structures to stabilize rubble and to support transplanted coral fragments. Between 2013 to 2015, approximately 11,000 structures covering 7,000 m2 were deployed over 2 ha of a reef at a cost of US$174,000. Live coral cover on the structures increased from less than 10% initially to greater than 60% depending on depth, deployment date and location, and disturbances. The mean live coral cover in the rehabilitation area in October 2017 was higher than reported for reefs in many other areas in the Coral Triangle, including marine protected areas, but lower than in the no‐take reference reef. At least 42 coral species were observed growing on the structures. Surprisingly, during the massive coral bleaching in other regions during the 2014–2016 El Niño–Southern Oscillation event, bleaching in the rehabilitation area was less than 5% cover despite warm water (≥30°C). This project demonstrates that coral rehabilitation is achievable over large scales where coral reefs have been severely damaged and are under continuous anthropogenic disturbances in warming waters.