Marine litter has been considered a potential transport vector of non-indigenous species. In this study developed in Tjärnö (Sweden), at the entry of the Baltic Sea, the communities inhabiting coastal litter and natural substrates (N = 5448 macroorganisms) were monitored from eight sites of different ecological conditions. The results showed that litter can support high densities of marine organisms and represent a new habitat in the studied coast. The taxonomic profile of the communities supported by marine litter and hard natural substrate were significantly different. Moreover, opposite to the expectations of reduced diversity in artificial structures, more diverse communities were found on litter. Non-indigenous species were attached mainly to non-plastic artificial materials. From these results it can be concluded that marine litter can significantly alter the biotic composition of coastal ecosystem, representing a shelter for invasive species and diverse natives.
Coral reefs protect islands from tropical storm waves and provide goods and services for millions of islanders worldwide. Yet it is unknown how coral reefs in general, and carbonate production in particular, will respond to sea-level rise and thermal stress associated with climate change. This study compared the reef-building capacity of different shallow-water habitats at twenty-four sites on each of two islands, Palau and Yap, in the western Pacific Ocean. We were particularly interested in estimating the inverse problem of calculating the value of live coral cover at which net carbonate production becomes negative, and whether that value varied across habitats. Net carbonate production varied among habitats, averaging 10.2 kg CaCO3 m-2 y-1 for outer reefs, 12.7 kg CaCO3 m-2 y-1 for patch reefs, and 7.2 kg CaCO3 m-2 y-1 for inner reefs. The value of live coral cover at which net carbonate production became negative varied across habitats, with highest values on inner reefs. These results suggest that some inner reefs tend to produce less carbonate, and therefore need higher coral cover to produce enough carbonate to keep up with sea-level rise than outer and patch reefs. These results also suggest that inner reefs are more vulnerable to sea-level rise than other habitats, which stresses the need for effective land-use practices as the climate continues to change. Averaging across all reef habitats, the rate of carbonate production was 9.7 kg CaCO3 m-2 y-1, or approximately 7.9 mm y-1 of potential vertical accretion. Such rates of vertical accretion are higher than projected averages of sea-level rise for the representative concentration pathway (RCP) climate-change scenarios 2.6, 4.5, and 6, but lower than for the RCP scenario 8.5.
Marine litter, and plastics in particular, is fast rising to the top of the political agenda at all levels of governance. The popular phrase today, evoked at all political meetings, in all speeches and at all cocktail parties, is that by 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean. This is a simple and valid prediction naturally, since global fish stocks are fished at capacity and therefore not increasing in number—whereas the inflow of plastics into the ocean is continuous and rising. Stopping litter from entering the marine ecosystem is therefore the logical step to stop the prediction from coming true. Do we have time to wait for the international community to come together to ratify a treaty text on this, with the required years of negotiations in between, though? Granted, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) passed 13 nonbinding resolutions in December of 2017 of which one was on marine microplastics. They are still nonbinding though and without any teeth or financial instruments attached. The General Assembly, however, adopted resolution 72/249 also in December 2017, on a conference spanning a 2-year period, starting in 2018, where the end goal is to agree on a treaty on the protection of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). We argue in this article that, rather than waiting for a treaty that is plastics specific, a path to fast action could be to incorporate this into these negotiations, since plastic is interweaved as a substantial stressor to the system and to biodiversity in all areas of the ocean.
- Theory and previous studies have shown that commercial fishers with a diversified catch across multiple species may experience benefits such as increased revenue and reduced variability in revenue. However, fishers can only increase the species diversity of their catch if they own fishing permits that allow multiple species to be targeted, or if they own multiple single‐species permits. Individuals holding a single permit can only increase catch diversity within the confines of their permit (e.g. by fishing longer or over a broader spatial area).
- Using a large dataset of individual salmon fishers in Alaska, we build a Bayesian variance function regression model to understand how diversification impacts revenue and revenue variability, and how these effects have evolved since the 1970s.
- Applying these models to six salmon fisheries that encompass a broad geographic range and a variety of harvesting methods and species, we find that the majority of these fisheries have experienced reduced catch diversity through time and increasing benefits of specialization on mean individual revenues.
- One factor that has been hypothesized to reduce catch diversity in salmon fisheries is large‐scale hatchery production. While our results suggest negative correlations between hatchery returns and catch diversity for some fisheries, we find little evidence for a change in variability of annual catches associated with increased hatchery production.
