This is a living document responding to common questions about marine aquaculture. The download featured on this page may not feature the most recent changes. The document in its most recent stage will exist at http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/seafoodfuture.
- Climate change is impacting marine ecosystems and their goods and services in diverse ways, which can directly hinder our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set out under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Through expert elicitation and a literature review, we find that most climate change effects have a wide variety of negative consequences across marine ecosystem services, though most studies have highlighted impacts from warming and consequences of marine species.
- Climate change is expected to negatively influence marine ecosystem services through global stressors—such as ocean warming and acidification—but also by amplifying local and regional stressors such as freshwater runoff and pollution load.
- Experts indicated that all SDGs would be overwhelmingly negatively affected by these climate impacts on marine ecosystem services, with eliminating hunger being among the most directly negatively affected SDG.
- Despite these challenges, the SDGs aiming to transform our consumption and production practices and develop clean energy systems are found to be least affected by marine climate impacts. These findings represent a strategic point of entry for countries to achieve sustainable development, given that these two goals are relatively robust to climate impacts and that they are important pre‐requisite for other SDGs.
- Our results suggest that climate change impacts on marine ecosystems are set to make the SDGs a moving target travelling away from us. Effective and urgent action towards sustainable development, including mitigating and adapting to climate impacts on marine systems are important to achieve the SDGs, but the longer this action stalls the more distant these goals will become.
The total spatial coverage of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Brazilian Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) has recently achieved the quantitative requirement of the Aichii Biodiversity Target 11. However, the distribution of MPAs in the Brazilian EEZ is still unbalanced regarding the proportion of protected ecosystems, protection goals and management types. Moreover, the demographic connectivity between these MPAs and their effectiveness regarding the maintenance of biodiversity are still not comprehensively understood. An individual-based modeling scheme coupled with a regional hydrodynamic model of the ocean is used to determine the demographic connectivity of reef fishes based on the widespread genus Sparisoma found in the oceanic islands and on the Brazilian continental shelf between 10° N and 23° S. Model results indicate that MPAs are highly isolated due to extremely low demographic connectivity. Consequently, low connectivity and the long distances separating MPAs contribute to their isolation. Therefore, the current MPA design falls short of its goal of maintaining the demographic connectivity of Sparisoma populations living within these areas. In an extreme scenario in which the MPAs rely solely on protected populations for recruits, it is unlikely that they will be able to effectively contribute to the resilience of these populations or other reef fish species sharing the same dispersal abilities. Results also show that recruitment occurs elsewhere along the continental shelf indicating that the protection of areas larger than the current MPAs would enhance the network, maintain connectivity and contribute to the conservation of reef fishes.
Climate change, mismanaged resource extraction, and pollution are reshaping global marine ecosystems with direct consequences on human societies. Sustainable ocean development requires knowledge and data across disciplines, scales and knowledge types. Although several disciplines are generating large amounts of data on marine socio-ecological systems, such information is often underutilized due to fragmentation across institutions or stakeholders, limited standardization across scale, time or disciplines, and the fact that information is often not searchable within existing databases. Compiling metadata, the information which describes existing sets of data, is an effective tool that can address these challenges, particularly when metadata corresponding to multiple datasets can be combined to integrate, organize and classify multidisciplinary data. Here, using Mexico as a case study, we describe the compilation and analysis of a metadatabase of ocean knowledge that aims to improve access to information, facilitate multidisciplinary data sharing and integration, and foster collaboration among stakeholders. We also evaluate the knowledge trends and gaps for informing ocean management. Analysis of the metadatabase highlights that past and current research in Mexico focuses strongly on ecology and fisheries, with biological data more consistent over time and space compared to data on human dimensions. Regional imbalances in available information were also evident, with most available information corresponding to the Gulf of California, Campeche Bank and Caribbean and less available for the central and south Pacific and the western Gulf of Mexico. Despite existing knowledge gaps in Mexico and elsewhere, we argue that systematic efforts such as this can often reveal an abundance of information for decision-makers to develop policies that meet key commitments on ocean sustainability. Surmounting current cross-scale social and ecological challenges for sustainability requires transdisciplinary approaches. Metadatabases are critical tools to make efficient use of existing data, highlight and address strengths and deficiencies, and develop scenarios to inform policies for managing complex marine social-ecological systems.
Knowledge about extreme ocean currents and their vertical structure is important when designing offshore structures. We propose a method for statistical modelling of extreme vertical current velocity profiles, accounting for factors such as directionality, spatial and temporal dependence, and non-stationarity due to the tide. We first pre-process the data by resolving the observed (vector) currents at each of several water depths into orthogonal major and minor axis components by principal component analysis, and use harmonic analysis to decompose the total (observed) current into the sum of (deterministic) tidal and (stochastic) residual currents. A complete marginal model is then constructed for all residual current components, and the dependence structure between the components is characterized using the conditional extremes model by Heffernan and Tawn (2004). By simulating under this model, estimates of various extremal statistics can be acquired. A simple approach for deriving design current velocity profiles is also proposed. The method is tested using measured current profiles at two coastal locations in Norway, covering a period of 2.5 and 1.5 years. It is demonstrated that the method provides good extrapolations at both locations, and the estimated 10-year design current velocity profiles appear realistic compared to the most extreme velocity profiles observed in the measurements.
