The topic of Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR) for climate geoengineering is becoming increasingly salient following the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report and the Paris Agreement. GGR is thought of as a separate category to mitigation techniques such as low-carbon supply or demand reduction, yet multiple social, ethical and acceptability concerns cut across categories. We propose moving beyond classifying climate strategies as a set of discrete categories (which may implicitly homogenize diverse technologies), toward a prioritization of questions of scale of both technology and decision-making in the examination of social and ethical risks. This is not just a theoretical issue: important questions for policy, governance and finance are raised, for instance over the future inclusion of GGR in carbon markets. We argue that the conclusions drawn about how best to categorize, govern and incentivize any strategy will depend on the framing used, because different framings could lead to very different policy recommendations being drawn. Because of this, a robust approach to developing, governing and financing GGR should pay attention first to urgent concerns regarding democracy, justice and acceptability.
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted 20 targets, known as the Aichi Targets, to benchmark progress towards protecting biodiversity. These targets include Target 11 relating to Marine Protected Area coverage and the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) is the accepted international database for tracking national commitments to this target. However, measuring national progress towards conservation targets relies on sound data. This paper highlights the large-scale misrepresentation, by up to two orders of magnitude, of national marine protected area coverage from two Pacific Island nations in multiple online databases and subsequent reports, including conclusions regarding achievements of Aichi 11 commitments. It recommends that for the target driven approach to have value, users of the WDPA data should carefully consider its caveats before using their raw data and that countries should strive for a greater degree of accountability. Lastly it also concludes that protected area coverage may not be the best approach to environmental sustainability and that the remaining 19 targets should be considered to a greater extent.
Although, the involvement of artisanal fishing communities in conservation and management is now commonplace, their participation rarely goes beyond providing local and traditional knowledge to visiting scientists and managers. Communities are often excluded from ongoing monitoring, evaluation, and decision-making, even though these measures can have tremendous impacts on their livelihoods. For the past 17 years, we have designed, tested, and implemented a community-based monitoring model in three key marine ecosystems in Mexico: the kelp forests of Pacific Baja California, the rocky reefs of the Gulf of California, and the coral reefs of the Mesoamerican Reef System. This model is intended to engage local fishers in data collection by fulfilling two principal objectives: (1) to achieve science-based conservation and management decisions and (2) to improve livelihoods through access to knowledge and temporary employment. To achieve these goals, over 400 artisanal fishers and community members have participated in a nationwide marine reserve program. Of these, 222 fishers, including 30 women, have been trained to conduct an underwater visual census using SCUBA gear, and, to date, over 12,000 transects have been completed. Independent scientists periodically evaluate the training process and standards, and the data contribute to international monitoring efforts. This successful model is now being adopted by both civil society and government for use in different parts of Mexico and neighbouring countries. Empowering community members to collect scientific data creates responsibility, pride, and a deeper understanding of the ecosystem in which they live and work, providing both social and ecological benefits to the community and marine ecosystem.
Salmon management has generally failed to rebuild depressed wild salmon populations or to manage many of them sustainably, despite a broad and growing scientific understanding of salmon ecology. We argue that to correct this failure, management policies and practices related to salmon need to become place‐based. Key changes in management practices required to achieve place‐based management include requiring that fishing occur closer to rivers of origin where particular populations can be identified with high precision, requiring that fishing gear be capable of releasing (with very low postrelease mortality) nontarget species and populations, and managing harvest to ensure that spawning escapements in most years exceed levels that would produce maximum sustainable yield. The scientific basis in support of place‐based salmon management is clear, but implementing the required changes presents serious challenges that must be faced if the diversity and abundance of wild salmon are to be restored and if the world's wild salmon populations are to effectively cope with environmental changes imposed by climate change and continuing habitat degradation. Lessons from locations where management practices are based on a place‐based conceptual foundation show how to successfully rebuild or maintain productive wild salmon populations.
