Economic instruments such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes are increasingly promoted to protect ecosystems (and their associated ecosystem services) that are threatened by processes of local and global change. Biophysical stressors external to a PES site, such as forest fires, pollution, sea level rise, and ocean acidification, may undermine ecosystem stability and sustained ecosystem service provision, yet their threats and impacts are difficult to account for within PES scheme design. We present a typology of external biophysical stressors, characterizing them in terms of stressor origin, spatial domain and temporal scale. We further analyse how external stressors can potentially impinge on key PES parameters, as they (1) threaten ecosystem service provision, additionality and permanence, (2) add challenges to the identification of PES providers and beneficiaries, and (3) add complexity and costs to PES mechanism design. Effective PES implementation under external stressors requires greater emphasis on the evaluation and mitigation of external stressors, and further instruments that can accommodate associated risks and uncertainties. A greater understanding of external stressors will increase our capacity to design multi-scale instruments to conserve important ecosystems in times of environmental change.
To address long-standing allocation conflicts between the Pacific halibut commercial fishing sector and recreational charter (for-hire) sector in Alaska, an Alaska halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) is being implemented in 2014 that has a provision allowing the leasing of commercial individual fishing quota to recreational charter businesses. This one-way inter-sectoral trading allows for the charter sector to increase its share of the total allowable catch while compensating commercial fishermen. This type of catch shares program is novel in fisheries. In this paper, the literature on non-fisheries tradable permit programs (TPPs) that have similarities to the Alaska halibut CSP program is examined. Several successful TPPs are discussed, including ones from emissions trading programs, water quality trading programs, water markets, and transferable development rights programs. They are then evaluated in terms of their similarities and differences to the Alaska CSP program. Characteristics not part of the current CSP that other TPPs have used and that may increase the likelihood for the CSP to be effective in achieving its primary goals (if they are implemented) are identified, such as allowing more flexible transfers (e.g., internal transfers), intertemporal banking, cooperative structures, and multi-year leasing.
Coastal environments are increasingly under threat from multiple stressors and pressure from human activities across the land-sea interface. Managing these pressures from people requires, more than ever, understanding what is at stake in terms of the benefits and values associated with coastal waters. This article presents the results of a choice experiment which was designed to elicit society's willingness to pay in the context of economic and environmental trade-offs people to improve coastal water quality. The study site is a coastal Australian city, Adelaide, South Australia. The city discharges a large proportion of its stormwater and treated wastewater to the coastal waters of Gulf St Vincent. Willingness to pay for a package of improvements to urban water management is considerable. A mix of projects that restores 25 days per year of water clarity, seagrass area from 60% to 70% of the original area and five reef areas is worth $AUS67.1 M to households in the Adelaide metropolitan area. The results can inform public policy discussions including the cost-benefit analysis of different water management strategies including investments in urban infrastructure.
The adoption of UN Convention of the Law of the Sea in 1982 created optimism for indigenous peoples and marginalised coastal communities that they may (re)gain control of, or improve access to, marine resources. However concerns were also raised that opening the seas to industrial development might create threats for traditional users of the sea. Twenty-five years later the potential enclosure of large areas of coastal seas to marine renewable energy development is reigniting debates about marine governance, access and control over marine resources. Case studies in Scotland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia reveal a dynamic tension between: an economic development ‘blue growth’ agenda requiring the creation of private rights in the sea; and socio-political drivers which seek to address historic injustices and increase access to natural resources by indigenous and marginalised coastal communities. As yet there is little evidence of this tension being adequately addressed by emerging institutional frameworks for managing marine resources.
