U.S. President Obama's recent creation of an interagency task force on wildlife trafficking reflects growing political awareness of linkages between wildlife conservation and national security (1). However, this and similar new initiatives in Europe and Asia promote a “war on poachers” that overlooks the ecological, social, and economic complexity of wildlife-related conflict. Input from multiple disciplines is essential to formulate policies that address drivers of wildlife decline and contexts from which associated conflicts ignite.
Coastal reclamation is the gain of land from the sea or coastal wetlands for agricultural purposes, industrial use or port expansions. Large-scale coastal land reclamation can have adverse effects on the coastal environment, including loss of marine habitats and deterioration of coastal water quality. In recent decades, coastal land reclamation has occurred extensively to meet the increasing needs of rapid economic development and urbanization in China. The overall objective of this study is to understand the coastal reclamation status of China from 1979 to 2014 and analyzed its driving factors for mitigating negative ecological effects. The data of coastal reclamation were done with the ERDAS Imagine V9.2 platform and ArcGIS software based on remote images including Landsat, SPOT, ZY-2 and ZY-3. Potential driving factors for sea reclamation were selected based on statistics bulletins and the knowledge of experts in coastal management. In order to understand the relationships among possible impact factors and coastal reclamation, the Partial Least-Squares Regression models was constructed. The analysis results indicated that the total area of reclamation was 11162.89 km2 based on remote sensing images between 1979 and 2014. Shandong Province is the largest reclamation area, reaching 2736.54 km2, and the reclamation is mainly concentrated in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning, where the reclamation areas were all more than 1000 km2. According to the remote sensing images, there are three coastal reclamation hotspot regions including Bohai bay (in which is located Liaoning, Tianjin and Hebei), Jiangsu province coastal area and Hangzhou bay (in Zhejiang province). A large scale land reclamation plan of more than 5880 km2 has been made by local government and 2469 km2 has approved by the State Council. From the analyzed results, there is a significant collinearity between these indicators, and no significant correlation between the area of reclamation and selected indicators. Economic development and employees in marine industries have weak positive correlation and correspondingly, the area of cultivated land (ACL) had a negative correlation. Because of the weak correlation, there is an assumption that economic development, outcome of coastal reclamation and population growth were not only was the direct driving factor, but also the outcome of coastal reclamation and population growth was not the direct driving indicator. Construction land quota and huge economic returns to local government may be the direct driving factors according to our field investigation. To resolve the contradiction between the need for land and coastal wetland conservation, it is recommended that China should establish a special management agency and coordination mechanisms, reconsidered the implementation of the reclamation plans and projects that have been approved, enhance law enforcement and increase penalties and strengthen public participation in reclamation management.
Nowadays harmful algal blooms (HABs) represent a serious problem for the conservation of the biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea. Nevertheless the knowledge on the presence of potentially toxic benthic microalgae in particular habitats, such as tide pools, is still scarce. In order to detect HAB-producing benthic microalgae in tide pools of the rocky intertidal zone, a pilot study was conducted in Tavolara Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Protected Area (MPA) during the late spring of 2016. Three different pools were sampled in two study sites (six pools were sampled in total) and the cell density of toxic species was estimated in each. In all the collected samples, the two potentially toxic dinoflagellates, Prorocentrum lima (Ehrenberg) F. Stein and Coolia monotis Meunier, were recorded and significant differences in their density were observed, in relation to both sites and pools.
Overexploitation of reef resources and increasing coastal tourism have severely damaged the health of coral reef ecosystems around Hainan Island, South China. Only some reef sites are protected, and the effectiveness of the marine protected areas (MPA) appears inadequate. Networks of MPAs have been widely proposed as a more effective tool for reef conservation. However, little is known about the overall state of the island's coral reefs, and no guidelines exist for MPA network building in China. In this study, the information currently available on the distribution and condition of Hainan's coral reefs is comprehensively used to assess reef status, and to identify other reef areas prior to protection. An MPA network around the island is proposed in terms of monitoring, legal, and management aspects to improve the conservation effectiveness. This could also serve as a model for developing MPA networks for other coastal areas with respect to coral reef conservation.