Who owns ocean biodiversity? This is an increasingly relevant question, given the legal uncertainties associated with the use of genetic resources from areas beyond national jurisdiction, which cover half of the Earth’s surface. We accessed 38 million records of genetic sequences associated with patents and created a database of 12,998 sequences extracted from 862 marine species. We identified >1600 sequences from 91 species associated with deepsea and hydrothermal vent systems, reflecting commercial interest in organisms from remote ocean areas, as well as a capacity to collect and use the genes of such species. A single corporation registered 47% of all marine sequences included in gene patents, exceeding the combined share of 220 other companies (37%). Universities and their commercialization partners registered 12%. Actors located or headquartered in 10 countries registered 98% of all patent sequences, and 165 countries were unrepresented. Our findings highlight the importance of inclusive participation by all states in international negotiations and the urgency of clarifying the legal regime around access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources. We identify a need for greater transparency regarding species provenance, transfer of patent ownership, and activities of corporations with a disproportionate influence over the patenting of marine biodiversity. We suggest that identifying these key actors is a critical step toward encouraging innovation, fostering greater equity, and promoting better ocean stewardship.
Accelerating coastal development and shipping activities dictate that dredging operations will intensify, increasing potential impacts to fishes. Coastal fishes have high economic, ecological, and conservation significance and there is a need for evidence‐based, quantitative guidelines on how to mitigate the impacts of dredging activities. We assess the potential risk from dredging to coastal fish and fisheries on a global scale. We then develop quantitative guidelines for two management strategies: threshold reference values and seasonal restrictions. Globally, threatened species and nearshore fisheries occur within close proximity to ports. We find that maintaining suspended sediment concentrations below 44 mg/L (15–121 bootstrapped CI) and for less than 24 hours would protect 95% of fishes from dredging‐induced mortality. Implementation of seasonal restrictions during peak periods of reproduction and recruitment could further protect species from dredging impacts. This study details the first evidence‐based defensible approach to minimize impacts to coastal fishes from dredging activities.
Virtually all studies reporting deepening with increasing size or age by fishes involve commercially harvested species. Studies of North Sea plaice in the early 1900s first documented this phenomenon (named Heincke’s law); it occurred at a time of intensive harvesting and rapid technological changes in fishing methods. The possibility that this deepening might be the result of harvesting has never been evaluated. Instead, age- or size-related deepening have been credited to interactions between density-dependent food resources and density-independent environmental factors. Recently, time-dependent depth variations have been ascribed to ocean warming. We use a model, initialized from observations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) on the eastern Scotian Shelf, where an age-dependent deepening of ∼60 m was observed, to assess the effect of size- and depth-selective exploitation on fish distribution. Exploitation restricted to the upper 80 m can account for ∼72% of the observed deepening; by extending exploitation to 120 m, all of the deepening can be accounted for. In the absence of fishing, the model indicated no age-related deepening. Observations of depth distributions of older cod during a moratorium on fishing supported this prediction; however, younger cod exhibited low-amplitude deepening (10–15 m) suggestive of an ontogenetic response. The implications of these findings are manifold, particularly as they relate to hypotheses advanced to explain the ecological and evolutionary basis for ontogenetic deepening and to recent calls for the adoption of evidence of species deepening as a biotic indicator or “footprint” of warming seas.
In a landscape of fear, humans are altering key behaviours of wild-living animals, including those related to foraging, reproduction, and survival. When exposed to potentially lethal human actions, such as hunting or fishing, fish, and wildlife are expected to behaviourally respond by becoming shyer and learning when to be cautious. Using a rich dataset collected in temperate rocky reefs, we provide evidence of spearfishing-induced behavioural changes in five coastal fish taxa, exposed to different levels of spearfishing exploitation, by using flight initiation distance (FID) as a proxy of predator avoidance. We detected a significant increase of mean and size effects of FID when the observer was equipped with a speargun. Such effects were more evident outside marine protected areas where spearfishing was allowed and was commensurate to the historically spearfishing pressure of each investigated taxon. Our results demonstrate the ability of fish to develop fine-tuned antipredator responses and to recognize the risks posed by spearfishers as human predators. This capacity is likely acquired by learning, but harvest-induced truncation of the behavioural diversity and fisheries-induced evolution may also play a role and help to explain the increased timidity shown by the exploited fishes in our study.
Although ecosystem service (ES) approaches are showing promise in moving environmental decision-making processes toward better outcomes for ecosystems and people, ES modeling (i.e., tools that estimate the supply of nature's benefits given biophysical constraints) and valuation methods (i.e., tools to understand people's demand for nature's benefits) largely remain disconnected, preventing them from reaching their full potential to guide management efforts.