The vulnerability of coastal areas to associated hazards is increasing due to population growth, development pressure and climate change. It is incumbent on coastal governance regimes to address the vulnerability of coastal inhabitants to these hazards. This is especially so at the local level where development planning and control has a direct impact on the vulnerability of coastal communities. To reduce the vulnerability of coastal populations, risk mitigation and adaptation strategies need to be built into local spatial planning processes. Local government, however, operates within a complex hierarchal governance framework which may promote or limit particular actions. It is important, therefore, to understand how local coastal planning practices are shaped by national and supranational entities. Local governments also have to respond to the demands of local populations. Consequently, it is important to understand local populations’ perceptions of coastal risk and its management. Adopting an in-depth study of coastal planning in County Mayo, Ireland, this paper evaluates: (a) how European and national policies and legislation shape coastal risk management at local level; (b) the incorporation of risk management strategies into local plans; and (c) local perception of coastal risks and risk management. Despite a strong steer from supranational and national legislation and policy, statutory local plans are found to be lacking in appropriate risk mitigation or adaptation strategies. Local residents appear to be lulled into a sense of complacency towards these risks because of the low level of attention afforded to them by the local planning authorities. To avoid potentially disastrous consequences for local residents and businesses, it is imperative that this situation is redressed urgently. Based on our analysis, we recommend: the development and implementation of a national ICZM strategy, supported by detailed local ICZM plans; and obliging local government to address known risks in their plans rather than defer them to project level decision making.
One shortcoming of marine protected areas (MPA) implementation is the potential for unintended consequences, such as fisheries effort displacement, that cause negative economic and social effects for fishermen and undermine social support for MPA implementation efforts.
The objective of this work is to analyse the effects of a proposed MPA system on fisheries in a biodiversity conservation priority site in northern Chile using a spatial dynamic modelling approach and incorporating ecological, social and economic criteria.
We developed an Ecospace model representing the ecological benthic subsystems dominated by kelp beds off the Mejillones Peninsula, Chile. We compared changes in fisheries indicators and the spatial distribution of effort among a no-MPA baseline scenario and four scenarios using proposed MPA core and buffer zones with high or low dispersal rates for the species in the model.
An overlay analysis was performed to identify which zones and users of the fishing grounds would be affected by the proposed MPA system and to what degree.
We found a high degree of overlap of the proposed MPA site with fishing grounds of high economic importance and with a fishing ground where women are allowed to work, this can cause significant displacement of women that have no alternative livelihood, with possible undesired social impacts on the fishing community.
Results from the kelp forest spatial food web model reveals that the biomass build-up of fished species is sensitive to dispersal rates, especially in scenarios with small reserves. A general pattern of fishing effort reallocation at the border of individual MPAs and open areas closer to the port was observed. Fisheries indicators show negative effects for both MPA scenarios, with undesirable changes in catch and profits for rockfish and kelp exploitation.
Our results suggest that implementation of the MPA proposal for the Mejillones Peninsula could generate negative consequences for the fishing community of Constitución cove. The inclusion of fisheries management objectives along with biodiversity conservation in the planning process of the Mejillones Peninsula MPA system may help to address putative negative effects on fisheries and may allow for the creation of support for future MPAs from the fishermen community.
At the time of writing, the EU has just finished appointing a new cohort of senior representatives for the period 2014–2019. This includes appointing a Commissioner with a newly defined remit for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the members of the various Committees of the European Parliament with competences related to maritime affairs. These individuals will invariably spend at least part of their first months in office identifying their respective priorities for the coming years. This commentary seeks to contribute to these deliberations by making concrete suggestions for priorities that might be considered as regards the future of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). Seven years since its launch, the IMP remains very much a work in progress. Drawing on recent academic studies of the EU’s various ocean related policies this commentary argues that two of the greatest weaknesses of the IMP are the sectoral nature of priority-setting and strategy-making as well as the lack of a funding tool to implement its aims. Two concrete proposals are made, specifically aimed at the incoming EU leadership, which seek to address these weaknesses and to realize the aims articulated in the IMP.
