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Economic valuation of coral reef management for improved livelihoods in the Pacific: Investigating and communicating the factors that lead to success - Workshop proceedings

Citation Information: Regional Workshop, "Investing in Coral reef: Is it worth it?" 22–25 November 2010; Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia

Date: 2010

Authors: Andrew Seidl, Nicolas Pascal

Description: From 22-26 November 2010, the Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific (CRISP) Coordinating Unit convened a workshop of some two dozen leading regional researchers and local policymakers in New Caledonia. The workshop was financially supported by the French Pacific Fund (SPP) and was offered in partnership with the General Secretariat of the Pacific Community (CPS), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Institute for Pacific Coral Reefs (ICRI), and the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).

The title of the workshop “Investing in coral reefs: Is it worth it?”’ was refined through an expert forum and specified during the week to reflect the role of economic valuation in coral reef management with the objective of improving the welfare of Pacific islanders. As a result, the objectives of the workshop were: 1) to report the results of economic valuation assessments of coastal marine management in human development in the region; 2) to discuss the dimensions of standard economic valuation techniques that require adaptation to the region; and 3) to enhance the communication between researchers and policy makers such that economic valuation research results are best suited for local policy decision-making.

Day 1 of the workshop provided the global context of economic valuation of coral reef ecosystems and a brief overview of related research conducted by participants. Day 2 explored the use and usefulness of Total Economic Valuation for decision-making in the Pacific. Day 3 discussions surrounded the use of economic valuation information in benefit-cost analysis (SBCA) of marine and coastal zone development projects. Days 4 & 5 sought to improve the usefulness of economic valuation research results focused on coral reefs in the Pacific to decision makers and managers and to discuss innovative conservation finance approaches appropriate to the region.

Report of the EMPAS project (Environmentally Sound Fishery Management in Protected Areas)

Citation Information: ICES. 2009. Report of the EMPAS project (Environmentally Sound Fisheries Management in Protected Areas), 2006‐2008, an ICES‐BfN project. 123 pp.

Description: ICES was contracted by the German government to gather information on the distribution and impacts of fisheries in Natura 2000 sites in German offshore waters. This innovative and ground-breaking process was designed to include stakeholders and their information. The project was successful, so much so that ICES is able to provide advice on options for fisheries management that will help achieve the objectives of the German Natura 2000 sites. The process will also provide many useful lessons for EU Member States as well as other interested parties to consider when formulating management proposals for Natura 2000 sites (or similar MPAs) elsewhere. The main features to be protected in these Natura 2000 sites were specific benthic habitats (shallow sandbanks and reefs), seabirds, and harbour porpoises. Regarding benthic features, the main management considerations were related to impacts of mobile, bottom-contacting fishing gears (primarily trawls), while bycatch (primarily in gillnets) was the main issue for both seabirds and harbour porpoises.

ICES was not asked specific questions by the German government in setting up this project; instead ICES (with some input from the German government) composed a set of questions considered to be relevant to the objectives of the project. These are answered in the extended advice provided below. In relation to specific management questions, ICES has usually chosen to provide options.

Report of the Workshop on Fisheries Management in Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: ICES. 2008. Report of the Workshop on Fisheries Management in Marine Protected Areas (WKFMMPA), 2‐4 June 2008, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2008/MHC:11. 160 pp.

Description: Two EU Nature Directives have been the driving force for nature conservation and biodiversity protection in the EU: The Birds Directive, hereafter BD, and the Habitats Directive1, hereafter HD. The purpose of both Directives is to protect biodiversity on land and in the marine environment of the EU and to contribute to the implementation of the 1992 UN Convention on Biological Diversity. With the BD and HD it is obligatory for Member States to designate areas in their national waters to protect threatened and declining species and habitats. The Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of the BD and the Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) of the HD constitute the elements of the European coherent network of protected areas called Natura 20002. According to the EU Action Plan on Biodiversity3, Member States should complete their Natura 2000 site designations by 2008 and the marine network of well managed marine Natura 2000 sites is to be in place by 2012.

In May 2004, Germany as the first EU Member State nominated a comprehensive set of ten marine Natura 2000 sites to the European Commission, covering 31.5 % of its offshore EEZs in the North Sea and Baltic Sea4. Each EU Member State is responsible for maintaining or, where appropriate restoring habitats and species protected under the Habitats and Birds Directives in marine environments of their EEZ, although the fisheries are regulated under EU Common Fishery Policy5.

