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Seahorses helped drive creation of marine protected areas, so what did these protected areas do for the seahorses?

Citation Information: Environmental Conservation (2012), 39 : pp 183-193

Authors: M. Yasué, A. Nellas, and A. C. J. Vincent

Abstract: In marine environments, charismatic or economically valued taxa have been used as flagships to garner local support or international funds for the establishment and management of marine protected areas (MPAs). Seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) are frequently used as flagship species to help engender support for the creation of small community-managed no-take MPAs in the central Philippines. It is thus vital to determine whether such MPAs actually have an effect on seahorse abundance, reproductive status and size. A survey of seahorses inside and immediately adjacent to eight MPAs, and in four distant unprotected fishing areas, showed these MPAs had no significant effect on seahorse densities; although densities in and near MPAs were higher than in the distant fished sites, seahorse densities did not change over time. Seahorse size did show a marginal reserve effect, with slightly larger seahorses being found inside MPAs as compared to the distant unprotected fishing areas, but, in general, MPAs had little impact on seahorse size. Although MPAs may eliminate local fishing pressure, they may not reduce other threats such as pollution or destructive fishing outside the reserves. Other recovery tools, such as ecosystem-based management, habitat restoration and limits on destructive fishing outside of MPAs, may be necessary to rebuild seahorse populations. The effects of MPAs depend on species, as well as conditions outside the reserve boundaries. MPA management objectives must thus be clearly and realistically articulated to the communities, especially if support for an MPA was derived at least partly to conserve a particular flagship species.

Marine Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Governance of the Oceans

Citation Information: Diversity 2012, 4(2), 224-238; doi:10.3390/d4020224

Author: Robin Kundis Craigemail

Abstract: Governance of marine biodiversity has long suffered from lack of adequate information about the ocean’s many species and ecosystems. Nevertheless, even as we are learning much more about the ocean’s biodiversity and the impacts to it from stressors such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and marine pollution, climate change is imposing new threats and exacerbating existing threats to marine species and ecosystems. Coastal nations could vastly improve their fragmented approaches to ocean governance in order to increase the protections for marine biodiversity in the climate change era. Specifically, three key governance improvements would include: (1) incorporation of marine spatial planning as a key organizing principle of marine governance; (2) working to increase the resilience of marine ecosystems be reducing or eliminating existing stressors on those ecosystems; and (3) anticipation of climate change’s future impacts on marine biodiversity through the use of anticipatory zoning and more precautionary regulation.

Spatial patterns in the retained catch composition of Irish demersal otter trawlers: High-resolution fisheries data as a management tool

Citation Information: Fisheries Research; Volumes 129–130, October 2012, Pages 127–136

Authors: H.D. Gerritsen, C. Lordan, C. Minto, S.B.M. Kraak

Abstract: High-resolution fisheries data from integrated logbook and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) records have revealed a detailed spatial structure in the species composition of the retained catches of the Irish demersal otter trawl fleets. Hierarchical cluster analysis was used to define 8 clusters with relatively homogenous species compositions. These clusters formed 34 distinct spatial regions in the waters around Ireland. Identification of these regions can be useful for a number applications, including spatial stratification of commercial or survey data, defining and characterising fishing grounds for marine spatial planning, evaluation of closed areas and prediction of how fishing effort might be re-allocated following a closure. A case-study is presented that explores options to reduce cod (Gadus morhua) catches by implementing seasonal closures in two of the 34 regions. Cod are caught by demersal trawlers in a mixed fishery and the catches often exceed the quota, resulting in discarding of marketable fish. Two regions were identified that had relatively low effort and high cod landings. The effects of closing these regions during the first quarter of the year were explored. Cod catches were likely to be reduced by 8–22% while only 3–9% of the annual demersal otter trawl effort would be displaced. Whiting catches were also likely to be reduced, the change in catches of some other species depended on the assumed effort displacement.

Governance of marine protected areas in the least-developed countries: Case studies from West Africa

Citation Information: Weigel, J.Y.; Féral, F. & Cazalet, B., eds. Governance of marine protected areas in least-developed countries. Case studies from West Africa.. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 548. Rome, FAO. 2011. 78 pp.