Habitat modeling is an important tool to investigate the quality of the habitat for a species within a certain area, to predict species distribution and to understand the ecological processes behind it. Many species have been investigated by means of habitat modeling techniques mainly to address effective management and protection policies and cetaceans play an important role in this context. The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) has been investigated with habitat modeling techniques since 1997. The objectives of this work were to predict the distribution of bottlenose dolphin in a coastal area through the use of static morphological features and to compare the prediction performances of three different modeling techniques: Generalized Linear Model (GLM), Generalized Additive Model (GAM) and Random Forest (RF). Four static variables were tested: depth, bottom slope, distance from 100 m bathymetric contour and distance from coast. RF revealed itself both the most accurate and the most precise modeling technique with very high distribution probabilities predicted in presence cells (90.4% of mean predicted probabilities) and with 66.7% of presence cells with a predicted probability comprised between 90% and 100%. The bottlenose distribution obtained with RF allowed the identification of specific areas with particularly high presence probability along the coastal zone; the recognition of these core areas may be the starting point to develop effective management practices to improve T. truncatus protection.
Maritime spatial planning (MSP) and fishery management may generate extra costs for fisheries by constraining fishers activity with conservation areas and new utilizations of the sea. More energy-efficient fisheries are also likely to alter existing fishing patterns, which already vary from fishery to fishery and from vessel to vessel. The impact assessment of new spatial plans involving fisheries should be based on quantitative bioeconomic analyses that take into account individual vessel decisions, and trade-offs in cross-sector conflicting interests. We use a vessel-oriented decision-support tool (the DISPLACE model) to combine stochastic variations in spatial fishing activities with harvested resource dynamics in scenario projections. The assessment computes economic and stock status indicators by modelling the activity of Danish, Swedish, and German vessels (>12 m) in the international western Baltic Sea commercial fishery, together with the underlying size-based distribution dynamics of the main fishery resources of sprat, herring, and cod. The outcomes of alternative scenarios for spatial effort displacement are exemplified by evaluating the fishers's abilities to adapt to spatial plans under various constraints. Interlinked spatial, technical, and biological dynamics of vessels and stocks in the scenarios result in stable profits, which compensate for the additional costs from effort displacement and release pressure on the fish stocks. The effort is further redirected away from sensitive benthic habitats, enhancing the ecological positive effects. The energy efficiency of some of the vessels, however, is strongly reduced with the new zonation, and some of the vessels suffer decreased profits. The DISPLACE model serves as a spatially explicit bioeconomic benchmark tool for management strategy evaluations for capturing tactical decision-making in reaction to MSP.
Human pressure on the environment is expanding and intensifying, especially in coastal and offshore areas. Major contributors to this are the current push for offshore renewable energy sources, which are thought of as environmentally friendly sources of power, as well as the continued demand for petroleum. Human disturbances, including the noise almost ubiquitously associated with human activity, are likely to increase the incidence, magnitude, and duration of adverse effects on marine life, including stress responses. Stress responses have the potential to induce fitness consequences for individuals, which add to more obvious directed takes (e.g., hunting or fishing) to increase the overall population-level impact. To meet the requirements of marine spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, many efforts are ongoing to quantify the cumulative impacts of all human actions on marine species or populations. Meanwhile, regulators face the challenge of managing these accumulating and interacting impacts with limited scientific guidance. We believe there is scientific support for capping the level of impact for (at a minimum) populations in decline or with unknown statuses. This cap on impact can be facilitated through implementation of regular application cycles for project authorization or improved programmatic and aggregated impact assessments that simultaneously consider multiple projects. Cross-company collaborations and a better incorporation of uncertainty into decision making could also help limit, if not reduce, cumulative impacts of multiple human activities. These simple management steps may also form the basis of a rudimentary form of marine spatial planning and could be used in support of future ecosystem-based management efforts.