In February 2006, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) in collaboration with the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) started the project “Environmentally Sound Fishery Management in Protected Areas [EMPAS]” 6 aimed at developing fisheries management plans for the Natura 2000 sites within the German EEZ of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The EMPAS project serves as a pilot and guidance project for the development of the necessary management plans for Natura 2000 sites in the offshore EU waters.

This report of the third and final workshop in the EMPAS project provides project research results, their conclusions, options for fisheries management and information about their consequences.

Report on Lessons Learned from the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative: North Central Coast Study Region

Citation Information: California Department of Fish and Game

Date: 31 October 2008

Authors: J. Michael Harty and Jonathan D. Raab

Executive Summary: California created a groundbreaking public-private partnership in 2004 to implement the Marine Life Protection Act (“MLPA”). The partnership, known as the MLPA Initiative, successfully completed planning for Marine Protected Areas (“MPAs”) in its Central Coast (“CC”) pilot region in 2006. The Initiative’s success is reflected in final action by the Fish and Game Commission (“Commission”) on April 13, 2007, establishing a network of MPAs for the Central Coast.

The Initiative moved to its next study region, the North Central Coast (“NCC”), in early 2007. The Initiative relied on the basic model for MPA planning designed for the CC, but modified its approach based in part on the results of an extensive “lessons learned” project. The Initiative’s Blue Ribbon Task Force (“BRTF”) delivered its consensus recommendation for a NCC Integrated Preferred Alternative (“IPA”) to the Commission in early June 2008, along with three alternatives developed by the NCC Regional Stakeholder Group (“RSG”). The Commission, as the ultimate decision maker under the MLPA, is in the middle of its regulatory and decision making process as this report is being completed.

This report presents “lessons learned” from the Initiative’s NCC study region. It includes quantitative measures of satisfaction with the MPA planning process as well as judgments, based on interviews and observation, about the performance of key Initiative components: the BRTF, the Regional Stakeholder Group (“RSG”), the Science Advisory Team (“SAT”), the Department of Fish and Game (“Department”), the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation (“RLFF”), and the Initiative staff, known as the “I Team.” The report pays particular attention to efforts by the Initiative to incorporate lessons learned from the CC pilot region into the NCC study region.

National and Regional Networks of Marine Protected Areas: A Review of Progress

Citation Informaiton: UNEP-WCMC (2008). National and Regional Networks of Marine Protected Areas: A Review of Progress. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge.

ISBN: 978-92-807-2975-7

Description: In response to the global challenge, for a systematic conservation planning approach to MPA establishment, set by the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international agreements and action plans, there are now many initiatives to develop ecologically representative MPA networks. This report describes the progress being made in 30 national and 35 sub-national ecological MPA network initiatives, using information from the literature, MPA practitioners and planners, and conservation experts. The report explores the diverse range of approaches applied, at various spatial and geographical scales, to demonstrate how MPA networks can be established in practice, and how they can be adapted to different needs and priorities.

This report aims to promote a better understanding of the underlying principals and scientific basis behind MPA network design, while disseminating experiences and lessons learned from the initiatives underway at regional national and sub-national levels. The report concludes with a series of six recommendations for the establishment of effective MPA networks, which build on these experiences to capture the complex range of considerations in this rapidly evolving field.

The report is a joint publication between UNEP-WCMC and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme, and was written by Sue Wells, in collaboration with Victoria Sheppard and Hanneke van Lavieren, with support from Nicola Barnard, Francine Kershaw, Colleen Corrigan, Kristian Teleki, Penny Stock and Ellik Adler. The report was launched at the "International Coral Reef Marine Protected Area Network Meeting / 4th ICRI East Asia Regional Workshop" on 17-19th November 2008 in Tokyo, Japan.

Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008

Citation Information: Wilkinson, C. (2008). Status of coral reefs of the world: 2008. Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Townsville, Australia, 296 p.

ISSN: 1447-6185

Executive Summary: Coral reefs of the world have effectively marked time since the last report in 2004. Some areas have recovered well after the climate change bleaching in 1998 and human damage; while the Indian Ocean tsunami, more bleaching in the Caribbean, and human pressures have slowed or reversed recovery.

