Integrating stakeholder knowledge, views and needs in marine or maritime spatial planning (MSP) processes is important from a governance and social sustainabilityperspective both for MSP practitioners and for the evolving field of MSP research. Transboundary MSP appears particularly challenging for participation, which is why it is important to identify opportunities and address obstacles for stakeholder integration in this specific context. This article examines how stakeholder integration is currently practiced in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), an enclosed sea where policy coherence and addressing conflicting interests across borders are especially relevant. It synthesises a range of challenges and enablers for stakeholder participation and mobilisation that have emerged from two transboundary MSP research and development projects, BaltSpace and Baltic SCOPE. The article finds that with the exception of statutory authorities, stakeholder engagement in the BSR is mostly limited to self-motivated stakeholders and consultation rather than more inclusive forms of participation. This can reduce the quality and legitimacy of MSP processes and risks to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of actors. For transboundary stakeholder integration to become more interactive and effective, five types of challenges need attention, regarding a) timing, b) governance systems, c) capacity and processes, d) stakeholder characteristics and e) knowledge and language. These obstacles can be addressed by (1) a dedicated research and development agenda that critically reflects on integrative tools and processes, and (2) by encouraging transnational institutions in the BSR to devote more resources to transboundary stakeholder integration and adopt flexible and adaptive strategiesand tools that can facilitate stakeholder involvement throughout the MSP policy cycle.
Indonesia is the main tropical seaweed producer in the world with approximately 70,000 families depending on this activity. The red macroalgae Kappaphycus spp. and Eucheuma denticulatum are the most common species cultivated and used for carrageenan in the processed foods industry. Seaweed farming is an accessible form of mariculture requiring low capital investment and enabling improved living standards in different regions. Nevertheless, farmers suffer from boom and bust cycles due to seaweed price volatility and algal diseases. Limited research has been done on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara province, which is among one of the poorest regions in Indonesia where culturing seaweed has become popular. This study assesses seaweed farming practices and their impact on household economy by looking at the overall income generating activities of households involved in seaweed farming. The information was collected using structured interviews with questions related to socio-demographic characteristics, household income, farming practices and challenges. Findings of this study highlight farmers' dependence on seaweed farming activities in southwest Rote, where 50% of the households rely on the income through this activity as their only cash source. During the time of the study, two-thirds of the families were living under the poverty line. Seasonality played a crucial role in seaweed production with negative impacts during the dry season. Thus, families with additional livelihoods seemed to cope better during low production seasons. Seaweed farming practices show room for improvement, and farmers could benefit from activities targeting enhanced productivity of their farms.
Climate change is causing shifts in species distributions worldwide. Understanding how species distributions will change with future climate change is thus critical for conservation planning. Impacts on oceanic islands are potentially major given the disproportionate number of endemic species and the consequent risk that local extinctions might become global ones. In this study, we use species climate envelope models to evaluate the current and future potential distributions of Azorean endemic species of bryophytes, vascular plants, and arthropods on the Islands of Terceira and São Miguel in the Azores archipelago (Macaronesia). We examined projections of climate change effects on the future distributions of species with particular focus on the current protected areas. We then used spatial planning optimization software (PRION) to evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas at preserving species both in the present and future. We found that contractions of species distributions in protected areas are more likely in the largest and most populated island of São Miguel, moving from the coastal areas towards inland where the current protected areas are insufficient and inadequate to tackle species distribution shifts. There will be the need for a revision of the current protected areas in São Miguel to allow the sustainable conservation of most species, while in Terceira Island the current protected areas appear to be sufficient. Our study demonstrates the importance of these tools for informing long-term climate change adaptation planning for small islands.
Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, several countries, funding organizations, environmental groups and research communities have pledged support and made commitment to help achieve these goals. SDG14: Life Below Water, for instance, has been embraced as the global goal for conservation and sustainable uses of the oceans, seas and marine resources. Among its many targets, SDG14b speaks directly to small-scale fisheries, calling for secured access to resources and markets for this sector. We argue that achieving SDG 14b requires a holistic approach encompassing several SDGs, including livelihoods, economic growth, community sustainability, strong institutions and partnerships. It is also important to align the SDG targets with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines), as the mutuality that exists between the scope and nature of the two instruments can help guide the formulation of appropriate governance tools. Yet, the alignment of these two instruments alone does not guarantee sustainability of small-scale fisheries, especially without an official mandate from the governments. The case in point is the European Union where small-scale fisheries are not sufficiently recognized within the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), despite being the largest sector (75% of the fleet). Through an examination of the CFP in the context of the SSF Guidelines and the SDGs, we discuss options and possibilities for inclusive consideration of small-scale fisheries in the upcoming policy reform, which might then lead to both achieving fisheries sustainability and the SDGs in the EU.
Over the last decade, ocean temperature on the U.S. Northeast Continental Shelf (U.S. NES) has warmed faster than the global average and is associated with observed distribution changes of the northern stock of black sea bass (Centropristis striata). Mechanistic models based on physiological responses to environmental conditions can improve future habitat suitability projections. We measured maximum, standard metabolic rate, and hypoxia tolerance (Scrit) of the northern adult black sea bass stock to assess performance across the known temperature range of the species. Two methods, chase and swim-flume, were employed to obtain maximum metabolic rate to examine whether the methods varied, and if so, the impact on absolute aerobic scope. A subset of individuals was held at 30°C for one month (30chronic°C) prior to experiments to test acclimation potential. Absolute aerobic scope (maximum–standard metabolic rate) reached a maximum of 367.21 mgO2 kg-1 hr-1 at 24.4°C while Scrit continued to increase in proportion to standard metabolic rate up to 30°C. The 30chronic°C group exhibited a significantly lower maximum metabolic rate and absolute aerobic scope in relation to the short-term acclimated group, but standard metabolic rate or Scrit were not affected. This suggests a decline in performance of oxygen demand processes (e.g. muscle contraction) beyond 24°C despite maintenance of oxygen supply. The Metabolic Index, calculated from Scrit as an estimate of potential aerobic scope, closely matched the measured factorial aerobic scope (maximum / standard metabolic rate) and declined with increasing temperature to a minimum below 3. This may represent a critical threshold value for the species. With temperatures on the U.S. NES projected to increase above 24°C in the next 80-years in the southern portion of the northern stock’s range, it is likely black sea bass range will continue to shift poleward as the ocean continues to warm.
