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Marine protected dramas: the flaws of the Brazilian National System of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: Environ Manage. 2011 Apr;47(4):630-43. Epub 2010 Sep 24

Authors: Gerhardinger LC, Godoy EA, Jones PJ, Sales G, Ferreira BP

Abstract: This article discusses the current problems and issues associated with the implementation of a National System of Marine Protected Areas in Brazil. MPA managers and higher governmental level authorities were interviewed about their perceptions of the implementation of a national MPA strategy and the recent changes in the institutional arrangement of government marine conservation agencies. Interviewees' narratives were generally pessimistic and the National System was perceived as weak, with few recognizable marine conservation outcomes on the ground. The following major flaws were identified: poor inter-institutional coordination of coastal and ocean governance; institutional crisis faced by the national government marine conservation agency; poor management within individual MPAs; problems with regional networks of marine protected areas; an overly bureaucratic management and administrative system; financial shortages creating structural problems and a disconnect between MPA policy and its delivery. Furthermore, a lack of professional motivation and a pessimistic atmosphere was encountered during many interviews, a malaise which we believe affects how the entire system is able to respond to crises. Our findings highlight the need for a better understanding of the role of 'leadership' in the performance of socio-ecological systems (such as MPA networks), more effective official evaluation mechanisms, more localized audits of (and reforms if necessary to) Brazil's federal biodiversity conservation agency (ICMBio), and the need for political measures to promote state leadership and support. Continuing to focus on the designation of more MPAs whilst not fully addressing these issues will achieve little beyond fulfilling, on paper, Brazil's international marine biodiversity commitments.

Characterising reef fish populations and habitats within and outside the US Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument: a lesson in marine protected area design

Citation Information: Fisheries Management and Ecology; 2007; Volume 14, Issue 1; p. 33-40

Authors: Monaco, M. E.; Friedlander, A. M.; Caldow, C.; Christensen, J. D.; Rogers, C.; Beets, J.; Miller, J.; Boulon, R.

Abstract: Marine protected areas are an important tool for management of marine ecosystems. Despite their utility, ecological design criteria are often not considered or feasible to implement when establishing protected areas. In 2001, the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICRNM) in St John, US Virgin Islands was established by Executive Order. The VICRNM prohibits almost all extractive uses. Surveys of habitat and fishes inside and outside of the VICRNM were conducted in 2002-2004. Areas outside the VICRNM had significantly more hard corals, greater habitat complexity, and greater richness, abundance and biomass of reef fishes than areas within the VICRNM. The administrative process used to delineate the boundaries of the VICRNM did not include a robust ecological characterisation of the area. Because of reduced habitat complexity within the VICRNM, the enhancement of the marine ecosystem may not be fully realised or increases in economically important reef fishes may take longer to detect.

Community involvement in marine protected areas: the case of Puerto Morelos reef, México

Citation Information: J Environ Manage. 2008 Sep;88(4):1151-60. Epub 2007 Aug 6

Author: Rodríguez-Martínez RE

Abstract: The case of Puerto Morelos reef marine protected area (MPA) provides an example of a community-based marine conservation initiative to protect a coral reef ecosystem. The establishment and maintenance of this MPA had five stages: (a) identification of community leaders who would participate in the project; (b) generation of consensus on the need to protect the reef through discussions among local stakeholders, NGOs and reef scientists; (c) involvement of government agencies in establishing the status of a MPA; (d) take-over of decision-making by centralized governmental agencies; and (e) continuous problem-solving process between the government and stakeholders. Over a 9-year period, the control of the MPA was taken over by government and stakeholders' participation downgraded from a decision-making to an advice-giving role. Government shortcomings to manage this MPA could be circumvented via collaborative co-management. Given the small population size of the community and strong sense of ownership, there was a high level of participation in the decision-making processes and scientific advisors are present in the area.

