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.
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.
Active coral restoration typically involves two interventions: crossing gametes to facilitate sexual larval propagation; and fragmenting, growing, and outplanting adult colonies to enhance asexual propagation. From an evolutionary perspective, the goal of these efforts is to establish self‐sustaining, sexually reproducing coral populations that have sufficient genetic and phenotypic variation to adapt to changing environments. Here, we provide concrete guidelines to help restoration practitioners meet this goal for most Caribbean species of interest. To enable the persistence of coral populations exposed to severe selection pressure from many stressors, a mixed provenance strategy is suggested: genetically unique colonies (genets) should be sourced both locally as well as from more distant, environmentally distinct sites. Sourcing 3‐4 genets per reef along environmental gradients should be sufficient to capture a majority of intraspecies genetic diversity. It is best for practitioners to propagate genets with one or more phenotypic traits that are predicted to be valuable in the future, such as low partial mortality, high would healing rate, high skeletal growth rate, bleaching resilience, infectious disease resilience, and high sexual reproductive output. Some effort should also be reserved for underperforming genets because colonies that grow poorly in nurseries sometimes thrive once returned to the reef and may harbor genetic variants with as yet unrecognized value. Outplants should be clustered in groups of 4‐6 genets to enable successful fertilization upon maturation. Current evidence indicates that translocating genets among distant reefs is unlikely to be problematic from a population genetic perspective but will likely provide substantial adaptive benefits. Similarly, inbreeding depression is not a concern given that current practices only raise first‐generation offspring. Thus, proceeding with the proposed management strategies even in the absence of a detailed population genetic analysis of the focal species at sites targeted for restoration is the best course of action. These basic guidelines should help maximize the adaptive potential of reef‐building corals facing a rapidly changing environment.
Despite widespread climate-driven reductions of coral cover on tropical reefs, little attention has been paid to the possibility that changes in the geographic distribution of coral recruitment could facilitate beneficial responses to the changing climate through latitudinal range shifts. To address this possibility, we compiled a global database of normalized densities of coral recruits on settlement tiles (corals m-2) deployed from 1974 to 2012, and used the data therein to test for latitudinal range shifts in the distribution of coral recruits. In total, 92 studies provided 1253 records of coral recruitment, with 77% originating from settlement tiles immersed for 3-24 mo, herein defined as long-immersion tiles (LITs); the limited temporal and geographic coverage of data from short-immersion tiles (SITs; deployed for <3 mo) made them less suitable for the present purpose. The results from LITs show declines in coral recruitment, on a global scale (i.e. 82% from 1974 to 2012) and throughout the tropics (85% reduction at <20° latitude), and increases in the sub-tropics (78% increase at >20° latitude). These trends indicate that a global decline in coral recruitment has occurred since 1974, and the persistent reduction in the densities of recruits in equatorial latitudes, coupled with increased densities in sub-tropical latitudes, suggests that coral recruitment may be shifting poleward.
It is critical to evaluate the in situ effects of multiple stressors on coastal community dynamics, especially those communities harboring high diversity such as coral reefs, in order to understand the resilience of these ecosystems, prepare coastal management for future scenarios, and aid in prioritizing restoration efforts. In this in situstudy, at 2 sites with gradients of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD), a suite of physical parameters (wave exposure index, wind exposure index, and depth) and an all-encompassing SGD chemical parameter (average nitrate + nitrite daily load) were measured along spatially cohesive and temporally relevant scales and used to model macroalgal growth, biomass, and diversity in Maunalua Bay, Hawai‘i. We showed that (1) species-specific macroalgal biomass is significantly related to SGD and one of the 2 exposure indices (i.e. wind exposure or wave exposure), (2) SGD and wave exposure play key roles in species-specific growth rates, and (3) SGD supports low diversity and increased biomass of species that can tolerate the biogeochemistry associated with SGD. Our work suggests that SGD and local hydrodynamics predict local variation in macroalgal growth, biomass, and diversity in tropical reefs.
Tourists often travel to experience the natural beauty of a destination such as the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. This nature-based destination attracts millions of tourists every year because of its outstanding underwater aesthetics. Recently, parts of the GBR have been degraded by warming sea temperatures and other local anthropogenic influences, threatening the Reef aesthetics and tourism in the region. In order to deal with this topical issue, the current research investigates tourists’ aesthetic assessment of environmental changes in the GBR ecosystem. Research outcomes indicate that tourists’ perceived beauty of the Reef is sensitive to environmental changes. The disappearance of sea animals (colourful fish, turtle), degrading coral and decreasing water quality negatively influence their aesthetic assessment, which can reduce tourist visitation in the long-term. Hence, sustainable tourism development in the GBR regions can only be achieved when government support for environmental management is strengthened. Conservation programs of the GBR should expand beyond coral restoration for controlling water quality, reducing pollution and protecting aesthetically appealing sea animals.
