An ecosystem services (ES) approach to managing marine and coastal resources has increasingly emerged as a core requirement of ecosystem-based management (EBM). However, little practical guidance exists to help structure and implement such an approach. This paper outlines the linkages between ecosystems, ES and EBM in a practical framework that could be applied to marine environmental management. Using the northwestern, deepwater Gulf of Mexico as a case study, a three-stage approach was devised: (1) prioritizing relevant ES according to perceived financial and societal value and level of stress, (2) assessing the effectiveness of a wide range of indicators of ES health, and (3) ranking indicators to identify those whose monitoring would be most effective in tracking ES health. The first stage of this approach identified food provision, recreational fishing, and the non-use ethical value derived from the presence of iconic species as the highest-priority ES in the case study region. The second and third stages suggested four indicators as having the highest priority for supporting key ES: (1) levels of selected chemical compounds in key species of fish, (2) marine sound, (3) concentration of chlorophyll-a as a proxy for phytoplankton, and (4) economic and ecological values added by artificial structures. Results of this study will be helpful in prioritizing the allocation of resources for marine environmental monitoring. The approach described here will also be applicable, with appropriate adaptations, to ES analysis in other environmental settings.
This paper aims to explore how the non-flag state high seas boarding and inspection (HSBI) scheme has been implemented in real settings, as well as to examine its effectiveness in enforcement and potential impacts on fisheries management. The methods of document analysis and semi-structured interviews were employed. The preliminary results showed that the scheme has been practically realized in the WCPFC, indicating that an exception to the high seas flag state control has been established for the sake of fisheries management. The results also revealed that the scheme has the potential to complement the lack of on-sight enforcement capacity of fishing states, enhance cooperative enforcement on the high seas, and implicitly elevate the level of compliance with relevant management measures by vessels. This paper also identified a potential loophole of the scheme, namely whether it has the necessary “teeth” to deal with the inaction of the flag states regarding their fishing vessels which have had foreign inspectors detect the violation of rules. To amend this loophole, devising a mechanism for allowing the WCPFC to warn or punish the flag states for such inaction in order to improve compliance, has been recommended. In addition, further studies on the effectiveness of the scheme and the link between the scheme and fishers’ behaviors in complying with management measures were also recommended.
Humans and ecosystems are inextricably linked. The marine environment provides significant benefits to humans often described as stemming from ecosystem services (ES). Cultural ecosystem services (CESs) are included in the majority of ecosystem service frameworks in some form. However, there is a lack of characterisation or valuation of CESs often because they are hard to identify. They are therefore frequently left out of assessments leading to a risk that ES frameworks are not being used to their full potential. By analysing responses from the Turkish public to an open question, posed about the sea, it is possible to access the interface between humans and the marine ecosystem. A number of CES categories were identified; aesthetic information, recreation, inspiration for art and design, and cultural heritage. In addition, provisioning (seafood), air purification and climate modification were recognised. The four CES are characterised, including the hard to identify intangible elements, and the underpinning environmental components and linkages were explored. The analysis used revealed the intangible benefits, including a deeply emotional attachment to the marine environment. The understanding of the cultural linkages between the Turkish people and the Black Sea provides a mechansim for designing policy and ecosystem management measures, and for motivating individuals and communities to work towards protecting and enhancing ecosystems. The research also provides evidence to support the case that cultural experiences are frequently built upon the foundations of a healthy natural environment.
Oyster harvest has long been an important industry of the eastern coast of the United States. However, coastal development, overfishing and climate change are threatening this industry and way of life. This study examines the perspectives of oyster harvesters and merchants in Brunswick County, North Carolina, USA to explore their capacity to adapt to these changing conditions. Using in-person, semi-structured interviews researchers collected information from seventeen interviewees, generating qualitative data that were analyzed using MAXQDA software. From the data collected several themes emerged revealing mixed sentiments on the impacts of climate change but a widespread sense that development and regulations threaten livelihoods and cultural heritage. This social–ecological system (SES), created through centuries of regulation, is experiencing rapid population growth with concurrent coastal development; it also includes oyster industry workers who have limited voice in decision-making but are affected by the political ecology of the region. Deliberately including oyster harvesters and merchants when formulating and implementing policy can help to strengthen the adaptive capacity of this SES while sustaining Brunswick County׳s coastal heritage.