Estimates assembled through the expert opinions of 372 coral reef scientists and managers from 96 countries are that the world has effectively lost 19% of the original area of coral reefs; 15% are seriously threatened with loss within the next 10–20 years; and 20% are under threat of loss in 20–40 years. The latter two estimates have been made under a ‘business as usual’ scenario that does not consider the looming threats posed by global climate change or that effective future management may conserve more coral reefs. However, 46% of the world’s reefs are regarded as being relatively healthy and not under any immediate threats of destruction, except for the ‘currently unpredictable’ global climate threat. These predictions carry many caveats, as explained below.

In 2008, the International Year of the Reef, there is a mixture of good and bad news in this Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2008 report. Several major events have damaged coral reefs since December 2004 when the previous ‘Status 2004’ report was released. But there have also been major positive steps taken to conserve the world’s coral reefs. Some steps have been forward and some steps backward.

Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean: Status Report 2008

Citation Information: Obura, D.O., Tamelander, J., & Linden, O. (Eds) (2008) Ten years after bleaching – facing the consequences of climate change in the Indian Ocean. CORDIO Status Report 2008. CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean)/Sida-SAREC. Mombasa. http://www.cordioea.org/. 489 pp.

ISBN: 91-973959-5-1

Description: The report, released by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, of which IUCN is a member, shows if current trends in carbon dioxide emissions continue, many of the remaining reefs may be lost over the next 20 to 40 years. This will have alarming consequences for some 500 million people who depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods.

Climate change is considered the biggest threat to coral reefs today. The main climate threats, such as increasing sea surface temperatures and seawater acidification, are being exacerbated by other threats including overfishing, pollution and invasive species.

“If nothing changes, we are looking at a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 50 years,” says Carl Gustaf Lundin, Head of the IUCN Global Marine Programme, one of the organizations behind the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network. “As this carbon is absorbed, the oceans will become more acidic, which is seriously damaging a wide range of marine life from corals to plankton communities and from lobsters to seagrasses.”

Encouragingly, 45 percent of the world’s reefs are currently healthy. Another sign of hope is the ability of some corals to recover after major bleaching events, caused by warming waters, and to adapt to climate change threats.

However, the report shows that, globally, the downward trend of recent years has not been reversed. Major threats in the last four years, including the Indian Ocean tsunami, more occurances of bleaching, outbreaks of coral diseases and ever-heavier human pressures, have slowed or reversed recovery of some coral reefs after the 1998 mass bleaching event.

An evolving protocol to identify key stakeholder-influenced indicators of coastal change: the case of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 203-213. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn183

Authors: Prassede Vella, Robert E. Bowen and Anamarija Frankic

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a growing realization of the need to protect and conserve degrading environments. This can only be achieved through integrated management of environmental protection and the rational use of living and non-living resources. However, no management plan that aims at sustainable development can be successful unless the human factor is included. The concept of ecosystem-based management considers socio-economic issues in evaluating management effectiveness. In this paper, we present a method for selecting and prioritizing socio-economic indicators, using a bottom-up approach involving stakeholder input. This technique is developed further to measure the effectiveness of integrated coastal management, using a Marine Protected Area (MPA) as an example. Stakeholder input is essential at an early stage to ensure MPA management success, providing the opportunity to include public participation and ensure community support. This paper presents a transparent and adaptable indicator ranking protocol and evaluative rules, ensuring that an ecosystem-based approach can be more effectively implemented.

Steeper biomass spectra of demersal fish communities after trawler exclusion in Sicily

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 195-202. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn203

Authors: Christopher J. Sweeting, Fabio Badalamenti, Giovanni D'Anna, Carlo Pipitone and N. V. C. Polunin

Abstract: The effects of trawling on Mediterranean demersal fish communities were assessed by comparing them with the normalized biomass spectra among three gulfs on the north Sicilian coast, one of which had been subject to 15 years of trawler exclusion. Comparisons were conducted across seasons and among depth strata. Biomass-spectra slopes were significantly steeper in the gulf that was closed to trawling than in the unprotected gulfs. This was attributed to the exclusion of trawlers, which lacked catch-size selectivity, and to the continued fishing by artisanal gears that are more size selective. The biomass of all size classes was higher in the protected gulf than in unprotected areas, and increases were greatest in smaller size classes. Community mean individual fish mass was similar among all areas with a wider range of body masses present in the trawl exclusion area, compensating for the greater abundance of small fish. Size-spectra slopes were generally shallower and midpoint heights lower with increasing depth and were greater in autumn than spring; the effect of these seasonal and depth factors was as great as that of protection. Depth patterns are explainable by bathymetric trends in within- and among-species fish size. Seasonal differences were attributed to variation in spawning behaviour and fishery recruitment, with seasonal differences being greater in unprotected locations as a result of recruitment overfishing.

