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.
Twenty-first century conservation is centered on negotiating trade-offs between the diverse needs of people and the needs of the other species constituting coupled human-natural ecosystems. Marine forage fishes, such as sardines, anchovies, and herring, are a nexus for such trade-offs because they are both central nodes in marine food webs and targeted by fisheries. An important example is Pacific herring, Clupea pallisii in the Northeast Pacific. Herring populations are subject to two distinct fisheries: one that harvests adults and one that harvests spawned eggs. We develop stochastic, age-structured models to assess the interaction between fisheries, herring populations, and the persistence of predators reliant on herring populations. We show that egg- and adult-fishing have asymmetric effects on herring population dynamics - herring stocks can withstand higher levels of egg harvest before becoming depleted. Second, ecosystem thresholds proposed to ensure the persistence of herring predators do not necessarily pose more stringent constraints on fisheries than conventional, fishery driven harvest guidelines. Our approach provides a general template to evaluate ecosystem trade-offs between stage-specific harvest practices in relation to environmental variability, the risk of fishery closures, and the risk of exceeding ecosystem thresholds intended to ensure conservation goals are met.
Catches in the groundfish hook and line fishery in British Columbia on Canada's west coast have been monitored since 2006 with an interrelated suite of technical components. These include, but are not limited to, full (100%) independent dockside monitoring, full video capture of fishing events and vessel monitoring at sea, 10% partial review of the video imagery from each trip, and full coverage of fisher logbooks. The monitoring also relies on complete retention of the over 30 species of rockfish (Sebastes spp.). Each component, in spite of its weaknesses as a stand-alone monitoring tool, makes an essential contribution without which the overall programme would fail. The programme has surpassed expectations in providing accurate, defensible, and timely estimates of total catch for all quota and many non-quota species. This document summarizes contextual and process ingredients, which contributed to implementation, the key being a “carrot and stick” approach wherein industry support was facilitated by the “carrot” of coincident full introduction of individual vessel quotas (ITQs). The “stick” was that Government support was conditional on improving catch monitoring with the proviso that ITQs would not be considered and the fishery would be closed until the monitoring was improved. Also important was the fact that previous failures to solve management and catch monitoring in this fishery with overly simple solutions had created an understanding by all participants that an effective and lasting solution would be complex and require a major commitment of time and funds.
The Faroe Islands are currently struggling to find their feet in a new context of globalisation and changing international requirements on fishery management best practices, as exemplified by United Nations protocols and agreements. We introduce the Faroese fisheries effort management system for cod, haddock and saithe, which represents an innovative attempt to tackle the challenges of mixed fisheries by means of a combination of total allowable effort implemented through days-at-sea and extensive use of closed or limited access areas. Subsequently, we present and discuss controversies concerning the system’s ability (or lack thereof) to achieve a level of fishing effort that produces long-term sustainability. Over the years the system has proved able to evolve and overcome challenges, and the Faroe Islands are currently considering adding a proper fisheries management plan to the system to achieve fishing at maximum sustainable yield. However, finding support for this plan presents a challenge due particularly to an enduring gap between the perspectives of scientists and actors in the catching sector. Finally, we outline some actions that could be taken to reduce the gap and hence facilitate reform of the system: 1) integration of the consultative/advisory process; 2) obtaining tailor-made advice for the Faroese effort management system from the relevant scientific body; 3) establishment of a transparent mechanism for monitoring and regulating fishing effort; 4) clarifying the efficacy of the prevalent system of closed areas.
On June 9, 2014 the Committee of Fisheries (COFI) of FAO adopted the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF-Guidelines). For millions of small-scale fisheries people around the world, this was no doubt a historic event and a potential turning point. The challenge now is to make sure that they will be implemented. As the SSF-Guidelines address issues that are politically contentious, there are reasons to expect that they will be met both with enthusiastic acclamation and criticism, as already happened in the negotiations of the text. This paper discusses the opportunities and obstacles for their implementation.