Impacts of a Hawaiian marine protected area network on the abundance and fishery sustainability of the yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens

Citation Information: Biological conservation; 2009 May, v. 142, no. 5

Authors: I.D. Williams; W.J. Walshb; J.T. Claissea; B.N. Tissotc; K.A. Stamoulisb

Abstract: Marine protected areas can enhance fish stocks within their boundaries, but the circumstances in which they might also supplement stocks or enhance fisheries outside their boundaries are less clear. Using visual survey and fishery data, we assess the impacts of increasing fishing effort, and of the establishment in Hawaii of anetwork of areas closed to aquarium fishing, on the prime-target species, yellowtang (Zebrasomaflavescens), and draw conclusions about MPA impacts on long-term fisherysustainability. Between 1999, when 27.8% of the coastline was closed to collecting, and 2007, the number of active fishers and total catch of yellowtang doubled. Prior to MPA establishment, yellowtang densities were similar at sites open to fishing and those slated for closure. By 2007, closed areas had five times the density of prime targeted sized fish (5–10 cm), and 48% higher density of adults than open areas. Densities of adults in ‘boundary’ areas (open areas <1 km from nearest MPA boundary) were significantly higher than in open areas far from MPA boundaries, which was indicative of spillover at that scale. Given the long life-span of yellowtang (>40 years) relative to the duration of protection and the increasing intensity of fishing, the likelihood is that protectedareas will become increasingly important sources for the adult fishes which will sustain stocks and the fishery over the longer term.

Estimating Public Values for Marine Protected Areas in the Northeast United States: A Latent Class Modeling Approach

Citation Information: National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD. Office of Science and Technology; NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-84; October 2007

Authors: K. Wallmo; S. Edwards

Summary: Although popular with the environmental community for quite a while, the designation of the 362 thousand km2 Northwest Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument in 2007 by President George W. Bush symbolizes the political ascension of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the United States. MPAs are not panaceas for resource allocation, though (Degnbol et al. in press). The benefits of fishery reserves, in particular, are arguable. There is general agreement, however, that no-take ecological reserves are the most effective way to enhance and preserve the ecological diversity of marine species and their habitats on the sea floor.

Scientific research indicates that 10%-40% of an ecosystem is required to preserve all species and their habitats. To insure against catastrophic events would require considerably more. But policy-makers must ask whether complete protection is too costly when compared to the opportunity costs of displaced activities. The zoning plans of MPAs generally exclude or substantially restrict many activities that are important to the economy and consumers, including commercial and recreational fishing, oil and natural gas production, sand and gravel mining, and clean renewable energy from windmills that require being attached to the sea floor.

Cascading human impacts, marine protected areas, and the structure of Mediterranean reef assemblages

Citation Information: Ecological Monographs; Vol. 75, No. 1 (Feb., 2005) (pp. 81-102)

Authors: Fiorenza Micheli, Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi, Silvia Gambaccini, Iacopo Bertocci, Costanza Borsini, Giacomo Chato Osio and Federico Romano

Invasive alien plants in marine protected areas: the Spartina anglica affair in the European Wadden Sea

Citation Information: Biological Invasions; Volume 10, Number 6 (2008), 937-950,

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-008-9244-z

Authors: Stefan Nehring and Karl-Jürgen Hesse

Abstract: The common cord-grass Spartina anglica, a fertile hybrid of S. maritima and S. alterniflora, was planted in the European Wadden Sea extensively during the late 1920s and 1930s to promote sediment accretion. After establishment, it colonised as a pioneer plant in the upper tidal zone, where it occurs frequently in coherent swards at the seaward front of saltmarshes and in patches on the tidal flats. Often, a conspicuous, almost monotypic, belt of S. anglica is formed. Over the last two decades, an increase in abundance and accelerated spread of S. anglica was observed, possibly promoted by warmer spring temperatures. This alien species may benefit from global warming, and there is considerable concern about its harmful impacts on the native biocoenoses and native biodiversity of the unique Wadden Sea ecosystem, encompassing effects on hydromorphodynamics and coastal protection. For a definitive assessment, however, an adequate quantification and comparison of documented and potential effects of S. anglica is important, but currently unavailable. Consequently, no management strategy exists for the prevention or restoration of the Wadden Sea ecosystem. Thus, the development of an alien species plan on the level of the Trilateral Cooperation on the Protection of the Wadden Sea is essential.