- Synthesis and applications. Despite general trends towards more specialization among commercial fishers in Alaska, and more fishers exclusively targeting salmon, we find that catching fewer species can have positive effects on revenue. With increasing specialization, it is important to understand how individuals buffer against risk, as well as any barriers that prevent diversification. In addition to being affected by environmental variability, fishers are also affected by economic factors including demand and prices offered by processors. Life‐history variation in the species targeted may also play a role. Individuals participating in Alaskan fisheries with high contributions of pink salmon — which have the shortest life cycles of all Pacific salmon — also have the highest variability in year‐to‐year revenue.
Recreational scuba diving is rapidly increasing, and the negative impacts to marine reef biota are of conservation concern. Educational approaches have been tested to mitigate diver damage to benthic organisms, but logistical constraints impede their implementation in many locations. We investigated the behaviors of scuba divers in terms of their contacts with benthic organisms, and assessed how an educational video-briefing caused changes in diver behavior. The video provided environmental information to divers, and enhanced their use of low-impact diving techniques. Divers who received the video-briefing exhibited significantly lower rates of contact with and damage to the benthos, than did divers who did not receive a briefing. The level of diving experience did not correlate with the rate of benthic contact in either group of divers. Male divers and photographers both contacted the benthos significantly less, and female divers and photographers both caused significantly less damage when they viewed the video-briefing prior to diving. Our findings highlight the importance of easily implemented, standardized educational approaches such as the use of video-briefings to mitigate the impacts of scuba diving. This study adds to the framework of tested strategies available to support the sustainable use of marine areas by the diving tourism industry.
- Periodically harvested closures (PHCs) are one of the most common forms of fisheries management in Melanesia, demonstrating multiple objectives, including sustaining fish stocks and increasing catch efficiency to support small‐scale fisheries. No studies have comprehensively assessed their ability to provide short‐term fisheries benefits across the entire harvest regime.
- We present a novel analytical framework to guide a meta‐analysis and assist future research in conceptualizing and assessing the potential of PHCs to deliver benefits for multiple fisheries‐related objectives.
- Ten PHCs met our selection criteria and on average, they provided a 48% greater abundance and 92% greater biomass of targeted fishes compared with areas open to fishing prior to being harvested.
- This translated into tangible harvest benefits, with fishers removing 21% of the abundance and 49% of the biomass within PHCs, resulting in few post‐harvest protection benefits.
- When PHCs are larger, closed for longer periods or well enforced, short‐term fisheries benefits are improved. However, an increased availability of fish within PHCs leads to greater removal during harvests.
- Synthesis and applications. Periodically harvested closures (PHCs) can provide short‐term fisheries benefits. Use of the analytical framework presented here will assist in determining long‐term fisheries and conservation benefits. We recommend PHCs be closed to fishing for as long as possible, be as large as possible, that compliance be encouraged via community engagement and enforcement, and strict deadlines/goals for harvesting set to prevent overfishing.
Authenticity and traceability of food products are of primary importance at all levels of the production process, from raw materials to finished products. Authentication is also a key aspect for accurate labeling of food, which is required to help consumers in selecting appropriate types of food products. With the aim of guaranteeing the authenticity of foods, various methodological approaches have been devised over the past years, mainly based on either targeted or untargeted analyses. In this review, a brief overview of current analytical methods tailored to authenticity studies, with special regard to fishery products, is provided. Focus is placed on untargeted methods that are attracting the interest of the analytical community thanks to their rapidity and high throughput; such methods enable a fast collection of “fingerprinting signals” referred to each authentic food, subsequently stored into large database for the construction of specific information repositories. In the present case, methods capable of detecting fish adulteration/substitution and involving sensory, physicochemical, DNA-based, chromatographic, and spectroscopic measurements, combined with chemometric tools, are illustrated and commented on.
As the body of literature on marine climate impacts accumulates the question is no longer whether marine ecosystems and their living resources are affected, but what we as scientists, managers and policy makers can do to prepare for the inevitable changes. In this study, the current literature on how fisheries, fisheries management and fishing communities react and adapt to projected climate impacts is reviewed. First, a brief background on adaptation research, including definitions of key terms and concepts is provided. Secondly, available frameworks and tools to assess and foster adaptation to climate change are outlined and discussed. Thirdly, case studies illustrating several key aspects (political, legal, economic, and social) influencing adaptation at the level of fisheries, communities and households worldwide are presented and compared. Finally, a brief synthesis of the main issues and their implications for adaptation within fisheries and fisheries management at large are identified and discussed. In summary, the study illustrates that while a great wealth of local and regional knowledge, as well as tools and approaches to foster adaptation exists, examples of concrete adaptation actions and measures are surprisingly few. This emphasizes the need to increase the general awareness of climate change impacts and to build a solid political, legal, financial and social infrastructure within which the available knowledge, tools and approaches can be set to practical use in implementing adaptation to climate change.
