The underwater environment is more and more being depicted as particularly noisy, and the inventory of calling fishes is continuously increasing. However, it currently remains unknown how species share the soundscape and are able to communicate without misinterpreting the messages. Different mechanisms of interference avoidance have been documented in birds, mammals, and frogs, but little is known about interference avoidance in fishes. How fish thus partition the soundscape underwater remains unknown, as acoustic communication and its organization have never been studied at the level of fish communities. In this study, passive acoustic recordings were used to inventory sounds produced in a fish community (120 m depth) in an attempt to understand how different species partition the acoustic environment. We uncovered an important diversity of fish sounds, and 16 of the 37 different sounds recorded were sufficiently abundant to use in a quantitative analysis. We show that sonic activity allows a clear distinction between a diurnal and a nocturnal group of fishes. Moreover, frequencies of signals made during the day overlap, whereas there is a clear distinction between the different representatives of the nocturnal callers because of a lack of overlap in sound frequency. This first demonstration, to our knowledge, of interference avoidance in a fish community can be understood by the way sounds are used. In diurnal species, sounds are mostly used to support visual display, whereas nocturnal species are generally deprived of visual cues, resulting in acoustic constraints being more important.
Forage fish support the largest fisheries in the world but also play key roles in marine food webs by transferring energy from plankton to upper trophic-level predators, such as large fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Fishing can, thereby, have far reaching consequences on marine food webs unless safeguards are in place to avoid depleting forage fish to dangerously low levels, where dependent predators are most vulnerable. However, disentangling the contributions of fishing vs. natural processes on population dynamics has been difficult because of the sensitivity of these stocks to environmental conditions. Here, we overcome this difficulty by collating population time series for forage fish populations that account for nearly two-thirds of global catch of forage fish to identify the fingerprint of fisheries on their population dynamics. Forage fish population collapses shared a set of common and unique characteristics: high fishing pressure for several years before collapse, a sharp drop in natural population productivity, and a lagged response to reduce fishing pressure. Lagged response to natural productivity declines can sharply amplify the magnitude of naturally occurring population fluctuations. Finally, we show that the magnitude and frequency of collapses are greater than expected from natural productivity characteristics and therefore, likely attributed to fishing. The durations of collapses, however, were not different from those expected based on natural productivity shifts. A risk-based management scheme that reduces fishing when populations become scarce would protect forage fish and their predators from collapse with little effect on long-term average catches.
The sixteenth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP-16) convened from 6-10 April 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The meeting brought together representatives from governments, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and academic institutions to examine this year’s topic: “oceans and sustainable development: integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely, environmental, social and economic.”
On Monday and Thursday, there was a general exchange of views in plenary. On Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, delegates heard panel presentations and engaged in discussion on the first segment, “the environmental, social and economic dimensions of oceans and progress made in integrating the three dimensions, including an overview of activities and initiatives promoting their integration.” On Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday, delegates engaged with the second segment on: “opportunities for, and challenges to, the enhanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in relation to oceans.”
On Thursday, delegates convened in plenary to discuss: inter-agency cooperation and coordination; process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the General Assembly; and issues that could benefit from attention in the future work of the General Assembly on oceans and the law of the sea. The Co-Chairs, Amb. Don MacKay (New Zealand) and Amb. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru), distributed a Co-Chairs’ summary of discussions on Friday morning. After all the paragraphs of the report had been reviewed, Co-Chair Meza-Cuadra gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:03 pm.
Protected Area Governance and Management presents a compendium of original text, case studies and examples from across the world, by drawing on the literature, and on the knowledge and experience of those involved in protected areas. The book synthesises current knowledge and cutting-edge thinking from the diverse branches of practice and learning relevant to protected area governance and management. It is intended as an investment in the skills and competencies of people and consequently, the effective governance and management of protected areas for which they are responsible, now and into the future.
The global success of the protected area concept lies in its shared vision to protect natural and cultural heritage for the long term, and organisations such as International Union for the Conservation of Nature are a unifying force in this regard. Nonetheless, protected areas are a socio-political phenomenon and the ways that nations understand, govern and manage them is always open to contest and debate. The book aims to enlighten, educate and above all to challenge readers to think deeply about protected areas—their future and their past, as well as their present.