Abstract: The need for effective governance of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in leastdeveloped countries (LDCs) is commensurate with the significant territorial stakes raised by their extensive maritime domain. Another significant challenge is the conservation of biodiversity and of ecosystems whose level of productivity is similar to that of coral reefs (e.g. in East Africa and Madagascar, the Red Sea, Maldives, Cambodia, and South Pacific islands), upwelling systems (e.g. in West Africa and Angola) and estuarine and delta ecosystems (e.g. in West and East Africa, Bangladesh and Myanmar). However, the overriding issue is to reconcile conservation and human presence as, in LDCs, human activities are tolerated in almost all MPAs covered by International Union for Conservation of Nature categories II–VI. Finally, issues related to identity claims and to the process of establishment of property and other legal entitlements on nature are gaining importance.

A review of the literature on fisheries and MPAs governance showed how polysemous and vague the notion of governance was until very recently and how few or oversimplified were the analyses of MPA governance in the LDCs. However, only detailed analyses would allow the characterization of governance systems and identification of their weaknesses with the view to suggesting new governance arrangements and appropriate public policy options. Such analytical deficiencies may be explained by the lack of analytical frameworks capable of taking into account the plurality and intricacy of socio-economic organizations and institutions, the sociocultural features and the role of new mediators and “development brokers” that shape MPA governance in the LDCs. The deficiencies may also be explained by the fact that the dominating hierarchical governance systems tend to underestimate the complexity of MPA governance systems.

Marine protected areas: Country case studies on policy, governance and institutional issues

Citation Information: Sanders, J.S.; Gréboval, D.; Hjort, A. (comp.) Marine protected areas: country case studies on policy, governance and institutional issues FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 556/1, Rome. FAO. 2011. 118p.

ISBN: 978-92-5-106857-1

Abstract: This document presents case studies of the policy, governance and institutional issues of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Brazil, India, Palau and Senegal. It is the first of four in a global series of case studies on MPAs. An initial volume provides a synthesis and analysis of all the studies. The set of global MPA case studies was designed to close a deficit in information on the governance of MPAs and spatial management tools, within both fisheries management and biodiversity conservation contexts. The studies examine governance opportunities in and constraints on the use of spatial management measures at the national level. They were also designed to inform implementation of the FAO Technical Guidelines on marine protected areas (MPAs) and fisheries, which were developed to provide information and guidance on the use of MPAs in the context of fisheries.

Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?

Citation Information: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Dare to be Deep Progress Report

Date: May 14, 2012

Executive Summary: With the longest coastline of any country in the world, but less than one percent of our oceans under any form of meaningful protection, Canada’s rich marine ecosystems are at growing peril. The biggest threats to marine biodiversity are overfishing, industrial development, pollution and climate change.

Recognizing that Canada is not going to achieve its international commitment to completing a full network of marine protected areas by 2012, one year ago CPAWS challenged the federal government, working with the provinces and Indigenous peoples, to demonstrate real progress towards this commitment by significantly advancing protection of 12 special marine sites by December 2012. These 12 sites are extraordinary places that nurture fish stocks and shelter endangered species like Right and Blue whales, Atlantic wolffish and Leatherback turtles. They are also amazing destinations for nature lovers to marvel at the wonders above and below the ocean’s surface.

As a national conservation organization with chapters in nearly every province and territory, CPAWS staff and volunteers are directly engaged in marine conservation efforts in the 12 areas reviewed in this report. One year after we launched our challenge to create 12 new marine protected areas by 2012 we have reviewed the action by governments to move these 12 sites closer to final protection. We have assessed how much progress has been made towards establishing these marine protected areas, as well as the strength of conservation measures being proposed for each site.

Analysis of United States MPAs: March 2012

Citation Information: NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, NOAA Ocean Service

Date: April 2012

Authors: Lauren Wenzel, Mimi D'lorio, and Kara Yeager.

Description: The U.S. has more than 1700 MPAs. These areas cover more than 41% of U.S. marine waters, and vary widely in purpose, legal authorities, managing agencies, management approaches, level of protection, and restrictions on human uses.

Some highlights:

  • About 8% of all U.S. waters are in an MPA focused on conserving natural or cultural resources (excludes fishery MPAs which often have specific gear restrictions over large ocean areas)
  • About 41% of all U.S. waters are in some form of MPA
  • Nearly all (86%) of U.S. MPAs are multiple use
  • "No take" MPAs occupy only about 3% of all U.S. waters
  • Less than 8% of the area in MPAs in the U.S. is "no take"
  • The majority of U.S. MPAs are located within the Virginian Atlantic marine ecoregion, which extends along Cape Hatteras northward to Cape Cod
  • State and territorial governments manage approximately 75% of the nation’s MPAs, but most MPA area is managed by federal agencies

Disclaimer: The statistics in the "Analysis of United States MPAs" fact sheet are current as of March 2012 and are based on 1,563 sites in U.S. marine waters (0-200 nautical miles) with GIS data.