Concerns over the impact of economic activities on the marine resource have led to many national ocean policies and international agreements for sustainable development. To guide these policies, information on the physical attributes and processes of the marine system and its associated economic activities, such as fishing, maritime transport, shipbuilding, etc. must be accommodated within a single framework. However, economic data on the activities linked to the marine resource is often incomplete or non-existent. Recent literature has focused on developing national economic indicators for the marine sector. To date, these indicators have tended to reflect national level trends; overall output, employment, and household income associated with the marine sector. Recognising the importance of micro-level indicators that capture temporal trends in the marine sector, this paper uses data on a subset of marine sectors, namely fishing, aquaculture, processing, shipbuilding, maritime transport and construction provided in the Office of National Statistic׳s Business Structure Dataset. Dividing the trend data into two timeframes 2003–2007 and 2008–2011 provides an additional insight on the performance of the marine sector with the global economic recession as a backdrop. This paper found that whilst employment in the marine sector decreased in England since 2008, output from marine based products and services have increased. The paper further found that overall, whilst the subset of sectors representing the English marine sector in the BSD under-performed relative to other sectors during 2003–2007 (or the global boom years), the sector grew faster in the post global recession compared to other English industrial sectors.
Many countries have put in place protection of cold water coral (CWC) reef areas in relation to fishing, especially bottom trawling. As little has been known about the ecosystem function of CWC, protection has largely been driven by existence values such as uniqueness/rareness, charisma and low resistance from fishermen due to limited effects upon fisheries. This paper identifies the services from CWC, underlining the supporting services that may determine the flow of the more direct provisioning, regulating and cultural services. Current research points to the value of CWC as a habitat for commercially interesting species, which motivates management of these resources to include a more comprehensive set of mechanisms, such as placing incentives to encourage a change of gear from bottom trawling to less destructive methods in less densely covered CWC areas, and possibly a stronger focus on other benthic habitats that are equally or more valuable, such as sponges.
Collaboration across sectors and disciplines is widely identified as essential for the implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM) in both marine and terrestrial settings. However, relatively little research has examined the inner workings of collaborative marine EBM processes. Social network analysis (SNA) is a suite of methods for systematically analyzing and mapping relations between individuals or organizations, and can be used as a means of understanding the inner workings of collaboration. The authors applied SNA methods to cases of collaborative marine EBM planning in Rhode Island and New York, U.S.A., focusing on network structure and the role and influence of individual actors within their respective planning networks. Results highlighted the importance of diverse, decentralized networks of moderate density as well as the influence that bridging ties, or “brokers,” can wield in such processes. Research also found that non-governmental actors, such as university outreach specialists and scientists affiliated with environmental organizations, can be especially influential in collaborative marine EBM planning. This paper presents the results of this analysis, discusses the utility of this method for the analysis of collaborative marine EBM planning, and offers recommendations for future research and practice.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have the potential to conserve marine resources as well as provide social and economic benefits to local communities. Yet the percentage of MPAs that might be considered “successful” or effective on ecological and/or socio-economic accounts is debatable. Measurement of biophysical and socio-economic outcome indicators has become de rigeur for examining MPA management effectiveness so that adaptive feedback loops can stimulate new management actions. Scholars and practitioners alike have suggested that more attention should be given to the inputs that are likely to lead to successful MPA outcomes. This paper briefly discusses the potential ecological and socio-economic outcomes of MPAs then reviews the literature on three categories of inputs – governance, management, and local development – that lead to effective MPAs. In conclusion, the paper presents a novel inputs framework that incorporates indicators for governance, management and development to be used in the design and analysis of MPAs.
The nature of small-scale fisheries is frequently described as complex. This complexity is particularly true for the least developed countries, such as Yemen, in which natural resources management is challenged by rapid population growth, high unemployment rates, and chronic underdevelopment. This study presents the current fisheries management regime and analyzes its components to examine how appropriate the current strategy is in addressing conservation needs while sustaining the socio-economic benefits obtained from fisheries. The weak enforcement and low compliance and the widespread illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, suggest the need to restructure the fisheries management system. Moreover, for any future policy reforms, it will be necessary to consider introducing appropriate anti-corruption measures and policies to improve transparency and accountability. The fishery managers need also to adopt the precautionary approach widely, using the best available information, until results from research become available.
