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Human Dimensions of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries: An Overview of Context, Concepts, Tools and Methods

Citation Information: De Young, C.; Charles, A.; Hjort, A. Human dimensions of the ecosystem approach to fisheries: an overview of context, concepts, tools and methods. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 489. Rome, FAO. 2008. 152 p.

Abstract: This document aims to provide a better understanding of the role of the economic, institutional and sociocultural components within the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) process and to examine some potential methods and approaches that may facilitate the adoption of EAF management. It explores both the human context for the ecosystem approach to fisheries and the human dimensions involved in implementing the EAF. For the former, the report provides background material essential to understand prior to embarking on EAF initiatives, including an understanding of key concepts and issues, of the valuation of aquatic ecosystems socially, culturally and economically, and of the many policy, legal, institutional, social and economic considerations relevant to the EAF. With respect to facilitating EAF implementation, the report deals with a series of specific aspects: (1) determining the boundaries, scale and scope of the EAF; (2) assessing the various benefits and costs involved, seen from social, economic, ecological and management perspectives; (3) utilizing appropriate decision-making tools in EAF; (4) creating and/or adopting internal incentives and institutional arrangements to promote, facilitate and fund the adoption of EAF management; and (5) finding suitable external (non-fisheries) approaches for financing EAF implementation.

Top 10 List: 
Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM)

Is there a win–win scenario for marine nature conservation? A case study of Lyme Bay, England

Citation Information: Ocean & Coastal Management; Volume 53, Issue 3, March 2010, Pages 135–145

Authors: Siân E. Rees, Martin J. Attrill, Melanie C. Austen, Steven C. Mangi, Jo P. Richards, Lynda D. Rodwell

Abstract: A statutory two hundred and six square kilometre ‘closed area’ in Lyme Bay, South West England entered into force on the 11 July 2008 to protect the reef substrate and the associated biodiversity from the impacts of trawling and dredging with heavy demersal fishing gear. This case study provides an example of how the ecosystem approach has been incorporated into decision making for marine nature conservation and shows that despite sound ecological knowledge of a marine area, the current reliance on traditional neo-classical economic valuations for marine spatial planning can obscure other issues pertinent to the ecosystem approach. With the Government seeking win–win scenarios for stakeholders in the designation of Marine Conservation Zones under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, experience of marine spatial planning in Lyme Bay has revealed that a win–win must be a long-term goal based on a thorough evaluation of the environmental, social and economic values of marine biodiversity.

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The value of marine biodiversity to the leisure and recreation industry and its application to marine spatial planning

Citation Information: Marine Policy; Volume 34, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 868–875

Authors: Siân E. Rees, Lynda D. Rodwell, Martin J. Attrill, Melanie C. Austen, Steven C. Mangi

Abstract: The incorporation of the ecosystem approach into marineplanning requires that all aspects of value associated with marinebiodiversity are incorporated into the decision making process. An ecosystem services approach to valuing marinebiodiversity is recognised as a framework by which economic, ecological and social values may be incorporated into the decision making process. There are sectors of the marineleisure and recreationindustry (sub-aqua diving, sea angling and wildlife watching), which depend on the presence of natural marine resources in order to carry out their activity. Estimating the value of this direct use can provide an evidence base for the sustainable use of marinebiodiversity when set against other competing economic interests in marinespatialplanning. In the case study area of Lyme Bay, the marineleisure and recreationindustry has been valued using both monetary and non-monetary methods. The results show that the leisure and recreationindustry is dependent on the diversity of sites (many of which are currently unmanaged) and that the industry is of economic significance and an area which has recently been closed to trawling activity enables the protection of some of the most valuable sites but has limited benefits for protecting the full resource base upon which this local industry depends.

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Capacity Building Strategy to Enhance the Management of MPAs in the Mediterranean Sea

Citation Information: Di Carlo G., Lopez A., Staub F., 2012. Capacity building strategy to enhance the management of MPAs in the Mediterranean Sea. Commissioned by WWF MedPO / MedPAN / UNEP/MAP/RAC/SPA. 19 pages + Annexes.