In ecosystem-based management (EBM), the use of knowledge is considered an important means to reach sound decisions. However, EBM approaches typically entail complex decision-making processes, involving multiple actors and policy levels. Hence, it is questionable whether and how knowledge can be used as a means to reach sound decisions. This paper explores and evaluates the knowledge governance employed by decision-makers to successfully implement EBM in a complex setting. Conclusions are drawn from a case study based on 30 qualitative interviews, document analysis, and observational participation in Denmark's second largest river restoration project, the Houting project. Our findings suggest that disjointed knowledge governance, knowledge bases acknowledging different values and interests, and the use of experiments were crucial to the success, but at the same time partly restricted the quality, of decision-making in the project. Several suggestions are made on how to compensate for the shortcomings identified.
Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland (IMP) (2012) set out a 'roadmap' to secure the sustainable development of Ireland’s marine resources. This report is part of a suite of research and initiatives to implement Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. The study reviewed all international, European and national law relevant for the development of a framework for marine spatial planning (MSP) for Irish waters. The development, implementation and practice of MSP for five key jurisdictions were also considered.
This report details the identification of a range of options for MSP for Ireland and the criteria for testing those options. It explains the process of refining and developing both the options and the criteria in conjunction with the Enablers Task Force (ETF) to form preliminary conclusions. The key provisions in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 were compared in order to assist with this process. A final recommendation of a framework for MSP has been identified by the research team, with a working title of the minimal parallel system.The forward planning system, however, more accurately describes it.
The forward planning system (minimal parallel system) proposes the introduction of a marine planning system through primary legislation, which would operate in parallel with the existing terrestrial system. While it would be separate from the land based planning system and policies,theMSPsystemwouldbecoordinatedwiththeterrestrialsystem,asrequired. There would be no change to the marine consenting regime, and initially it would have no role in conservationmanagement. Themainfocusofthelegislationwouldbethestatutory requirement for the preparation of a hierarchy of plans, with a statutory role for the plan in thedecisionmaking/licensingprocess. Themarinespatialplanningsystemwouldimmediately abut the terrestrial planning system at the high water mark and would extend to the limit of thecontinentalshelf. ThehierarchywouldconsistofamandatoryNationalMarineSpatial Strategy (NMSS) aligned to the National Spatial Strategy (NSS). There would be mandatory regional sea basin plans for areas of high pressure use and discretionary regional plans for otherareasandintegratedcoastalzonemanagement(ICZM)planswhererequired. An existing body/ government department or key sections of appropriate bodies/ departments, with the appropriate expertise would be responsible for the preparation of the plans, but could coordinate with regional or local authorities as appropriate, particularly for ICZM plans.
This report is supported by extensive Appendices which detail the research and aspects of the research process.
Different approaches exist for building a system of marine protected areas (MPAs), with stakeholder-based site selection at one end of the spectrum and science-based selection at the other. Although a combination of both approaches is typically adopted, the process tends to be dominated by one of them. However, for MPAs to be successful it is necessary that their design achieves a balance between both ecological conservation and socioeconomic needs. The present study aimed to assess, compare and integrate two different approaches to the planning process of MPAs in Wales (UK). A stakeholder-based approach and a science-based systematic approach were compared. Stakeholder priorities for the establishment of MPAs were identified during individual interviews with relevant stakeholders' representatives. Science-based solutions were developed using biological and socioeconomic spatial data in the decision support tool Marxan. A comparison of the outcomes generated by both approaches revealed that although the spatial configuration of the resulting MPAs differed, stakeholders performed well at including representative proportions of relevant marine habitats and species. The integration of the stakeholder driven approach with the science-based solution revealed that an integrated approach could be used as a tool to achieve conservation targets while simultaneously accounting for stakeholder's preferences, as the resulting integrated MPA solution met all conservation targets and was only slightly larger than the science-based solution alone. Results also revealed the potential utility of using stakeholders' knowledge as a proxy for identifying ecologically important areas when spatial data on conservation features are sparse.