Passive acoustic sensors provide a cost-effective tool for monitoring marine environments. Documenting acoustic conditions among habitats can provide insights into temporal changes in ecosystem composition and anthropogenic impacts. Agencies tasked with safeguarding marine protected areas, such as the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, are increasingly interested in using long-term monitoring of underwater sounds as a means of tracking species diversity and ecosystem health. In this study, low-frequency passive acoustic recordings were collected fall 2014 – spring 2018, using standardized instrumentation, from four marine protected areas across geographically disparate regions of the U.S. Economic Exclusive Zone: Northwest Atlantic, Northeast Pacific, South Pacific, and Caribbean. Recordings were analyzed for differences in seasonal conditions and to identify acoustic metrics useful for resource assessment across all sites. In addition to comparing ambient sound levels, a species common to all four sites, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), was used to compare biological sound detection. Ambient sound levels varied across the sites and were driven by differences in animal vocalization rates, anthropogenic activity, and weather. The highest sound levels [dBRMS (50 Hz–1.5 kHz)re 1 μPa] were recorded in the Northwest Atlantic in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (Stellwagen) during the boreal winter–spring resulting from bioacoustic activity, vessel traffic, and high wind speeds. The lowest sound levels [dBRMS (50 Hz–1.5 kHz) re 1 μPa] were recorded in the Northeast Pacific adjacent to a vessel-restricted area of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (Glacier Bay) during the boreal summer. Humpback whales were detected seasonally in the southern latitude sites, and throughout the deployment periods in the northern latitude sites. Temporal trends in band and spectrum sound levels in Glacier Bay and the National Park of American Samoa were primarily driven by biological sound sources, while trends in Stellwagen and the Buck Island Reef National Monument were primarily driven by anthropogenic sources. These results highlight the variability of ambient sound conditions in marine protected areas in U.S. waters, and the utility of long-term soundscape monitoring for condition assessment in support of resource management.
Species extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate and there is a global need to understand whether conservation effort is appropriately allocated to protect those species at risk. In this study three major measures of global conservation effort across IUCN Red List Threats and Habitats were assessed; staff time spent by the largest cluster of conservation organizations in the world—Cambridge Conservation Initiative, efforts by international NGOs through social media, and global conservation research publications since the year 2000. We find global conservation effort is generally aligned with global conservation priorities, but there are important outliers. Shrublands and rocky areas receive disproportionately little investment across all effort measures relative to the number of high extinction risk species, threats from residential and commercial development receive relatively low research and time investment despite social media attention, while marine areas and climate change receive more attention than expected. Governments and society must make critical conservation decisions in the context of rapid global change, and there is potential for key Threats or Habitats to receive less attention than required. The global conservation community would be wise to carefully consider and improve its understanding of effort-priority mismatches if the greatest number of high extinction risk species are to be protected.
The Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) has faced major governance challenges since its designation in 1998, largely due to the driving forces of immigration from the mainland; a heterogeneous population that has a mainland rather than an island identity; increasing demand for marine resources from global seafood markets; and the rapid growth of tourism. Until recently, the pressures related to these driving forces had challenged measures to promote the effectiveness of the GMR. Decisions taken through the participatory management structure were often undermined by a combination of civil unrest, illegal activities and lack of enforcement. A recent period of relative political stability, coupled with several new measures to address these driving forces, has improved the potential effectiveness of the governance framework. These measures include controls on immigration, the use of remote surveillance technologies to enforce fishing restrictions and a system for the improved management of tourism vessels. Whilst participative and economic incentives will continue to be important, increasing political will to promote long-term sustainability and related improvements in the use of legal incentives, including enforcement technologies and effective prosecutions for those who breach restrictions, are likely to be key elements of the governance framework. It is argued that these measures, coupled with the emergence of a more marine-aware generation of Galápagos citizens, should pave the way for major improvements in the effectiveness of the GMR, hopefully sufficiently strengthening the governance framework to withstand the major driving forces that could otherwise perturb it.