Marine protected areas (MPAs) are the preferred tool for preventing marine biodiversity loss, as reflected in international protected area targets. Concerns have been raised that opposition from resource users is driving MPAs into low‐pressure areas while high‐use areas remain unprotected, with serious implications for biodiversity conservation. We apply a novel test of the spatial relationships between different pressures on marine biodiversity and protection in the world's MPAs. We find that as pressures from pelagic and artisanal fishing, shipping and introductions of invasive species by ship increase, the likelihood of protection decreases, and this relationship persists under even the most relaxed categories of protection. In contrast, as pressures from dispersed, diffusive sources such as pollution and ocean acidification increase, so does the likelihood of protection. We conclude that MPAs are systematically established in areas where there is low political opposition, limiting the capacity of existing MPAs to manage key drivers of biodiversity loss. We suggest that conservation efforts should focus on biodiversity outcomes rather than prescribing area‐based targets and that alternative approaches to conservation are needed in areas where protection is not feasible.
One of the most robust metrics for assessing the effectiveness of protected areas is the temporal trend in the abundance of the species they are designed to protect. We surveyed coral-reef fish and living hard coral in and adjacent to a sanctuary zone (SZ: where all forms of fishing are prohibited) in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park during a 10-year period. There were generally more individuals and greater biomass of many fish taxa (especially emperors and parrotfish) in the SZ than the adjacent recreation zone (RZ: where recreational fishing is allowed) — so log response ratios of abundance were usually positive in each year. However, despite this, there was an overall decrease in both SZ and RZ in absolute abundance of some taxa by up to 22% per year, including taxa that are explicitly targeted (emperors) by fishers and taxa that are neither targeted nor frequently captured (most wrasses and butterflyfish). A concomitant decline in the abundance (measured as percentage cover) of living hard coral of 1–7% per year is a plausible explanation for the declining abundance of butterflyfish, but declines in emperors might be more plausibly due to fishing. Our study highlights that information on temporal trends in absolute abundance is needed to assess whether the goals of protected areas are being met: in our study, patterns in absolute abundance across ten years of surveys revealed trends that simple ratios of abundance did not.
Fusilier (Pisces: Caesionidae) gillnet, called jaring lalosi, have been used since decades by fishers from Assilulu village, meanwhile its scientific information is limited. The aim of this study is to learn the reef fish species selectivity of jaring lalosi and to assess its bycatch using productivity and susceptibility assessment (PSA). This study was conducted at Pulau Tiga waters, Central Maluku Regency, for 3 months observation: October 2017, February and April 2018. Jaring lalosi which means fusilier gillnet, caught dark-banded fusilier, Pterocaesio tile, 94.4% of the total catch. The rest of the catch we represented as by-catch of jaring lalosi. As a high resilience and low vulnerability species, the sustainability of dark-banded fusilier fisheries is unlikely to be fully concerned. As high mobility schooling species, dark-banded fusilier was caught at different communities of reef fishes. MDS analysis showed discrepancy of species selectivity of fusilier gillnet by monthly catch rate. The PSA for bycatch resulted 2 reef species are least likely to be sustainable, 12 reef species are most likely to be sustainable on the criteria of recovery axis and 3 pelagic species are the most sustainable species. We concluded that the practiced of jaring lalosi has low impacts on reef fish community and tendency to overfishing is almost none as long as there is no increasing on fishing pressure. For the implementation of fisheries management based on ecosystem approach (EAFM), bycatch assessment should be applied to other fishing gears.