Fisheries often fall prey to overfishing and the exhaustion of stock. Fishing governance is an ongoing attempt to prevent such an outcome. Over time, fisheries regulation has generally moved from controls on inputs to controls on output, such as catch limits and Individual Transferable Quotas. Individual Transferable Quotas have reduced overcapitalization, and have in some cases allowed stocks to rebuild. However, because they enable market trading of catch shares which tends to concentrate fisheries in fewer hands.
This paper proposes applying a duty of stewardship to the existing fisheries governance structure. “Stewardship” is an obligation to be responsible for taking care of another person’s property. The concept of stewardship easily applies to fisheries, because fisheries are natural resources which belong to the public. Current regimes, such as Individual Transferable Quotas (“ITQs”) do not do enough to prevent the employment of destructive fishing practices and place the burden of natural resource management on the government. Assigning a duty of stewardship upon fishers, whether they own or lease an ITQ, would require fishers to be stewards of common resources and use responsible fishing practices.
Understanding ocean use patterns can improve decision-making and planning in the marine environment by contributing vital foundational information. Engaging communities that use the ocean to provide this important foundational information has the added value of linking people to the planning process and building confidence in the results. The participatory mapping method described throughout this guidebook offers a proven approach for practitioners who are looking to make more informed decisions for the marine environment and the communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems.
In planning a PGIS process, remember that the guidelines set forth in this document are just suggestions and that each process needs to be flexible and molded to best meet local needs. Keep in mind that the power of the process comes through building relationships with the target use community and learning about the history of planning and the hot-button issues that affect the daily lives of workshop participants. Remember that collecting data is one thing, and connecting with people and earning their trust is something entirely different. To successfully capture the data, make time to listen to participants’ perspectives, frustrations, and concerns, and encourage dialogue about often tricky and sensitive topics. Be honest, genuine, and transparent when messaging about the project, and prepare staff members with skills to facilitate communication on often contentious topics and with challenging personalities.
Remember that the communities participating in the workshops will continue on after the project ends. Consider what you are contributing to these participants and how the process can best serve them into the future. Always deliver on what you promise your partners and participants, and deliver it when you promise it.
Lastly, it is important to remember that every place is unique. Lessons learned in one locale, while they can indeed inform the process in another, should be modified to address the unique characteristics of the target community.
For more information, please visit www.marinecadastre.gov/oceanuses.
The establishment of policies relevant to the oceanic area in Brazil aims to guide the rational planning of resources of marine space (Blue Amazon), ensuring the quality of coastal population life and the effective protection of ecosystems and resources within it. Therefore, it appears as a major factor in the formalization of coastal and marine policies and, especially, in the training of human resources to work in the area. The concern of political regulation of the Brazilian government with the use of marine resources and coastal areas emerged in the 1970s, parallel to the emergence of an environmental viewpoint in state planning held in the country. The Special Department of Environment of the Presidency was created in 1973, which was a significant milestone in its institutional history. A year later, the Inter-Ministerial Commission of Sea Resources was created, aimed at coordinating issues that would lead to a national policy for the coastal region of Brazil. However, only with the Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil ratified in 1988, and with the ratification of the country to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994, did the legal issues related to marine environment areas take form and effect.
The marine Natura 2000 network provides Member States with a legislative tool to protect our marine biodiversity, however many countries have been extremely slow at designating protected areas for seabirds, especially at sea. The lack of progress in completing the network means that seabirds are not being properly safeguarded, and are facing threats such as by-catch by fishing vessels, prey depletion or disturbance at their breeding colonies. There remains, therefore, an urgent need for countries to identify and designate sites at sea to ensure that seabirds are protected.
Within the EU, the BirdLife Partnership has been at the forefront of site identification for seabirds. Using cutting edge science and rigorous scientific criteria, BirdLife has identified Marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (marine IBAs) recognised as a ‘shadow list’ of sites for Natura 2000 designation.
This report represents the most accurate assessment of seabird protection in the European Union. We have assessed the 23 coastal EU states based on the level of protection afforded to marine IBAs through EU Special Protected Areas (terrestrial, inshore and offshore waters).
