Fisheries provide nutrition and livelihoods for coastal populations, but many fisheries are fully or over-exploited and we lack an approach for analysing which factors affect management tool performance. We conducted a literature review of 390 studies to assess how fisheries characteristics affected management tool performance across both small-scale and large-scale fisheries. We defined success as increased or maintained abundance or biomass, reductions in fishing mortality or improvements in population status. Because the literature only covered a narrow set of biological factors, we also conducted an expert elicitation to create a typology of broader fishery characteristics, enabling conditions and design considerations that affect performance. The literature suggested that the most commonly used management tool in a region was often the most successful, although the scale of success varied. Management tools were more often deemed successful when used in combination, particularly pairings of tools that controlled fishing mortality or effort with spatial management. Examples of successful combinations were the use of catch limits with quotas and limited entry, and marine protected areas with effort restrictions. The most common factors associated with inadequate biological performance were ‘structural’ issues, including poor design or implementation. The expert-derived typologies revealed strong local leadership, high community involvement and governance capacity as common factors of success across management tool categories (i.e. input, output and technical measures), but the degree of importance varied. Our results are designed to inform selection of appropriate management tools based on empirical data and experience to increase the likelihood of successful fisheries management.
The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the United States Microbead Free Waters Act are credited for being ambitious in their goals for protecting the marine environment from microplastics pollution. As a result, the microplastic pollution of marine environments and the incidence of microplastic ingestion by fish is rapidly receiving an increase in overdue attention. This commentary summarizes recent discoveries regarding the potential negative effects of micro- and nanoplastic ingestion by fish. Analysis shows that the occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of fish is ephemeral, with low accumulation potential in the gastrointestinal tract, although translocation to the liver may occur. Nevertheless, the total load of micro- and nanoplastics that will pass through the gastrointestinal tract of a fish in its lifetime is likely high and will keep increasing in the future. This may pose a risk because there is evidence that micro- and nanoplastic ingestion can interfere with fish health. Observed effects of microplastics ingestion include (but are not necessarily limited to) intestinal blockage, physical damage, histopathological alterations in the intestines, change in behavior, change in lipid metabolism, and transfer to the liver.
South Africa has a vibrant plastics manufacturing industry, but recycling is limited and insufficient with a notable proportion of the unmanaged waste entering the environment. South Africa is a developing country with microplastics research in its inception. Very little is known about freshwater microplastics, and studies on South African marine microplastics are limited but actively being pursued. In a water-scarce country, protection of freshwater resources remains a priority, but in the face of other socioeconomic issues (poverty, unemployment, and HIV/AIDS), it receives insufficiently effective attention. The full impact and risks of microplastics pollution in water is yet to be discovered. The risks may be enhanced in a developing country where many communities remain largely dependent on the land and natural waters. With South Africa being a water-scarce country, the quality of its aquatic resources is at an even greater risk with an assumed increasing background of microplastics, emphasizing the need for further research. A South African Water Research Commission–funded project is being undertaken to derive research priorities, but there is an immediate need for improved recycling and waste management.
Microplastics pollution has been documented in the global environment, including at sea, in freshwater and in atmospheric fallout. Ingestion of microplastics by multiple kinds of organisms has been reported and has received increasing attention, because microplastics not only act as a source of toxic chemicals but also a sink for toxic chemicals. To better understand the great concerns about microplastics and associated toxic chemicals potential exposed to the organisms ingesting the debris, we should know more about the occurrence, fate, and risks of microplastics in the environment. What we should do depends on this better understanding.
Shellfish aquaculture in the Salish Sea (encompassing the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, and the Georgia Strait) is a major source of clams, oysters, and mussels in the United States and Canada. Plastic gear is necessary for the viability of many of these operations. During the past few years, shellfish farm permits issued in Washington State have been challenged on various bases that have included allegations that the plastic gear is releasing microplastics, commonly defined as particles less than 5 mm in diameter. Published survey data on sources of marine plastic debris demonstrate the very limited contribution of aquaculture gear. Both permits and industry codes of practice provide procedures to minimize loss of gear to the marine environment. Plastic gear is also designed specifically to maintain its integrity and not degrade in the marine environment. Plastic degradation is greatest on beaches with high UV exposure, whereas aquaculture gear is mostly underwater and/or covered by biofoulants. Available data for microplastics in water, sediment, and biota of the Salish Sea do not suggest significant release of microplastics from shellfish aquaculture operations.