Escape behaviors have a great potential as an indicator of the efficacy of management. For instance, the degree of fear perceived by fishes targeted by fisheries is frequently higher in unprotected marine areas than in areas where some protection is provided. We systematically reviewed the literature on how fear, which we define as variation in escape behavior, was quantified in reef fishes. In the past 25 years, a total of 33 studies were identified, many of which were published within the last five years and nearly 40% of those (n = 13) focused on Indo-Pacific reefs, showing that there are still many geographical gaps. While eleven escape metrics were identified to evaluate fish escape, flight initiation distance (FID) was the most commonly employed (n = 23). FID was used to study different questions of applied and theoretical ecology, which involved 14 reef fish families. We also used a formal meta-analysis to investigate the effects of fishing by comparing FID inside and outside marine protected areas. Fishes outside MPAs had increased FID compared to those inside MPAs. The Labridae family had a significantly higher effect sizes than Acanthuridae and Epinephelidae, suggesting that fishes in this family may be indicators of effective MPAs using FID. We conclude that protocols aimed to quantify fear in fishes, which provide accurate assessments of fishing effects on fish escape behavior, will help gauge the compliance of marine protected areas.
Small-scale fisheries are in decline, negatively impacting sources of food and employment for coastal communities. Therefore, we need to assess how biological and socio-economic conditions influence vulnerability, or a community's susceptibility to loss and consequent ability to adapt. We characterized two Philippine fishing communities, Gulod and Buagsong with similar seagrass and fish species composition, and compared their social vulnerability, or pre-existing conditions likely to influence their response to changes in the fishing resource. Using a place-based model of vulnerability, we used household, fisher, landing and underwater surveys to compare their sensitivity and adaptive capacity.
Depending on the scale assessed, each community and group within the community differed in their social vulnerability. The Buagsong community was less socially vulnerable, or less sensitive to pertubations to the seagrass resource because it was closer to a major urban center that provided salaried income. When we assessed seagrass fishers as a group within each community, we found that Gulod fishers had greater adaptive capacity than Buagsong fishers because they diversified their catch, gear types, and income sources. We found catch that comprised the greatest landing biomass did not have the highest market value, and fishers continued to capture high value items at low biomass levels. A third of intertidal gleaners were women, and their participation in the fishery enhanced household adaptive capacity by providing additional food and income, in an otherwise male-dominated fishery.
Our research indicates that community context is not the only determinant of social vulnerability, because groups within the community may decrease their sensitivity, enhance their adaptive capabilities, and ultimately reduce social vulnerability by diversifying income sources, seagrass based catches, and workforces to include women.
The capture fishing sector causes direct and indirect impacts on benthic habitats and associated fauna and flora. Effectiveness of new mitigation measures depends on fishermen's perceptions; their acceptance of, and compliance to, those measures. Accordingly, by means of Advisory Councils (ACs), fisheries stakeholders are encouraged by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform to contribute to policy formulations. Still, the CFP reform remains unclear about how to possibly incorporate perceptions of specific conservation measures and objectives in practice. Against this background, this article aims at exploring a systematic multi-criteria approach that provides information about stakeholder preferences for objectives reflecting on what is more important to aim for (‘what’), mitigation measures as strategies for reaching their objectives (‘how’), and accountability options that can enhance trust in the people who carry out management (‘who'). The approach applies a pairwise comparison approach to elucidate the stakeholder preferences, and to estimate the relative importance of the different options. It is conducted in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the North Sea. The outcomes of the questionnaire survey succeed in transparently reflecting a diversity of preferences. It is advised that in order to inform the CFP, the ACs develop a user-friendly attractive online version of this approach that can reach multiple stakeholders across Europe and facilitate updates on a continuous basis. In this way the ACs could better facilitate bottom-up participation in fisheries management by representing a wide range of stakeholder perceptions.
