This paper aims to discuss Chinese legislation in the exploration of marine mineral resources and its adoption in the Arctic Ocean. The journey commences by providing comments on the ‘Law of the People's Republic of China on the Exploration and Development of Resources in the Deep Seabed Area’ and to explore Chinese domestic legislation regulating Chinese enterprises' development activities in the Arctic area. Attention also pays to legislation regulating Chinese and foreign enterprises in the exploitation of mineral resources in China's continental shelf with special concern toward the protection of ecological environment. This paper concludes by suggesting that there is a need to further improve Chinese domestic legislation and draw on advanced legislative experience from various States and international law, in order to provide strong domestic legal protection for exploitation activities.
Anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) is a global problem and the identification of its sources is essential for adequate mitigation strategies. Herein we examined whether AMD density and composition differed between two countries with contrasting socio-economic backgrounds and marine litter sources (i.e. Chile and Germany). In nationwide beach litter surveys, we used a citizen science approach with schoolchildren and their teachers. Litter densities were substantially higher in Chile than in Germany. The different geographic zones surveyed in both countries showed strong grouping tendencies according to their main economic activities (tourism, shipping, fisheries/aquaculture), major litter sources, and AMD composition, in terms of dominance and diversity of AMD types. The results suggest that beach litter composition can be used as a simple proxy to identify AMD sources, and also that law enforcement and education can help mitigate the problem; however, for efficient solutions, production and consumption of plastics must be reduced.
To cope with fisheries unsustainability, the Mexican government has recently promoted strategies of public participation to support decision making. This type of strategy is important in the Huave Lagunar System (HLS) in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, where fishers have historically maintained close ethnobiological interactions with their natural resources. This chapter describes the pre-Hispanic fishery system of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo under the premise that self-government practices in HLS favor the pursuit of social resilience, the ability of a self-organizing system to return to its original state after being disturbed by extreme events. The design of a Fisheries and Climate Planning Agenda that includes strategies considering key aspects of social diversity presents itself as an opportunity to facilitate the reach of social support for decision making, an essential step toward supporting a realistic panorama of sustainability for the sector.
Seafood from capture fisheries can be assessed in many ways and for different purposes, with sometimes divergent views on what characterizes “sustainable use”. Here we use two systems analysis tools—Ecological Risk Assessment for Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)—over the historical development of the Australian Patagonian toothfish fishery at Heard and McDonald Islands since the start in 1997. We find that ecological risks have been systematically identified in the management process using ERAEF, and with time have been mitigated, resulting in a lower risk fishery from an ecological impact perspective. LCA inventory data from the industry shows that fuel use per kilo has increased over the history of the fishery. Our results suggest that LCA and ERAEF may provide contrasting and complementary perspectives on sustainability and reveal trade-offs when used in combination. Incorporation of LCA perspectives in assessing impacts of fishing may facilitate refinement of ecosystem-based fisheries management, such as improved integration of the different perspectives of supply chain stakeholders.
This chapter synthesizes more than two decades of interdisciplinary scholarship by the coauthors related to fishing families and coastal communities. Amid the contemporary narrative of increasing coastal storms, erosion, and other physical hazards associated with climate and related coastal hazards facing coastal communities, we find myriad ways that Oregon fishing families and communities adapt to changes and continually demonstrate cultural and community resilience. Fishing families have exhibited their resilience through transformations in family roles, changes in the makeup of the fleet (graying), and never-ending management and resource shifts. This process of adapting to change has been a thread in our research, from one of our first collaborative projects, Adapting to Change: Fishing Businesses, Families, Communities, and Regions (1995) to our current project, The Old(er) Men of the Sea: Graying of the Fishing Industry and Its Impact on Local Community Resiliency. Our work illustrates an ever-present culture of adaptation that serves as the anchor of resilience in coastal Oregon.
The United States only accounts for 0.2% of the global offshore wind installed capacity despite a potential technical resource four orders of magnitude greater. A cumbersome permitting process is one of the challenges in implementing new projects. Part of this process requires biological data in order to inform assessments of environmental impacts; yet these data may be lacking for particular taxa at the required scale. Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a process that often includes data identification, collection, collation and analyses components. In this paper, we conduct a collective case study of three areas with offshore wind projects located in waters managed by marine spatial plans, focusing on how data efforts inform MSP and offshore wind development. Our study finds that MSP can facilitate data efforts during the permitting phase of offshore wind projects, but that other initiatives, particularly renewable energy policies and zoning, appear critical towards establishing offshore wind.
An ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) is as a new paradigm in fisheries management. In this study, a combination of geographic information systems (GISs) and multi-criteria decision-making method (MCDM) is proposed as a framework supporting an ecosystem approach to European sardine (Sardina pilchardus, Clupeidae) fishery management in Portugal. This case study was chosen due to the recent severe decline shown by the species. To develop an EAFM for the sardine fishery, a set of criteria were defined based on literature review and expert knowledge. To address multiple conflicting objectives, namely conservation and fisheries, five scenarios were considered: (i) baseline; (ii) nurseries protection; (iii) spawning areas protection; (iv) fishery profit driven, and (v) safeguarding dependent fishing communities. Combination of GIS and MCDM methods highlighted important areas to implement spatial conservation measures for sardine. The analyses indicate that some areas are suitable for conservation in several scenarios, such as the area near Aveiro and the area near the Tejo estuary. However, conservation measures implemented in the area near Aveiro would imply higher economic trade-offs when compared with the actions applied in the region near the Tejo estuary. Results also suggested some of the conservation objectives, such as the protection of sardine eggs and juveniles, to not be compatible. The proposed framework is an important tool supporting EAFM by addressing conflicting objectives, trade-offs and identifying areas that could be considered as potential fishery closure sites or subjected to further analyses.
The general purpose of assessment is to provide decision-makers with the best valuable data, information, and predictions with which management decisions will be supported. Using case studies taken from four scientific projects and dealing with the management of marine bivalve resources, lessons learned allowed identifying some issues regarding assessment approaches. The selected projects also introduced methodological or institutional frameworks: ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA), system approach framework (SAF), marine spatial planning (MSP), and valuation of ecosystem services (ES).
The study on ecosystem services linked ES to marine habitats and identified ES availability and vulnerability to pressures. The results were displayed as maps of resulting potential services with qualitative metrics. The vulnerability value is an alternative to monetary valuation and, in addition to identifying the most suitable areas for each type of ES, this metric allows identifying the management strategies that will most probably maintain or affect each individual ES.
The MSP example focused on bivalve farming activity and accounted for several criteria: habitat suitability, growth performance, environmental and regulation constraints and presence of other activities. The ultimate endpoint of such an approach is a map with qualitative values stating whether a location is suitable or not, depending on the weight given to each criterion.
In the EAA case study, the indicator was defined by the growth performance of cultivated bivalves in different locations. This indicator is affected by distant factors – e.g. populations of marine organisms competing for the same food resource, nutrient inputs from rivers, time to renew water bodies under the action of tidal currents. The role and interactions of these factors were assessed with a dynamical ecosystem model.
Examples illustrate that the assessment is often multi-dimensional, and that multiple variables would interact and affect the response to management options. Therefore, the existence of trade-offs, the definition of the appropriate spatial scale and resolution, the temporal dynamics and the distant effects of factors are keys to a policy-relevant assessment. EA and SAF examples show the interest of developing models relating response to input variables and testing scenarios. Dynamic models would be preferred when the relationship between input and output variables may be masked by non-linear effects, delay of responses or differences of scales.
When decision-making requires economic methods, monetary values are often of poor significance, especially for those ecosystem services whose loss could mean the end of life, and appear to be a comfortable oversimplification of reality of socio-ecological systems which cannot be summarized in single numbers. Alternative methods, such as the ones proposed in the SAF and ES examples, would preferably consider institutional analysis or multicriteria assessment rather than single monetary values.
Case studies also highlighted that credibility of assessment tools benefit from the association of stakeholders at different stages, among which: identification of the most critical policy issues; definition of system characteristics including ecological, economical and regulation dimensions; definition of modelling scenarios to sort out the most effective management options; assessment of models and indicators outputs.