The evaluation of large amounts of digital image data is of growing importance for biology, including for the exploration and monitoring of marine habitats. However, only a tiny percentage of the image data collected is evaluated by marine biologists who manually interpret and annotate the image contents, which can be slow and laborious. In order to overcome the bottleneck in image annotation, two strategies are increasingly proposed: “citizen science” and “machine learning”. In this study, we investigated how the combination of citizen science, to detect objects, and machine learning, to classify megafauna, could be used to automate annotation of underwater images. For this purpose, multiple large data sets of citizen science annotations with different degrees of common errors and inaccuracies observed in citizen science data were simulated by modifying “gold standard” annotations done by an experienced marine biologist. The parameters of the simulation were determined on the basis of two citizen science experiments. It allowed us to analyze the relationship between the outcome of a citizen science study and the quality of the classifications of a deep learning megafauna classifier. The results show great potential for combining citizen science with machine learning, provided that the participants are informed precisely about the annotation protocol. Inaccuracies in the position of the annotation had the most substantial influence on the classification accuracy, whereas the size of the marking and false positive detections had a smaller influence.
Effective assessments of the status of Caribbean fish communities require historical baselines to adequately understand how much fish communities have changed through time. To identify such changes and their causes, we compiled a historical overview using data collected at the beginning (1905–1908), middle (1958–1965) and end (1984–2016) of the 20th century, of the artisanal fishing practices and their effects on fish populations around Curaçao, a small island in the southern Caribbean. We documented historical trends in total catch, species composition, and catch sizes per fisher per month for different types of fisheries and related these to technological and environmental changes affecting the island’s fisheries and fish communities. We found that since 1905, fishers targeted species increasingly farther from shore after species occurring closer to shore had become rare. This resulted in surprisingly similar catches in terms of weight, but not composition. Large predatory reef fishes living close to shore (e.g., large Epinephelid species) had virtually disappeared from catches around the mid-20th century, questioning the use of data from this period as baseline data for modern day fish assessments. Secondly, we compared fish landings to in-situ counts from 1969 to estimate the relative contributions of habitat destruction and overfishing to the changes in fish abundance around Curaçao. The decline in coral dominated reef communities corresponded to a concurrent decrease in the abundance and diversity of smaller reef fish species not targeted by fishers, suggesting habitat loss, in addition to fishing, caused the observed declines in reef fish abundance around Curaçao.
Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is an effective tool for conciliating human activities and environmental values, building on spatial data and geoinformation technologies. However, socio-economic information is distinctly underrepresented in the rapidly growing supply of spatial information. The spatial distribution of current and future activities and opinions has traditionally been the silent information of scientists, local actors and the public. Moreover, future projections and policies exist in qualitative, non-spatial formats, incompatible with quantitative biophysical spatial data layers. This article aims at promoting the generation and application of spatial socio-economic information for the purposes of MSP. We examine one workflow of converting the socio-economic knowledge of individual experts to spatial data, and further to refined spatial knowledge. We illustrate how participatory mapping, data interpretation and core geocomputing methods may be used to generate data, and discuss the main issues related to their generation and use. The results suggest that participatory mapping can provide valuable data for the MSP process, helping in filling the gap of missing socio-economic information. The process is highly subjective: the presentation of background information, the framing of the questions and the interpretation of the spatial data may have notable influence on the generated information. Furthermore, both the technology of the data collection and applied analysis methods have distinct effects on spatial information and its validity.
We design and conduct a laboratory experiment with students and a field experiment with fishermen to test how catch uncertainty and reward schemes affect extraction in an open access fishery. We find that uncertainty in the relationship between effort and catch increases extraction effort and accelerates resource depletion. Importantly, participants increase their extraction after a disadvantageous shock, but do not react to advantageous shocks. One possible explanation of this phenomenon is a self-serving bias. Price-responsive demand, relative to a fixed price setting, decreases extraction effort and increases efficiency. Price-responsive demand has a greater effect on students than on fishermen living inside a marine protected area, but fishermen outside this restricted area are very responsive to conditional pricing.
Climate change and fishing are two of the greatest anthropogenic stressors on marine ecosystems. We investigate the effects of these stressors on Hawaii’s deep-set longline fishery for bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) and the ecosystem which supports it using a size-based food web model that incorporates individual species and captures the metabolic effects of rising ocean temperatures. We find that when fishing and climate change are examined individually, fishing is the greater stressor. This suggests that proactive fisheries management could be a particularly effective tool for mitigating anthropogenic stressors either by balancing or outweighing climate effects. However, modeling these stressors jointly shows that even large management changes cannot completely offset climate effects. Our results suggest that a decline in Hawaii’s longline fishery yield may be inevitable. The effect of climate change on the ecosystem depends primarily upon the intensity of fishing mortality. Management measures which take this into account can both minimize fishery decline and support at least some level of ecosystem resilience.