Developing best practice for using Marxan to locate Marine Protected Areas in European waters

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 188-194. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn198

Authors: Robert J. Smith, Paul D. Eastwood, Yoshitaka Ota and Stuart I. Rogers

Abstract: Several recent studies have investigated the use of the conservation planning software Marxan to design Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks in UK waters. The systematic conservation planning approach embodied by Marxan has a number of advantages, but these studies have highlighted the need for guidance and advice on best practice. Here, we discuss two broad topics that we feel should inform future developments in the UK and elsewhere in the European Union. First, several technical issues need to be addressed to ensure the scientific defensibility of any conservation planning project. These include identifying which conservation features should be represented in an MPA system, developing a system for setting representation targets, and identifying which data should be included to minimize conflict with human uses of the sea. Second, it is necessary for researchers to engage at an early stage with those responsible for implementation and recognize that reserve selection should be part of a broader conservation planning process centred on a stakeholder-developed implementation strategy. A more-inclusive approach will make use of technical outputs, such as those generated by Marxan, as part of the process of policy development.

The Cap Roux MPA (Saint-Raphaël, French Mediterranean): changes in fish assemblages within four years of protection

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 180-187. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn196

Authors: Catherine Seytre and Patrice Francour

Abstract: In recent decades, marine reserves have been established to protect ecosystem structure and biological diversity, or as management tools to combat the overexploitation of fish stocks. The Cap Roux Marine Protected Area (MPA) was established by professional fishers in December 2003, in the French Mediterranean between Cannes and Saint-Raphaël. It was implemented to enhance target fish stocks for local fisheries. The objective of this 3-year study was to investigate the initial responses of fish assemblages, using complementary methods: experimental net fishing performed by a professional fisher and underwater visual census. Within 3 years, this study detected early changes in the fish assemblages. The methods also detected an increase in abundance and diversity of fish, but also a decrease of seasonal fluctuations of the assemblage structure, which was characterized by winter values close to summer values in the protected zone but not outside of the MPA. These results helped clarify the dynamic by which fish assemblages respond to fishing prohibition in a newly created protected area.

Considering multiple-species attributes to understand better the effects of successive changes in protection status on a coral reef fish assemblage

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 170-179. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn204

Authors: Bastien Preuss, Dominique Pelletier, Laurent Wantiez, Yves Letourneur, Sébastien Sarramégna, Michel Kulbicki, René Galzin and Jocelyne Ferraris

Abstract: The response of fish assemblages to changes in protection status is a major issue for both biodiversity conservation and fishery management. In New Caledonia, the Aboré reef marine reserve harbours more than 500 fish species, and has been subjected to changes in protection status since 1988. The present study investigates the impact of these changes on a wide subset of species (213), based on underwater visual counts collected before the opening and after the closure to fishing of this marine protected area (MPA). We analysed the spatial and temporal variability in fish assemblage attributable to protection status, explicitly considering habitat. To understand the successive responses of fish assemblage to fishing and protection, the assessment models included four criteria defining species groups that partition the fish assemblage: trophic regime, adult size, mobility, and interest for fishing. We could therefore identify the negative impact of opening the MPA to fishing on piscivores and highly mobile species. Surprisingly, target species were not affected more than non-target species. Model results were used to identify species groups that respond to fishing and protection. These results utilize fisheries-related criteria to provide new insight into the response of fish assemblages to protection from the perspective of MPA monitoring.

Natura 2000 sites and fisheries in German offshore waters

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 155-169. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn193

Authors: Søren Anker Pedersen, Heino Fock, Jochen Krause, Christian Pusch, Anne L. Sell, Uwe Böttcher, Stuart I. Rogers, Mattias Sköld, Henrik Skov, Magdalena Podolska, Gerjan J. Piet and Jake C. Rice

Abstract: The principal objective of sites selected as part of Natura 2000 is to achieve or maintain a favourable conservation status of habitats and species named in the EU Birds and Habitats directives. In the German exclusive economic zone, the habitat types protected by this legislation are sandbanks and reefs; protected species include marine mammals, seabirds, and specific migratory fish species. The ICES project Environmentally Sound Fishery Management in Protected Areas (EMPAS) aims to answer two questions: (i) To what extent do specific fishing activities significantly threaten attainment of the conservation objectives of the Natura 2000 sites? (ii) What management measures would reduce these conflicts and how effective would they be at helping to ensure the favourable condition of these sites? Assessments of fishing impacts on Natura 2000 sites require basic data on the conservation status of individual habitats and species, as well as data for fine-scale distributions of ongoing fishing activities. This paper describes and discusses the process used by the EMPAS project in developing fishery-management plans for each Natura 2000 site in German offshore waters.