Description: The capacity building efforts of the MedPAN South Project led to the understanding that there is the need for a more structured capacity building program to support MPAs in the Mediterranean Region and to ensure that they can meet their management objectives. To this end, WWF, MedPAN and RAC/SPA spearheaded a study to assess the needs and priorities across the region, both at the MPA and national level. Through a series of questionnaires, interviews, and workshops, they collected information that represents the baseline for building a regional, integrated and feasible capacity building program.

Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been accepted as one of the most effective tools for biodiversity protection and to combat ever-increasing demands on coastal and marine resources. In the Mediterranean, the number of MPAs is fast-growing (185 at present1), however not all MPAs are fully functional or have qualified staff, resulting in poor planning and ineffective management. Capacity building is a mechanism to deliver skills and transfer knowledge to MPA staff, through a series of tailored actions that begin in the classroom and are carried into the field. Tailored programmes for MPAs are now becoming more common (see this report), offering a variety of capacity building approaches and outcomes.

The scope of this report is specifically coastal and marine protected areas. The goals of this study were to:

a) assess current capacity building needs and priorities at both the national and the MPA levels;

b) analyse existing capacity building programmes and activities in the region;

c) evaluate current capacity building achievements;

d) formulate a capacity building strategy that responds to the management needs of the Mediterranean MPAs at the regional, national and local levels and e) develop integrated and feasible delivery mechanisms with the collaboration of regional and national actors.

Challenges for marine spatial planning in the context of multiple sea uses, policy arenas and actors based on experiences from the German North Sea

Citation Information: Regional Environmental Change; 2012

DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0349-7

Author: Andreas Kannen

Abstract: Today, increasing use intensity and establishment of new sea uses such as offshore wind farming can be observed in coastal and marine waters. This development also increases the pressure on coastal and marine ecosystems. The exclusive economic zone of the German North Sea can serve as an example for this development, in particular illustrating the need to combine multiple uses and societal demands within a given sea area. In order to deal with the resulting conflicts and cumulative impacts, new planning tools and integrated approaches to planning and management are developing. While the sea becomes a contested but at the same time politically recognised area, also conflicts rooted in different perceptions, values and attitudes of coastal people can be observed. In order to deal with the current challenges in marine areas, marine spatial planning and similar tools for integrated planning need to be developed in the form of communication processes, which link diverse sets of information and span a dialogue between groups of society and across spatial scales including the transnational dimension. 

Ecosystem-based management: What would Clay do?

Citation Information: J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Volume 132, Issue 3, pp. 1898-1898 (2012)

Author: J. Michael Jech

Abstract: Fisheries resource management is in a state of transition from managing populations at the species level to managing living marine resources at the ecosystem level. This transition will require changes in the way data are collected, analyzed, integrated, and finally utilized in management decisions. C. S. Clay “Clay” was a pioneer in underwater acoustics, but my first experiences and interactions with him were as a graduate student biologist learning to observe and understand the underwater environment in new and innovative ways. Clay’s collaborations with biologists, ecologists, and oceanographers spawned novel methods of integrating and analyzing disparate data sets and many of these methods are being used today. While Clay’s influence on fisheries acoustics has been monumental, his approaches to understanding the ocean environment may be most valuable to ecosystem-based management strategies. I will highlight examples of Clay’s innovative approaches that have been used and ways they could be applied to ecosystem-based management and research.

Limiting global warming to 2 °C is unlikely to save most coral reefs

Citation Information: Nature Climate Change (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1674

Authors: K. Frieler, M. Meinshausen, A. Golly, M. Mengel, K. Lebek, S. D. Donner & O. Hoegh-Guldberg

Abstract: Mass coral bleaching events have become a widespread phenomenon causing serious concerns with regard to the survival of corals. Triggered by high ocean temperatures, bleaching events are projected to increase in frequency and intensity. Here, we provide a comprehensive global study of coral bleaching in terms of global mean temperature change, based on an extended set of emissions scenarios and models. We show that preserving >10% of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting warming to below 1.5°C (atmosphere–ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) range: 1.3–1.8°C) relative to pre-industrial levels. Even under optimistic assumptions regarding corals’ thermal adaptation, one-third (9–60%, 68% uncertainty range) of the world’s coral reefs are projected to be subject to long-term degradation under the most optimistic new IPCC emissions scenario, RCP3-PD. Under RCP4.5 this fraction increases to two-thirds (30–88%, 68% uncertainty range). Possible effects of ocean acidification reducing thermal tolerance are assessed within a sensitivity experiment.