Bluefin tuna management is a high profile conservation issue, generating significant public interest. The species is in decline due to overfishing, with the Mediterranean population of particular concern. Japanese demand for bluefin tuna is driving overexploitation and there are no indications that this will diminish in the foreseeable future. The system of allocating catch quotas to fishing parties under the International Convention on Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has been ineffective in the past. This paper argues that other avenues of international law, including via the World Trade Organisation, are unable to provide suitable alternative remedies. However, the interaction and political leveraging effect of these multilateral instruments has now established an enabling environment for an effective management regime, with a revitalised ICCAT now universally recognised as the most appropriate forum to address the threats to bluefin tuna. It is advised that ICCAT parties continue to work collaboratively, as has begun in recent years. The body should seek to maintain not only a scientifically derived sustainable fishing quota but also to address high levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which threaten to undermine progress in restricting quota allocations. This could be supported by inclusion of a formal dispute resolution mechanism with the Convention or by developing linkages to related UNCLOS articles. However, ultimately, this complex issue is probably best dealt within the international body most well positioned to convene a consensus amongst stakeholders, namely ICCAT.
Marine renewables offer potential economic and environmental benefits, however there is a need to ensure that the growth of this emergent industry considers existing features and users of the marine environment. There is a clear role for marine spatial planning to guide its future development. The Shetland Regional Locational Guidance is a sensitivity led approach to identifying the suitability of areas around the Shetland Islands for renewable energy development and associated shore based infrastructure, and is an example of integrated coastal zone management. Working closely with local stakeholders was key to this process, which incorporates economic, environmental, social and cultural uses into one constraint model; constraint levels are set by local and societal values, rather than monetary equivalences. It has been successfully translated into policy within the Shetland Islands׳ Marine Spatial Plan, which will form supplementary guidance to the Shetland Islands Council׳s forthcoming Local Development Plan. The policy integrates with GIS data without requiring the creation of ‘zones’, as was requested by local stakeholders, and allows for updating of the GIS spatial model without requiring changes to the policy wording.
Small-scale fisheries have historically been marginalized in management and policy investments, and they often remain under-reported in national economic and fisheries statistics. Even so, small-scale fisheries are not entirely buffered from the impacts of globalization, such as the introduction and expansion of markets. This study measures the long-term impact of market-access on a coastal fishery on Nicaragua׳s remote Atlantic Coast from approximately the time when fishermen had access to stable and predictable local markets until the present, when the region has been transformed by road connection. In the last four years, fisheries trade has expanded as road connection has facilitated export to distant markets. Fishery-independent surveys were used to measure changes in indicators of fish-community status such as length-frequency, mean trophic level, and relative biomass. Species-level changes in relative biomass of common snook Centropomus undecimalis and gafftopsail catfish Bagre marinus were also evaluated since these species are the most economically valuable and likely account for the most fish biomass in the system. Using historical records, reports, current observations and interviews, changes in indicators of fishing intensity and market access over the past 17 years were assessed. From 1994 to 2011, community and species-specific metrics of the lagoon fishery declined significantly across all indicators examined. The potential social and economic outcomes of the decline in the fishery are far-reaching for the region, because this tropical fishery comprises the main source of protein and income for residents of twelve indigenous and Afro-descendent communities.
This paper reviews the development of sea basin maritime spatial planning (MSP) through the concerted efforts of several coastal nations based on the case of the Baltic Sea Region. Additionally, the readiness of Poland to assume its place within the existing sea-basin planning system is analyzed since Poland, as one of the last countries in the region to do so, announced the official commencement of MSP on November 18, 2013. The paper analyzes the progress of MSP in the Baltic Sea Region and discusses the question of the interplay between planning efforts executed nationally and the need to take into consideration much broader sea-basin contexts and perspectives. The conclusions drawn at the end of the paper explain how macro-regional MSP systems influence planning efforts in individual countries and how they might alleviate barriers that are typically encountered in the initial stages of MSP development at national levels.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly being used as a mechanism to manage the marine environment. Human activities can impact biophysical ecosystem features, reducing resilience and potentially impacting ecosystem services, which can affect the environmental, socio-economic and cultural benefits derived by coastal communities. Central to MSP is the collection and collation of baseline data on biophysical ecosystem features and ecosystem services to inform decision making and target management measures. The data collection process should be a structured, transparent process to ensure adequate data and metadata collation to enable it to be effectively used in MSP. This data should be subject to stakeholder consultation, producing quality assured information and mapping. The resources required to undertake data collection should not be underestimated. Recognition should be given to the limits of knowledge of the marine environment and its complexity. Planners and developers should exercise caution when using and interpreting the results of mapping outputs.