Microplastics' (particles size ≤5 mm) sources and fate in marine bottom and beach sediments of the brackish are strongly polluted Baltic Sea have been investigated. Microplastics were extracted using sodium chloride (1.2 g cm-3). Their qualitative identification was conducted using micro-Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (μFT-IR). Concentration of microplastics varied from 25 particles kg-1 d.w. at the open sea beach to 53 particles kg-1 d.w. at beaches of strongly urbanized bay. In bottom sediments, microplastics concentration was visibly lower compared to beach sediments (0-27 particles kg-1 d.w.) and decreased from the shore to the open, deep-sea regions. The most frequent microplastics dimensions ranged from 0.1 to 2.0 mm, and transparent fibers were predominant. Polyester, which is a popular fabrics component, was the most common type of microplastic in both marine bottom (50%) and beach sediments (27%). Additionally, poly(vinyl acetate) used in shipbuilding as well as poly(ethylene-propylene) used for packaging were numerous in marine bottom (25% of all polymers) and beach sediments (18% of all polymers). Polymer density seems to be an important factor influencing microplastics circulation. Low density plastic debris probably recirculates between beach sediments and seawater in a greater extent than higher density debris. Therefore, their deposition is potentially limited and physical degradation is favored. Consequently, low density microplastics concentration may be underestimated using current methods due to too small size of the debris. This influences also the findings of qualitative research of microplastics which provide the basis for conclusions about the sources of microplastics in the marine environment.
Identifying the right stakeholders to engage with is fundamental to ensuring conservation information and initiatives diffuse through target populations. Yet this process can be challenging, particularly as practitioners and policy makers grapple with different conservation objectives and a diverse landscape of relevant stakeholders. Here we draw on social network theory and methods to develop guidelines for selecting ‘key players’ better positioned to successfully implement four distinct conservation objectives: (1) rapid diffusion of conservation information, (2) diffusion between disconnected groups, (3) rapid diffusion of complex knowledge or initiatives, or (4) widespread diffusion of conservation information or complex initiatives over a longer time period. Using complete network data among coastal fishers from six villages in Kenya, we apply this approach to select key players for each type of conservation objective. We then draw on key informant interviews from seven resource management and conservation organizations working along the Kenyan coast to investigate whether the socioeconomic attributes of the key players we identified match the ones typically selected to facilitate conservation diffusion (i.e., ‘current players’). Our findings show clear discrepancies between current players and key players, highlighting missed opportunities for progressing more effective conservation diffusion. We conclude with specific criteria for selecting key stakeholders to facilitate each distinct conservation objective, thereby helping to mitigate the problem of stakeholder identification in ways that avoid blueprint approaches. These guidelines can also be applied in other research and intervention areas, such as community development studies, participatory research, and community intervention.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) gain increasing attention and importance as a tool in marine ecology. So far, studies were largely limited to morphological studies, e.g. for the creation of digital libraries. Here, the utility of MRI and MRS for ecologists is tested and exemplified using formalin preserved samples of the Antarctic silverfish, Pleuragramma antarctica. As this species lacks a swim bladder, buoyancy is attained by the deposition of large amounts of lipids that are mainly stored in subcutaneous and intermuscular lipid sacs. In this study MRI and MRS are not only used to study internal morphology, but additionally to investigate functional morphology and to measure parameters of high ecological interest. The data are compared with literature data obtained by means of traditional ecological methods.
The results from this study show that MR scans are not only an alternative to histological sections (as shown before), but even allow the visualization of particular features in delicate soft tissues, such as Pleuragramma's lipid sacs. 3D rendering techniques proved to be a useful tool to study organ volumes and lipid content, which usually requires laborious chemical lipid extraction and analysis. Moreover, the application of MRS even allows for an analysis of lipids and fatty acids within lipid sacs, which wouldn't be possible using destructive methods. MRI and MRS, in particular when used in combination, have the capacity to provide useful data on parameters of high ecological relevance and thus have proven to be a highly valuable addition, if not alternative, to the classical methods.