Guide to the Southern California Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: State of California Department of Fish and Game; June 2012

Authors: Ashcraft, B. Farrell, P. Hamdorf, N. Kogut, K. MacIntyre, B. Ota, E. Pope, J. Traverso

Description: California’s new and improved Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network in the south coast region (Point Conception to the California/Mexico border) went into effect January 1, 2012. This region encompasses approximately 2,351 sq mi of state waters from Point Conception (Santa Barbara County) south to the California/Mexico border, including state waters around the Channel Islands. A network of 50 MPAs and 2 special closures (including those previously established at the northern Channel Islands) covering approximately 356 sq mi of state waters or about 15% of the south coast region.

The complete list of South Coast MPAs includes:

  • 18 new or modified State Marine Conservation Areas (SMCA) that allow limited recreational and commercial take (Plus two pre-existing SMCAs at Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands)
  • 11 new "No Take" SMCAs that prohibit recreational and commercial take
  • 8 new "No Take" State Marine Reserves (SMRs) that prohibit recreational and commercial take (Plus 11 pre-existing SMRs around the northern Channel Islands and Santa Barbara Island)
  • 2 pre-existing special closures at San Miguel and Anacapa Islands

The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy: Time for Action to Create Jobs, Reduce Pollution, Protect Wildlife & Secure America’s Energy Future

Citation Information: National Wildlife Federation, September 2012

Authors: Catherine Bowes & Justin Allegro

Description: The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy includes detailed reports on each Atlantic Coast state. Among the highlights of the report:

Collaborative Procurement of Offshore Wind Energy - A Buyers Network: Assessment of Merits and Approaches

Citation Information: Clean Energy States Alliance, September 2012

Authors: Mark Sinclair, Melissa Haugh, Baird Brown, and Carolyn Elefant

Description: The Offshore Wind Accelerator Project released a comprehensive analysis of the value of "collaborative aggregated procurement" of offshore wind power.

This report describes the concept of a buyers network for offshore wind energy, essentially a consortium of creditworthy purchasers (including utilities, state and federal agencies, and large private commercial and/or institutional entities) that enter into long-term contracts with a developer(s) for a project’s generation. By creating economies of scale, a buyers network can spread fixed costs, such as transmission lines, over larger-scale wind farms; lower construction costs from efficiencies; reduce concentration of risk; and reduce capital costs, resulting in cost-competitive offshore wind power. The report, prepared for the Offshore Wind Accelerator Project, provides recommendations and an action plan for creating a successful buyers network.

The report is a collective effort by Clean Energy States Alliance, Pace Global, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, and the Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant. It confirms the value of a buyers network to achieve significant reductions in the levelized cost of offshore wind energy. Specifically, the report finds that:

  • Use of a buyers network has the potential to reduce the cost of offshore wind power by approximately $35 per megawatt hour.
  • If a buyers network uses low-cost debt in the form of taxable or tax-exempt bonds, the cost could be further reduced by as much as an additional $20 per megawatt hour.
  • The ability to use federal investment tax credits could result in an additional $50 per megawatt hour reduction in cost.
  • The combination of aggregated procurement, low-cost financing, and use of the federal investment tax credit (if extended by Congress) could result in an expected levelized cost of energy for offshore wind of $95 per megawatt hour, on average. This would make offshore wind power highly competitive with other forms of electricity in the U.S.