Some upstream and estuarine MPAs meet the definition of "marine" and thus are included in the national and regional number of MPAs. However, they are not included in statistics on MPA area because they are not located geographically within the area defined as "U.S. marine waters" (0-200 nautical miles) or Great Lakes.

Mission Report: Reactive Monitoring Mission to Great Barrier Reef (Australia) 6th to 14th March 2012

Citation Information: UNESCO World Heritage Centre - IUCN

Date: June 2012

Authors: Fanny Douvere and Tim Badman

Description: This report contains the results of a reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, Paris) and undertaken jointly by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. The mission was undertaken jointly according to the roles established by the World Heritage Convention and its operational guidelines. The reactive monitoring mission was undertaken from 6-14 March 2012 with the objective to assess the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property and to contribute to the strategic assessment process, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (Decision 35 COM 7B10).

The World Heritage Committee, at its forthcoming 36th session (St. Petersburg, 2012) will consider the findings of the mission and the draft decision prepared by World Heritage Centre and IUCN as part of the State of Conservation report. A final decision about the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the measures required to secure its long-term conservation is due at the 36th World Heritage Committee session that will take place in St. Petersburg from 24 June to 6 July 2012.

MPA News - Vol. 14, No. 1

Citation Information: MPA News; Volume 14, Number 1

Date: July/August 2012

Table of Contents:

  • Great Barrier Reef on Way to 'World Heritage in Danger' List Unless Development Plans Stopped
  • New Calculation of World MPA Coverage is Twice Previous Estimates, but Still Far Below Target
  • New Global MPA Database Launched:
  • Australia Announces Final Proposal for MPA Network, Including Coral Sea MPA
  • MPA Perspective: Coral MPAs and the Need for Long-Term Local Community Benefits
    • By Douglas Fenner
  • LMMA Lessons: How Communities Prepare for Managing their Marine Resources
  • Notes & News: High seas MPA - Rio+20 commitments - Maldives - California - Antarctica - France - US - Canada - MPAs in developing nations - iPhone app
  • Songs for MPAs

Historical ecology with real numbers: past and present extent and biomass of an imperilled estuarine habitat

Citation Information: Proc. R. Soc. B 7 September 2012 vol. 279 no. 1742 3393-3400

Authors: Philine S. E. Zu Ermgassen, Mark D. Spalding, Brady Blake, Loren D. Coen, Brett Dumbauld, Steve Geiger, Jonathan H. Grabowski, Raymond Grizzle, Mark Luckenbach, Kay McGraw, William Rodney, Jennifer L. Ruesink, Sean P. Powers and Robert Brumbaugh

Abstract: Historic baselines are important in developing our understanding of ecosystems in the face of rapid global change. While a number of studies have sought to determine changes in extent of exploited habitats over historic timescales, few have quantified such changes prior to late twentieth century baselines. Here, we present, to our knowledge, the first ever large-scale quantitative assessment of the extent and biomass of marine habitat-forming species over a 100-year time frame. We examined records of wild native oyster abundance in the United States from a historic, yet already exploited, baseline between 1878 and 1935 (predominantly 1885–1915), and a current baseline between 1968 and 2010 (predominantly 2000–2010). We quantified the extent of oyster grounds in 39 estuaries historically and 51 estuaries from recent times. Data from 24 estuaries allowed comparison of historic to present extent and biomass. We found evidence for a 64 per cent decline in the spatial extent of oyster habitat and an 88 per cent decline in oyster biomass over time. The difference between these two numbers illustrates that current areal extent measures may be masking significant loss of habitat through degradation.

On the use of omnidirectional sonars and downwards-looking echosounders to assess pelagic fish distributions during and after midwater trawling

Citation Information: Stockwell, J. D., Weber, T. C., Baukus, A. J., and Jech, J. M. On the use of omnidirectional sonars and downwards-looking echosounders to assess pelagic fish distributions during and after midwater trawling – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fss139

Abstract: Small pelagic fish can play an important role in the structure and function of ecosystems, and there is increasing interest in their non-market value. At the scale of fish aggregations, however, the impact of fishing has received relatively little attention, with most effort devoted to impacts of vessel and gear avoidance on stock size estimates. We used concurrent deployment of a downwards-looking echosounder (Simrad ES60 system) and an omnidirectional sonar (Simrad SP90 system) during commercial pairtrawling operations for Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) in the Gulf of Maine to examine their potential for studying the impacts of fishing on herring aggregations. We compared a number of aggregation metrics to illustrate similarities and differences between the two systems, and then qualitatively examined their properties during and after pairtrawling events to illustrate potential applications. Our results suggest that using both downwards-looking and omnidirectional systems provides complementary information on fish aggregation metrics. Future applications of these systems in before–after–control-impact (BACI) designs may help inform management agencies when evaluating potential impacts of fishing at the time and space scales of pelagic fish aggregations.