Plastics have been accumulated offshore and in the deep oceans at an unprecedented scale. Microbial communities have colonized the plastisphere, which has become a reservoir for both antibiotic and metal resistance genes (ARGs and MRGs). This is the first analysis of the diversity, abundance, and co-occurrence of ARGs and MRGs, and their relationships within the microbial community, using metagenomic data of plastic particles observed in the North Pacific Gyre obtained from the National Centre for Biotechnology Information Sequence Read Archive database. The abundance of ARGs and MRGs in microbial communities on the plastics were in the ranges 7.07 × 10−4–1.21 × 10−2 and 5.51 × 10−3–4.82 × 10−2 copies per 16S rRNA, respectively. Both the Shannon-Wiener indices and richness of ARGs and MRGs in plastics microbiota were significantly greater than those of ARGs and MRGs in seawater microbiota in the North Pacific Gyre via one-way analysis of variance. Multidrug resistance genes and multi-metal resistance genes were the main classes of genes detected in plastic microbiota. There were no significant differences in the abundance or diversity of ARGs and MRGs between macroplastics biota and microplastics biota, indicating that particle size had no effect on resistance genes. Procrustes analysis suggested that microbial community composition was the determining factor of the ARG profile but not for MRG. Some ARGs and MRGs had a higher incidence of non-random co-occurrence, suggesting that the co-effects of selection for antibiotic or metal resistance are important factors influencing the resistome of the microbiota on the plastic particles.
Ecosystem-based management emerged in the 1980s, as an alternative to traditional resource management approaches that focused on limited species or had narrow political boundaries. Since then, ecosystem-based management has grown at a rapid pace, requiring the practices of science, communication and management to work together. It does not replace the existing strategies and methods, but it emphasizes the links between the environment and society.
Ecosystem-based management means engaging a broad range of people and organizations that have a stake in how an ecosystem is being managed, from the private and public sectors, to conservation communities, scientists and the policymaking arena. Stakeholders are involved throughout the planning stages, decision-making process and final management decisions. This is often challenging because each stakeholder group might operate by and respond to different mandates, timescales and authorities. The approach therefore requires cross-sectoral coordination and the integration of multi-and intersectoral concerns, in order to build institutional linkages, thereby avoiding conflicts
Trait-based ecology merges evolutionary with classical population and community ecology and is a rapidly developing branch of ecology. It describes ecosystems as consisting of individuals rather than species, and characterizes individuals by few key traits that are interrelated through trade-offs. The fundamental rationale is that the spatio-temporal distribution of organisms and their functional role in ecosystems depend on their traits rather than on their taxonomical affiliation. The approach respects that interactions are between individuals, not between species or populations, and in trait-based models ecosystem structure emerges as a result of interactions between individuals and with the environments, rather than being prescribed. It offers an alternative to classical species-centric approaches and has the potential to describe complex ecosystems in simple ways and to assess the effects of environmental change on ecosystem structure and function. Here, we describe the components of the trait-based approach and apply it to describe and model marine ecosystems. Our description is illustrated with multiple examples of life in the ocean from unicellular plankton to fish.
In the Mediterranean Sea, the dominant type of fisheries is small-scale. Coastal communities remain dependent on fisheries for their income, some of them with limited potential for economic diversification. The top-down micro-management regime has proven ineffective to secure ecological and social sustainability as it lacks flexibility and adaptation to local and regional conditions. This paper explores the advantages of using a participatory approach and a bio-economic model to develop management scenarios in a high value small-scale shrimp trap fishery in Greece. Seeking active stakeholder involvement throughout the management process advanced the identification of management measures aiming at MSY, with high levels of acceptance from stakeholders. It also increased transparency and legitimacy of the proposed management measures and could be considered as a first step towards co-management and regionalization. The participatory approach undertaken could promote compliance and facilitate the transition to sustainable fishing, ensuring the viability of coastal communities and, thus, social sustainability.
Harmful algae can cause death in fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and humans, via their toxins or from effects associated with their sheer quantity. There are many species, which cause a variety of problems around north-west Europe, and the frequency and distribution of algal blooms have altered in the recent past. Species distribution modelling was used to understand how harmful algal species may respond in the future to climate change, by considering environmental preferences and how these may shift. Most distribution studies to date use low resolution global model outputs. In this study, high resolution, downscaled shelf seas climate projections for the north-west European shelf were nested within lower resolution global projections, to understand how the distribution of harmful algae may change by the mid to end of century. Projections suggest that the habitat of most species (defined by temperature, salinity, depth, and stratification) will shift north this century, with suitability increasing in the central and northern North Sea. An increase in occurrence here might lead to more frequent detrimental blooms if wind, irradiance and nutrient levels are also suitable. Prioritizing monitoring of species in these susceptible areas could help in establishing early-warning systems for aquaculture and health protection schemes.