The deepening of ocean measurement work requires higher transmission bandwidth and information calculation efficiency, which provides an opportunity for fog computing. Compared to cloud computing, fog computing shows distribution because it concentrates data, processing, and application on devices at the edge of the network. In this paper, the Ocean of Things (OoT) framework is designed for marine environment monitoring based on IoT technology. The OoT is divided into three layers, including data acquisition layer, fog layer, and cloud layer. In the fog layer, in order to complete the quality control of the sensor measurement data, we use the numerical gradient based method to process the original acquisition data. And improved D-S algorithm is designed for multi-sensor information fusion, reducing data capacity and improving data quality. In the cloud layer, we build ocean information change models based on fog layer data to predict the dynamic ocean environment. The designed fog layer is evaluated based on marine multi-sensor information. The results have shown that fog-based multi-sensor data processing shows low time consumption and high reliability. Moreover, this paper uses the real temperature datasets to evaluate the prediction accuracy of the cloud model. Finally, we tested the performance of the designed OoT framework with multiple datasets. The simulation results show that the framework can improve the efficiency of data utilization at sea and improve the efficiency of information utilization.
Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many 1000s of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of these species to move 1000s of kilometers across multiple national jurisdictions. To assist the goal of the United Nations General Assembly’s recent effort to negotiate a global treaty to conserve biodiversity on the high seas, we propose the development of a new frontier in dynamic marine spatial management. We argue that a global approach combining tracked movements of marine megafauna and human activities at-sea, and using existing and emerging technologies (e.g., through new tracking devices and big data approaches) can be applied to deliver near real-time diagnostics on existing risks and threats to mitigate global risks for marine megafauna. With technology developments over the next decade expected to catalyze the potential to survey marine animals and human activities in ever more detail and at global scales, the development of dynamic predictive tools based on near real-time tracking and environmental data will become crucial to address increasing risks. Such global tools for dynamic spatial and temporal management will, however, require extensive synoptic data updates and will be dependent on a shift to a culture of data sharing and open access. We propose a global mechanism to store and make such data available in near real-time, enabling a holistic view of space use by marine megafauna and humans that would significantly accelerate efforts to mitigate impacts and improve conservation and management of marine megafauna.
Capabilities of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have increased substantially in the last decade, and mini-ROV designs are now able to conduct visual research frequently conducted by snorkellers or divers in shallow marine environments. There are logistical, financial and experimental benefits of using mini-ROVs over snorkellers or divers, yet the adoption of mini-ROVs for common shallow underwater research tasks has not been widespread. To assess the capabilities of mini-ROVs to sample fish communities we compared the results produced by a mini-ROV to that of snorkellers for performing two of the most common marine video-based research activities (1) underwater visual fish census and (2) observing and tracking fish behaviour. Results of both activities suggested that the fish community observed by the mini-ROV was not distinguishable to that observed by the snorkellers, however, the mini-ROV detected significantly more fish (39% higher abundance) and greater diversity (24% higher). When tracking butterflyfish behaviour, video obtained from the mini-mini-ROV was as efficient as a snorkeller at finding and tracking individuals. Video from the mini-ROV produced comparable responses to that from snorkellers with hand-held GoPros, although over the course of tracks the response between the two methods differed, with a decrease in refuge time for snorkeller video and an increase in tailbeat rate for the mini-ROV video. Our study shows that video obtained from mini-ROVs can be used for research in shallow marine environments when direct manipulations are not required. We predict the research capabilities of mini-ROVs to increase substantially in the coming years, which should cement the use of this tool for research across all marine environments.
This study explores how geographic information technologies – or geo-technologies – are used in spatial planning processes, and more specifically, marine spatial planning (MSP) processes. MSP has the double advantage of being both fertile ground for a lively epistemological debate on positivism and associated with a unique space (maritime space) that is frequently reduced to a simple planar space. We investigate the role of geo-technologies in MSP processes and in particular, their capacity to reinforce power relationships by aligning spatial representation norms with dominant interests, which are then expressed through zoning. To do this, we have decided to look at the different cases involving fishing activities, given that they are resistant to zoning and infrequently regarded as a priority in MSP. This has required us to propose a method which draws on the actor-network theory and the field of critical cartography. On this basis, we perform an initial analysis of the fishery “inscriptions” produced by geo-technologies, by examining the content of 43 current marine spatial plans from around the globe. We conclude that fisheries are generally not inscribed, or incorrectly inscribed (i.e., data and representation methods are unsuitable), and as a result, fisheries align themselves more often than not “by default”. We go on to discuss the results and suggest a few ways in which dominated interests, including fisheries, can be taken into account more effectively. Aside from fisheries, dominated interests more generally include interests that are either not inscribed or incorrectly inscribed, such as non-commercial “uses” of maritime space, non-use, itinerant activities, or elements not considered as a priority for conservation objectives.