Here, we show how knowledge of environmental perceptions explicitly links these two lines of research. We examined how a diverse community of people with varying degrees of dependencies on coastal and marine ecosystems in southern Chile perceived the importance of different ecosystem services (ESs), their states (e.g., doing well, needs improvement), and management options. Our analysis indicates that an understanding of people's perceptions may usefully guide ecosystem modeling and management efforts by helping to: (1) define which ESs to enter into models and tradeoff analyses (i.e., what matters most?), (2) guide where to focus management efforts (i.e., what matters yet needs improvement?), and, (3) anticipate potential support or controversy surrounding management interventions. Finally, we discuss the complexity inherent in defining which ESs matter most to people. We propose that future research address how to design ES approaches and assessments that are more inclusive to diverse world views and notions of human wellbeing.
Adaptation to sea level rise (SLR) is primarily taking place at the local level, with varied governments grappling with the diverse ways that SLR will affect cities. Interpreting SLR in the context of local planning requires integrating knowledge across many disciplines, and expert knowledge can help planners understand the potential ramifications of decisions. Little research has focused on the role that experts play in local adaptation planning. Understanding how and when local governments undertake adaptation planning, and how scientists and scientific information can be effectively incorporated into the planning process, is vital to guide scientists who wish to engage in the planning process. This study aimed to establish how experts are currently involved in SLR planning, identify any gaps between planners’ needs and expert involvement, and determine the characteristics of experts that are perceived as highly valuable to the planning process. We surveyed individuals involved with planning in a broad range of US coastal communities about SLR planning and the role that experts have played in the process. We found that SLR planning is widespread in cities across geographic regions, population sizes, and population characteristics and has increased rapidly since 2012. Contrary to our expectation, whether a SLR plan existed for each city was not related to the percentage of the population living on vulnerable lands or the property value of those lands. Almost all cities that have engaged in SLR planning involved experts in that process. Planners identify atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, economists and political scientists, and geologists as currently underutilized according to planners’ needs. Members of these expert disciplines, when involved in planning, were also unlikely to be affiliated with the local planning government, but rather came from other governmental and academic institutions. Highly effective experts were identified as making scientific research more accessible and bringing relevant research to the attention of planners. Results from our dataset suggest that planners perceive local SLR planning could benefit from increased involvement of experts, particularly atmospheric scientists, oceanographers, economists and political scientists, and geologists. Since experts in these disciplines were often not affiliated with local governments, increasing the exchange of information between local governments and academic and other (non-local) government organizations could help draw valued experts into the planning process.
Small-scale fishers on Caribbean coral reefs have exploited fish spawning aggregations (FSAs) for generations, but intense fishing has led to the loss of traditional aggregation sites. In many areas, the traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of fishers has contributed greatly to the characterization of spawning aggregations and implementation of local conservation initiatives. TEK has identified more than 40 potential FSA sites along the coast of the Mexican Mesoamerican Reef. These sites have been characterised and scientifically validated, in some cases with traditional western science and in others, with a participatory citizen-science approach. The objective of this work is to compare the science and conservation outcomes at these FSA sites. We report that those FSA sites where scientific surveys were conducted without community participation remain unprotected. By contrast, the FSAs where local fishers were engaged in characterization and subsequent monitoring are now protected at the behest of the fishers themselves. Conservation initiatives to protect FSAs can be more effective through a combination of TEK, western science, and participatory citizen science involving local fishers.
The rapid growth of aquaculture has raised the environmental concern about the conversion of ecologically important areas such as mangroves and agricultural lands. The study explored the impact of shrimp aquaculture on land use change in India’s coastal wetlands using Landsat satellite data, geographical information system techniques and field verification. From 1988 to 2013, the area under aquaculture has grown by 879 %, which brought the tremendous changes in the coastal land use pattern. Mangrove and agriculture lands have been used for 5.04 % and 28.10 % of the aquaculture growth. Mudflats, scrublands, saltpan, and waterbodies have contributed to 51.65 %, 1.76 %, 1.73 % and 2.37 % of the aquaculture area expansion respectively. Mangrove areas have undergone severe changes due to gain and loss at different places. Environmental factors influenced the changes in mangroves, and the overall extent of mangrove has increased by 13.44 %. Construction activities and aquaculture have reduced the agricultural land by 3.52 % and 0.53 % respectively. The variation between the actual area under shrimp aquaculture and the Coastal Aquaculture Authority approved area indicate that the larger extent of shrimp farm operates without approval. Implementation of an intensive monitoring program for strict adherence to coastal aquaculture regulation laws will be helpful for the sustainability of coastal resources as well as aquaculture.