Frontline Observations on Climate Change and Sustainability of Large Marine Ecosystems

Citation Information: United Nations Development Programme; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Large Marine Ecosystem Program, Narragansett Laboratory, Narragansett, RI

Date: June 2012

Editors: Kenneth Sherman and Galen McGovern

Description: The growing risks and impacts of climate change and the accompanying loss of ecosystem services require the world to urgently invest in a new development paradigm. As the UN’s global development network, UNDP recognizes the increasing urgency of mainstreaming climate change into sustainable development planning at all levels, linking development policies with the financing of solutions and helping countries move towards less carbon intensive economies. The Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) approach recommends a baseline of information at the LME management scale on changing states of productivity, fish and fisheries, pollution and ecosystem health, and socioeconomic and governance conditions. This information provides data to assess the extent of overfishing, nutrient over-enrichment, habitat loss, and warming in LMEs around the globe. Through the GEF’s Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis/Strategic Action Programme (TDA/SAP) approach, this LME data set can inform issue prioritization, strategic planning and adaptive management of LMEs towards sustainability. This volume is a key contribution to advancing LME management in a changing climate. The authors describe the impacts of climate change on LME sustainability in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the key role the GEF has played in mobilizing financial support crucial to developing countries committed to carrying forward an ecosystem based approach to sustain LME goods and services.

North Adriatic Sea Marine Protected Areas, assessment of current situation, potential pressures and synergies in an ICZM context

Citation Information: Morisseau, F. (2011). North Adriatic Sea Marine Protected Areas, assessment of current situation, potential pressures and synergies in an ICZM context. MSc Thesis. Autonomous University of Barcelona: Barcelona. 58 pp.

Abstract: MPAs are a key tool for protecting marine ecosystems and increasingly used as means of fisheries management. However, managed in isolation of broader management of the coast and the sea, they are like islands of protection threatened by pollution and surrounded by areas where habitat destruction and overfishing is permitted. Identifying characteristics of these areas (institutional, size, connectivity, etc.) in the context of pressures on them and their provenance allows the highlighting of key elements to better integrate them into programs such as management Integrated coastal zones (ICZM). The project PEGASO (People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing Sustainable development of Ocean and coast) aims to assist countries of the Mediterranean and Black Sea to implement the protocol of integrated coastal zone resulting from the Barcelona Convention. This work is part of this framework by responding more to a request by the Committee of the Adriatic to understand the integration of marine protected areas as part of a border management strategy. The Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea where significant coastal development especially in the North was involved in a serious degradation of the marine ecosystem. Marine protected areas are generally small, close to the coast and therefore more influenced by pressure mainly from the artificial and coastal urbanization and intensive agriculture, the development of mariculture and maritime traffic. The lack of plan and management structure adequately funded in most of these areas has been identified as a major barrier to their integration into the ICZM process. However the impetus of the ICZM Protocol and the development of national strategies in each country represents a unique opportunity for the construction and integration of a network of marine protected areas in a cross-border management of coastal and marine environment .

Marine Space: Manoeuvring Towards a Relational Understanding

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.662383

Author: Stephen Jay

Abstract: Drawing on developments in conceptualizing space within human geography, planning thought has begun to consider the possibilities of relational and socially constructed, as opposed to physically deterministic, understandings of space. This article considers the relevance of this debate to the emerging field of marine planning, as experience of the sea suggests that a relational interpretation of space may be pertinent to planning efforts in the marine environment. This hypothesis is explored by means of an empirical study of the views of representatives of the commercial shipping sector in the Netherlands faced with the prospect of a major expansion of offshore wind energy. Their responses revealed complex spatial dynamics at work, illustrating the production of relational space, that were being poorly served by planning measures. A dominant influence in the understanding of space was the interplay with the complexities of the natural environment, which points in the direction of a closer incorporation of ecological insights in the development of a relational approach to planning for the sea.