Bioeconomic model for a three-zone Marine Protected Area: a case study of Medes Islands (northwest Mediterranean)

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 147-154. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn200

Authors: Gorka Merino, Francesc Maynou and Jean Boncoeur

Abstract: The bioeconomic effects of establishing a three-zone Marine Protected Area (MPA) are investigated. The division of the area into zones, fully protected, partially protected, and a fishing zone, permits a combination of extractive (fishing) and touristic activities. The consequences for species conservation, commercial fishing, and touristic activities are analysed for a set of different area-size distributions and fishing-effort levels. The model parameters are based on Medes Islands MPA in the northwestern Mediterranean. For the case study, the economic analysis includes revenues from scuba diving, glass-bottom boat trips, and commercial fisheries. Our results help to illustrate the benefits of the coexistence of extractive and non-extractive activities in a realistic, three-level MPA.

Systematic conservation planning in the Mediterranean: a flexible tool for the identification of no-take marine protected areas

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 137-146. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn148

Authors: Luigi Maiorano, Valerio Bartolino, Francesco Colloca, Alvaro Abella, Andrea Belluscio, Paolo Carpentieri, Alessandro Criscoli, Giovanna Jona Lasinio, Alessandro Mannini, Fabio Pranovi, Bruno Reale, Giulio Relini, Claudio Viva and Gian Domenico Ardizzone

Abstract: We propose the use of systematic conservation planning in the Mediterranean context for the identification of no-take marine protected areas (NTMPAs). We suggest a logical framework that should be used for the identification of areas to be targeted for multispecies, spatially explicit conservation actions. Specifically, we propose seven steps: (i) definition of the study area; (ii) selection of the species or habitats to be considered; (iii) definition of the planning units; (iv) measurement of the fishing effort; (v) definition of the conservation targets; (vi) review of the existing conservation areas; (vii) selection of additional NTMPAs. Moreover, we consider the potential impact of different conservation plans on existing fishing vessels. A working example is presented, focusing on a limited number of species and on a limited study area. This framework can be easily expanded to include datasets of different origin and to accommodate larger spatial scales. Such a process involves major data-collection and capacity-building elements, and conservation of productive commercial fisheries must be a priority.

Are flawed MPAs any good or just a new way of making old mistakes?

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 132-136. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn201

Author: Will J. F. Le Quesne

Abstract: The case for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is often supported by the observation that present fisheries management has failed. This overlooks the fact that, often, management plans are not implemented in accordance with advice and that subsequent regulations are frequently violated. Evidence is emerging that MPAs may be equally open to mismanagement, either because MPAs are smaller than recommended or through lack of compliance. Therefore, it is interesting to ask whether MPAs would also fail if they are not properly implemented or enforced. A population model was used to examine this question. The model demonstrates that biomass and yield are reduced, and can collapse under “bad” MPA management. When illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing occurred within the MPA, yield and biomass declined almost linearly with increasing poaching pressure. Yield was more robust than biomass to the effects of making MPAs smaller than the optimum size for limited reductions in MPA size. Varying the degree of mobility had little impact on the response of yield and biomass. This analysis demonstrates the vulnerability of MPAs to design and governance failings, and the importance of considering enforcement during MPA design.

Managing mobile species with MPAs: the effects of mobility, larval dispersal, and fishing mortality on closure size

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 122-131. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn202

Authors: W. J. F. Le Quesne and Edward A. Codling

Abstract: The use of closed areas (marine protected areas, marine reserves, no-take zones) has been suggested as a possible solution to the perceived global fisheries crisis. However, to optimize the design and evaluate the effectiveness of closed areas, we need to understand the interaction between larval dispersal, adult mobility, and fishing mortality. In this paper, a simple, spatially explicit dynamic population model was developed to examine the effects of these interacting factors on optimal closure size and resulting yields. The effect of using one large or several smaller closed areas was also examined. Our model confirmed previous results: closed areas do not improve the yield of populations that are optimally managed or underexploited and, as mobility increases, optimum closure size increases. The model also predicted some interesting counter-intuitive results; for overexploited stocks, the greatest benefit from closed areas can be obtained for stocks with highest mobility, although this may require closure of 85% of the total area. For the tested parameter settings, adult spillover had greater potential to improve yield than larval export, and using several small closed areas rather than a single larger one had the same effect as increasing the mobility of the population.