Population studies of marine mammals are costly and time-consuming. Nevertheless, many people are happy to use their own resources to apply similar procedures to those necessary to evaluate dolphin populations in dolphin watching tourism. This offers a unique opportunity to collect sufficient data on dolphins to allow for conservation status evaluation by means of Citizen Science, a trending method. Here we crossed information on which species are targeted by tourism and which were lacking important population and ecology data, returning a list of 16 dolphin species which could benefit from dolphin watching tourism to assemble population data with conservation value. We make the case for engaging tourists and tourism agencies in a citizen science effort to raise data on dolphin species. For that, we offer suggestions for dolphin population analyses applicable by non-scientist personal.
Environmental DNA is increasingly being used in marine invasive species surveillance despite the inability to discriminate between contemporary intracellular (i.e., living) and extracellularly persistent (i.e., legacy) DNA fragments. Environmental RNA is emerging as a powerful alternative when distinguishing the living portion of a community is essential. A positive relationship between DNA and RNA signals may justify the use of DNA only for more rapid and cost-effective detections. In this study environmental DNA and RNA were co-extracted from settlement plates and water samples collected in an Auckland harbor, New Zealand. Samples were analyzed using a specific droplet digital PCR assay for the invasive Mediterranean fanworm (Sabella spallanzanii), combined with metabarcoding of metazoan communities (Cytochrome c oxidase subunit I). The number and magnitude of S. spallanzanii detections was higher in DNA compared to RNA, and in water samples. An assessment of detection sensitivity and specificity using a Receiver Operator Characteristics (ROC) analysis supported a relationship between the magnitude of DNA signal and the likelihood of RNA detection for both sampled matrices. A prediction threshold of 400 COI copies in DNA samples provides an indicator for the detection of eRNA, hence the putative presence of living S. spallanzanii population under the conditions tested in this study. Metabarcoding community analysis revealed the taxonomic composition of the water samples to be more diverse than the plate samples which were largely dominated by mollusks. There was a strong association between mollusks and presumed extracellular droplet digital PCR signals. Nevertheless, droplet digital PCR detection signals based on environmental DNA were negatively correlated with metabarcoding diversity indices on plates. This highlights complex interactions between environmental DNA and RNA detections and environmental matrices that can affect targeted approaches. These interactions need to be considered when designing surveillance programs.
Fresh submarine groundwater discharge (fresh SGD), the efflux of terrestrial groundwater directly into the ocean, is a ubiquitous pathway for nutrient-rich freshwater to coastal ecosystems, altering their hydrography, hydrochemistry, and primary productivity. Yet only little is known about the effects of fresh SGD on the fitness of higher trophic levels such as teleost fish. Otolith analysis revealed that somatic growth rates were significantly higher and settlement to reef habitat took place significantly earlier in juvenile gray demoiselle Chrysiptera glauca exposed to fresh SGD as compared to strictly marine conditions. Contrary to expectations, feeding conditions were comparable in both habitats. We propose that physiologically beneficial environmental conditions brought about by the submarine influx of cold acidic freshwater enabled juvenile fish to exhibit elevated growth rates, thereby increasing their survival potential. This effect would directly link changes in groundwater on land to variations in marine primary and secondary consumer biomass at the coast.