Making room for new marine uses and safeguarding more traditional uses, without degrading the marine environment, will require the adoption of new integrated management strategies. Current management frameworks do not facilitate the integrated management of all marine activities occurring in one area. To address this issue, the government developed Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan (IMP) for Ireland. Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth presents a ‘roadmap’ for adopting an integrated approach to marine governance and for achieving the Government’s ambitious targets for the maritime sector, including: exceeding €6.4 billion turnover annually by 2020, and doubling its contribution to GDP to 2.4% by 2030. As part of this roadmap, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth endorses the development of an appropriate Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Framework. One way to develop an MSP Framework is to learn from early adapters. Critical assessments of key elements of MSP as implemented in early initiatives can serve to inform the development of an appropriate framework.
The aim of this project is to contribute to the development of this framework by reporting on MSP best practice relevant to Ireland. Case study selection and evaluation criteria are outlined in the next section. This is followed by a presentation of case study findings. The final section of the report focuses on outlining how the lessons could be transferred to the Irish context.
Even if carbon emissions are reduced drastically in the next decade the amount of carbon already stored in the atmosphere would lead to the occurrence of extreme thermal events every three to four years between 2040 and 20801, 2. This time lag on the effect of reducing emissions suggests that the benefits of carbon emission reduction on the health of coral reefs will be noticeable only in the long term2, 3, 4. Here, we use a spatially explicit ecosystem model to compare the potential ecosystem benefits that Caribbean and Pacific reefs could gain from reductions in carbon emissions, and the timescale of these benefits. We found that whereas the effect of a reduction in emissions on Caribbean reefs will be modest and realized only in the long term (more than 60 years), Pacific reefs would start to show benefits within the first half of this century. Moreover, it seems that Pacific reefs have the potential to maintain their ecological integrity and ecosystem state in the mid- to long term if carbon emissions are reduced, but only if plate-like corals are present.
We present a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, SeaMaST (Seabird Mapping and Sensitivity Tool), to provide evidence on the use of sea areas by seabirds and inshore waterbirds in English territorial waters, mapping their relative sensitivity to offshore wind farms. SeaMaST is a freely available evidence source for use by all connected to the offshore wind industry and will assist statutory agencies in assessing potential risks to seabird populations from planned developments. Data were compiled from offshore boat and aerial observer surveys spanning the period 1979–2012. The data were analysed using distance analysis and Density Surface Modelling to produce predicted bird densities across a grid covering English territorial waters at a resolution of 3 km×3 km. Coefficients of Variation were estimated for each grid cell density, as an indication of confidence in predictions. Offshore wind farm sensitivity scores were compiled for seabird species using English territorial waters. The comparative risks to each species of collision with turbines and displacement from operational turbines were reviewed and scored separately, and the scores were multiplied by the bird density estimates to produce relative sensitivity maps. The sensitivity maps reflected well the amassed distributions of the most sensitive species. SeaMaST is an important new tool for assessing potential impacts on seabird populations from offshore development at a time when multiple large areas of development are proposed which overlap with many seabird species’ ranges. It will inform marine spatial planning as well as identifying priority areas of sea usage by marine birds. Example SeaMaST outputs are presented.
Red tree corals (Primnoa pacifica), the largest structure-forming gorgonians in the North Pacific Ocean, form dense thickets in some areas. These thickets are a dominant benthic habitat feature in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), yet little is known about the ecosystems they support. In 2005, we used a submersible to study the ecology of thickets inside or near five small areas of the eastern GOA later designated in 2006 as habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs)―areas closed to all bottom contact fishing. We show that red tree corals are keystone species in habitats where they form thickets (mean density 0.52 corals m−2)—the densest and largest thickets documented anywhere. Measured sponge densities (2.51 sponges m−2) were also among the highest documented anywhere. The corals and sponges in the study areas provide essential fish habitat for some fish species, and we show with logistic regression models modified with a scaled binomial variance that bedrock, while important habitat for some fish, is even more important when paired with corals and sponges. Red tree corals were not equally distributed with regard to habitat characteristics, and we show that their presence was correlated with bedrock substrate, moderate to high seabed roughness, and slope >10°. Most corals and sponges are vulnerable to disturbance from longlining, the principal bottom contact fishing in this region, but the larger corals and sponges are the most vulnerable. We observed evidence of infrequent recruitment events and a strong pulse of predation, apparently from fishing gear-induced trauma, that could exacerbate slow recovery of red tree corals from disturbance. Some red tree coral thickets are provided protection within designated HAPCs and some are not. Modifications to longline gear and an expanded network of HAPCs could help preserve these keystone species and the ecosystems they support.
