- As a consequence of increasing threats to the marine ecosystems, new decision support tools are necessary to support the implementation of the Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) to management in order to ensure their sustainable exploitation whilst ensuring their preservation.
- To operationalize Ecosystem-Based Approach (EBA) to management and translate scientific knowledge into decision tools, an innovative Adaptive Marine Policy Toolbox has been created. It provides policymakers with necessary framework and resources to develop adaptive policies according to the EBA.
- The Adaptive Marine Policy Toolbox provides a one-stop single location to access all the guidelines and resources necessary to design and implement adaptive marine policies according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
- The toolbox presents a high transferability to additional regulations calling for the Ecosystem-Based Approach to management such as the Ecosystem Approach of the Mediterranean Action Plan and the Black Sea´s Strategic Action Plan.
- The Resources existing within the toolbox are presented in a user-friendly format. The presence of assessments and models capable to cope with uncertain conditions allows for high flexibility and adaptation in management strategies when future conditions change.
A major decline in the catch of the banana prawn [shrimp], Penaeus (Fenneropenaeus) merguiensis, occurred over a six-year period in the Weipa region of the northeastern Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Three main hypotheses have been developed to explain this decline: (1) prawn recruitment collapsed due to overfishing; (2) recruitment collapsed due to a change in the prawn's environment; and (3) adult banana prawns were still present, but fishers could no longer effectively find or catch them. Qualitative mathematical models were used to link population biology, environmental factors, and fishery dynamics to evaluate the alternative hypotheses. This modeling approach provides the means to rapidly integrate knowledge across disciplines and consider alternative hypotheses about how the structure and function of an ecosystem affects its dynamics. Alternative models were constructed to address the different hypotheses and also to encompass a diversity of opinion about the underlying dynamics of the system. Key findings from these analyses are that: instability in the system can arise when discarded fishery bycatch supports relatively high predation pressure; system stability can be enhanced by management of fishing effort or stock catchability; catch per unit effort is not necessarily a reliable indicator of stock abundance; a change in early-season rainfall should affect all stages in the banana prawn's life cycle; and a reduced catch in the Weipa region can create and reinforce a shift in fishing effort away from Weipa. Results from the models informed an approach to test the hypotheses (i.e., an experimental fishing program), and promoted understanding of the system among researchers, management agencies, and industry. The analytical tools developed in this work to address stages of a prawn life cycle and fishery dynamics are generally applicable to any exploited natural resource.
Coastal zones are under severe pressure from anthropogenic activities, as well as on-going climate change with associated sea level rise and increased storminess. These challenges call for integrated and forward looking solutions. The concept on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, as defined during the last twenty years, provides the overall policy frames, but tools to support the planning and management efforts are almost lacking. Furthermore, the forward-looking dimension to embrace the effects of climate change is nearly absent in most implementations. The BLAST project, financed by the European Union Regional Fund through the INTERREG IV North Sea Region Programme, aimed at developing a web-based decision support system to assist Integrated Coastal Zone Management from a climate change perspective, and the current paper describes the methods used and the computing platform for implementing a decision support system. The software applied in developing the system is mainly Open Source components, thus, facilitating a more widespread use of the system.
This paper presents a coupled economic–ecological model that integrates a catchment model with a marine model and incorporates economic data to analyse the long-term economic and ecological consequences of nutrient abatement in the Baltic Sea. The spatially explicit model describes dynamics of soil phosphorus in arable land, developments of nutrient concentrations and phytoplankton biomass in the sea basins, and inter-annual variation in nutrient loads and biophysical processes. The performance of the model is demonstrated by computing the least-cost solution to reach the good environmental state of the sea – as implied by the Baltic Sea Action Plan – within a time span of 40 years. The total cost of achieving this target is 1487 M€ annually. Spatially optimal allocation of load reductions differs from the load reduction targets of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, and focuses more on the control of phosphorus loads.