Throughout the scientific literature, beaches have been regarded as very valuable ecosystems for the tourism industry; however, these ecosystems provide multiple direct and indirect benefits beyond tourism. This paper accounts for the results from a Willingness to Pay (WTP) study using data from 425 respondents at three beaches in the Colombian Caribbean Region. Out of the respondents from the three beaches, over 70% expressed a positive WTP to maintain Beach Ecosystem Services (BES) beyond tourism purposes. At two beaches, the payment amount was 3.40 US$/month, while at the third beach the payment amount was 6.80 US$/month. Beach environmental quality seemed to be an important aspect regarding the payment amount. It is highlighted that WTP in beaches did not depend on economic variables such as income or employment, whereas variables related to perception had a determining impact. WTP for BES was defined by interest in environmental issues and concerns about ecosystem services loss. The results offered hereto could provide support to decision makers through quantitative information on social preferences regarding beach improvement projects policies, if several reflections are considered.
The increasing number and size of offshore wind farms (OWFs), combined with the ambitious plans for future developments in the sector, portray a bleak outlook for ‘traditional’ maritime and marine players. The sustained growth of OWFs can cause conflict with other marine users, and thus certain risk control options (RCOs) may need to be adapted in order to maintain navigational safety and reduce the environmental impact of such installations; introducing such measures, however, may be counter-productive in terms of energy efficiency or financial sustainability. This leads to questions such as ‘is there a point when implementing certain RCOs actually makes an OWF project unfeasible’?
In this discussion paper, we describe a holistic and integrated framework that allows decision makers to evaluate the safety, energy efficiency, environmental impacts and financial sustainability aspects of OWFs. We consider a selection of vital factors and parameters in the current framework, and discuss how the different data sets can be integrated into a single framework. We also describe a novel evaluation tool that can allow users to ‘plot’ the output of the proposed framework in a spider diagram form. We conclude by discussing how the proposed work can be employed to optimize the use of limited sea-space.
Understanding the influence of multiple ecosystem drivers, both natural and anthropogenic, and how they vary across space is critical to the spatial management of coral reef fisheries. In Hawaii, as elsewhere, there is uncertainty with regards to how areas should be selected for protection, and management efforts prioritized. One strategy is to prioritize efforts based on an area's biomass baseline, or natural capacity to support reef fish populations. Another strategy is to prioritize areas based on their recovery potential, or in other words, the potential increase in fish biomass from present-day state, should management be effective at restoring assemblages to something more like their baseline state. We used data from 717 fisheries-independent reef fish monitoring surveys from 2012 to 2015 around the main Hawaiian Islands as well as site-level data on benthic habitat, oceanographic conditions, and human population density, to develop a hierarchical, linear Bayesian model that explains spatial variation in: (1) herbivorous and (2) total reef fish biomass. We found that while human population density negatively affected fish assemblages at all surveyed areas, there was considerable variation in the natural capacity of different areas to support reef fish biomass. For example, some areas were predicted to have the capacity to support ten times as much herbivorous fish biomass as other areas. Overall, the model found human population density to have negatively impacted fish biomass throughout Hawaii, however the magnitude and uncertainty of these impacts varied locally. Results provide part of the basis for marine spatial planning and/or MPA-network design within Hawaii.
The success of participatory marine governance arrangements is influenced by the levels of trust that exist between decision-makers and diverse stakeholder groups within the community. While the benefits of high levels of trust among these groups is well established, specific approaches to building trust remain largely unknown. The aim of this study is to understand the extent to which scientific research programs can enhance trust among marine protected area (MPA) managers and community members via an evaluation of the Ningaloo Research Program - a large-scale program of marine research in the Ningaloo Marine Park. Results from a survey of 125 local residents show that community members along the Ningaloo coast believe that scientific research is important for the management of the marine park, and strongly support government investment in scientific research in the region. Results also suggest that science undertaken through the Ningaloo Research Program has increased the extent to which community members trust local managers, which study participants believe has led to improved social and environmental outcomes in the region. Finally, additional opportunities are identified to maintain and further enhance trust between community members and MPA managers, via targeted communication and engagement programs that account for different personality ‘types’. In particular, the establishment of citizen science programs might further build trust. These results suggest that scientific research could be used as a means to increase trust among decision-makers and community members when coupled with an effective communication and outreach program, thus enhancing the success of participatory marine governance arrangements.