The Marine Strategy Framework (Directive 2008/56/EC, MSFD) came into force in 2008, confirming the increased political interest in the oceans observed in recent years, and the change in the philosophy of environmental management, which has resulted in the development of many initiatives to guide the conservation, protection and sustainable management of marine ecosystems. This Directive is the key environmental instrument of the European Union (EU) maritime policy, and establishes that Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to achieve or maintain the Good Environmental Status of the marine environment by 2020. The central part of the MSFD is formed by the ‘marine strategies’, which have to be developed by the Member States for the marine waters under their jurisdiction. The implementation of the MSFD represents a demanding task in the integrative assessment of marine ecosystems. Here we describe the implementation process, and we discuss the institutional framework and the main difficulties and challenges encountered so far, with emphasis on the Spanish context.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly being recognised as an important tool in the sustainable management of marine ecosystems. In preparation for the development of MSP across Scotland, the Scottish Government, via Marine Scotland, first piloted regional marine planning in 2006, through the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative (SSMEI). The overarching aim of SSMEI was to develop and test the effectiveness of differing management approaches to deliver sustainable development in Scotland׳s coastal and marine environment. The Shetland Islands׳ Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) was first developed under the SSMEI programme, and in 2014 the Shetland Islands Council is intending to adopt the fourth edition of the SMSP on a statutory basis as Supplementary Guidance to its Local Development Plan. Using Geographic Information Systems (GISs) the SMSP has incorporated spatial data on existing marine and coastal environmental, socio-economic and cultural features and activities into the decision making process, and is an example of place based management. This has required collecting and collating 127 data sets from a range of data sources, and has utilised local stakeholders to verify evidence. This process has required significant resources by a dedicated marine spatial planning team, as well as by local stakeholders. The data within the SMSP has also been used to develop spatially-specific policies to guide the future development of Shetland׳s coastal and marine environment. It has been used by a range of users including developers and decision makers in planning and assessing areas for development, allowing potential conflicts to be avoided or mitigated early in the development process.
Threats to the marine environment are multiple and growing and the Baltic Sea is no stranger to them. Numerous human activities have put its ecosystems under severe pressure and it has become one of the most polluted seas in the world. In order to safeguard species and habitats, and to recover the healthy status of the sea, one of the most widely recognized and effective tools to address the activities affecting marine and coastal ecosystems is needed: a network of well‑managed marine protected areas (MPAs). Such a network, if it is well designed, can help curb the loss of marine resources and recover entire ecosystems by providing protection and decreasing the loss of endangered marine species and habitats, and restoring depleted fish stocks.
Today about 12% of the Baltic Sea is covered by MPAs, but despite this relatively high figure, the management of these sites remains poor and uneven.
This report provides an overview of MPAs and the quality of their management in the Baltic Sea and Kattegat, covering the EU’s Natura 2000 sites, HELCOM Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs), and MPAs under national law. The status of MPA management plans, including possible fisheries measures, was reviewed to the extent that information was available. Data was collected using EU (Standard Data Forms, SDF) and HELCOM BSPA databases. Because some of these are not consistently updated and contain some outdated data that fails to reflect the most accurate situation, we also approached national authorities directly. Information was obtained from all countries except the Russian Federation. The European Environment Agency and European Commission Directorate‑General for the Environment (DG ENVI) were consulted as well.
Overall we have found out that more than half of the MPAs in the Baltic Seaand Kattegat have management plans, but they often fail to offer any concrete measures or solutions, remaining protected only on paper. To protect against threats to the marine environment and reverse the decreasing biodiversity trend, proper management measures are needed. The first crucial step is to identify the threats facing MPAs in the region so as to be able to target the plans effectively. Next, management plans addressing all human activities and threats, including strict measures, should be developed for all existing MPAs. In addressing fishing activities, these plans should include restrictions where needed, as well as better monitoring, control and surveillance of these activities, including recreational fisheries. The precautionary approach should be applied in all cases where a lack of information occurs.