Coastal areas are characterised by the choice of performance measures and/or reference points which may be critical in the environmental management process, determining the success of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) plan. The tools for the strategic control of ICZM plans are particularly important, although they are still not widely used at the local level. The following paper proposes the use of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) method of Kaplan and Norton (1992), which is a holistic management performance tool that can be used by managers to put into action their business strategy. In particular the methodology has focused on the use of a BSC process, inspired by the Niven (2003) approach for public bodies. The BSC suggests the creation of a framework for the strategic assessment of plans and projects based on the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (Protocol). An analysis of the Protocol has been carried out according to the BSC model, and it shows how it can be integrated with assessment and environmental management tools, such as the Driving forces, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses (DPSIR) framework. The proposed process has suggested a novel framework for analysing the ICZM plans of coastal managers and stakeholders. The analytical framework facilitates the examination of Drivers and causes of the ICZM strategy, the possible impact on society and coastal communities, the most appropriate measures to achieve the objectives and the practicalities of implementing such measures given the institutional context of where these are developed.
We examined if there is truth to the preconceptions that non-resident workers (including FIFO/DIDO’s) detract from communities. We used marine debris to test this, specifically focussing on littering behaviour and evidence of awareness of local environmental programs that focus on marine debris. Littering was most common at recreational areas, then beaches and whilst boating. Twenty-five percent of respondents that admit to littering, reported no associated guilt with their actions. Younger respondents litter more frequently. Thus, non-resident workers litter at the same rate as permanent residents, visitors and tourists in this region, within this study. Few respondents are aware of the environmental programs that operate in their local region. Awareness was influenced by a respondent’s residency (non-residents are less aware), age, and level of education. To address this failure we recommend that industries, that use non-resident workers, should develop inductions that expose new workers to the environmental programs in their region.
The ambitious Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) has been the focus of much marine research across Europe in the pursuit of achieving Good Environmental Status in the four European Union marine regions; Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-east Atlantic. This research addresses the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of the current European marine governance structures and its relationship to implement the MSFD. Results of the SWOT analysis were acquired through a combination of approaches with MSFD experts and stakeholders including: 30 face-to-face interviews, an online survey with 264 stakeholder respondents and focus groups within each European marine region. The SWOT analysis concurrently identifies common strengths and weakness and key governance issues for implementing the MSFD for European marine regions. This paper forms one assessment within the governance component of the Options for Delivering Ecosystem Based Marine Management (ODEMM) project and presents timely issues that can be of benefit to national and European Union policy makers.
Table of Contents
- Coastal zones: achieving sustainable management
- MSFD Implementation: strengths and barriers assessed across European marine regions
- Users value Marine Spatial Planning in pilot project
- Mutual trust between coastal stakeholders key to successful climate change adaptation
- The Irish marine environment: high public awareness, but low trust in management
- Temporary coastal residents are less aware of anti-littering programmes
- Marine Protected Areas: how to improve community support?
- Balanced Scorecard tool could support Integrated Coastal Zone Management
- Baltic nutrient abatement measures identified by hybrid ecological-economic model
- Sustainable coastal adaptation planning links ecosystem services with social needs
- New web-based tool supports Integrated Coastal Zone Management
- Coastal ecosystem services’ valuation by stakeholders improves planning decisions
Science for Environment Policy is a free news and information service published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Environment, which provides the latest environmental policy-relevant research findings.
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Long-term changes in nutrient supply and primary production reportedly foreshadow substantial declines in global marine fishery production. These declines combined with current overfishing, habitat degradation, and pollution paint a grim picture for the future of marine fisheries and ecosystems. However, current models forecasting such declines do not account for the effects of ocean fronts as biogeochemical hotspots. Here we apply a fundamental technique from fluid dynamics to an ecosystem model to show how fronts increase total ecosystem biomass, explain fishery production, cause regime shifts, and contribute significantly to global biogeochemical budgets by channeling nutrients through alternate trophic pathways. We then illustrate how ocean fronts affect fishery abundance and yield, using long-term records of anchovy–sardine regimes and salmon abundances in the California Current. These results elucidate the fundamental importance of biophysical coupling as a driver of bottom–up vs. top–down regulation and high productivity in marine ecosystems.
