The Philippines has more than 1600 locally managed marine protected areas (MPAs), the most in the world. However, their effectiveness for coral reef fisheries management is often questionable because most of these MPAs are small and ineffectively managed. In this study, we assessed the fish biomass of commercially important coral reef fishes (e.g. surgeonfish (family Acanthuridae), parrotfish (subfamily Scarinae), snapper (family Lutjanidae), grouper (subfamily Epinephelinae), sweetlips (family Haemulidae), goatfish (Mullidae) and emperor (family Lethrinidae)) in 57 locally managed MPAs in the Philippines. We used the fish biomass level at the nationally managed, large (332.0 km2), remote, old and well enforced (i.e. strictly protected for >20 years) Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park (TRNMP) as a proxy for “unfished” ecosystems (Bo). We considered fish biomass levels between 25 and 50% of Bo as biomass within the maximum sustainable yield for multi-species coral reef fisheries (BMMSY) (McClanahan et al., 2014). Results showed that fish biomass levels in 7%, 25% and 68% of the surveyed MPAs were “above BMMSY”, “within BMMSY” and “below BMMSY”, respectively. None of the reefs outside MPAs was “above BMMSY”. About 86% were “below BMMSY” and the rest of the 14% of the sites outside MPAs were “within BMMSY” (14%). The mean (±S.E.) fish biomass levels on reefs inside and outside MPAs were only about 20.4 ± 2.2% and 10.9 ± 1.3%, respectively, of the TRNMP level. Neither size nor age of MPAs was significantly associated with fish biomass. Overall, our study showed that the current locally managed MPAs are not effective enough for coral reef fisheries management but, nonetheless, better than having no MPA at all.
The spatial prediction of species distributions from survey data is a significant component of spatial planning and the ecosystem-based management approach to marine resources. Statistical analysis of species occurrences and their relationships with associated environmental factors is used to predict how likely a species is to occur in unsampled locations as well as future conditions. However, it is known that environmental factors alone may not be sufficient to account for species distribution. Other ecological processes including species interactions (such as competition and predation), and the impact of human activities, may affect the spatial arrangement of a species. Novel techniques have been developed to take a more holistic approach to estimating species distributions, such as Bayesian Hierarchical Species Distribution model (B-HSD model) and mechanistic food-web models using the new Ecospace Habitat Foraging Capacity model (E-HFC model). Here we used both species distribution and spatial food-web models to predict the distribution of European hake (Merluccius merluccius), anglerfishes (Lophius piscatoriusand L. budegassa) and red mullets (Mullus barbatus and M. surmuletus) in an exploited marine ecosystem of the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. We explored the complementarity of both approaches, comparing results of food-web models previously informed with species distribution modelling results, aside from their applicability as independent techniques. The study shows that both modelling results are positively and significantly correlated with observational data. Predicted spatial patterns of biomasses show positive and significant correlations between modelling approaches and are more similar when using both methodologies in a complementary way: when using the E-HFC model previously informed with the environmental envelopes obtained from the B-HSD model outputs, or directly using niche calculations from B-HSD models to drive the niche priors of E-HFC. We discuss advantages, limitations and future developments of both modelling techniques.
There is considerable scientific and societal concern about plastic pollution, which has resulted in citizen science projects to study the scale of the issue. Citizen science is a cost-effective way to gather data over a large geographical range while simultaneously raising public awareness on the problem. Because the experiences of researchers involved in these projects are not yet adequately covered, this paper presents the findings from ten semi-structured qualitative interviews with researchers leading a citizen science project on micro- or macroplastics. Our results show it is important to specify the goal(s) of the project and that expertise on communication and data science is needed. Furthermore, simple protocols, quality control, and engagement with volunteers and the public are key elements for successful projects. From these results, a framework with recommendations was drafted, which can be used by anyone who wants to develop or improve citizen science projects.
Shoreline discharge representing approximately 80% of sewage generated by Sydney (Australia) was replaced with three deepwater ocean outfalls between 1990 and 1991. Beachwatch bacterial monitoring data collected between 1989 and 2016 were analysed to assess the impact of commissioning on bathing water quality along 32 km of coastline. Bacterial contamination was reduced by 26–99% during the first 32 months post-commissioning and in the longer post-commissioning period, 1993 to 2016, bathing water quality improved for 31 beaches. Relatively stable bathing water quality was observed for five other beaches after the 2001 upgrade of another shoreline wastewater treatment plant. Bacterial contamination of bathing water in this 24-year post-commissioning period was most influenced by rainfall in the 24-h to 9 am on the day of sampling. Bacterial contamination from surfacing shore-blown wastewater plumes was not evident, whereas stormwater-delivered bacterial contamination was apparent and varied between beaches.
