Compliance is a key factor in ensuring success of marine conservation. We describe a community–academic partnership that seeks to reduce non-compliance of recreational fishers with Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs) around Galiano Island in British Columbia, Canada. Previous work showed mostly unintentional non-compliance by recreational fishers. From 2015 to 2018 we developed and implemented outreach and public education activities. We distributed information at community events, and installed 46 metal signs with maps of nearby RCAs at marinas, ferry terminals, and boat launches. During the summers of 2015, 2017, and 2018, we interviewed 86 recreational fishers to gauge their compliance with RCAs. Compared with a baseline in 2014, there was a reduction of 22% (from 25 to 3%) of people who unintentionally fished in RCAs with prohibited gears. In 2018, 67% of participants had seen our outreach materials. We used trail cameras overlooking RCAs to assess non-compliance in six locations on Galiano Island. Illegal fishing incidents within RCAs declined from 42% of days monitored in 2014 to 14% in 2018. Although our outreach efforts were limited in scale and scope, they appear to be making a difference. Our activities and findings can provide guidance for other regions seeking to improve compliance by recreational fishers.
In this study, a commercial CFD code, STARCCM+, is used to analyze the performance of a passive ocean plastic collector under rough sea conditions. The CFD code was first validated by comparing with data from a scaled model experiment conducted in the towing water tank in National Cheng Kung University, and it was proven to return accurate catch rate. Then thirty-eight test cases were setup to investigate the effects of four different parameters, namely, ocean current speed, wave height, wave length, and plastic density, on the plastic collector's catch rate, which is the percentage of incoming plastic debris intercepted by the plastic collector. It was found that the parameters of wave length and plastic density posed very little effect on catch rate. In contrast, the effects of the other two parameters were significant. Two important thresholds were found, and they were ocean current speed of 2.5 ms−1 and wave height of 0.4 m. The catch rate remained at high level until these thresholds were reached. The information found in this study is invaluable for the design of a practical passive ocean plastic collector.
Few studies assess the effects of recreational fishing in isolation from commercial fishing. We used meta-analysis to synthesise 4444 samples from 30 years (1987–2017) of fish surveys inside and outside a large network of highly protected reserves in the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia, where the major fishing activity is recreational. Data were collected by different agencies, using varied survey designs and sampling methods. We contrasted the relative abundance and biomass of target and non-target fish groups between fished and reserve locations. We considered the influence of, and possible interactions between, seven additional variables: age and size of reserve, one of two reserve network configurations, reef habitat type, recreational fishing activity, shore-based fishing regulations and survey method. Taxa responded differently: the abundance and biomass inside reserves relative to outside was higher for targeted lethrinids, while other targeted (and non-targeted) fish groups were indistinguishable. Reef habitat was important for explaining lethrinid response to protection, and this factor interacted with reserve size, such that larger reserves were demonstrably more effective in the back reef and lagoon habitats. There was little evidence of changes in relative abundance and biomass of fishes with reserve age, or after rezoning and expansion of the reserve network. Our study demonstrates the complexities in quantifying fishing effects, highlighting some of the key factors and interactions that likely underlie the varied results in reserve assessments that should be considered in future reserve design and assessment.
There are several environmental and ecological effects of shipping. However, these are rarely assessed in total in the scientific literature. Thus, the aim of this study was to summarize the different impacts of water-based transport on aquatic and nearshore ecosystems and to identify knowledge gaps and areas for future research. The review identified several environmental and ecological consequences within the main impact categories of water discharges, physical impacts, and air emissions. However, although quantitative data on these consequences are generally scarce the shipping contribution to acidification by SOx- and NOx-emissions has been quantified to some extent. There are several knowledge gaps regarding the ecological consequences of, for example, the increasing amount of chemicals transported on water, the spread of non-indigenous species coupled with climate change, and physical impacts such as shipping noise and artificial light. The whole plethora of environmental consequences, as well as potential synergistic effects, should be seriously considered in transport planning.
As global fisheries management shifts towards ecosystem-based management, responsible organizations and governments must also address the socio-economic impacts of this shift. This study evaluates potential impacts of such management shift with a case study of Pulley Ridge (PR), an ecologically rich area in the Gulf of Mexico, on fishermen and economies of Florida's Gulf Coast. We developed an input-output model to estimate direct, backward-linkage, forward-linkage, and induced consumption effects of various management scenarios on the region's economy. We also solicited input on the proposed management changes from Florida saltwater fishing license holders using an online survey. Although gear restrictions may affect harvest of the region's two most lucrative fish types, snappers and groupers, the proposed changes would impact only a small fraction of the fishing industry and the regional economy. Results suggest economic impacts to affected counties and the overall Gulf Coast fishery from management changes would be limited, i.e., less than 3% reductions in income, taxes and employment. Nonetheless, almost 90% of survey respondents indicated the proposed management changes would affect their business either “Significantly” or “Very Significantly”. Results suggest developing broad based support for changes affecting the commercial fishing sector may require stakeholder negotiation along with convincing evidence that the proposed changes will improve regional fishery production in the near term.