Models for marine reserve design have been developed primarily with ‘reef fish’ life histories in mind: sedentary adults in patches connected by larval dispersal. However, many fished species undertake ontogenetic migrations, such as from nursery grounds to adult spawning habitats, and current theory does not fully address the range of reserve options posed by that situation. I modelled a generic species with ontogenetic migration to investigate the possible benefits of reserves under three alternative scenarios. First, the fishery targets adult habitat, and reserves can sustain yields under high exploitation, unless habitat patches are well connected. Second, the fishery targets the nursery, and reserves are highly effective, regardless of connectivity patterns. Third, the fishery targets both habitats, and reserves only succeed if paired on adjacent, well-connected nursery and adult patches. In all cases, reserves can buffer populations against overexploitation but would not enhance fishery yield beyond that achievable by management without reserves. These results summarize the general situations in which management using reserves could be useful for ontogenetically migrating species, and the type of connectivity data needed to inform reserve design.
Risk assessment is the management approach or framework of choice in many disciplines, including health care and research, engineering design, and particularly the insurance sector which relies on the best available forward projections of natural hazards and accidents. The marine management community, which includes researchers, practitioners, and resource managers responsible for individual targeted stocks, aquaculture activities, and the marine environment in general, has been slower to take up quantitative risk assessment approaches. Whilst there are prominent examples where risk assessment and management approaches have been applied, they are relatively few. This article theme set presents examples of such and identifies tools and approaches that can be applied to coastal and oceanic marine systems worldwide. The methods developed and the lessons learned from these studies can be used to guide researchers, practitioners, and resource managers. It is hoped that this article theme set will provide an overview of the current state of risk assessment as applied to marine resource management, and stimulate new thinking on how risk assessment approaches can be applied.
The European Union and other states are moving towards Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management to balance food production and security with wider ecosystem concerns. Fishing is only one of several sectors operating within the ocean environment, competing for renewable and non-renewable resources that overlap in a limited space. Other sectors include marine mining, energy generation, recreation, transport and conservation. Trade-offs of these competing sectors are already part of the process but attempts to detail how the seas are being utilised have been primarily based on compilations of data on human activity at large spatial scales. Advances including satellite and shipping automatic tracking enable investigation of factors influencing fishers’ choice of fishing grounds at spatial scales relevant to decision-making, including the presence or avoidance of activities by other sectors. We analyse the determinants of English and Welsh scallop-dredging fleet behaviour, including competing sectors, operating in the eastern English Channel. Results indicate aggregate mining activity, maritime traffic, increased fishing costs, and the English inshore 6 and French 12 nautical mile limits negatively impact fishers’ likelihood of fishing in otherwise suitable areas. Past success, net-benefits and fishing within the 12 NM predispose fishers to use areas. Systematic conservation planning has yet to be widely applied in marine systems, and the dynamics of spatial overlap of fishing with other activities have not been studied at scales relevant to fisher decision-making. This study demonstrates fisher decision-making is indeed affected by the real-time presence of other sectors in an area, and therefore trade-offs which need to be accounted for in marine planning. As marine resource extraction demands intensify, governments will need to take a more proactive approach to resolving these trade-offs, and studies such as this will be required as the evidential foundation for future seascape planning.
With the passage of the Oceans Act (1996), the Government of Canada has committed to an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to oceans and coastal management. One important element of this approach is the identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs), which are areas of especially high ecological or biological significance where greater risk aversion is required in the management of activities. EBSAs are considered in a broad range of management processes, including the development of marine protected area networks. This report describes a refined set of EBSAs for the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, which falls within the DFO Maritimes Region. It builds on past studies and outlines the ecological or biological rationale for how each area satisfies the DFO EBSA criteria. Two types of EBSAs are described, including: (i) broadly-distributed, single-feature EBSAs, which are discrete significant features or processes that occur throughout the Atlantic coast sub-region (e.g. Piping Plover critical habitat) and (ii) site-specific, multiple-feature EBSAs, which are areas identified for their unique combination of exceptional features. Thirty-eight site-specific, multiple-feature EBSAs are described.