Due to population growth, rapid economic development and inadequate marine control, the use of ocean and coastal regions in Taiwan has become more frequent and intense in recent years. However, the lack of comprehensive marine and coastal planning in this island nation has led to many conflicts over space and resources and limited its ability to prepare for and respond to environmental hazards, thus threatening national security as well as the safety and property of its citizens. This study proposes a marine zoning scheme for southern Taiwan. The results show that many important habitats in the southern sea areas have not been properly protected due to the extremely small size of the marine protected area. Furthermore, the majority of the conflicts derive from the exclusive fishing right vs. other uses such as marine conservation. Therefore, it is crucial to establish the marine spatial planning (MSP) for the Southern Taiwan to deal with the conflicts of use seas and uncertainties associated with complex, heterogeneous, and dynamic marine system.
Marine dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a large (660 Pg C) reactive carbon reservoir that mediates the oceanic microbial food web and interacts with climate on both short and long timescales. Carbon isotopic content provides information on the DOC source via δ13C and age via Δ14C. Bulk isotope measurements suggest a microbially sourced DOC reservoir with two distinct components of differing radiocarbon age. However, such measurements cannot determine internal dynamics and fluxes. Here we analyze serial oxidation experiments to quantify the isotopic diversity of DOC at an oligotrophic site in the central Pacific Ocean. Our results show diversity in both stable and radio isotopes at all depths, confirming DOC cycling hidden within bulk analyses. We confirm the presence of isotopically enriched, modern DOC cocycling with an isotopically depleted older fraction in the upper ocean. However, our results show that up to 30% of the deep DOC reservoir is modern and supported by a 1 Pg/y carbon flux, which is 10 times higher than inferred from bulk isotope measurements. Isotopically depleted material turns over at an apparent time scale of 30,000 y, which is far slower than indicated by bulk isotope measurements. These results are consistent with global DOC measurements and explain both the fluctuations in deep DOC concentration and the anomalous radiocarbon values of DOC in the Southern Ocean. Collectively these results provide an unprecedented view of the ways in which DOC moves through the marine carbon cycle.
Coral reef islands have a self-sustaining mechanism that expands and maintains the islands through the deposition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) by marine organisms. However, the human societies established on such low-lying coral reef islands are vulnerable to rapid sea-level rises. Enhancing the self-sustaining mechanism of coral reefs will become one of the required sustainable countermeasures against sea-level rise. We examined the feasibility of mass culturing the large benthic foraminifera Baculogypsina sphaerulata, which is known as “living sand.” We developed a rearing system with the key components of an artificial lawn as a habitat and a stirring device to create vertical water currents. Batches of B. sphaerulata in two different size groups were reared to examine size growth and reproduction under the culture conditions. All culture batches reproduced asexually following generations over 6 months in culture. The small-sized group exhibited steady growth, whereas the large-sized group underwent a reduction in mean size because large individuals (> 1.5 mm2) died off. Similar traits of size structure between the culture batches and natural populations indicate that our culturing conditions can successfully reproduce environments similar to the habitat of this species. Reproduction, consistent size growth, and size structure similar to the natural population indicate that the examined rearing system is viable for culturing Foraminifera at a large scale.