Marine coast modification and human pressure affects many species, including sea turtles. In order to study nine anthropogenic impacts that might affect nesting selection of females, incubation and hatching survival of loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas), building structures were identified along a 5.2 km beach in Kanzul (Mexico). A high number of hotels and houses (88; 818 rooms), with an average density of 16.6 buildings per kilometer were found. These buildings form a barrier which prevents reaching the beach from inland, resulting in habitat fragmentation. Main pressures were detected during nesting selection (14.19% of turtle nesting attempts interrupted), and low impact were found during incubation (0.77%) and hatching (4.7%). There were three impacts defined as high: beach furniture that blocks out the movement of hatchlings or females, direct pressure by tourists, and artificial beachfront lighting that can potentially mislead hatchlings or females. High impacted areas showed lowest values in nesting selection and hatching success. Based on our results, we suggest management strategies to need to be implemented to reduce human pressure and to avoid nesting habitat loss of loggerhead and green turtle in Kanzul, Mexico.
Fisheries policy and management processes for federal waters off western Alaska currently lack consistent and considered integration of traditional knowledge (TK), TK holders, social science of TK, and subsistence information. The incorporation of these into fisheries work can lead to more informed, equitable and effective policy and management practices. This paper includes information and recommendations derived from previous work by the authors as well as from two community workshops with indigenous TK holders and fisheries experts. Discussions of TK and related concepts, TK research in the Bering Strait and Yukon River regions, and Alaska federal fisheries management-related institutions and processes as pertains to TK are presented. Substantive recommendations are provided for improving processes, increasing tribal representation, capacity building, effective communication, outreach and relationship-building, the incorporation of indigenous concerns and values, and regarding the development of a Fisheries Ecosystem Plan for the Bering Sea.
Protection of ecosystem services is increasingly emphasized as a risk-assessment goal, but there are wide gaps between current ecological risk-assessment endpoints and potential effects on services provided by ecosystems. The authors present a framework that links common ecotoxicological endpoints to chemical impacts on populations and communities and the ecosystem services that they provide. This framework builds on considerable advances in mechanistic effects models designed to span multiple levels of biological organization and account for various types of biological interactions and feedbacks. For illustration, the authors introduce 2 case studies that employ well-developed and validated mechanistic effects models: the inSTREAM individual-based model for fish populations and the AQUATOX ecosystem model. They also show how dynamic energy budget theory can provide a common currency for interpreting organism-level toxicity. They suggest that a framework based on mechanistic models that predict impacts on ecosystem services resulting from chemical exposure, combined with economic valuation, can provide a useful approach for informing environmental management. The authors highlight the potential benefits of using this framework as well as the challenges that will need to be addressed in future work.
Fisheries exploitation represents a considerable threat to coral reef fish resources because even modest levels of extraction can alter ecological dynamics via shifts of stock size, species composition, and size-structure of the fish assemblage. Although species occupying higher trophic groups are known to suffer the majority of exploitative effects, changes in composition among lower trophic groups may be major, though are not frequently explored. Using size-based biomass spectrum analysis, we investigate the effects of fishing on the size-structure of coral reef fish assemblages spanning four geopolitical regions and determine if patterns of exploitation vary across trophic groups. Our analyses reveal striking evidence for the variety of effects fisheries exploitation can have on coral reef fish assemblages. When examining biomass spectra across the entire fish assemblage we found consistent evidence of size-specific exploitation, in which large-bodied individuals experience disproportionate reductions. The pattern was paralleled by and likely driven by, strongly size-specific reductions among top predators. In contrast, evidence of exploitation patterns was variable among lower trophic groups, in many cases including evidence of reductions across all size classes. The breadth of size classes and trophic groups that showed evidence of exploitation related positively to local human population density and diversity of fishing methods employed. Our findings highlight the complexity of coral reef fisheries and that the effects of exploitation on coral reefs can be realized throughout the entire fish assemblage, across multiple trophic groups and not solely restricted to large-bodied top-predators. Size-specific changes among fishes of lower trophic groups likely lead to altered ecological functioning of heavily exploited coral reefs. Together these findings reinforce the value of taking a multi-trophic group approach to monitoring and managing coral reef fisheries.