This report demonstrates that:
- Only 59% of the area identified as marine IBAs is currently protected in the EU, and many countries are still lagging behind in identifying areas at sea.
- Scandinavian and Baltic countries are leading the way for at sea protection, with significant areas at sea protected in Germany, Poland, Estonia and Denmark and progress being made in Latvia, Lithuania and Finland.
- Coastal extension areas have not yet been designated in many countries, such as in France, the UK , Ireland and Sweden.
- 2/3 of EU countries only protect 3% or less of their Marine Area (territorial sea & Exclusive Economic Zone).
- Urgent action is required in those countries where marine IBAs inventories have been rigorously identified but where Member States have failed to designate them as SPAs.
- A large proportion of marine SPAs are currently lacking management plans, which urgently need to be drawn up and implemented.
Improving the social acceptability or ‘social licence’ of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is a key challenge facing countries all around the world. As the world moves slowly towards the establishment of a global network of MPAs, it is increasingly apparent that a greater understanding of social responses to MPAs is required, given they are often met with resistance from local communities. A series of in-depth, semi structured interviews were conducted across coastal users in New South Wales, Australia, including surfers, recreational fishers, professional fishers, spearfishers, walkers, divers, snorkellers, kayakers and other community members. The research identified the values, images and principles at work amongst coastal users to determine the dominant ‘cultural models’ within the community and how these models influenced attitudes towards MPAs. This research indicates that traditional consultation models may not be sufficient to address the full spectrum of community needs, and in fact suggests the need to re-conceive the make -up of ‘the community’ itself. In the context of MPA planning ‘the community’ is not an amalgamation of a range of homogenous stakeholder groups but instead a diverse and complex mix of identities and value systems which are not confined to particular interest groups. Incorporating consideration of the diverse range of values, images and principles found within and across stakeholder groups will require new and innovative approaches to participation and management.
The world׳s oceans are currently undergoing an unprecedented period of industrialisation, made possible by advances in technology and driven by our growing need for food, energy and resources. This is placing the oceans are under intense pressure, and the ability of existing marine governance frameworks to sustainably manage the marine environment is increasingly being called into question. Emerging industries are challenging all aspects of these frameworks, raising questions regarding ownership and rights of the sea and its resources, management of environmental impacts, and management of ocean space. This paper uses the emerging marine renewable energy (MRE) industry, particularly in the United Kingdom (UK), as a case study to introduce and explore some of the key challenges. The paper concludes that the challenges are likely to be extensive and argues for development of a comprehensive legal research agenda to advance both MRE technologies and marine governance frameworks.
Ecosystem based ocean management processes seek to manage intricately linked social–ecological systems. These processes are intended to include and integrate appropriate economic, environmental, and social input into decision-making. To address identified challenges with gathering social data this study uses the Q-method to characterize different perspectives about what is valued about the ocean, seafood, and the community in the seafood sector of a single coastal community in British Columbia, Canada. Drawing on a sample of 42 people from the sector, this study identified a range of values, that group together into five distinct perspectives. These perspectives provide insight into how people value the experience versus the utility of the ocean and the different value they attribute to the outcomes of ocean management versus the process deployed. Values do not group together by seafood sub-sector, although the importance of teaching, stewardship, and conservation and respect for the ocean’s resilience are common to all. On the other hand, the various perspectives most sharply diverge with respect to the role of aquaculture and special rights of access. This work demonstrates how the Q-method can help to identify, capture, and compare social values within a sector. In addition, this method can provide participants with a forum to discuss what is important and can provide a common vocabulary that cuts across existing constituencies. This has the potential to facilitate the consideration of a broad range of social values in ocean management.
