Young men in coastal Tanzania are often blamed for damaging marine habitats by engaging in unsustainable and destructive fishing practices, including dynamite fishing, but their perceptions have not been sufficiently documented. While marine scientists, international environmental NGOs, and activists have called attention to the destructive fishing practices’ devastating impacts, insights into the contextual factors that motivate those who engage in dynamite fishing are limited. Additionally, risk perceptions and concerns regarding the environmental impact and dangers of dynamite fishing among the youth are also understudied. This paper provides ethnographic insights into the historical and contextual factors underlying dynamite fishing in rural coastal Mtwara. It draws on ethnographic data gathered through participant observation, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with residents from two neighboring coastal villages – one located inside a marine protected area (MPA), and another located outside the MPA’s boundary. The paper first examines the views of elderly men and women to provide the historical context of dynamite fishing in coastal Mtwara. It then juxtaposes youth perceptions regarding marine conservation and dynamite fishing in the two villages, vis-à-vis ongoing efforts to curb destructive fishing practices and to enhance marine biodiversity and ecotourism in the region. Results of the study reveal that unresolved tensions between the MPA authorities and local fishers surrounding enforcement practices and unfulfilled gear-exchange-related promises, and allegations of poor governance, are important contextual factors in the persistence of dynamite fishing. The paper concludes by articulating possible remedial measures to mitigate the tensions between youth concerns about their livelihoods, and the goals of marine biodiversity conservation as a way forward in preventing dynamite fishing.
In world fisheries, incidental non target species mortality have turned in a permanent debate issue. Although many studies have dealt with these interactions from a descriptive overview, there is little information based on fishing operations data. One of the most important species that have awakened scientific concern are seabird, being southern Chile one of the areas with the highest levels in this kind of interactions. In order to improve our understanding on these relationships, we analyze records of fishing hauls of industrial trawlers off the coast of Chile between 39 and 57°S. The results showed that incidental seabird mortality appears to be affected mainly by the collisions with net monitoring systems (net-sonde cable), the duration of fishing hauls, the year period, and the fishing zones, these last related to the breeding period and areas of albatross colonies. We indirectly address a probable relationship between seabird mortality and fishing discards, and some hypothesis are proposed to explain the results. Finally, we demonstrated that longer fishing hauls are less efficient for fishing, beside to a high seabird mortality. Our findings suggest mitigation actions that would harmonize fishing activity with the ecosystem, in particular, for trawl fishing management and operations off far southern Chile.
Black consumer plastics are often contaminated with hazardous chemicals because of technological constraints on sorting dark plastic during recycling of municipal waste coupled with the convenience of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as a secondary source of black plastic. In this study, samples of beached plastic litter (n = 524) from southwest England were categorised according to origin, appearance and colour (black versus non-black) before being analysed by x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry for elements that are characteristic of EEE. The small number of items of WEEE retrieved (n = 36) were largely restricted to wiring insulation and constructed of lead-stabilised polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Among the remaining samples, Br, Cd, Cr and Pb were commonly detected in all categories of black plastics (n = 264) with maximum concentrations of 43,400 mg kg−1, 2080 mg kg−1, 662 mg kg−1 and 23,800 mg kg−1, respectively. Moreover, concentrations of Br were significantly correlated with concentrations of the flame retardant synergist, Sb (n = 22), and 35 samples were potentially non-compliant with regard to limits defined by the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. For plastics of other colours (n = 224), Br and Pb were detected in fewer samples and Br was co-associated with Sb in only two cases, with occasional high concentrations Cd, Cr and Pb largely attributed to the historical use of cadmium sulphide and lead chromate pigments. An avian physiologically-based extraction test applied to selected samples cut to mm-dimensions revealed bioaccessibilities ranging from <0.1% for Cr in a green fragment to about 2.4% (or about 580 mg kg−1) for Pb in black PVC. The recycling of WEEE into consumer, industrial and marine (e.g. fishing) plastics that are mainly coloured black appears to be an important vehicle for the introduction of hazardous chemicals into the environment and a source of their exposure to wildlife.
Plastic pollution is a major ecological catastrophe that endangers vulnerable species. Small plastic fragments and filaments enter the food web in the ocean threatening marine species health. Here microplastics between 0.5 and 5 mm were quantified from eight beaches of southwest Bay of Biscay (Spain) within Natura-2000 Special Protection Areas for birds. Sand samples were taken using a randomized quadrat-based protocol. Between 145 and 382 particles per kg of dry sand were found, which is relatively high in comparison with other European beaches. Microfibers were more abundant than microplastics. PERMANOVA revealed a significant effect of the beach location (inside versus outside the estuary). Open beaches contained a higher microplastic density than sheltered ones suggesting that many beached microplastics come from the ocean. Birds are at risk in the studied protected spaces as revealed from high concentrations of fibres in depositions of European shag and gulls.
This research reveals attitudes towards enclosure and privatisation of ocean space. The development of spatially distributed industries like marine renewables and aquaculture, the need for marine conservation, and the ongoing emphasis on spatial aspects of marine planning, have resulted in increasing encroachment into the marine environment. The study, situated in Scotland, investigates the attitudes of stakeholders who are affecting, or being affected by, these processes. The attitude analysis, done by Q methodology, highlights potentially conflicting priorities and processes. Five unique factors emerged. These are expressed as: free seas, the ‘greater good’, mitigating losses, local powers, and the status quo. The topography of views revealed demonstrates clear tensions between key players in Scotland's marine planning landscape, and calls into question the processes for effective collaborative working for sustainable and conflict-free development at sea. The paper concludes with an appeal for changes in rights to be accounted for in decision making processes, accompanied by better dissemination of information regarding rights at sea, governance and the future of the blue economy.