In 2013, South Australia experienced unusually high and variable water temperatures (5°C above the historic average), with a peak sea surface temperature of approximately 27°C over a wide geographic area covering both gulfs and shelf waters. Over the same period and similar geographic area, a prolonged and widespread marine mortality event occurred. From January to May 2013, low level rates of incidental morbidity and mortality of abalone (Haliotis rubra and H. laevigata) and at least 29 fish species were observed. Mortalities were geographically extensive from Port MacDonnell on the South Coast of South Australia to Point Drummond on Eyre Peninsula, and including two gulf systems, spanning approximately 2,900 km of coastline. Mortalities were investigated using gross pathology, histopathology, bacterial culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques. Water samples were collected to assess water column nutrient status and phytoplankton biomass levels and community composition. High nutrient concentrations were suggestive of high phytoplankton productivity, with conditions conducive to diatom blooms. A harmful (abrasive) diatom, Chaetoceros coarctatus, was observed in higher concentrations than the historical average. Observed fish mortalities were restricted to a small proportion of the populations and primarily comprised of temperate small-bodied benthic inshore species. Fish histopathology was suggestive of prolonged stress (melanomacrophage aggregation in spleens and kidneys), physical gill damage (focal gill lesions likely caused by C. coarctatus) and lethal bacterial septicaemia. Infectious and notifiable diseases were ruled out in all fish and abalone samples. Abalone mortalities were also restricted to a small proportion of the population with thermal stress a likely contributing factor that resulted in terminal secondary bacterial infections. A marine heatwave event, which promoted blooms of algae, including C. coarctatus, was likely the primary cause of widespread marine mortalities throughout South Australia in 2013. With marine heatwaves projected to increase in frequency, duration and spatial extent, this investigation demonstrated that most at risk will be temperate species in shallow water habitats already at their upper thermal tolerance limits, particularly those with high site fidelity. This should be considered in future climate proofing strategies, including risk and impact assessments underpinning the management of marine resources, fisheries, aquaculture and ecotourism.
The papers in this special issue provide new insights into ongoing research to value coastal and marine ecosystem services, and offer meaningful information for policymakers and resource managers about the economic significance of coastal resources for planning, restoration, and damage assessment. Study areas encompass a broad geographic scope from the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, to the Caribbean, the European Union, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The focus of these papers ranges from theoretical perspectives on linkages between ecosystem services and resource management, to the actual integration of valuation information in coastal and marine resource policy decisions, and to the application of economic valuation methods to specific coastal and marine resource management problems. We hope readers will appreciate these new contributions to the growing literature on coastal and marine resource ecosystem services valuation.
- Deep‐sea marine protected areas (MPAs) present particular challenges for management. Their remote location means there is limited knowledge of species and habitat distribution, and rates and scales of change. Yet, evaluating the attainment of conservation objectives and managing the impact of human activities both require a quantitative understanding of natural variability in species composition/abundance and habitat conditions.
- Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are collaborating in the development of remote monitoring tools for the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents MPA in the north‐east Pacific. This 98.5 km2 MPA, located 250 km offshore Vancouver Island, encompasses five major fields of hydrothermal vents, at depths of 2200–2400 m. A real‐time cabled observatory was installed at the Endeavour site in 2010.
- Scientific research for the conservation, protection and understanding of the area is permitted within the MPA and is the primary activity impacting the area. Research activities require the use of submersibles for sampling, surveying and observatory infrastructure maintenance. Data and imagery from remotely operated vehicle dives and fixed subsea observatory sensors are archived in real time using ONC's Oceans 2.0 software system, enabling evaluation of the spatial footprint of research activity in the MPA and the baseline level of natural ecosystem change.
- Recent examples of database queries that support MPA management include: (1) using ESRI ArcGIS spatial analysis tools to create kernel density ‘heat maps’ to quantify the intensity of sampling and survey activity within the MPA; and (2) quantifying high‐frequency variability in vent fauna and habitat using sensor and fixed camera data.
- Collaboration between researchers and MPA managers can help mitigate the logistical challenges of monitoring remote MPAs. Recognition at the policy level of the importance of such partnerships could facilitate the extension of scientific missions to support more formal monitoring programmes.