The review and update included a comprehensive assessment of progress to date in meeting the requirements established by the Oceans Act and the initial Ocean Plan, as well as extensive public and expert participation efforts. Along with public hearings, six technical work groups made up of nearly 100 scientists and experts were convened to review scientific data and identify and characterize important trends in ocean resources and uses. Two public workshops were held to share information and solicit input on the findings and recommendations of the work groups. In addition, public meetings with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center were held on offshore wind and transmission, and workshops convened by the Coastal Erosion Commission in May and June 2014 served as forums for dialogue and feedback.
On September 24, 2014, a draft plan including the proposed updates was released, launching a 60-day public comment period. Five regional public hearings were held in Ipswich, Hyannis, New Bedford, Vineyard Haven and Boston to solicit feedback. More than 75 organizations and individuals provided written and oral comments on the draft plan. With consensus guidance from the Ocean Advisory Commission and Ocean Science Advisory Council, adjustments to the draft ocean plan were deliberated and made.
The 2015 ocean plan released today contains the following updates to the original plan:
- Science and Data - The new plan identifies trends in and new data for ocean habitats and ecosystem components, human uses, economics, cultural and archeological aspects and climate change, as well as a series of 11 science and data priorities for the next five years of ocean plan implementation.
- Offshore Wind Project Transmission - Preliminary transmission corridor routes for further investigation have been identified that address concerns raised by commercial fishing interests and local communities and support “smart” offshore wind development to streamline the process for the wind industry.
- Offshore Sand for Beach Nourishment - Many coastal communities are experiencing severe erosion, flooding and storm damage.
Beach nourishment and dune restoration can offer an important alternative for shoreline protection that works with the natural system. Recognizing this, the 2015 Ocean Plan advances initial planning for appropriate potential locations for offshore sand areas, taking into account important criteria including compatible sand resources, potential environmental impacts, interactions with existing water-dependent uses and consideration of other key factors. The 2015 Ocean Plan also calls for the formation of an Offshore Sand Task Force to provide further consultation and recommendations for the potential use of offshore sand for beach nourishment.
- Ocean Development Mitigation Fee - The plan includes a proposed fee structure and accompanying guidance for the determination of mitigation fees for ocean development projects required by the Oceans Act.
Plastics are the most common form of debris found along the Argentine coastline. The Río de la Plata estuarine area is a relevant case study to describe a situation where ample policy exists against a backdrop of plastics disposed by populated coastal areas, industries, and vessels; with resultant high impacts of plastic pollution on marine turtles and mammals. Policy and institutions are in place but the impact remains due to ineffective waste management, limited public education and awareness, and weaknesses in enforcement of regulations. This context is frequently repeated all over the world. We list possible interventions to increase the effectiveness of policy that require integrating efforts among governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and the inhabitants of coastal cities to reduce the amount of plastics reaching the Río de la Plata and protect threatened marine species. What has been identified for Argentina applies to the region and globally.
This study presents estimates of the impact adaptation costs due to damage to coastal and marine structures located along the Mediterranean coast of Israel caused by sea-level rise in the 21st century. The study examines the effects on various types of constructions, including seaports, power plants, marinas, desalination plants, sea walls, detached breakwaters, and bathing beach infrastructures for sea-level rises of 0.5 m and 1 m. To this end, we conduct an analysis of hydrodynamic forces on the structures and an uncertainty analysis of their occurrence. The study find that the impact of wave overtopping of breakwaters can lead to extensive damage to port infrastructure and to the vessels moored inside. Adaptation costs are computed as the corrective measures to be taken to maintain the functionality of the structures.
For ecosystem-based fisheries management, the identification of different strategies for the spatial and temporal use of resources is key. Such strategies are related to the fleet operation dynamics and can be identified from catch data per season and fishing area, for each target species. In Mexico, such data are reported in fishing trip tickets; in this article, we use these data to map the Pacific calico scallop (Argopecten ventricosus) fishery in the Magdalena-Almejas Bay region, Baja California Sur. Three distinctive zones were identified within the bay based on physiographic features. Fishing zones were defined based on catch size, economic value and record frequency between 1998 and 2010. The zones were validated through a survey of fishermen's local knowledge. The resulting maps display fishing activity patterns related to temporal variations in scallop availability.