Estimates of connectivity are vital for understanding population dynamics and for the design of spatial management areas. However, this is still a major challenge in the marine environment because the relative contributions of factors influencing connectivity amongst subpopulations are difficult to assess. This study combined population genetics with hydrodynamic modelling (Regional Ocean Modeling System, ROMS) to assess spatial and temporal exchange of individuals among subpopulations of the New Zealand scallop, Pecten novaezelandiae, within the Coromandel fishery area open to commercial fishing. Significant genetic differentiation was revealed among subpopulations with variable levels of recruitment. Connectivity, as assessed by ROMS, was a significant explanatory variable of genetic differentiation when accounting for the spatial dependency between locations. Although additional research is needed before source-sink population dynamics can be confidently used in management, these results imply that higher yields could be available from this fishery at lower risk of over-exploitation if the fishing of each subpopulation could be tailored to its contribution to recruitment, perhaps using subpopulation catch limits. This study highlights inter-annual patterns of connectivity, the importance of combining different methods for a better prediction of population dynamics, and how such an approach may contribute to management of living marine resources.
The seascape context of coastal ecosystems plays a pivotal role in shaping patterns in fish recruitment, abundance, and diversity. It might also be a principal determinant in structuring the recruitment of fish assemblages to restored habitats, but the trajectories of these relationships require further testing. In this study, we surveyed fish assemblages from 14 restored oyster reefs and 14 control sites in the Noosa River, Queensland, Australia, that differed in the presence or absence of seagrass within 500 m, over four periods using baited cameras. Fish assemblages at oyster reefs differed from those at control sites, with higher species richness (1.4 times) and more individuals of taxa that are harvested by fishers (1.8 times). The presence or absence of seagrass nearby affected the abundance of a key harvestable fish species (yellowfin bream Acanthopagrus australis) on oyster reefs, but not the overall composition of fish assemblages, species richness, or the total abundance of harvestable fishes overall. These findings highlight the importance of considering species-specific patterns in seascape utilization when selecting restoration sites and setting restoration goals, and suggest that the effects of restoration on fish assemblages might be optimized by focusing efforts in prime positions in coastal seascapes.
In February and March 2017, a coastal El Niño caused extraordinary heavy rains and a rise in water temperatures along the coast of northern Peru. In this work, we document the impacts of this phenomenon on the artisanal fisheries and the scallop aquaculture sector, both of which represent important socio-economic activities for the province of Sechura. Despite the perceived absence of effective disaster management and rehabilitation policies, resource users opted for a wide range of different adaptation strategies and are currently striving towards recovery. One year after the event, the artisanal fisheries fleet has returned to operating almost on a normal scale, while the aquaculture sector is still drastically impacted, with many people continuing to work in different economic sectors and even in other regions of the country. Recovery of the social-ecological system of Sechura likely depends on the occurrence of scallop seed and the financial capacity of small-scale producers to reinitiate scallop cultures. Long-term consequences of this coastal El Niño are yet to be studied, though the need to develop trans-local and trans-sectoral management strategies for coping with disturbance events of this scale is emphasized.
Hydrological monitoring is essential to guide evidence-based decision making necessary for sustainable water resource management and governance. Limited hydrometric datasets and the pressure on long-term hydrological monitoring networks make it paramount to explore alternative methods for data collection. This is particularly the case for low-income countries, where data scarcity is more pronounced, and where conventional monitoring methods are expensive and logistically challenging. Citizen science in hydrological research has recently gained popularity and crowdsourced monitoring is a promising cost-effective approach for data collection. Citizen science also has the potential to enhance knowledge co-creation and science-based evidence that underpins the governance and management of water resources. This paper provides a comprehensive review on citizen science and crowdsourced data collection within the context of hydrology, based on a synthesis of 71 articles from 2001 to 2018. Application of citizen science in hydrology is increasing in number and breadth, generating a plethora of scientific data. Citizen science approaches differ in scale, scope and degree of citizen involvement. Most of the programs are found in North America and Europe. Participation mostly comprises a contributory citizen science model, which engages citizens in data collection. In order to leverage the full potential of citizen science in knowledge co-generation, future citizen science projects in hydrology could benefit from more co-created types of projects that establish strong ties between research and public engagement, thereby enhancing the long-term sustainability of monitoring networks.
Since the 1950s, industrial fisheries have expanded globally, as fishing vessels are required to travel further afield for fishing opportunities. Technological advancements and fishery subsidies have granted ever-increasing access to populations of sharks, tunas, billfishes, and other predators. Wilderness refuges, defined here as areas beyond the detectable range of human influence, are therefore increasingly rare. In order to achieve marine resources sustainability, large no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) with pelagic components are being implemented. However, such conservation efforts require knowledge of the critical habitats for predators, both across shallow reefs and the deeper ocean. Here, we fill this gap in knowledge across the Indo-Pacific by using 1,041 midwater baited videos to survey sharks and other pelagic predators such as rainbow runner (Elagatis bipinnulata), mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and black marlin (Istiompax indica). We modeled three key predator community attributes: vertebrate species richness, mean maximum body size, and shark abundance as a function of geomorphology, environmental conditions, and human pressures. All attributes were primarily driven by geomorphology (35%−62% variance explained) and environmental conditions (14%−49%). While human pressures had no influence on species richness, both body size and shark abundance responded strongly to distance to human markets (12%−20%). Refuges were identified at more than 1,250 km from human markets for body size and for shark abundance. These refuges were identified as remote and shallow seabed features, such as seamounts, submerged banks, and reefs. Worryingly, hotpots of large individuals and of shark abundance are presently under-represented within no-take MPAs that aim to effectively protect marine predators, such as the British Indian Ocean Territory. Population recovery of predators is unlikely to occur without strategic placement and effective enforcement of large no-take MPAs in both coastal and remote locations.