Global trade by merchant ships is a leading mechanism for the unintentional transfer of marine organisms, including non-indigenous species, to bays and estuaries worldwide. To reduce the likelihood of new invasions, ships are increasingly being required to manage their ballast water (BW) prior to discharge in coastal waters. In the United States, most overseas arrivals have been required to manage BW discharge since 2004, primarily through ballast water exchange (BWE), which flushes out ballast tanks in the open ocean (>200 miles from shore). Studies have found BWE to generally reduce the abundance of organisms, and the amount of water exchanged has been estimated at 96–100%. Despite its widespread use, the overall effect of this management strategy on net propagule supply through time has not been explored. Here, temporal changes in zooplankton concentrations and the volume of BW discharged in Chesapeake Bay, U.S. were evaluated, comparing pre-management era and post-management era time periods. Chesapeake Bay is a large port system that receives extensive BW discharge, especially from bulk cargo vessels (bulkers) that export coal overseas. For bulkers arriving from overseas, mean zooplankton concentrations of total and coastal indicator taxa in BW did not decline between pre- (1993–2000) and post management (2012–2013) eras, when controlling for season and sampling method. Moreover, bulkers discharged 21 million tonnes (82% of total for Chesapeake Bay) of overseas BW in 2013, representing a 374% increase in volume when compared to 2005. The combination of BW discharge volume and zooplankton concentration data indicates that (a) net propagule supply by bulkers has increased since BWE began in Chesapeake Bay; and (b) changes in vessel behaviour and trade have contributed strongly to this outcome. Specifically, the coal-driven increase in BW discharge volume from 2005–2013, concurrent with the onset of BWE regulations, worked to counteract intended results from BW management. A long-term analysis of bulker arrivals (1994–2013) reveals a 20-year minimum in arrival numbers in 2000, just when the implementation of BWE began. This study underscores the need to consider shifts in trade patterns, in order to advance and evaluate effective management strategies for biological invasions.
This article addresses the connections between value chain actors in the tropical-marine small-scale fisheries of Zanzibar, Tanzania, to contribute to a better understanding of the fisher-trader link and how connections in general might feed into livelihood security. A sample of 168 fishers and 130 traders was taken across 8 sites through questionnaires and observations. The small-scale fishery system is mapped using a value chain framework both traditionally and from a less economic point of view where the assistance-exchange networks between fishery actors add another layer of complexity. Auxiliary actors previously disregarded emerge from the latter method thus shedding light on the poorly understood distribution of benefits from seafood trade. Female actors participate quite differently, relative to males in the market system, detached from high-value links such as the tourist industry, and access to predetermined or secured sales deals. Data shows that the fisher-trader link is not as one-sided as previously presented. In fact it has a more symbiotic exchange deeply nested in a broader trading and social system. Expanding the analysis from this link by taking a further step downstream highlights traders’ own sales arrangements and the social pressures they are under in realizing them. A complex picture, inclusive of diversified perspectives, on interactions in the market place is presented, as well as a reflection on the remaining critical question: how to integrate this type of data into decisions about future fisheries governance.
Climate change will affect all types of infrastructure, including energy, transport and water. Rising temperatures, increased flood risk and other potential hazards will threaten the reliable and efficient operation of these networks, with potentially large economic and social impacts. Decisions made now about the design, location and operation of infrastructure will determine how resilient they will be to a changing climate.
This paper provides a framework for action aimed at national policymakers in OECD countries to help them ensure new and existing infrastructure is resilient to climate change. It examines national governments’ action in OECD countries, and provides recent insights from professional and industry associations, development banks and other financial institutions on how to make infrastructure more resilient to climate change.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a circle hook ring on catch rates of target fish species and bycatch rates of sea turtles, elasmobranchs, and non-commercial fish in a shallow-set Italian swordfish longline fishery.
Results were compared from 65 sets from six commercial fishing vessels totalling 50 800 hooks in which ringed and non-ringed 16/0 circle hooks with a 10° offset were alternated along the length of the longline. In total, 464 individuals were caught in the 4 years of experiment, with swordfish (Xiphias gladius) comprising 83% of the total number of animals captured. Catch rates of targeted swordfish were significantly higher on ringed hooks (CPUEringed hooks = 8.465, CPUEnon-ringed hooks = 6.654).
Results indicate that ringed circle hooks captured significantly more small-sized swordfish than non-ringed circle hooks (27.7% vs. 19.5%, respectively).
For species with sufficient sample sizes, the odds ratio (OR) of a capture was in favour of ringed hooks; significantly for swordfish (OR = 1.27 95%CI 1.04–1.57), and not significantly for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) (OR = 1.50, 95%CI 0.68–3.42) nor for pelagic stingray (Pteroplatytrigon violacea) (OR = 1.13, 95%CI 0.54–2.36). All six loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) and three of the four blue sharks (Prionace glauca) were captured on ringed hooks, however, the small sample sizes prevented meaningful statistical analysis.