Climate change–reflected in significant environmental changes such as warming, sea level rise, shifts in salinity, oxygen and other ocean conditions–is expected to impact marine organisms and associated fisheries. This study provides an assessment of the potential impacts on, and the vulnerability of, marine biodiversity and fisheries catches in the Arabian Gulf under climate change. To this end, using three separate niche modelling approaches under a ‘business-as-usual’ climate change scenario, we projected the future habitat suitability of the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf) for 55 expert-identified priority species, including charismatic and non-fish species. Second, we conducted a vulnerability assessment of national economies to climate change impacts on fisheries. The modelling outputs suggested a high rate of local extinction (up to 35% of initial species richness) by 2090 relative to 2010. Spatially, projected local extinctions are highest in the southwestern part of the Gulf, off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the projected patterns provided useful indicators of potential climate change impacts on the region’s diversity, the magnitude of changes in habitat suitability are more uncertain. Fisheries-specific results suggested reduced future catch potential for several countries on the western side of the Gulf, with projections differing only slightly among models. Qatar and the UAE were particularly affected, with more than a 26% drop in future fish catch potential. Integrating changes in catch potential with socio-economic indicators suggested the fisheries of Bahrain and Iran may be most vulnerable to climate change. We discuss limitations of the indicators and the methods used, as well as the implications of our overall findings for conservation and fisheries management policies in the region.
We examined ∼300 newspaper and business‐oriented articles published over a 10‐year period to assess trends in how seafood “sustainability” is talked about. We mapped key concepts relating to seafood sustainability as the word was used. We asked if the reports provided evidence that perceptions of problems or solutions for sustainability in seafood have changed over time. What were emergent areas of interest, and what concepts relevant to sustainable fisheries and seafood were absent in the reports? The number of reports concerning sustainability that focused on the middle of the supply chain (e.g., primary processors and importers) increased over time; certification was cited as both part of sustainability problems and a solution. We observed very little change over time in the kinds of fishery and seafood problems reported in the media sampled; themes consistently focused on environmental aspects of fisheries (social wellbeing aspects did not appear in the sample as linked with the term “sustainability”); and very few media reports on sustainable seafood cited aquaculture as a solution. We discuss the gap between what many researchers may perceive as the state‐of‐the‐art of ideas and communication in seafood sustainability, and what appeared empirically in media during the period under study.
Many social scientists in the field of fisheries display a strong concern for the social engineering of environmental sustainability, but also a tendency to identify with the concerns of government. This paper posits that social scientists have their own responsibility in the fisheries field, and that this responsibility includes more attention to the realm of social struggle and distributional justice. Social struggles within and over fisheries are argued to be globally intensifying, as a result of four trends: (1) the condition that inshore fisheries have now largely become a zero sum game; (2) the new sets of controls that are occurring in the fish value chain; (3) the incursion of new business interests into marine and coastal space; and (4) the increasing participation, if not interference, by governments in what used to be mainly fisher affairs. Not only does a reinvigorated social science agenda create attention to other, neglected domains of fisher society; the authors argue that addressing distributional justice concerns may be a precondition for achieving sustainable human-nature relations.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a primary management tool for mitigating threats to marine biodiversity1,2. MPAs and the species they protect, however, are increasingly being impacted by climate change. Here we show that, despite local protections, the warming associated with continued business-as-usual emissions (RCP8.5)3 will likely result in further habitat and species losses throughout low-latitude and tropical MPAs4,5. With continued business-as-usual emissions, mean sea-surface temperatures within MPAs are projected to increase 0.035 °C per year and warm an additional 2.8 °C by 2100. Under these conditions, the time of emergence (the year when sea-surface temperature and oxygen concentration exceed natural variability) is mid-century in 42% of 309 no-take marine reserves. Moreover, projected warming rates and the existing ‘community thermal safety margin’ (the inherent buffer against warming based on the thermal sensitivity of constituent species) both vary among ecoregions and with latitude. The community thermal safety margin will be exceeded by 2050 in the tropics and by 2150 for many higher latitude MPAs. Importantly, the spatial distribution of emergence is stressor-specific. Hence, rearranging MPAs to minimize exposure to one stressor could well increase exposure to another. Continued business-as-usual emissions will likely disrupt many marine ecosystems, reducing the benefits of MPAs.
Notwithstanding their potential benefit as a non-carbon-emitting energy source, the number and the size of marine renewable energy (MRE) farms increases conflict uses, creating a kind of private occupation of the sea space. The multipurpose marine cadastre (MMC) seems to be an efficient tool to determine a better way to allocate exclusive rights to ocean energy developers, in accordance with other users rights. The United-States are the pioneers with their marinecadastre.gov website, which has been set clearly to promote offshore renewable energy, and many others countries are studying this concept, as a complement to marine spatial planning.