One of the challenges of coastal governance is to connect a variety of knowledge systems. The purpose of this paper is to show how a coastal governance practice can emerge and stabilize, such that actors with disparate knowledge systems collaborate towards the shared goal of sustainable resource use. We analyze this stabilization in terms of the coproduction of knowledge and policy. This paper is empirically informed by a case study on the transition towards a sustainable mussel fishery in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Our study illuminates the difficulties of underpinning a coastal governance practice with scientific research, since the relevance, quality, and results of research are interpreted differently from the perspectives of resource users and conservationists. Furthermore, our analysis shows that such a governance practice can stabilize through a combination of rule negotiation, legal, societal, and political pressure, along with collaborative knowledge creation. Based on our analysis, we identify several aspects of collaborative knowledge creation that enable the formation of a shared knowledge base for governance in a context of controversy. These include the shared ownership of research, knowledge creation as an integral part of governance, a focus on data and basic facts, and the close involvement of trusted experts. The findings of this study suggest that a controversial setting strongly structures knowledge creation, while at the same time knowledge creation enables coastal governance as a way of dealing with conflicts.
The Ecospace model has been developed from the Ecopath with Ecosim food web model to add a spatial dimension for investigating marine ecosystems. In this study, we evaluated the sensitivity of an Ecospace model developed for the North Sea ecosystem to some of its key parameters, and we examined this model's capability to reproduce trends in spatial time-series of fish biomass and fishing effort. We measured the fit between the spatiotemporal model predictions and the corresponding data of biomass for 12 species and effort for three fishing fleets. Our results suggest that the Ecospace model for the North Sea can predict quite successfully the species distribution, but not the distribution of fishing effort. We hypothesise that the reason might be that Ecospace assumes spatial effort distribution to be driven mainly by profit, while other factors might be more important in our system at the spatiotemporal scale explored. The model might thus fail to capture fisher's behaviour accurately for this system. Despite the limitations of our ad hoc approach for sensitivity analysis, these results hint that some problems exist in our model, which might extend to other Ecospace models and perhaps to the framework in general. This study highlights the importance of validating Ecospace models with data if their results are used for management advice. We suggest that, in order to make of Ecospace a more robust tool for management advice, some critical improvements are needed: the development of an algorithm for parameter optimisation through fitting the model predictions to data, and advancement of the effort distribution model.
Appropriate integration of remote sensing technologies into ecosystem services concepts and practices leads to potential practical benefits for the protection of biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable use of Earth's natural assets. The last decade has seen the rapid development of research efforts on the topic of ecosystem services, which has led to a significant increase in the number of scientific publications. This systematic review aims to identify, evaluate and synthesise the evidence provided in published peer reviewed studies framing their work in the context of spatially explicit remote sensing assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. Initially, a search through indexed scientific databases found 5920 papers making direct and/or indirect reference to the topic of “ecosystem services” between the years of 1960 and 2013. Among these papers, 211 make direct reference to the use of remote sensing. During the search we aimed at selecting papers that were peer-reviewed publications available through indexed bibliographic databases. For this reason, our literature search did not include books, grey literature, extended abstracts and presentations. We quantitatively present the growth of remote sensing applications in ecosystem services’ research, reviewing the literature to produce a summary of the state of available and feasible remote sensing variables used in the assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. The results provide valuable information on how remotely sensed Earth observation data are used currently to produce spatially-explicit assessments and valuation of ecosystem services. Using examples from the literature we produce a concise summary of what has been done, what can be done and what can be improved upon in the future to integrate remote sensing into ecosystem services research. The reason for doing so is to motivate discussion about methodological challenges, solutions and to encourage an uptake of remote sensing technology and data where it has potential practical applications.