Role of a large marine protected area for conserving landscape attributes of sand habitats on Georges Bank (NW Atlantic)

Citation Information: Marine Ecology Progress Series; 2004; Volume 269; p. 61-68

Authors: James Lindholm, Peter Auster, Page Valentine

Abstract: Mobile fishing gear reduces seafloor habitat complexity through the removal of structure-building fauna, e.g. emergent organisms that create pits and burrows, as well as by smoothing of sedimentary bedforms (e.g. sand ripples). In this study, we compared the relative abundance of microhabitat features (the scale at which individual fish associate with seafloor habitat) inside and outside of a large fishery closed area (6917 km2) on Georges Bank. Starting in late 1994, the closed area excluded all bottom tending fishing gear capable of capturing demersal fishes. A total of 32 stations were selected inside and outside of the closed area in sand habitats. Video and still photographic transects were conducted at each station using the Seabed Observation and Sampling System (SEABOSS). Seven common (i.e. featureless sand, rippled sand, sand with emergent fauna, bare gravelly sand, gravelly sand with attached-erect fauna, whole shell, shell fragment) and 2 rare (sponges, biogenic depressions) microhabitat types were compared separately. Results showed significant differences in the relative abundance of the shell fragment and sponge microhabitat types between fished and unfished areas. The lack of differences for the other microhabitats may indicate that the level of fishing activity in the area is matched by the system¹s ability to recover.

Fishes associated with North Carolina shelf-edge hardbottoms and initial assessment of a proposed marine protected area

Citation Information: Bulletin of Marine Science; Volume 79; Issue 1; 2006

Authors: Quattrini, A. M.; Ross, S. W.

Abstract: Fish community data are limited from deeper shelf-edge hardbottoms along the southeastern U.S. continental shelf. This lack of data Hampers the design of recently proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) on the outer shelf of the southeastern U.S. During 2001-2004, sampling was conducted (57-25 m) to describe habitats and fish communities within and outside of the North Carolina proposed MPA (p-MPA) using the JOHNSON-SEA-LINK submersible, remotely operated vehicles, otter trawls, and hook and line. Habitats observed included soft substrate or non-hardbottom (NH), a shipwreck ("Snowy Wreck"), low relief hardbottoms (LRH), boulder fields (BF), and high relief ledges (HRL), the latter of which were divided into three mi-crohabitats. Non-metric, multi-dimensional scaling indicated that hardbottom fish assemblages were distinct from NH, and fish assemblages among microhabitats on HRL were different. In total, 152 fish species were documented. Thirty-five species were observed only on NH and 117 were observed or hardbottoms and the Snowy Wreck. Several species of anthiines were the most abundant fishes on most hardbottoms, whereas triglids, synodontids, and Seriola spp. were abundant on NH. Species richness was highest on HRL, and species composition was unique at the Snowy Wreck (238-253 m) and on BF. Future shelf-edge hardbottom research should include more standardized surveys using direct observations. Further, we recommend that the boundaries of the North Carolina p-MPA be redrawn to include more hardbottom habitat. ?? 2006 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami.