Coastal Resource Use, Management, and Marine Protected Areas in the Philippines

Citation Information: Wagner, Cherie A. Graduate thesis for the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

Date: 2012

Abstract: This analysis of coastal resource perceptions and behaviors demonstrates that while there are documented successes throughout the Philippines in community-based integrated coastal management projects, opportunities and challenges remain to fully realize the benefits identified by local communities. Using survey data from 40 communities in Bohol, Luzon, Mindoro Occidental, and Mindoro Oriental, marine conservation perceptions and behaviors were evaluated. Coastal resource users were found to perceive resource problems such as a decline in fish and feel that management and conservation are the responsibility of the government. Barangays (villages) with a community-based marine protected area (MPA) are more likely to support restrictions on fishing activity, report fishing violations, and be a member of bantay dagat (sea guards). Awareness of MPAs in three island provinces was high (70%) with fishing and seaweed farming households having the highest level of awareness. Overall, resource users perceive MPAs as being beneficial and are willing to protect larger marine areas. Their acceptance is complementary to increasing efforts of scaling up marine reserve areas, especially where MPAs are small. Community participation in marine protected area activities and management in the study sites, recognized as a critical factor in the success of community-based management, is low. This study suggests that given the high community acceptance and perceived benefits of marine protected areas, there is an opportunity to implement more effective management and scale up to ecological and social networks of MPAs. Community-based coastal resource management should involve participatory processes that take into account local needs and expectations, build capacity, and empower community members to manage their resources.

Shellfish Aquaculture in Puget Sound in Light of Washington's Coastal Marine Spatial Planning

Citation Information: Cardinal, Kara Mia. Graduate thesis for the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

Date: 2012

Abstract: The shellfish growing industry in the Puget Sound region of Washington State greatly depends on the health of the marine waters, and is therefore considerably invested in coastal management issues and protection of state waters. The industry has overcome many challenges throughout its existence in Washington, and is currently facing many new and even unknown challenges to growth and sustainability. The purpose of this study is to define and evaluate different tools and strategies from around the world that may be integrated into Washington's proposed coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) management framework. There are four main goals of this study. The first is to identify the current major barriers that face the commercial shellfish industry in Puget Sound. Through literature review, workshop attendance, and discussions with stakeholders, the barriers identified include: Regulatory and permitting process, water quality, conflicting uses and public perceptions. The second goal is to investigate, through various international case studies, how marine policy frameworks from around the world may address these barriers. Evaluated tools include examples from case studies from the European Union, Ireland, France, Sweden, and Australia. The third goal is to explore how CMSP, which has recently been proposed as a marine management strategy for Washington State, and its objectives address these barriers to the Puget Sound shellfish industry and the important user conflicts that come into play. The final goal is to assess opportunities for improvement for how Washington's CMSP framework may integrate these new tools and practices from around the world. It is important to note that the framework used in this study can also be tailored to evaluate management strategies for many different ocean and coastal sectors and uses. Preliminary recommendations for CMSP in Washington include adapting community-based approaches for spatial management, focusing in on a shoreline, bay or watershed scope, increasing stakeholder involvement, improving communication and outreach strategies, and ensuring transparency and legitimacy through the entire implementation process.

Institutional Feasibility of Scaling Up to Ecosystem-Based Management: A case study in the Danajon Bank, Philippines

Citation Information: Sparks, Kimberly. Graduate thesis for the University of Washington School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

Date: September 3, 2012. Open Access on September 3, 2014.