Socioeconomic considerations are crucial in the design process of marine protected areas (MPAs). Most systematic planning processes that incorporate socioeconomic aspects mainly concentrate on extractive user interests by integrating spatial data on fisheries thus overlooking other interests such as non-extractive recreational uses of the marine environment such as wildlife observation, diving or kayaking. Additionally, most theory on systematic spatial conservation planning is focused on the design of single zone reserves. The present study, focused in Wales (UK), uses the systematic conservation software Marxan with Zones to quantify the benefits of integrating extractive and non-extractive interests in the planning process of MPAs and assesses whether the impacts on affected users differs between single vs. multiple zones MPAs. Results indicate that MPAs designed with consideration of non-extractive interests reduced the potential economic impacts on this sector by approximately 50% more than MPAs designed without that consideration, without extra cost to the extractive sector. The design of a multiple-zone MPA outperformed that of a single-zone MPA by reducing and generating more equitable impacts for both extractive and non-extractive interests. This study highlights the importance of including the interests of any groups that might be impacted by the designation of an MPA.
MPAs and stakeholder education are marine conservation cornerstones, but data to assess adherence to regulations and the success of educational methods are missing. Local MPAs have been established to protect inter-tidal mudflats and shore users from bait collection which is a contentious worldwide issue. Video cameras monitored activity and confirmed if collectors adhered to the rules at three UK sites with different MPA systems. An educational approach (a voluntary code leaflet) was also assessed through stakeholder discussion and observation. Fareham Creek and Dell Quay supported a considerable number of collectors with none observed at Pagham Harbour. At Fareham Creek bait dug areas were evident in discrete patches in unprotected and protected areas, but observed collectors mainly used the latter. The failure to exclude collectors is due to the lack of enforcement. At Dell Quay virtually all dug areas were outside protected areas and was confirmed by the camera footage. Success is attributed to regular on-the-ground ‘unofficial’ enforcement by the managing NGO. Of the retailers, 75% had heard of the code and the majority stated they followed it. However, none of the 26 collectors observed followed a key rule (e.g. backfilling holes). Local marine conservation is relatively cheap and can be effective, but only if: management matches the actual pressure; scientific evaluation for all components (including education) is integrated from the beginning; adequate site enforcement is included; education methods are active, two-way and sustained.
A prototype for a Responsive Fisheries Management System (RFMS) was developed in the context of the European FP7 project EcoFishMan and tested on the Portuguese crustacean trawl fishery. Building on Results Based Management principles, RFMS involves the definition of specific and measurable objectives for a fishery by the relevant authorities but allows resource users the freedom to find ways to achieve the objectives and to provide adequate documentation. Taking into account the main goals of the new Common Fisheries Policy, such as sustainable utilization of the resources, end of discards and unwanted catches, a management plan for the Portuguese crustacean trawl fishery was developed in cooperation with the fishing industry, following the process and design laid out in the RFMS concept. The plan considers biological, social and economic goals and assigns a responsibility for increased data collection to the resource users. The performance of the plan with regard to selected indicators was evaluated through simulations. In this paper the process towards a RFMS is described and the lessons learnt from the interaction with stakeholders in the development of an alternative management plan are discussed.
Hydrokinetic energy conversion systems are the electromechanical devices that convert kinetic energy of river streams, tidal currents, man-made water channels or waves into electricity without using a special head and impoundment. This new technology became popular especially in the last two decades and needs to be well investigated. In this study, the hydrokinetic energy conversion systems were reviewed broadly. They have been categorized into two main groups as current and wave energy conversion devices. Their technology, working principles, environmental impacts, source potential, advantages, drawbacks and related issues were detailed.
Recognized as one of the most mature renewable energy technologies, wind energy has been developing rapidly in recent years. Many countries have shown interest in utilizing wind power, but they are concerned about the environmental impacts of the wind farms. The continuous growth of the wind energy industry in many parts of the world, especially in some developing countries and ecologically vulnerable regions, necessitates a comprehensive understanding of wind farm induced environmental impacts. The environmental issues caused by wind farms were reviewed in this paper by summarizing existing studies. Available mitigation measures to minimize these adverse environmental impacts were discussed in this document. The intention of this paper is to provide state-of-the-art knowledge about environmental issues associated with wind energy development as well as strategies to mitigate environmental impacts to wind energy planners and developers.