Management of capture fisheries has been a perpetual problem facing all fisheries countries worldwide. This study first analyzes the features of China's capture fisheries, and points out that its management tends to be more complex and difficult than any other country in the world. It goes on to describe the history of China's fisheries management and the development process of China's fisheries policies, recognizing the role of fisheries policies in guiding and promoting industrial production during the whole development process. With Fisheries Law of the People's Republic of China as the basic framework, China is thought to have initially formed a fisheries management system with a complete structure and powerful measures for constant improvement and reinforcement. Major systems and measures of China's fisheries management are summarized, with their corresponding effects being evaluated to a certain extent. China's continuous introduction of advanced fisheries management philosophies over the past decades, especially since the reform and opening up, plays an active role in securing the prosperity of the following five industries: aquaculture, capture fisheries, processing and logistics, enhancement, and recreational fisheries; more effort has been put into fisheries ecological environment restoration; and law-based governance capacity in fisheries has been significantly improved. However, due to the characteristics of China's fisheries, as well as the complex and uncertain nature of fisheries itself, certain prominent problems still remain in its capture fisheries. With reference to relevant fisheries development planning, the study concludes with a prospect that China's capture fisheries management will be steered towards the total catch control of fisheries resources and the intensification of resource conservation and ecological restoration.
Management of coastal areas is necessary to maintain and protect existing permanent structures. Coastal erosion management falls into soft and hard shoreline stabilization options with the United States tending to favor hard. However, post-Hurricane Sandy 2012, soft dune and beach replenishment have become more favorable in the U.S. with support being necessarily contingent upon an understanding of the pros, cons, and concepts surrounding each management strategy. Misconceptions could thus lead to a halt in progress and poor decisions with implications for community safety. We sought to gain a better understanding of current knowledge surrounding best practices in coastal managementcommunities. Our assumption was that misconceptions in one coastal area, New Jersey, are likely echoed in other coastal areas in the U.S. and internationally. We employed a two-phase research design with an exploratory phase using semi-structured interview guidelines to collect data from a quota sample of 53 local residents and then tested the distribution of knowledge about coastal management facts by asking a convenience sample of 300 residents a structured set of 15 questions. Study participants identify differences in how beaches are managed and how protected they conversely consider an area to be. Dunes are generally preferred over hard engineering and replenishment. However, many key concepts regarding how dunes function naturally, with regards to the role of vegetation and fencing, are poorly understood suggesting a need for greater education surrounding these topics. Participants support continued tax investment in coastal areas to avoid retreat but recognize a tragedy of the commons in such actions for future generations. Learning who knows what, may contribute to more fruitful dialoguesamong stakeholders to pave the way for the adoption of suitable and sustainable management practices for better protected shorelines.
Food security remains a principal challenge in the developing tropics where communities rely heavily on marine-based protein. While some improvements in fisheries management have been made in these regions, a large fraction of coastal fisheries remain unmanaged, mismanaged, or use only crude input controls. These quasi-open-access conditions often lead to severe overfishing, depleted stocks, and compromised food security. A possible fishery management approach in these institution-poor settings is to implement fully protected marine protected areas (MPAs). Although the primary push for MPAs has been to solve the conservation problems that arise from mismanagement, MPAs can also benefit fisheries beyond their borders. The literature has not completely characterized how to design MPAs under diverse ecological and economic conditions when food security is the objective. We integrated four key biological and economic variables (i.e., fish population growth rate, fish mobility, fish price, and fishing cost) as well as an important aspect of reserve design (MPA size) into a general model and determined their combined influence on food security when MPAs are implemented in an open-access setting. We explicitly modeled open-access conditions that account for the behavioral response of fishers to the MPA; this approach is distinct from much of the literature that focuses on assumptions of “scorched earth” (i.e., severe over-fishing), optimized management, or an arbitrarily defined fishing mortality outside the MPA’s boundaries. We found that the MPA size that optimizes catch depends strongly on economic variables. Large MPAs optimize catch for species heavily harvested for their high value and/or low harvesting cost, while small MPAs or no closure are best for species lightly harvested for their low value and high harvesting cost. Contrary to previous theoretical expectations, both high and low mobility species are expected to experience conservation benefits from protection, although, as shown previously, greater conservation benefits are expected for low mobility species. Food security benefits from MPAs can be obtained from species of any mobility. Results deliver both qualitative insights and quantitative guidance for designing MPAs for food security in open-access fisheries.
Coastal borderlands are subjected to particular socioeconomic, political and environmental dynamics in Europe and worldwide. The presence of the international boundary in these areas poses challenges in the process of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). The aim of this paper is to explore the existence, characteristics and the role that local cross-border cooperation plays in transboundary coastal zone management as well as the resulting potentialities of local endogenous development for improving the management and governance of the tourism sector, coastal development, fisheries and marine protected areas in the Albera Marítima (Northwestern Mediterranean). The applied methods included document review, statistical information and semi-structured interviews. The research shows that local agents are not capable of developing a stable cross-border network due to persisting lack of trust, weak joint strategic vision and high competitiveness in sectors like fishery and tourism. Based on particularly interesting initiatives occurred in Albera Marítima and other successful experiences in Mediterranean coastal borderlands, a proposal has been made to implement several measures, including a transboundary integrated coastal plan, the joint observatory of fishery resources and a scientific network platform. For the aforementioned issues, the study contributes to the ICZM literature by providing a new perspective on local transboundary cooperation.