A model-based evaluation of Marine Protected Areas: the example of eastern Baltic cod (Gadus morhua callarias L.)

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 109-121. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn166

Authors: Gerd Kraus, Dominique Pelletier, Julien Dubreuil, Christian Möllmann, Hans-Harald Hinrichsen, Francois Bastardie, Youen Vermard and Stéphanie Mahévas

Abstract: The eastern Baltic cod stock collapsed as a consequence of climate-driven adverse hydrographic conditions and overfishing and has remained at historically low levels. Spatio-temporal fishing closures [Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)] have been implemented since 1995, to protect and restore the spawning stock. However, no signs of recovery have been observed yet, either suggesting that MPAs are an inappropriate management measure or pointing towards suboptimal closure design. We used the spatially explicit fishery simulation model ISIS-Fish to evaluate proposed and implemented fishery closures, combining an age-structured population module with a multifleet exploitation module and a management module in a single model environment. The model is parameterized based on (i) the large amount of biological knowledge available for cod and (ii) an analysis of existing spatially disaggregated fishery data. As the population dynamics of eastern Baltic cod depend strongly on the climate-driven hydrographic regime, we considered two production regimes of the stock. MPAs were only effective for stock recovery when they reduced overall fishing effort. The performance of MPAs needs to be evaluated relative to environmental regimes, especially for stocks facing strong environmental variability.

Identifying eastern Baltic cod nursery grounds using hydrodynamic modelling: knowledge for the design of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 101-108. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn207

Authors: Hans-Harald Hinrichsen, Gerd Kraus, Uwe Böttcher and Fritz Köster

Abstract: Knowledge of the spatial and temporal distribution of juvenile cod is essential to closing the life cycle in population dynamic models, and it is a prerequisite for the design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) aiming at the protection of juveniles. In this study, we use a hydrodynamic model to examine the spatial distribution of eastern Baltic cod larvae and early juveniles. The transport patterns of the larvae spawned at the three major spawning grounds in the central Baltic Sea were investigated by drift model simulations for the period 1979–2004. We analysed potential habitats for their suitability for juvenile settlement, i.e. the change from pelagic to demersal life. The results revealed a clear dependence of the probability for successful settling on wind-induced drift of larval cod, which is controlled by the local atmospheric conditions over the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, we found evidence that the final destinations of juvenile cod drift routes are affected by decadal climate variability. Application of the methodology to MPA design is discussed, e.g. identifying the overlap of areas with a high probability of successful juvenile cod settlement and regions of high fishing effort in small-meshed fisheries targeting sprat and herring.

Using MPAs to address regional-scale ecological objectives in the North Sea: modelling the effects of fishing effort displacement

Citation Information: ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2009) 66 (1): 90-100. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsn214

Authors: Simon P. R. Greenstreet, Helen M. Fraser and Gerjan J. Piet

Abstract: The use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to address regional-scale objectives as part of an ecosystem approach to management in the North Sea is examined. Ensuring that displacement of fishing activity does not negate the ecological benefits gained from MPAs is a major concern. Two scenarios are considered: using MPAs to safeguard important areas for groundfish species diversity and using them to reduce fishing impacts on benthic invertebrates. Appropriate MPAs were identified using benthic invertebrate and fish abundance data. Fishing effort redistribution was modelled using international landings and fishing effort data. Closing 7.7% of the North Sea to protect groundfish species diversity increased the fishing impact on benthic invertebrates. Closing 7.3% of the North Sea specifically to protect benthic invertebrates reduced fishing mortality by just 1.7–3.8%, but when combined with appropriate reductions in total allowable catch (TAC), 16.2–17.4% reductions in fishing mortality were achieved. MPAs on their own are unlikely to achieve significant regional-scale ecosystem benefits, because local gains are largely negated by fishing effort displacement into the remainder of the North Sea. However, in combination with appropriate TAC reductions, the effectiveness of MPAs may be enhanced.

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