The Philippines has had a long and evolving history in marine tenure and marine resource management. This ranges from traditional tenure rights to some of the first community based fisheries tenure systems in the world to a legal system which supports marine tenure. Secure marine tenure and improved governance are enabling conditions for supporting sustainable small-scale fisheries to meet multiple development objectives. This article provides an overview of the Philippines context for marine tenure and small-scale fisheries. The article discusses both government and non-governmental initiatives on marine tenure. Recommendations are made to strengthen the current legal, policy and practical context of marine tenure in the Philippines in order to support sustainable small-scale fisheries.
Marine ecosystems globally have suffered habitat, biodiversity and function loss in response to human activity. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can limit extractive activities and enhance ecosystem resilience, but do not directly address external stressors. We surveyed 48 sites within seven MPAs and nearby unprotected areas to evaluate drivers of coral reef condition in the Mexican Caribbean. We found that local human activity limits protection effectiveness. Coral cover was positively related to protection characteristics, but was significantly lower at sites with elevated local human activity. Furthermore, we predict ongoing coastal development will reduce coral cover despite expanded protection within a regionwide MPA if an effective integrated coastal zone management strategy is not implemented. Policy makers must acknowledge the detrimental impact of uncontrolled coastal development and apply stringent construction and wastewater regulations in addition to marine protection.
Enforcing compliance with rules and regulations in recreational fisheries has proved difficult due to factors such as the high number of participants and costs of enforcement, the absence of regular monitoring of recreational fishing activity, and the inherent difficulties in accurately determining catch levels. The effectiveness of traditional punitive deterrence is limited, yet current management is heavily reliant on this compliance approach. In this paper, the potential of behavioural based management is considered through a narrative review of the relevant literature; specifically, exploring the use of nudges, which aim through subtle changes and indirect suggestion to make certain decisions more salient, thereby improving voluntary compliance. This concept is explored with specific reference to the compliance of fishers within Australian recreational fisheries. There are only a few examples of behavioural based approaches found. However, based on their theoretical foundations, nudges may represent an inexpensive, and potentially highly effective tool for recreational fisheries management. Nudges do not offer a ‘quick fix’ to cases where traditional policy instruments have failed. Rather, there is the potential for behavioural nudges (based on framing, changing the physical environment, presenting default options, and social norms) to augment and complement existing deterrence regimes. A number of potential nudges for compliance management in recreational fisheries are suggested, but caution is advised. As with any novel management approach, nudges must be rigorously tested to demonstrate their cost-effectiveness and to avoid unintended consequences.
Increasing interest for recreational SCUBA diving worldwide is raising the concern about its potential effects on marine ecosystems. Available literature is still much focused either on impacts on coral reefs of tropical regions or on diver’s behaviour underwater. In this study we analysed, through photo-quadrats, the benthic community composition in a section of a decommissioned Portuguese navy ship that was sunk for touristic purposes. The ship broke down and became separated in two sections enabling a Control versus Impact sampling design, as one section is less attractive for diving. Gorgonians (mainly belonging to the species Leptogorgia sarmentosa and Eunicella verrucosa) were the taxa more negatively affected in the dived ship section, with smaller coverage and size. More resilient species such as the acorn barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite were positively correlated with the Impact samples. In the case of the study area, according to the available data, 70% or more of the total amount of dives are now on the sunken ships. From these results, lessons can be taken to apply on natural reefs and related management plans.
The use of seawater desalination as a water supply option is increasing worldwide. Compared to other marine sectors, studies on marine users' perceptions and attitudes towards this new sector and its impacts on marine ecosystems are very limited. This study assessed diﬀerences in coastal stakeholder groups' preferences for managing marine impacts of a seawater desalination plant in a small coastal community. The majority of respondents placed high importance on the marine ecosystem, including ecosystem features that are less visible and charismatic, and were highly concerned about potential impacts on marine ecosystems and marine activities from the new desalination facility. Coastal residents further rated multiple management measures to reduce and oﬀ-set marine impacts as highly important, but indicated a lack of trust in institutions involved in regulating and managing environmental impacts. Logistic regression revealed that lack of institutional trust and concerns about marine impacts were signiﬁcant predictors of opposition to the desalination facility and appeared to play a critical role in shaping local attitudes towards desalination. Findings further revealed that local opinions were primarily shaped by how respondents used the nearby marine system, and by gender. Age, education, and race did not seem to shape local opinions. At the same time, there were diﬀerences between consumptive and nonconsumptive marine user groups' opinions indicating the potential for conﬂict regarding the most important management strategies.