Abstract: Ecosystem based management (EBM) has been widely embraced as a guiding management framework without substantial critical evaluation of institutional utility. EBM is attractive because it promises to deliver a variety of services including holistic policy and laws, as well as scaled-up and streamlined management that is centered on ecosystem function at ecologically relevant scales (Christie el al 2009, Leslie and McLeod 2007, Pikitch et al 2004). These goals are all the more attractive in light of globalized concerns such as climate change and ocean acidification. EBM is offered as an approach that can reverse the severe, widespread declines in coastal and ocean systems (Leslie and McLeod 2007). The goal of this research is to present and evaluate recent attempts to scale up to EBM in the Danajon Bank, Philippines. Thirty-five interviews were conducted with local government officials and NGO staff to determine their willingness to participate in the Danajon Bank Project and to identify the preferred governance framework for a large scale marine protected area. Key themes that emerged are: 1. trade-offs exist for all scaled up management frameworks, 2. any efforts to scale up to EBM need to consider the roles of local government units for sustainability, and 3. political will is essential to scaling up management. The most effective institutional scale for implementing EBM in the Philippines will depend upon the consensus between municipal governments and will require developing new governance arrangements with leaders who recognize the need to manage marine resources at ecosystem scales (Eisma-Osorio 2009). Ultimately coastal management is a government service; EBM proponents must seriously consider the role of formal institutions before EBM can be recommended as a feasible management framework.

Development Strategy of Harbor Waterway Combined Transport System

Citation Information: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Transportation Engineering (ICTE) 2011, pp. 776-780

Author: Hua Wen

Abstract: Waterway combined transport system(WCTS) is an important part of harbor transport chains, which can not only decrease transportation costs, but also promote energy reduction and sustainable development. So, it is bound to be a promising development form in the future. Experience indicates that for WCTS, its facilities and network construction are the foundation; good transportation organization is the safeguard; preferential policy is the motivation. The healthy development of WCTS depends on the good organization and operational management in the process of connecting system, and therefore must take connecting integration fully into account, must consider the overall logistics cost, especially the new increasing cost in the system and find out the solutions and strategies to cut the cost. In addition, a broader view of sea-river-rail(road) combined transport will help to expand the connection transportation scope of waterways. The suggestion for the development strategy of WCTS in our country is: taking the market direction as the instruction. The main ideas are "selected development area and gradual propulsion, innovative services and active development". On the other hand, the government's preferential policies and support measures can promote the starting move of major projects and built helpful market environment, which will benefit the development of WCTS too.

Estimating Economic Benefits from NOAA PORTS Installations: A Value of Information Approach

Citation Information: NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 044

Date: July, 2005

Author: Hauke Kite-Powell

Summary: This report describes a methodology for valuing the benefits from information provided by a Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) installation. We describe an approach to estimate benefits in dollar terms to the extent possible, and also discuss ways to treat nonquantifiable benefits.

Potential sources of economic benefit from PORTS® information include:

  • Greater draft allowance/increased cargo capacity and reduced transit delays for commercial maritime transportation (water level information)
  • Reduced risk of groundings/allisions for maritime traffic (currents and wind information)
  • Enhanced recreational use of coastal waters boaters, windsurfers, etc. (winds, weather forecasts, and other information)
  • Improved environmental/ecological planning and analysis, including hazardous material spill response

In the table on the following page, we summarize typical (potential) benefits from PORTS® data. We categorize these benefits according to the extent to which they typically can be quantified with varying degrees of confidence. For some benefits, there is direct observable evidence and benefits can be quantified with a high degree of confidence. Other benefits are likely realized at present but direct evidence is lacking and/or significant assumptions are required to derive quantitative estimates. Yet other benefits are more speculative or potential, and could perhaps be realized with the fuller utilization of the PORTS® data by all potential users.

Most of these benefits are in the nature of avoided costs (increased producer surplus, or profit) for commercial operations and avoided costs or increased consumer surplus, including nonmarket benefits, for recreational users.

Resident and expert opinions on marine related issues: implications for the ecosystem approach

Citation Information: Ocean & Coastal Management; Available online 17 September 2012; In Press, Accepted Manuscript

Authors: Adriana Ressurreição, Alexandra Simas, Ricardo S. Santos, Filipe Porteiro