Stable isotopes and trophic positions of littoral fishes from a Mediterranean marine protected area

Citation Information: Environmental Biology of Fishes Volume 84, Number 1 (2009), 13-25

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-008-9381-3

Authors: Salvatrice Vizzini and Antonio Mazzola

Abstract: Stable isotope analyses were employed to explore feeding and foraging habitats and trophic levels of littoral fishes in a western Mediterranean Marine Protected Area (Egadi Islands, Sicily, Italy). Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were measured in primary producers, invertebrates and fishes collected in December 2001 and January 2002. Fishes of the littoral region of the Egadi Islands had isotopic signatures that fell into a wider range for δ 13C (about 6‰) than for δ 15N (about 3‰). Carbon isotope ratios were consistent with a food web based on mixed sources and two trophic pathways leading to different fish species. Differences in the isotopic composition between islands were higher for benthivorous than for planktivorous fishes. The overall picture gained from this study is of a isotopic distinction between planktivorous and benthivorous fishes, resource partitioning facilitating the coexistence of similar species within the same ecosystem, and spatial variability in the isotopic signatures and trophic level of fishes. Asymmetrical analysis of variance showed that estimated trophic levels were lower in the area with the highest level of protection (Zone A) for only two out of the nine fishes analysed. As a consequence, overall spatial differences do not seem to be a consequence of protection, since in most cases trophic levels did not change significantly between zone A and zones C where professional fishing (trawling apart) is permitted, but of natural sources of variation (e.g. variability in food availability and site-specific food preferences of fishes). However, the results of this study suggest a different response at the species compared to the community level.

Hindcasting and forecasting of climatology for Gilbert Bay, Labrador: A marine protected area

Citation Information: ProQuest Dissertations And Theses; Thesis (M.Sc.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), 2011.; Publication Number: AAT MR80786; ISBN: 9780494807866; Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 50-02, page: 0972.; 96 p.

Date: 2011

Authors: Best, Sara J.

Rapid Assessment of Risks to a Mobile Marine Mammal in an Ecosystem-Scale Marine Protected Area

Citation Information: Conservation biology; 2008 June, v. 22, no. 3

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00923.x

Authors: A. GRECH, H. MARSH

Abstract: Ecosystem-scale networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are important conservation tools, but their effectiveness is difficult to quantify in a time frame appropriate to species conservation because of uncertainties in the data available. The dugong (Dugong dugon) is a mobile marine species that occurs in shallow inshore waters of an ecosystem-scale network of MPAs (the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area [GBRWHA]). We developed a rapid approach to assess risk to dugongs in the region and evaluate options to ameliorate that risk. We used expert opinion and a Delphi technique to identify and rank 5 human factors with the potential to adversely affect dugongs and their sea grass habitats: netting, indigenous hunting, trawling, vessel traffic, and poor-quality terrestrial runoff. We then quantified and compared the distribution of these factors with a spatially explicit model of dugong distribution. We estimated that approximately 96% of habitat of high conservation value for dugongs in the GBRWHA is at low risk from human activities. Using a sensitivity analysis, we found that to decrease risk, commercial netting or indigenous hunting had to be reduced in remote areas and the effects of vessel traffic, terrestrial runoff, and commercial netting had to be reduced in urban areas. This approach enabled us to compare and rank risks so as to identify the most severe risks and locate specific sites that require further management attention.

Is capacity building important in policy development for sustainability? A case study using action plans for sustainable marine protected areas in Belize

Citation Information: Society & natural resources; 2010 Feb., v. 23, no. 2

DOI: 10.1080/08941920802409593

Authors: M. James C. Crabbea, Edwin Martinezb, Christina Garciac, Juan Chubd, Leonardo Castroe & Jason Guyf

Abstract: We undertook a capacity-building exercise around marine protected areas (MPAs) that involved both local nongovernmental organization (NGO) community workers and a government fisheries officer, so that community engagement could be directly interfaced with fisheries operations and policy. Targeting a government worker is a relatively new approach. Our methodology used a modified nominal group technique and Delphi technique to develop personal action plans to facilitate the future of sustainable MPAs in the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef system. The involvement of a fisheries officer resulted in direct transfer of information from the communities to the government department. The personal action plans involve improvements to organization and management, education, support, and policy development. In addition, three NGOs, TASTE (Toledo Association for Sustainable Tourism and Empowerment), TIDE (Toledo Institute for Development and Environment), and Friends of Nature, have been incorporated into a single self-governing organization that spans four MPAs in southern Belize. This is a significant advance, allowing areas that were subject to illegal fishing to be monitored and policed.