The Spatial Development Basis of Marine Spatial Planning in the United Kingdom

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.663192

Authors: Hance D. Smith, Rhoda C. Ballinger & Timothy A. Stojanovic

Abstract: The advent of marine spatial planning in the United Kingdom (UK) is taking place on a foundation of extensive and long-standing management practice, largely sectorally based, in one of the most intensively used sea areas in the world. The spatial development context of planning offshore and at the coast is considered, followed by a discussion of the fundamental nature of human activities and associated marine space, followed by a discussion of the implications for current and future planning, with a primary focus on the use of spatial allocation in shipping and port activity, military uses, mineral and energy exploitation, fisheries and fish farming, waste disposal, leisure industries and conservation. Due account is taken of regional developments. Finally, there is an evaluation of the major management issues arising from recently enacted marine legislation in the UK and Scotland. Account is also taken of related European Union and devolved administrations’ roles, and overall implications for the development and management of the coast.

From the Land to Sea and Back Again? Using Terrestrial Planning to Understand the Process of Marine Spatial Planning

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.662382

Authors: Sue Kidd & Geraint Ellis

Abstract: Over the last 5–10 years, marine spatial planning (MSP) has emerged as a new management regime for national and international waters and has already attracted a substantial body of multi-disciplinary research on its goals and policy processes. This paper argues that this literature has generally lacked deeper reflexive engagement with the emerging system of governance for our seas that has meant that many of MSP's core concepts, assumptions and institutional arrangements have not been subject rigorous intellectual debate. In an attempt to initiate such an approach, this article explores the relationship between MSP and its land-based cousin, terrestrial spatial planning (TSP). While it is recognized that there are inherent limitations to a comparison of these two systems, it is argued that the tradition of social science debate over the purpose and processes of TSP can be used as a useful stimulus for a more rigorous reflection of such issues as they relate to MSP. The article therefore explores some of the parallels between MSP and TSP and then discusses some of the key intellectual traditions that have shaped TSP and the implications these may have for future marine planning practice. The article concludes with a number of potentially useful new avenues that may form the basis of a critical research agenda for MSP.

Marine Spatial Planning: Managing a Dynamic Environment

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.664406

Author: Robert W. Duck

Abstract: From both the sedimentological and the geomorphological perspective, the underlying premise that marine spatial planning should closely complement and integrate with terrestrial spatial planning, river basin and coastal zone management planning systems might superficially appear sensible, but it is inherently problematic. The degree of dynamism and dynamic variability in the terrestrial environment, that is, at the earth surface–atmosphere interface, is in no way comparable in magnitude or frequency with that experienced at the water–sediment interface of the often highly mobile sea bed or within the overlying water column itself. Moreover, the hydrodynamic marine processes involved, such as bedload and suspended sediment transport, are fundamentally different from subaerial processes, thereby leading to challenges in integrating onshore and offshore planning systems. This essential process-based distinction leads to the suggestion, which is explored in this article, that marine spatial planning should be underpinned by some form of process-defined planning unit that is determined in scale by the nature of the intended development. In this regard, it is proposed that the flexible Process-Defined Management Unit approach, which has been introduced recently as an aid to sustainable coastal decision-making and to improve upon previous coastal zone management unit approaches, provides a basis that responds to difficulties already being recognized within marine spatial planning.

Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

Authors: Stephen Jay, Geraint Ellis & Sue Kidd

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.664327

Abstract: Marine spatial planning is taking on greater international significance as a response to increased perceived threats to the marine environment and the need for more systematic maritime governance. It also expands the horizons of spatial planning and leads to calls for interdisciplinary research to support its development. This special issue brings together papers focusing on the need for a more active engagement of natural and social science perspectives in the formation of spatial strategies concerned with the future well-being of the seas and oceans.

Deriving Lessons Relating to Marine Spatial Planning from Canada's Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Initiative

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.662384

Authors: Wesley Flannery & Micheál Ó Cinnéide

Abstract: Stakeholder participation is viewed as a key element of ecosystem-based marine spatial planning (MSP). There is much debate over the effectiveness of stakeholder participation in ecosystem-based management (EBM) in general and over the form it should take. Particular challenges relating to participation in the marine environment are highlighted. A study of the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management initiative, which uses a collaborative planning model to implement EBM, is presented in order to explore these issues further. Criteria derived from a review of collaborative planning literature are employed to evaluate the effectiveness of this model, which is found to be a useful consensus-building tool. Although a strategic-level plan has been adopted, the initiative has encountered difficulties transitioning from plan development to plan implementation. These are attributable in large measure to deficiencies in the design of the collaborative model. Useful lessons relating mainly to stakeholder engagement, the role of the lead agency, and implementation strategies are advanced for those engaging in MSP processes.


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