Although aquaculture sometimes lessens the negative effects of fishing by lowering the need to capture wild animals and plants, some aquaculture practices still require the exploitation of wild populations. A largely overlooked case is the use of wild populations to provide seed to sea farms. Mussel farming in Northwest Spain involve the capture of thousands of tons of young mussels (0.5–2 cm long) from the nearby rocky intertidal every year to supply floating rafts. Despite its volume, the impact of this activity on other sessile organisms remains unassessed. To fill this gap in our knowledge, we monthly monitored the sessile intertidal assemblage of five protected and six exploited sites during the closed season in 2016 following a nested sampling plan. Like the by-catch typical of other fisheries, harvesting young mussels for aquaculture was detrimental to the abundance and diversity of the associated sessile assemblage not directly targeted by this activity. Coverage and richness were also significantly lowered by the exploitation of mussel seed, and the community structure of protected and exploited sites was significantly different. These differences continued until the next open season, suggesting that the closed season was too short for the recovery of the associated non-target sessile assemblage. Given the size of the local mussel industry, the incomplete recovery along the closed season implies that mussel aquaculture must be putting a sustained pressure on a sizeable portion of the rocky intertidal of Northwest Spain.
Marine fisheries are a significant source of protein for many human populations. In some locations, however, destructive fishing practices have negatively impacted the quality of fish habitat and reduced the habitat’s ability to sustain fish stocks. Improving the management of stocks that can be potentially damaged by harvesting requires improved understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of the stocks, their habitats, and the behavior of the harvesters. We develop a mathematical model for both a fish stock as well as its habitat quality. Both are modeled using nonlinear, parabolic partial differential equations, and density dependence in the growth rate of the fish stock depends upon habitat quality. The objective is to find the dynamic distribution of harvest effort that maximizes the discounted net present value of the coupled fishery-habitat system. The value derives both from extraction (and sale) of the stock and the provisioning of ecosystem services by the habitat. Optimal harvesting strategies are found numerically. The results suggest that no-take marine reserves can be an important part of the optimal strategy and that their spatiotemporal configuration depends both on the vulnerability of habitat to fishing damage and on the timescale of habitat recovery when fishing ceases.
No-take marine reserves are common strategies used in spatial fisheries management. There are at least four general objectives for marine reserve design: (1) maximizing conservation, (2) minimizing total reserve area, (3) maximizing reserve compactness, and (4) minimizing socioeconomic opportunity cost (e.g., fisheries revenue). A spatial optimization model was developed to solve for reserve placements under those four objectives, while evaluating the bioeconomic tradeoffs and potential gaps of a subset of bottomfish restricted fishing areas (BRFAs) for the Hawaiian bottomfish fishery. Optimized reserve placements with minimal opportunity costs had little overlap (< 9%) with the placements of the BRFAs, opportunity cost values 50–83% less than that of the BRFAs with 40–54% higher potential conservation value. When reserve placements were optimized to provide a maximal opportunity cost, solutions had up to 49% overlap with the BRFAs, highlighting a potential drawback of the BRFA system with respect to socioeconomic impacts. When opportunity cost was instead calculated as total area, the optimized placements also had considerable overlap (up to 42%) with the BRFAs, highlighting the importance of socioeconomic data to the reserve design process. The solutions that provided maximal reserve compactness may be the most pragmatic for a reserve design team with specific area and/or conservation targets, as these solutions produced compact reserve placements that best matched those targets at a minimal opportunity cost. This analysis emphasized the use of spatial optimization models to not only guide the reserve design process, but to highlight tradeoffs of conflicting fisheries objectives in reserve design.