Methods for managing Marine Protected Areas: Options for establishing and managing a marine protected area system in the UK

Citation Information: Report for Natural England in fulfilment of contract MAR09-02-004

Date: 8 December 2006

Authors: Tim Stevens, Peter Jones, Kerry Howell, and Laurence Mee

Institutions: The Marine Institute at University of Plymouth; University College London

Summary: This document presents a review of the available literature concerning management arrangements for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the UK, Europe, and around the world with the object of providing guidance for future management of MPAs, especially European Marine Sites (EMSs), in the UK. This is partly to support the development of effective legislation for UK MPAs through the Marine Bill process, but more broadly to assist UK marine nature conservation and resource management agencies to manage their sites more effectively and to meet the agreed OSPAR goals for a network of well managed marine protected areas to be in place over the next several years. The report follows on from the directions provided in the UK government’s “Maritime State of Nature Report” (Covey and Laffoley 2002) particularly: areas free of exploitation, new or revised legislation and ecologically meaningful management (ibid page 8).

Effectiveness of marine protected areas in the Philippines for biodiversity conservation

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2010 Apr;24(2):531-40. Epub 2009 Oct 16

Authors: Weeks R, Russ GR, Alcala AC, White AT.

Abstract: Quantifying the extent to which existing reserves meet conservation objectives and identifying gaps in coverage are vital to developing systematic protected-area networks. Despite widespread recognition of the Philippines as a global priority for marine conservation, limited work has been undertaken to evaluate the conservation effectiveness of existing marine protected areas (MPAs). Targets for MPA coverage in the Philippines have been specified in the 1998 Fisheries Code legislation, which calls for 15% of coastal municipal waters (within 15 km of the coastline) to be protected within no-take MPAs, and the Philippine Marine Sanctuary Strategy (2004), which aims to protect 10% of coral reef area in no-take MPAs by 2020. We used a newly compiled database of nearly 1000 MPAs to measure progress toward these targets. We evaluated conservation effectiveness of MPAs in two ways. First, we determined the degree to which marine bioregions and conservation priority areas are represented within existing MPAs. Second, we assessed the size and spacing patterns of reserves in terms of best-practice recommendations. We found that the current extent and distribution of MPAs does not adequately represent biodiversity. At present just 0.5% of municipal waters and 2.7-3.4% of coral reef area in the Philippines are protected in no-take MPAs. Moreover, 85% of no-take area is in just two sites; 90% of MPAs are <1 km(2). Nevertheless, distances between existing MPAs should ensure larval connectivity between them, providing opportunities to develop regional-scale MPA networks. Despite the considerable success of community-based approaches to MPA implementation in the Philippines, this strategy will not be sufficient to meet conservation targets, even under a best-case scenario for future MPA establishment. We recommend that implementation of community-based MPAs be supplemented by designation of additional large no-take areas specifically located to address conservation targets.

Monitoring Hawaii's marine protected areas: examining spatial and temporal trends using a seascape approach

Citation Information: Silver Spring, MD : U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, 2010

Authors: Friedlander, Alan M. (Alan Marc); Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (U.S.). Biogeography Branch; United States. National Ocean Service.

Summary: Hawaii’s coastal marine resources have declined dramatically over the past 100 years due to multiple anthropogenic stressors including overfishing, coastal development, pollution, overuse, invasive species and climate change. It is now becoming evident that ecosystem-based management, in the form of marine protected areas (MPAs), is necessary to conserve biodiversity, maintain viable fisheries, and deliver a broad suite of ecosystem services. Over the past four decades, Hawaii has developed a system of MPAs to conserve and replenish marine resources around the state. These Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) vary in size, habitat quality, and management regimes, providing an excellent opportunity to test hypotheses concerning MPA design and function using multiple discreet sampling units.