Small-scale fisheries are facing increasing pressures due to overexploitation of resources, resulting in decreased fish stocks, biodiversity loss, and degradation of marine ecosystems. The unregulated open access conditions of these systems are considered a main driver of this context, leading to increasing calls for fisheries reform over the past decade. Belize is no exception, recently introducing a rights-based fisheries territorial system (Managed Access Program – MAP) aimed at incentivizing fisher ownership and stewardship of regions to promote sustainability. The implementation of managed access brings with it an interaction of actors and issues at the local and regional scale that raises questions about the feasibility and potential success of the program. In this paper, using a combination of literature review and semi-structured interviews with 54 fishers and 25 policymakers across Belize's fisheries sector, we provide a policy analysis of the MAP and review initial responses. We found the new system to be primarily a re-packaging of traditional fishing areas with unenforced regulations. Responses from stakeholders were varied around the implementation of the MAP, with the majority of references being negative in tone. While the introduction of MAP in Belize seeks to provide solutions to Belize's fisheries sector, questions remain around the ability of the MAP to meet its objectives.
Marine biodiversity provides valuable benefits for human beings. Some of these benefits, such as the provision of food, are easily recognized, while some, such as climate regulation, are less well-known. People lack direct experience of the economic value of marine biodiversity, since no relevant market exists. This study reports the results of a contingent valuation study to estimate people’s willingness to pay (WTP) for biodiversity restoration and conservation scenarios in some unique coralligenous habitats in the North Adriatic Sea, Italy.
Coralligenous habitat constitutes one of the most important ‘hot spots’ of species diversity in the Mediterranean, notoriously affected by a loss of biodiversity as a consequence of human activities, such as over-fishing and pollution, sediment deposition, recreational fishing, trawling, and diving. A major threat is the increasing frequency of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear at sea.
A sample of 4000 Italian people was surveyed, and the results show that people’s WTP for interventions aimed at improving biodiversity through the removal and restoration operations in the area is distinctly higher than is the WTP for the preservation and prevention of further biodiversity loss. The findings suggest that respondents perceive prevention and control activities as being embedded in restoration, the benefits of which can be seen within a certain time frame. Positive and significant determinants of respondents’ WTP are family income, knowledge of biodiversity in coralligenous habitat, previous cognizance and awareness of marine biodiversity issues, environmental friendly behavior, and concern for environmental quality.
Plastic debris is widespread and ubiquitous in the marine environment and ingestion of plastic debris by marine organisms is well-documented. Viscera and gills of 110 individual marine fish from 11 commercial fish species collected from the marine fish market were examined for presence of plastic debris. Isolated particles were characterized by Raman spectroscopy, and elemental analysis was assessed using energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Nine (of 11) species contained plastic debris. Out of 56 isolated particles, 76.8% were plastic polymers, 5.4% were pigments, and 17.8% were unidentified. Extracted plastic particle sizes ranged from 200 to 34,900 μm (mean = 2600 μm ±7.0 SD). Hazardous material was undetected using inorganic elemental analysis of extracted plastic debris and pigment particles. The highest number of ingested microplastics was measured in Eleutheronema tridactylumand Clarias gariepinus, suggesting their potential as indicator species to monitor and study trends of ingested marine litter.
The accelerating marks of climate change on coral-reef ecosystems, combined with the recognition that traditional management measures are not efficient enough to cope with climate change tempo and human footprints, have raised a need for new approaches to reef restoration. The most widely used approach is the “coral gardening” tenet; an active reef restoration tactic based on principles, concepts, and theories used in silviculture. During the relatively short period since its inception, the gardening approach has been tested globally in a wide range of reef sites, and on about 100 coral species, utilizing hundreds of thousands of nursery-raised coral colonies. While still lacking credibility for simulating restoration scenarios under forecasted climate change impacts, and with a limited adaptation toolkit used in the gardening approach, it is still deficient. Therefore, novel restoration avenues have recently been suggested and devised, and some have already been tested, primarily in the laboratory. Here, I describe seven classes of such novel avenues and tools, which include the improved gardening methodologies, ecological engineering approaches, assisted migration/colonization, assisted genetics/evolution, assisted microbiome, coral epigenetics, and coral chimerism. These are further classified into three operation levels, each dependent on the success of the former level. Altogether, the seven approaches and the three operation levels represent a unified active reef restoration toolbox, under the umbrella of the gardening tenet, focusing on the enhancement of coral resilience and adaptation in a changing world.
- In the Mediterranean Sea, gorgonians are among the main habitat‐forming species of benthic communities on the continental shelf and slope, playing an important ecological role in coral gardens.
- In areas where bottom trawling is restricted, gorgonians represent one of the main components of trammel net bycatch. Since gorgonians are long‐lived and slow‐growing species, impacts derived from fishing activities can have far‐reaching and long‐lasting effects, jeopardizing their long‐term viability. Thus, mitigation and ecological restoration initiatives focusing on gorgonian populations on the continental shelf are necessary to enhance and speed up their natural recovery.
- Bycatch gorgonians from artisanal fishermen were transplanted into artificial structures, which were then deployed at 85 m depth on the outer continental shelf of the marine protected area of Cap de Creus (north‐west Mediterranean Sea, Spain). After 1 year, high survival rates of transplanted colonies (87.5%) were recorded with a hybrid remotely operated vehicle.
- This pilot study shows, for the first time, the survival potential of bycatch gorgonians once returned to their habitat on the continental shelf, and suggests the potential success of future scaled‐up restoration activities.