Freshwater biodiversity is declining, despite national and international efforts to manage and protect freshwater ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been proposed as an approach that could more efficiently and adaptively balance ecological and societal needs. However, this raises the question of how social and ecological objectives can be included in an integrated management plan. Here, we present a generic model-coupling framework tailored to address this question for freshwater ecosystems, using three components: biodiversity, ecosystem services (ESS), and a spatial prioritisation that aims to balance the spatial representation of biodiversity and ESS supply and demand. We illustrate this model-coupling approach within the Danube River Basin using the spatially explicit, potential distribution of (i) 85 fish species as a surrogate for biodiversity as modelled using hierarchical Bayesian models, and (ii) four estimated ESS layers produced by the Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES) platform (with ESS supply defined as carbon storage and flood regulation, and demand specified as recreation and water use). These are then used for (iii) a joint spatial prioritisation of biodiversity and ESS employing Marxan with Zones, laying out the spatial representation of multiple management zones. Given the transboundary setting of the Danube River Basin, we also run comparative analyses including the country-level purchasing power parity (PPP)-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) and each country’s percent cover of the total basin area as potential cost factors, illustrating a scheme for balancing the share of establishing specific zones among countries. We demonstrate how emphasizing various biodiversity or ESS targets in an EBM model-coupling framework can be used to cost-effectively test various spatially explicit management options across a multi-national case study. We further discuss possible limitations, future developments, and requirements for effectively managing a balance between biodiversity and ESS supply and demand in freshwater ecosystems.
Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) require states and competent authorities to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs), ecologically important habitats in the deep sea that are considered to be especially at risk from anthropogenic disturbances such as fishing. The lack of data concerning the location and extent of VMEs poses a significant obstacle to their protection. Habitat suitability modeling is increasingly used in spatial management planning due to its ability to predict the distribution and niche of marine organisms based on limited input data. We generated broad-scale, medium-resolution (1 km2) ensemble models for ten VME indicator taxa within the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone and a portion of the South Pacific Regional Fishery Management Organisation (SPRFMO) convention area. Ensemble models were constructed using a weighted average of three habitat suitability model types: Boosted Regression Trees, Maximum Entropy, and Random Forest. All models performed well, with area under the curve scores above 0.9, and ensemble models marginally outperformed any of the individual modeling approaches. Highly suitable habitat for each VME indicator taxa was predicted to occur in relatively small areas throughout the region, typically associated with elevated seafloor features with steep slopes. Determining the spatial distribution of VME indicator taxa is critical for assessing the current and historical extent of bottom trawling impacts on benthic communities, and for supporting the improved spatial management of fisheries in the South Pacific Ocean. Given the additional threats of climate change and ocean acidification to VME indicator taxa throughout the deep sea, habitat suitability modeling is likely to play an increasing role in designing effective, long-term protection measures for cumulative impacts on VMEs.
Coral reef ecosystems provide many important services to society. Their importance is not only proved by their beauty but also because they provide food and livelihood for millions of people in communities around the world, especially in developing countries. This paper estimates the economic value of coral ecosystems and potential impacts of climate change and fishing activities on the loss of coral reefs in Nha Trang Bay, Vietnam. Economic valuation and bioeconomic approaches are applied to combine socioeconomic data and projections of coral reef cover based on the quantitative scenarios of sea surface temperature and fishing activity to articulate the potential economic consequences of future change in the coral reef. The loss in economic value of coral under climate change and fishing effort scenarios is estimated which ranges from US$27.78 to US$31.72 million annually. This result is useful for policy makers to draw conclusions for climate policy, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and priorities for further work.
Fisheries resources in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GoM) are under increasing pressure from both natural and anthropogenic stressors that have potentially broad effects on the ecosystem and introduce considerable uncertainty into management outcomes. To address these issues, more holistic, ecosystem-based tools are needed to inform decision-making. A Scoping Workshop with scientists, managers, and other stakeholders was held to identify and prioritize challenges in the GoM that could be addressed using ecosystem models, and how best to incorporate those models into the existing fisheries assessment and management framework. Challenges identified were associated with uncertainty in stock assessments, environmental stressors, multi-species reference points, invasive species, habitat effects, spatial management, and forage fisheries. Short-term priorities included those that address critical assumptions in stock assessments and inform imminent decision making, whereas long-term priorities were those associated with environmental stressors and novel management approaches. This information is intended to guide future ecosystem modeling efforts and help advance ecosystem based fisheries management in the region.