Abstract: Marine management is never an exclusively science-based endeavour. Putting the concept of ecosystem-based management (EBM) into practice requires building up a collective vision for Europe’s regional seas where the values and views of different groups of stakeholders are indentified and integrated. To date, such integration is lacking and Europe’s marine policy is mostly driven by scientific and technical advice with little input from citizens and stakeholders. Here we report an overview of people’s perceptions and views regarding marine environmental issues, where the opinions of the general population and a group of marine experts were analysed and compared. Results based on 735 face-to-face interviews conducted in the Azores archipelago (north-eastern mid-Atlantic) showed significant differences among experts and public opinion regarding drivers of change, marine pressures and management priorities. The survey also showed that the public was poorly informed about marine protected areas (MPAs) and eco-labelling schemes (ELSs). Taken together these results build upon the widely held perception that there is a gap between what is known among the scientific community and what the public know and understand about the marine environment, and emphasise the importance of involving the public, scientists and other stakeholders in all stages of the marine management process. If EBM is to move forward as a successful public policy more participatory and adaptive approaches are required to enhance citizen and stakeholder engagement, building up social capital and collaborative partnerships towards a more effective and equitable management of Europe’s regional seas.

Comparative analysis of European wide marine ecosystem shifts: a large-scale approach for developing the basis for ecosystem-based management

Citation Information: Biol. Lett. 23 August 2011 vol. 7 no. 4 484-486

Authors: Christian Möllmann, Alessandra Conversi and Martin Edwards

Abstract: Abrupt and rapid ecosystem shifts (where major reorganizations of food-web and community structures occur), commonly termed regime shifts, are changes between contrasting and persisting states of ecosystem structure and function. These shifts have been increasingly reported for exploited marine ecosystems around the world from the North Pacific to the North Atlantic. Understanding the drivers and mechanisms leading to marine ecosystem shifts is crucial in developing adaptive management strategies to achieve sustainable exploitation of marine ecosystems. An international workshop on a comparative approach to analysing these marine ecosystem shifts was held at Hamburg University, Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Germany on 1–3 November 2010. Twenty-seven scientists from 14 countries attended the meeting, representing specialists from seven marine regions, including the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Barents Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the Scotian Shelf off the Canadian East coast. The goal of the workshop was to conduct the first large-scale comparison of marine ecosystem regime shifts across multiple regional areas, in order to support the development of ecosystem-based management strategies.

Marine cloud brightening

Citation Information: Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 September 2012 vol. 370 no. 1974 4217-4262

Authors: John Latham, Keith Bower, Tom Choularton, Hugh Coe, Paul Connolly, Gary Cooper, Tim Craft, Jack Foster, Alan Gadian, Lee Galbraith, Hector Iacovides, David Johnston, Brian Launder, Brian Leslie, John Meyer, Armand Neukermans, Bob Ormond, Ben Parkes, Phillip Rasch, John Rush, Stephen Salter, Tom Stevenson, Hailong Wang, Qin Wang and Rob Wood

Territorial User Rights for Fisheries as Ancillary Instruments for Marine Coastal Conservation in Chile

Citation Information: Conservation Biology; 12 September 2012; Early View

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01928.x


Abstract: Territorial user rights for fisheries have been advocated as a way to achieve sustainable resource management. However, few researchers have empirically assessed their potential as ancillary marine conservation instruments by comparing them to no-take marine protected areas. In kelp (Lessonia trabeculata) forests of central Chile, we compared species richness, density, and biomass of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes among territorial-user-right areas with low-level and high-level enforcement, no-take marine protected areas, and open-access areas in 42 100-m subtidal transects. We also assessed structural complexity of the kelp forest and substratum composition. Multivariate randomized permutation tests indicated macroinvertebrate and reef fish communities associated with the different access regimes differed significantly. Substratum composition and structural complexity of kelp forest did not differ among access regimes. Univariate analyses showed species richness, biomass, and density of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes were greater in highly enforced territorial-user-right areas and no-take marine protected areas than in open-access areas. Densities of macroinvertebrates and reef fishes of economic importance were not significantly different between highly enforced territorial-user-right and no-take marine protected areas. Densities of economically important macroinvertebrates in areas with low-level enforcement were significantly lower than those in areas with high-level enforcement and no-take marine protected areas but were significantly higher than in areas with open access. Territorial-user-right areas could be important ancillary conservation instruments if they are well enforced.


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