In summary, results from this study suggest that the addition of a ring to 16/0 circle hooks confers higher catchability for small-sized commercial swordfish, and does not significantly reduce catch rate of bycatch species and protected species in a Mediterranean shallow pelagic longline fishery.
These findings should motivate fisheries managers to consider factors in addition to hook shape when aiming to promote sustainable fishing practices. The presence of a ring has the potential to negate some conservation benefits.
The rapid emergence of payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes in China has been reported widely. However, it seems that the relevant policies and PES practices have not been fully documented. In this study, we provide insights into the overall status of PES schemes in China. We start by introducing the concept of eco-compensation, the equivalent of PES in China, and we describe its initiation and development. We then explore the institutional context upon which PES schemes are based on and we develop a classification system to interpret the different schemes. We employ the concept of PES-like scheme to reconcile divergent views on the scope of PES among researchers and decision makers. Subsequently, we describe the objectives, relevant policies from national to local level, implementation characteristics, funding sources, coverage, payment criteria, and primary effects of the major PES schemes. Broad institutional gaps, scheme overlaps, sole funding source, and the lack of effective tools in monitoring ecological outcomes are identified as major challenges for existing PES schemes. We conclude by proposing to reshape China’s PES frameworks and strengthen the market-based PES schemes, as well as scaling piloting PES schemes up to address pressing ecological issues in broader ecosystems and areas.
Economic benefits are derived from sea turtle tourism all over the world. Sea turtles also add value to underwater recreation and convey non-use values. This study examines the non-market value of sea turtles in Tobago. We use a choice experiment to estimate the value of sea turtle encounters to recreational SCUBA divers and the contingent valuation method to estimate the value of sea turtles to international tourists. Results indicate that turtle encounters were the most important dive attribute among those examined. Divers are willing to pay over US$62 per two tank dive for the first turtle encounter. The mean WTP for turtle conservation among international visitors to Tobago was US$31.13 which reflects a significant non-use value associated with actions targeted at keeping sea turtles from going extinct. These results illustrate significant non-use and non-consumptive use value of sea turtles, and highlight the importance of sea turtle conservation efforts in Tobago and throughout the Caribbean region.
Bycatch mortality is a significant driver of marine mammal population declines. However, there is little information available on patterns or magnitude of bycatch mortality in many heavily fished Asian marine systems such as the South China Sea (SCS). To address this limited knowledge base, we conducted interviews with fishers to gather local ecological knowledge on marine mammal bycatch around Hainan Island, China. Gillnets were the primary fishing gear used in local fisheries, and were also responsible for the majority of reported marine mammal bycatch events in recent decades. Bycatch events were reported from all seasons but were most frequent in spring (38.4%), which might relate to seasonal variation in fishing activities. The spatial pattern of relative bycatch densities for Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, Indo-Pacific finless porpoises and unidentified small dolphins varied around Hainan and neighbouring waters. A substantial proportion of informants (36.1 and 9.2% respectively) reported that they have eaten or sold marine mammal meat, demonstrating the continued existence of cultural practices of consuming marine mammals on Hainan. Responses of fishers to bycatch events were dependent both on their existing attitudes and perceptions towards marine mammals and on other sociocultural factors. Almost half of informants agreed that marine mammal populations in the SCS have decreased. Declines were thought by informants to have been caused by overfishing, water pollution and vessel collisions, with bycatch responsible for further declines in dolphins.
Climate change is altering habitats and causing changes to species behaviors and distributions. Rapid changes in Arctic sea ice ecosystems have increased the need to identify critical habitats for conservation and management of species such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus). We examined the distribution of adult female and subadult male and female polar bears tracked by satellite telemetry (n = 64 collars) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Canada, to identify summer refugia in 2007–2010. Using utilization distributions, we identified terrestrial and sea ice areas used as summer refugia when nearshore sea ice melted. Habitat use areas varied between months, but interannual variation was not significant. Overall, bears made high use of ice over shallow waters, and bears that remained near terrestrial areas used sea ice (presumably to hunt from) when it was available. The majority of the bears remained on sea ice during summer and used the edge of the pack ice most notably west of Banks Island, Canada. A mean of 27 % (range 22–33 %) of bears used terrestrial areas in Alaska and use was concentrated near the remains of subsistence harvested bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus). Energetic expenditure is anticipated to increase as bears are required to travel further on a seasonal basis.