In the past decade, marine protected areas (MPAs) have become an increasingly used tool for science-based conservation and adaptive management of marine biodiversity and related natural resources. In this review paper, we report on rather complete time-course series (55 years uninterrupted) focusing on comparison of the strong difference, in number and area, in establishing marine (56 MNRs) and terrestrial (4284 TNRs) nature reserves in Sweden versus marine (7001 MPAs) and terrestrial (132742 TPAs) protected areas globally. Sweden appears to follow the overall global time trends. The large backlog of MPAs in relation to TPAs is due to several possible reasons, such as (i) unclear marine jurisdiction, (ii) marine conservation policies and programs developed later than terrestrial, (iii) higher costs for marine conservation management, (iv) conflicts in marine conservation, especially the fishery, and (v) the general public's historically weak awareness of the status of the marine environment.
Fatal entanglements in fishing gear threaten marine mammal populations worldwide. The management of entanglements of large whales, such as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), with commercial fisheries, is a challenge given the species’ small population size, economic consequences of regulations, and the general lack of data on entanglements. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires development of programs to limit marine mammal entanglement in commercial fishing gear. Following a retrospective look at implementing aspects of the MMPA, a set of guiding principles were developed with associated best practices useful in reducing fatal large whale entanglement in fishing gear. Among these are: 1) involve stakeholders early in the decision making process; 2) establish a transparent management strategy that includes critical needs to guide research; 3) use a variety of tools such as an established process for receiving new information and ideas; and 4) incorporate adaptive management which considers the constraints of dynamic (rapid) changes to some fixed fishing gear. Efforts to reduce worldwide marine mammal bycatch will typically occur in a data-limited environment as experienced with U.S. Atlantic large whale entanglements. The guiding principles will remain as key tools for reducing large whale bycatch in fisheries as they build upon common practices. These insights developed over two decades of management can potentially help others to address similar bycatch problems.
Robust environmental management of deep-sea mining projects must be integrated into the planning and execution of mining operations, and developed concurrently. It should follow a framework indicating the environmental management-related activities necessary at each project phase, and their interrelationships. An environmental management framework with this purpose is presented in this paper; it facilitates the development of environmental information and decision-making throughout the phases of a mining project. It is based environmental management frameworks used in allied industries, but adjusted for unique characteristics of deep-sea mining. It defines the gathering and synthesis of information and its use in decision-making, and employs a conceptual model as a growing repository of claim-specific information. The environmental management activities at each phase have been designed to enable the implementation of the precautionary approach in decision making, while facilitating review of adaptive management measures to improve environmental management as the quantity and quality of data increases and technologies are honed. This framework will ensure fairness and uniformity in the application of environmental standards, assist the regulator in its requirements to protect the environment, and benefit contractors and financiers by reducing uncertainty in the process.
The New Zealand region contains untapped natural mineral, oil, and gas resources while also supporting globally unique and diverse faunal communities that need to be managed sustainably. In this paper key information from the international literature is reviewed that can underpin an Environmental Mining Management System which includes elements of Environmental Risk Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Planning. This paper focuses on four developing areas of seafloor mining activities presently being undertaken or planned in the New Zealand region: hydrocarbons (oil and gas), minerals, ironsands and phosphorite nodules. A number of issues with the implementation of environmental management systems are identified including the difficulty of assessing new marine activities or technologies and the need for standardised reporting metrics. Finally, the development of ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning is discussed which will be required to enhance environmental mining management frameworks in New Zealand.
Over the years, the breadth and depth of EU marine policy has increased with revisions of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and new legislation like the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) and the Framework for Marine Spatial Planning Directive in Europe (FMSP). Not only do these different policies have different remits and hence scope, they also present a multitude of modes of implementation. Although the CFP and MSFD have many common goals when it comes to conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources, they differ substantially in governance set up and implementation modalities, including the underlying scientific advisory processes and structures. Regional cooperation and coordination is foreseen, but there is no governance model in place to coordinate requests for scientific advice, nor institutions coordinating the activities of advice providers, either across policies or across regions. This results in an increase in uncoordinated requests for scientific advice yet the pool of experts fuelling the advisory system is limited. As a result the European marine scientific advisory system is increasingly under pressure. In this paper the consequences of this problem are analysed and a redesign of the institutional governance setting to accommodate these challenges and make the science and advice system ready for the future is explored.