- The world's oceans are often perceived as barriers that separate countries. To counter these divisions and improve protection of ocean resources, marine protected area (MPA) managers have formed alliances that bridge jurisdictional boundaries to share strategies and resources with other protected areas.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has embraced this sister site approach to connect MPA management based on ecological and cultural links. Designed to strengthen the management of ecologically and culturally connected areas, these relationships between protected areas serve as catalysts for effective stewardship of the ocean's biological resources and show the important benefits of transnational cooperation.
- This paper summarizes the lessons from over a decade of sister site partnerships, including case studies from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and four sites in the Caribbean working together to protect a shared population of humpback whales; the Gulf of Mexico Sister Site Network being developed by the USA, Mexico, and Cuba; Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and Rapa Nui in Chile; and broader collaboration among MPAs in the USA and Chile on the Pacific coast.
- Important marine mammal areas (IMMAs) are discrete portions of habitat, important to marine mammal species, that have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. Although IMMAs are not a blueprint for marine protected areas or other conservation designations, they are useful for providing a foundation for marine spatial planning and systematic conservation planning that can then lead to protected areas or special spatial regulations. To be most useful for supporting management and conservation, however, the information coming out of IMMAs needs to reflect current conditions.
- An ‘early warning system’ is proposed with a generic set of indicators to flag when marine mammal species in IMMAs require management interventions due to changing distributions or decreasing populations. Rather than signifying that quantitative thresholds have been reached, these indicators comprise alerting information derived from visual or acoustic census, satellite imagery analysis, whale‐watching logs, or increases in mortality reported by stranding networks that can trigger additional targeted research.
- Although it is possible that in some regions data will be sufficient to provide quantifiable indicators, the system is meant to rely on existing data sources, and be adaptable to the circumstances of each region.
- Regional expert groups can utilize early warning system information and feed it into IMMA‐related spatial planning in two ways: by nominating additional areas of interest, and by providing a scientific rationale for revising IMMA boundaries, to be considered at the next decadal IMMA regional expert workshop.
- IMMA‐driven consolidation of information that is as current as possible will prove valuable for enhancing regional cooperation to conserve marine mammals, and will be useful as countries implement new protected areas to conserve marine mammals and other marine biodiversity.
- For more than 40 years, marine zoning has played a key role while evolving as part of the adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park. The statutory zoning plan provides the primary integrating component that prohibits many threatening activities and manages the impacts of allowed human activities and competing uses by means of various zones, special management areas and other spatial management tools.
- How zoning is applied, however, has changed considerably since the first zoning plan was finalized in 1981. Today, zoning is applied in combination with other layers of marine spatial planning; the effective combination of these management tools provides the integrated approach, considered one of the best for managing a large marine protected area.
- The zoning plan provides the foundation for management of the GBR and is the fundamental component of the integrated marine spatial planning approach ensuring high levels of protection for significant areas of the GBR, while also allowing ecologically sustainable use.
- The paper outlines the legal and managerial contexts of zoning, providing 38 lessons that may be useful for marine zoning and ecosystem‐based management elsewhere. It outlines aspects of zoning that have worked well in the GBR Marine Park and what has changed in the light of experience and changing contexts, and seeks to clarify various misconceptions about zoning and marine spatial planning.
- The integrated management approach in the GBR utilizes a variety of spatial planning tools, which complement the underlying zoning; some of these comprise statutory management layers (e.g. designated shipping areas, special management areas, plans of management, fishery management arrangements, Traditional Owner agreements, defence training areas); other layers are non‐statutory (e.g. site plans).
- This paper is written for planners, managers and decision‐makers considering the use of zoning to achieve effective marine conservation, protection and ecologically sustainable use.
Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations have committed to adopting an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM). Yet their progress has been relatively slow and patchy, lacking a long-term vision and a formalized plan to prescribe how fisheries will be managed from an ecosystem perspective. We argue that one of the impediments in this process has been the lack of well-defined spatial management units that are ecologically meaningful, as well as practical for fisheries management, to guide ecosystem-based planning, research and indicator assessments, to ultimately produce better integrated management advice. In this study, we propose seven potential ecoregions within the convention area of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The boundaries of the ecoregions rest on three pillars of information: the existing knowledge of biogeographic classifications of the pelagic environment, the spatial distribution of tuna and billfish species, and the spatial dynamics of the main fishing fleets targeting them. Each ecoregion is characterized by a set of ecologically meaningful biogeographic and oceanographic characteristics, tuna and billfish communities and fishing fleet patterns. The pelagic ecoregions proposed here aim to focus species- and fisheries-specific management of the tuna and billfish fisheries on specified regions. The proposed ecoregions represent an optimal, ecologically sound starting point, based on the best science available, to foster debate and consultative process in ICCAT for moving forward the implementation of the EAFM.
Multiple-use Marine Protected Areas are typically predominantly zoned for partial protection, allowing ‘acceptable’ exploitation activities. However, biotic responses to Partially Protected Areas (PPAs) are varied, and the effectiveness of this approach in relation to management objectives can be ambiguous. Few studies have compared different levels of partial protection to provide insight into this issue. Using remote underwater video methods (stereo baited video, drop-camera) we compared fish and invertebrate assemblages between two PPA types with differing levels of protection (Habitat Protection - HP; and General Use - GU) on unconsolidated substrata in the subtropical Solitary Islands Marine Park, Australia. While both Management Types are fished, trawling is only allowed in GU. Despite high levels of spatial variation across the scales of investigation, we found fish and invertebrate assemblages differed significantly between the two Management Types. The abundance of two fish taxa and low-mobility and sessile benthic macro-invertebrates, and the mean size of the commercially targeted bluespotted flathead Platycephalus caeruleopunctatus, were each significantly greater in the un-trawled HP. Contrary to expectations, abundance of a conspicuous habitat former (pennatulacean seapens) and elasmobranchs did not differ significantly between Management Types. While unconsolidated sedimentary habitats are more homogenous than reef, our study revealed high assemblage diversity at a range of scales. Although assemblages and some individual taxa benefitted from a higher level of partial protection, the broader merit of this management approach remains unclear. Globally, PPA benefits likely depend on social, regulatory, environmental, and site-specific ecological factors.
• Non-state community actors play a proactive role in discharging the fishery management functions.
• The fishers in South Kerala, India make collective decisions through a Church-mediated community fishery management system.
• Kadakkody, a non-state system prevalent in North Kerala serves several parallel legal functions within the fishing community.
The response of a coastal region to sea-level rise depends on the local physical features, which should therefore be evaluated locally to provide an accurate vulnerability assessment. In this study, we conducted comprehensive analyses of the potential impacts of sea-level rise on the Pearl River Estuary (PRE), China with the aid of a fully calibrated three-dimensional hydrodynamic model. We found that in general, the salinity, stratification and tidal range will increase as the sea-level rises. Clear spatial variations were apparent in the response of these parameters, with different patterns occurring in different seasons. The strongest salinity increase was mostly at the front of the PRE, where freshwater and saltwater meets. In Lingding Bay (LDB), the rate of increase in stratification in response to the sea-level rise was found to be higher during high-flow conditions than that during low-flow conditions. The increases of tidal range and tidal current were amplified in the upstream direction, with the largest increase occurring in the upper tributaries. The change of vertical transport process in the PRE is not prominent and only in the upper LDB the vertical transport time increased for approximately two days. The upstream transport process was strengthened during the typical wet season and weakened during the typical dry season. The downstream transport slowed in both wet and dry seasons as the sea level rose. For a sea-level rise of 1 m, the dry season residence time increased by 8.5 days, while the wet season residence time showed only minor changes. It was also found that the fluvial input remained in the PRE for a longer time after the sea level rose, which would increase the retention time of dissolved substances and thus effect biogeochemical processes.