The sustainable management of fisheries and marine living resources is a societal challenge of global dimensions. No single institution or country can tackle this challenge alone. The European Union’s programme for e-infrastructures and data infrastructures has been the pathway to integrating services and tools in a seamless way increasingly at large scale. As a data infrastructure, iMarine ensures computational resources, specific tools and services are open to many different actors and complementary initiatives. The iMarine Board provides a governance framework, which is important for shaping new directions. The Board plays a dual role: 1) it brings expertise from the fisheries, biodiversity and environmental domains, including requirements to shape the tools and services within iMarine and 2) it helps in defining the business cases.
The challenge now lies in defining an effective sustainability plan for the iMarine data infrastructure in the short term and in identifying future opportunities to shape the infrastructure. iMarine has set itself two goals. One goal focuses on defining baseline sustainability to remain operational when funding ends. The other goal centres on a plan for growth.
This fiscal year 2012 year-end report summarizes activities carried out under DOE Water Power task 2.1.7, Permitting and Planning. Activities under Task 2.1.7 address the concerns of a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in the development of the MHK industry, including regulatory and resource management agencies, tribes, NGOs, and industry. Objectives for 2.1.7 are the following:
- To work with stakeholders to streamline the MHK regulatory permitting process.
- To work with stakeholders to gather information on needs and priorities for environmental assessment of MHK development.
- To communicate research findings and directions to the MHK industry and stakeholders.
- To engage in spatial planning processes in order to further the development of the MHK industry.
These objectives are met through three subtasks, each of which are described in this report:
- 126.96.36.199—Regulatory Assistance
- 188.8.131.52—Stakeholder Outreach
- 184.108.40.206—Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning
As the MHK industry works with the regulatory community and stakeholders to plan, site, permit and license MHK technologies they have an interest in a predictable, efficient, and transparent process. Stakeholders and regulators have an interest in processes that result in sustainable use of ocean space with minimal effects to existing ocean users. Both stakeholders and regulators have an interest in avoiding legal challenges by meeting the intent of federal, state, and local laws that govern siting and operation of MHK technologies. The intention of work under 2.1.7 is to understand these varied interests, explore mechanisms to reduce conflict, identify efficiencies, and ultimately identify pathways to reduce the regulatory costs, time, and potential environmental impacts associated with developing, siting, permitting, and deploying MHK systems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is actively engaged in the Arctic, providing science, service, and stewardship to this rapidly changing region, its inhabitants, and the Nation. Through its broad range of activities, NOAA is well prepared to make significant contributions, to the extent possible within existing resources, to all three lines of effort in the recently released U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region (May 2013) and its subsequent Implementation Plan (January 2014). As described in its 2011 Arctic Vision and Strategy, NOAA has six strategic goals in the Arctic, each of which directly supports the National Strategy.
Advancing U.S. security interests in the Arctic requires improved maritime domain awareness, for which NOAA’s weather and sea ice forecasts are critically important. NOAA’s sea ice research strengthens forecasts of both ice and weather conditions as well as building a better understanding of the direct links between sea ice and climate. As a result of this research, the complicated linkages among melting sea ice, changing climate, and weather patterns in the Arctic and around the globe are becoming more apparent and allow better planning to cope with Arctic change.
NOAA plays a key role in pursuing responsible Arctic region stewardship. Foundational science enables better understanding of Arctic ecosystems, the atmosphere, climate, and their dynamic interconnections. NOAA’s fisheries research and management programs are likewise vital, particularly for the economically important U.S. Bering Sea fisheries. Research and stewardship of marine ecosystems and protected species like marine mammals promote sustainable use, conservation, and protection from potential impacts of offshore development, increased shipping, and environmental degradation. NOAA provides important services to coastal communities by improving safe Arctic maritime access with mapping and charting as well as increasing preparedness and communities’ resilience to intensifying weather. NOAA is also an important partner in hazard response and mitigation (e.g., providing scientific support to the U.S. Coast Guard after oil spills). Research relevant to oil spills, sea ice, and marine ecosystems will help to prepare for and to protect against potential environmental disasters in the Arctic.
All of NOAA’s Arctic activities are united in one aspect: leveraging national and international partnerships and collaborating to support common Arctic goals. NOAA strengthens international cooperation through the Arctic Council, joint research opportunities, and provision of services. NOAA also has many successful Arctic national partnerships, within and outside the Federal Government. Existing partnerships will be strengthened and new ones developed in the coming years as NOAA continues its work to address the Nation’s challenges in the Arctic.