Ostrom (1990) has argued that in collective action problems, social factors are crucial in order to promote conservation. A survey instrument among shellfish gatherers has been used to analyse their preferences with respect to a proposed conservation management programme, assessing the effect of co-management initiatives and the impact of social norms on extraction. Results show that shellfish gatherers working in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) behave more conservatively with respect to their counterparts in terms of their current extraction patterns, promoting species conservation. With regards to social norms, expected believes about the fulfilment of the current extraction regulation in their network, allow for the acceptance of restrictions imposed by the conservation management plan without decreasing the shellfish gatherers’ utility in any significant way.
The role of academic research in the economic growth process has been widely considered over the last two decades in the theoretical and empirical literature, particularly around the concept of knowledge-based economy. Meanwhile, the very recent notion of “blue growth” and the significant development potential related to marine environments have gained more and more concern for policy makers on different scales. It is therefore interesting to assess the academic research related to marine issues, owing to its potential contribution to this dynamics growth through knowledge transfers and academic spillovers. This paper provides a global evaluation of the marine academic production, using a spatialized, open and transdisciplinary approach. In particular, this approach is to mobilize indicators to assess scientific production, transpose it to the territorial scale and make a global comparison of “research territories” in the case of marine science, with a specific focus on European cities. The results show that the five main centres are Tokyo (Japan), Paris (France), San Diego (USA), Moscow (Russia) and Woods Hole (USA). A dense European territorial coverage in marine science centres also appears, and new world major centres such as Chinese and Brazilian ones emerge.
The impact of combined sewer overflow (CSO) on the receiving water body is an issue of increasing concern, as it may lead to restrictions in the use and destination of the receiving body, such as bathing or recreational area closures, fish and shellfish consumption restrictions, and contamination of drinking water resources. Recent investigations have mainly referred to the occurrence and loads of suspended solids, organic compounds and, in some cases, micropollutants. Attempts have been made to find correlations between the discharged load and the size and characteristics of the catchment area, climate conditions, rainfall duration and intensity.
This study refers to a touristic coastal area in the north-east of Italy, which is characterized by a combined sewer network including 5 CSO outfalls which, in the case of heavy rain events, directly discharge the exceeding water flow rate into channels which, after a short distance, reach the Adriatic Sea. The study analyzed: i) rainfall events during the summer period in 2014 which led to overflow in the different outfalls, ii) the inter- and intra-event variability with regard to E. coli, Enterococci and conductivity, and iii) the hydraulic and pollutant (E. coli and Enterococci) loads discharged by the local wastewater treatment plant and by all the CSO outfalls. Finally, it estimated the contribution of each source to the released hydraulic and pollutant loads into the receiving water body. Moreover, it was also found that the modest water volume discharged by all CSO outfalls (only 8% of the total volume discharged by the area) contains > 90% of the microbial load.
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017 reviews progress made towards the 17 Goals in the second year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report is based on the latest available data. It highlights both gains and challenges as the international community moves towards full realization of the ambitions and principles espoused in the 2030 Agenda.
While considerable progress has been made over the past decade across all areas of development, the pace of progress observed in previous years is insufficient to fully meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets by 2030. Time is therefore of the essence. Moreover, as the following pages show, progress has not always been equitable. Advancements have been uneven across regions, between the sexes, and among people of different ages, wealth and locales, including urban and rural dwellers. Faster and more inclusive progress is needed to accomplish the bold vision articulated in the 2030 Agenda.
Deep-sea scleractinian coral reefs are protected ecologically and biologically significant areas that support global fisheries. The absence of observations of deep-sea scleractinian reefs in the Central and Northeast Pacific, combined with the shallow aragonite saturation horizon (ASH) and high carbonate dissolution rates there, fueled the hypothesis that reef formation in the North Pacific was improbable. Despite this, we report the discovery of live scleractinian reefs on six seamounts of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamount Chain at depths of 535–732 m and aragonite saturation state (Ωarag) values of 0.71–1.33. Although the ASH becomes deeper moving northwest along the chains, the depth distribution of the reefs becomes shallower, suggesting the ASH is having little influence on their distribution. Higher chlorophyll moving to the northwest may partially explain the geographic distribution of the reefs. Principle Components Analysis suggests that currents are also an important factor in their distribution, but neither chlorophyll nor the available current data can explain the unexpected depth distribution. Further environmental data is needed to elucidate the reason for the distribution of these reefs. The discovery of reef-forming scleractinians in this region is of concern because a number of the sites occur on seamounts with active trawl fisheries.
Waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) are receptors for the cumulative loading of microplastics (MPs) derived from industry, landfill, domestic wastewater and stormwater. The partitioning of MPs through the settlement processes of wastewater treatment results in the majority becoming entrained in the sewage sludge. This study characterized MPs in sludge samples from seven WWTPs in Ireland which use anaerobic digestion (AD), thermal drying (TD), or lime stabilization (LS) treatment processes. Abundances ranged from 4196 to 15 385 particles kg–1 (dry weight). Results of a general linear mixed model (GLMM) showed significantly higher abundances of MPs in smaller size classes in the LS samples, suggesting that the treatment process of LS shears MP particles. In contrast, lower abundances of MPs found in the AD samples suggests that this process may reduce MP abundances. Surface morphologies examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed characteristics of melting and blistering of TD MPs and shredding and flaking of LS MPs. This study highlights the potential for sewage sludge treatment processes to affect the risk of MP pollution prior to land spreading and may have implications for legislation governing the application of biosolids to agricultural land.
A growing number of nations aim to design coastal plans to reduce conflicts in space and safeguard ecosystems that provide important benefits to people and economies. Critics of coastal and ocean planning point to a complicated process with many actors, objectives, and uncertain outcomes. This paper explores one such decision-making process in Belize, which combines ecosystem service modeling, stakeholder participation, and spatial planning to design the country’s first integrated coastal zone management plan, officially approved by the government in August 2016. We assessed risk to three coastal-marine habitats posed by eight human uses and quantified current and future delivery of three ecosystem services: protection from storms, catch and revenue from lobster fishing, and tourism expenditures to identify a preferred zoning scheme. We found that a highly adaptive team of planners, scientists, and analysts can overcome common planning obstacles, including a dearth of data describing the health of the coastal zone and the many uses it supports, complicated legal and political landscapes, and limited in-country technical capacity. Our work in Belize serves as an example for how to use science about the ways in which nature benefits people to effectively and transparently inform coastal and ocean planning decisions around the world.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted its sixth annual South China Sea conference in July 2016. The conference provided four panels of highly respected experts from 10 countries with a first opportunity to assess the results of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea tribunal ruling and begin to measure its impact. This report contains papers by 11 of the panelists, providing a wide array of perspectives on the political, legal, military, and environmental outlook for the South China Sea in 2016.
The Pacific Lamprey Entosphenus tridentatus, an anadromous fish native to the northern Pacific Ocean and bordering freshwater habitats, has recently experienced steep declines in abundance and range contractions along the West Coast of North America. During the early 1990s, Native American tribes recognized the declining numbers of lamprey and championed their importance. In 2012, 26 entities signed a conservation agreement to coordinate and implement restoration and research for Pacific Lamprey. Regional plans have identified numerous threats, monitoring needs, and strategies to conserve and restore Pacific Lamprey during their freshwater life stages. Prime among these are needs to improve lamprey passage, restore freshwater habitats, educate stakeholders, and implement lamprey-specific research and management protocols. Key unknowns include range-wide trends in status, population dynamics, population delineation, limiting factors, and marine influences. We synthesize these key unknowns, with a focus on the freshwater life stages of lamprey in the Columbia River basin.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) offers an operational framework to address sustainable and well-planned use of ocean space. Spatial allocation has traditionally been single-sector, which fails to account for multiple pressures on the marine environment and user conflicts. There is a need for integrated assessments of ocean space to advance quantitative tools and decision-making. Using the example of offshore wind energy, this article offers thoughts about how MSP has evolved in the United States and how the varying scales of MSP achieve different outcomes. Finally, a review of quantitative and qualitative studies that are needed to support MSP are presented.
“Ocean connectivity” is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field of research in marine science, partly because there is an increasing demand for information on connectivity that informs effective assessment and management of marine resources. Achieving this will require a better alignment between ocean connectivity tools and developments and the needs and challenges of assessments and conservation. For these reasons, the ICES Journal of Marine Science solicited contributions to the article theme set (TS), “Beyond ocean connectivity.” We briefly summarize the nine articles that appear herein, grouping them into four general topics: methodological advances, population dynamics and assessment implications of connectivity, spatial and management implications, and connectivity in ecosystem processes. We also discuss the challenges facing ocean connectivity research if it is to effectively support advancing fisheries assessment frameworks and integrated ecosystem approaches. We hope that the contributions included in this TS serve to convince managers and fisheries scientists of the need to incorporate results from research on connectivity.