Striking a Balance between Biodiversity Conservation and Socioeconomic Viability in the Design of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2008 Jun;22(3):691-700. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Authors: Klein CJ, Chan A, Kircher L, Cundiff AJ, Gardner N, Hrovat Y, Scholz A, Kendall BE, Airamé S.

Abstract: The establishment of marine protected areas is often viewed as a conflict between conservation and fishing. We considered consumptive and nonconsumptive interests of multiple stakeholders (i.e., fishers, scuba divers, conservationists, managers, scientists) in the systematic design of a network of marine protected areas along California's central coast in the context of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. With advice from managers, administrators, and scientists, a representative group of stakeholders defined biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic goals that accommodated social needs and conserved marine ecosystems, consistent with legal requirements. To satisfy biodiversity goals, we targeted 11 marine habitats across 5 depth zones, areas of high species diversity, and areas containing species of special status. We minimized adverse socioeconomic impacts by minimizing negative effects on fishers. We included fine-scale fishing data from the recreational and commercial fishing sectors across 24 fisheries. Protected areas designed with consideration of commercial and recreational fisheries reduced potential impact to the fisheries approximately 21% more than protected areas designed without consideration of fishing effort and resulted in a small increase in the total area protected (approximately 3.4%). We incorporated confidential fishing data without revealing the identity of specific fisheries or individual fishing grounds. We sited a portion of the protected areas near land parks, marine laboratories, and scientific monitoring sites to address nonconsumptive socioeconomic goals. Our results show that a stakeholder-driven design process can use systematic conservation-planning methods to successfully produce options for network design that satisfy multiple conservation and socioeconomic objectives. Marine protected areas that incorporate multiple stakeholder interests without compromising biodiversity conservation goals are more likely to protect marine ecosystems.

Protection of Genetic Diversity and Maintenance of Connectivity among Reef Corals within Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: 2008 Oct., v. 22, no. 5


Abstract: High-latitude coral reefs (HLRs) are potentially vulnerable marine ecosystems facing well-documented threats to tropical reefs and exposure to suboptimal temperatures and insolation. In addition, because of their geographic isolation, HLRs may have poor or erratic larval connections to tropical reefs and a reduced genetic diversity and capacity to respond to environmental change. On Australia's east coast, a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) has been established with the aim of conserving HLRs in part by providing sources of colonizing larvae. To examine the effectiveness of existing MPAs as networks for dispersal, we compared genetic diversity within and among the HLRs in MPAs and between these HLRs and tropical reefs on the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The 2 coral species best represented on Australian HLRs (the brooding Pocillopora damicornis and the broadcast-spawning Goniastrea australensis) exhibited sharply contrasting patterns of diversity and connectedness. For P. damicornis, the 8-locus genetic and genotypic diversity declined dramatically with increasing latitude (Na= 3.6-1.2, He= 0.3-0.03, Ng:N = 0.87-0.06), although population structure was consistent with recruitment derived largely from sexual reproduction (Go:Ge= 1.28-0.55). Genetic differentiation was high among the HLRs (FST[SD]= 0.32 [0.08], p < 0.05) and between the GBR and the HLRs (FST= 0.24 [0.06], p < 0.05), which indicates these temperate populations are effectively closed. In contrast for G. australensis, 9-locus genetic diversity was more consistent across reefs (Na= 4.2-3.9, He= 0.3-0.26, Ng:N = 1-0.61), and there was no differentiation among regions (FST= 0.00 [0.004], p > 0.05), which implies the HLRs and the southern GBR are strongly interconnected. Our results demonstrate that although the current MPAs appear to capture most of the genetic diversity present within the HLR systems for these 2 species, their sharply contrasting patterns of connectivity indicate some taxa,...


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