Anthropogenically enhanced delivery of sediments and other land-based sources of pollution represent well-recognized threats to nearshore coral reef communities worldwide. Land cover change is commonly used as a proxy to document human-induced alterations to sediment and pollutant delivery rates to coral reef bearing waters. In this article, land cover change was assessed for a 69-km2 watershed in Puerto Rico between 1936 and 2004 by aerial photograph interpretation. Forests and sugar cane fields predominated from 1936 through the late 1970s, but while cropland dipped to negligible levels by 2004, net forest cover doubled and built-up areas increased tenfold. The watershed-scale land cover changes documented here mimicked those of the entire Puerto Rican landmass. Sediment yield predictions that rely on the sort of land cover changes reported here inevitably result in declining trends, but anecdotal and scientific evidence in the study watershed and throughout Puerto Rico suggests that sediment and pollutant loading rates still remain high and at potentially threatening levels.
The simultaneous reduction in living coral cover that accompanied reforestation and urbanization patterns since the 1970s in our study region is discussed here within the context of the following non-mutually exclusive potential explanations: (a) the inability of land cover change-based assessments to discern spatially-focused, yet highly influential sources of sediment; (b) the potentially secondary role of cropland and forest cover changes in influencing nearshore coral reef conditions relative to other types of stressors like those related to climate change; and (c) the potentially dominant role that urban development may have had in altering marine water quality to the extent of reducing live coral cover. Since identification of the causes for coral reef degradation has proven elusive here and elsewhere, we infer that coral reef management may only be effective when numerous land- and marine-based stressors are simultaneously mitigated.
To assess gaps in the representation of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity among coastal fishes in Mediterranean marine-protected areas (MPAs).
We first assessed gaps in the taxonomic representation of the 340 coastal fish species in Mediterranean MPAs, with representation targets (the species range proportion to be covered by MPAs) set to be inversely proportional to species' range sizes. We then asked whether MPAs favoured representation of phylogenetically and functionally more distinct species or whether there was a tendency to favour less distinctive ones. We finally evaluated the overall conservation effectiveness of the MPAs using a metric that integrates species' phylogenetic and functional relationships and targets achievement. The effectiveness of the MPA system at protecting biodiversity was assessed by comparison of its achievements against a null model obtained by siting current MPAs at random over the study area.
Among the coastal fish species analysed, 16 species were not covered by any MPA. All the remaining species only partially achieved the pre-defined representation target. The current MPA system missed fewer species than expected from siting MPAs at random. However, c. 70% of the species did not achieve better protection in the current MPAs than expected from siting MPAs at random. Functional and evolutionary distinctiveness were weakly correlated with target achievement. The observed coverage of taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity was not different or lower than expected from siting MPAs at random.
The Mediterranean MPA system falls short in meeting conservation targets for coastal fish taxonomic diversity, phylogenetic diversity and functional diversity. Mediterranean MPAs do not encompass more biodiversity than expected by chance. This study reveals multiple ongoing challenges and calls for regional collaboration for the extension of the Mediterranean system of MPAs to meet international commitments and reduce the ongoing loss of marine biodiversity.
Environmental governance is increasingly turning away from classic top-down hierarchical governance regimes and experimenting with more collaborative forms of governance, e.g., analytic-deliberative participation of resource users. In this paper, we examine the role of the Polish Baltic Sea Fisheries Roundtable as a multi-stakeholder platform in Polish Baltic Sea fisheries governance. The fisheries sector within a country rapidly transitioning from a centrally planned system to (pseudo) market conditions provides an illustrative case in a very difficult context. Employing an action- and learning-based approach, we participated in the initiation and institutionalisation of a process of levelling the playing field and building trust within the fisheries sector in Poland. Using Adler and Birkhoff's collaborative process model for action planning and implementation, we evaluate the approach and outcomes of this project and discuss the results in relation to the existing literature.