An interdisciplinary team of academics, and representatives of fishing fleets and government collaborated to study the emerging requirements for sustainability in Canada’s fisheries. Fisheries assessment and management has focused on biological productivity with insufficient consideration of social (including cultural), economic and institutional (governance) aspects. Further, there has been little discussion or formal evaluation of the effectiveness of fisheries management. The team of over 50 people 1) identified a comprehensive set of management objectives for a sustainable fishery system based on Canadian policy statements, 2) combined objectives into an operational framework with relevant performance indicators for use in management planning, and 3) undertook case studies which investigated some social, economic and governance aspects in greater detail. The resulting framework extends the suite of widely accepted ecological aspects (productivity and trophic structure, biodiversity, and habitat/ecosystem integrity) to include comparable economic (viability and prosperity, sustainable livelihoods, distribution of access and benefits, regional/community benefits), social (health and wellbeing, sustainable communities, ethical fisheries), and institutional (legal obligations, good governance structure, effective decision-making) aspects of sustainability. This work provides a practical framework for implementation of a comprehensive approach to sustainability in Canadian fisheries. The project also demonstrates the value of co-construction of collaborative research and co-production of knowledge that combines and builds on the strengths of academics, industry and government
Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) is often termed triple bottom line because it takes into account ecological, economic and social criteria. Effective implementation of EBFM requires development of appropriate governance structures for decision-making processes and management, so governance effectiveness and efficiency can be regarded as the fourth element in a ‘quadruple bottom line.’ Few fisheries have explicitly considered all four criteria within their resource assessments and harvest strategies. Furthermore, as some of these objectives may be in competition (e.g. employment levels, profit), a simultaneous evaluation of these criteria is required to identify the optimal level of fishing to deliver the best overall community outcome.
The western rock lobster, Panulirus cygnus, resource in Western Australia is used as an EBFM case study by evaluating: sustainability of target species and effects on ecosystem and protected species; economics of the fishery; effect on employment, coastal communities and quality of recreational fishing; and governance effectiveness including explicit sectoral catch allocations, and the efficiency of monitoring and compliance systems.
In 2010 the fishery moved from effort-controlled maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to a quota-controlled, maximum economic yield (MEY) system. This study explicitly examined how different levels of harvesting across the MSY to MEY range affected each of ten EBFM criteria. We confirmed that these individual objectives were maximised at different total allowable commercial catches. However an example is provided for weighting of objectives from a possible management perspective that identified the upper end of the MEY range as likely to generate the optimum outcome for this fishery.
Ocean acidification is expected to alter community composition on coral reefs, but its effects on reef community metabolism are poorly understood. Here we document how early successional benthic coral reef communities change in situ along gradients of carbon dioxide (CO2), and the consequences of these changes on rates of community photosynthesis, respiration, and light and dark calcification. Ninety standardised benthic communities were grown on PVC tiles deployed at two shallow-water volcanic CO2 seeps and two adjacent control sites in Papua New Guinea. Along the CO2 gradient, both the upward facing phototrophic and the downward facing cryptic communities changed in their composition. Under ambient CO2, both communities were dominated by calcifying algae, but with increasing CO2 they were gradually replaced by non-calcifying algae (predominantly green filamentous algae, cyanobacteria and macroalgae, which increased from ~30% to ~80% cover). Responses were weaker in the invertebrate communities, however ascidians and tube-forming polychaetes declined with increasing CO2. Differences in the carbonate chemistry explained a far greater amount of change in communities than differences between the two reefs and successional changes from five to 13 months, suggesting community successions are established early and are under strong chemical control. As pH declined from 8.0 to 7.8, rates of gross photosynthesis and dark respiration of the 13-month old reef communities (upper and cryptic surfaces combined) significantly increased by 10% and 20%, respectively, in response to altered community composition. As a consequence, net production remained constant. Light and dark calcification rates both gradually declined by 20%, and low or negative daily net calcification rates were observed at an aragonite saturation state of <2.3. The study demonstrates that ocean acidification as predicted for the end of this century will strongly alter reef communities, and will significantly change rates of community metabolism.