A novel blue planning discourse has been elevated through marine spatial planning (MSP) discussions in Brazil since 2011, following the evolution of international ocean governance policy innovation in the past decades. This paper investigates the early evolution stages of a socio-political arena around MSP in Brazil using as reference the IOC-UNESCO's step-by-step approach. It also employs the interactive governance theory to describe and analyze the challenges and opportunities in four phases in the evolution of a MSP policy arena at the Brazil's Blue Amazon level; and discuss it in terms of five major functional governability narratives this trajectory evoke to actors in this new interactive governance playing field. The evolution of Brazilian MSP arena was triggered by discussions at the international level (Phase I – 2011 to 2012), which encountered some resistance until it was reframed under a new formal intra-governmental institutional building process (Phase II – 2012 to 2013). Following a rapid surge and apparent early advances in MSP discussions (Phase III - 2014), the final (current) Phase IV can be characterized by the quiescence of the innovation process led by federal government, and the rise in numbers and diversity of agents in the MSP policy arena. It is noted with this analysis that Brazil is behind the international schedule on MSP, as it is still struggling in the ‘articulation and framing phase’. The analysis of thirty-four challenges and opportunities identified in this trajectory shows that improving functional capacities to govern (governability) the ocean in Brazil will require all actors to: (1) streamline cross-network knowledge-exchange to improve the nascent MSP arena; (2) further understand institutional dynamics impeding policy integration; (3) foster a more symmetrically responsive ocean governance arena; (4) promote coordinated scaling through principle-based policy-building and; (5) strengthening critical but proactive civil society participation at multiple, interrelated area-based ocean governance innovation frontlines. The accumulated capacities shared by existing knowledge-to-action networks in Brazil may render the emerging arena a dynamic, creative, and regional ocean learning experiment.
The Philippines is often highlighted as the global epicenter of marine biodiversity, yet surveys of reef-associated fishes in this region rarely extend beyond shallow habitats. Here, we improve the understanding of fish species diversity and distribution patterns in the Philippines by analyzing data from mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs; 30–150 m depth) obtained via mixed-gas rebreather diving and baited remote underwater video surveys. A total of 277 fish species from 50 families was documented, which includes thirteen newly discovered and undescribed species. There were 27 new records for the Philippines and 110 depth range extensions, indicating that many reef fishes have a broader geographic distribution and greater depth limits than previously reported. High taxonomic beta-diversity, mainly associated with family and genus turnover with depth, and significant effects of traits such as species body size, mobility and geographic range with maximum recorded depth, were observed. These results suggest that MCEs are characterized by unique assemblages with distinct ecological and biogeographic traits. A high proportion (60.5%) of the fish species are targeted by fishing, suggesting that Philippine MCEs are as vulnerable to overfishing as shallow reefs. Our findings support calls to expand conservation efforts beyond shallow reefs and draw attention to the need to explicitly include deep reefs in marine protected areas to help preserve the unique biodiversity of MCEs in the Philippines.
Small-scale marine fisheries in Tanzania provide the main source of subsistence for coastal communities, yet due to poor management, they have been overexploited for decades. These coastal fisheries have historically been described as homogeneous in gear-use and fish community makeup. Yet, regional and local variability in the characteristics of these fishing communities was recently identified with community-based fisheries-dependent data. We proposed a flexible modeling approach that incorporated local monitoring data with spatial data to predict the spatial characteristics of the marine fisheries in Tanzania. The spatial models identified relationships between fishery landings and coral reef, seagrass, and mangrove habitat patch attributes, along with fisher density and a hydrologic index. Furthermore, the predicted spatial characteristics matched previously reported fishery characteristics in both districts. The maps developed by our modeling process provide a means for stakeholders and managers to understand the spatial distribution of their fisheries and in turn, focus on explicitly managing what, how, and where fishers operate. Overall, the flexible modeling approach developed here may act as a first step in incorporating local monitoring data into co-management frameworks, which may promote more sustainable fisheries management strategies in data-poor regions.
While the physical dimensions of climate change are now routinely assessed through multimodel intercomparisons, projected impacts on the global ocean ecosystem generally rely on individual models with a specific set of assumptions. To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing. We derive average biomass trends and associated uncertainties across the marine food web. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (±4% SD) under low emissions and 17% (±11% SD) under high emissions by 2100, with an average 5% decline for every 1 °C of warming. Projected biomass declines were primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production, and were more pronounced at higher trophic levels, a process known as trophic amplification. Fishing did not substantially alter the effects of climate change. Considerable regional variation featured strong biomass increases at high latitudes and decreases at middle to low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to variations in marine ecosystem and Earth system models were similar. Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes. Our results indicate that global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change, and that these impacts are amplified at higher trophic levels. Next steps for model development include dynamic scenarios of fishing, cumulative human impacts, and the effects of management measures on future ocean biomass trends.
Marine protected areas are advocated as a key strategy for simultaneously protecting marine biodiversity and supporting coastal livelihoods, but their implementation can be challenging for numerous reasons, including perceived negative effects on human well-being. We synthesized research from 118 peer-reviewed articles that analyse outcomes related to marine protected areas on people, and found that half of documented well-being outcomes were positive and about one-third were negative. No-take, well-enforced and old marine protected areas had positive human well-being outcomes, which aligns with most findings from ecological studies. Marine protected areas with single zones had more positive effects on human well-being than areas with multiple zones. Most studies focused on economic and governance aspects of well-being, leaving social, health and cultural domains understudied. Well-being outcomes arose from direct effects of marine protected area governance processes or management actions and from indirect effects mediated by changes in the ecosystem. Our findings illustrate that both human well-being and biodiversity conservation can be improved through marine protected areas, yet negative impacts commonly co-occur with benefits.