The book has been compiled by 169 authors and deals with all aspects of protected area governance and management. It provides information to support capacity development training of protected area field officers, managers in charge and executive level managers.
This report on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Program was undertaken by Marine Conservation Institute for the pur- pose of enhancing the conservation of one of the world’s most endangered seals. In 2004, our attention was drawn to the continued population decline of the Hawaiian monk seal when we joined conservation organizations in Hawaiʻi to advocate for the establishment of a permanently protected marine reserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the area where the majority of monk seals live. After Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument was created in 2006, we concluded that the monk seal, one of the monument’s iconic species, needed to be a higher conservation priority for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency with legal responsibility for its recovery.
To prepare this report, we interviewed federal and state agency officials throughout the management hierarchy, met with congressional staff and members of the Hawaiʻi legislature, analyzed agency documents and reports, and conducted outreach meetings with fishermen and community leaders on Kauaʻi who are particularly concerned about the monk seal’s impact on their lives. Our interviews were conducted with the understanding that interviewees would remain anonymous to foster free expression and frankness. However, the report’s findings and conclusions are solely those of Marine Conservation Institute.
Increases in international trade and global seafood consumption, along with fluctuations in the supply of different seafood species, have resulted in fraudulent product mislabeling. Grouper species, due to their high demand and varied commercial availability, are common targets for mislabeling by exploiting inefficient inspection practices. Compounding this problem is the fact that there are currently 64 species of fish from eleven different genera allowed to be labeled “grouper” per U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines. This wide diversity makes it difficult for regulators to discern legally salable groupers from restricted species. To obviate taxonomic misidentification when relying on external phenotypic characteristics, regulatory agencies are now employing genetic authentication methods which typically offer species-level resolution. However, standard genetic methods such as DNA barcoding require technical expertise and long turnover times, and the required instrumentation is not amenable for on-site analysis of seafood. To obviate some of these limitations, we have developed a handheld genetic sensor that employs a real-time nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay (RT-NASBA) previously devised in our lab, for the analysis of fish tissue in the field. The base RT-NASBA assay was validated using a lab-based, benchtop RNA purification method as well as non-portable, commercial RT-NASBA analyzer. Described herein, is an uncomplicated method for purifying RNA from fish tissue in the field, which had similar efficiency to the benchtop method demonstrated through direct comparisons. We have also demonstrated that the field sensor is only slightly less sensitive than the benchtop instrument, and could discern 80.3% of groupers (no target sequence available for three species) on the 2014 FDA Seafood List from potential impostors. The complete field assay requires fewer than 80 min for completion and can be performed outside of the lab in its entirety.
Climate change is negatively affecting the stability of natural ecosystems, especially coral reefs. The dissociation of the symbiosis between reef-building corals and their algal symbiont, or coral bleaching, has been linked to increased sea surface temperatures. Coral bleaching has significant impacts on corals, including an increase in disease outbreaks that can permanently change the entire reef ecosystem. Yet, little is known about the impacts of coral bleaching on the coral immune system. In this study, whole transcriptome analysis of the coral holobiont and each of the associate components (i.e. coral host, algal symbiont and other associated microorganisms) was used to determine changes in gene expression in corals affected by a natural bleaching event as well as during the recovery phase. The main findings include evidence that the coral holobiont and the coral host have different responses to bleaching, and the host immune system appears suppressed even a year after a bleaching event. These results support the hypothesis that coral bleaching changes the expression of innate immune genes of corals, and these effects can last even after recovery of symbiont populations. Research on the role of immunity on coral's resistance to stressors can help make informed predictions on the future of corals and coral reefs.
Continuing degradation of coral reef ecosystems has generated substantial interest in how management can support reef resilience1, 2. Fishing is the primary source of diminished reef function globally3, 4, 5, leading to widespread calls for additional marine reserves to recover fish biomass and restore key ecosystem functions6. Yet there are no established baselines for determining when these conservation objectives have been met or whether alternative management strategies provide similar ecosystem benefits. Here we establish empirical conservation benchmarks and fish biomass recovery timelines against which coral reefs can be assessed and managed by studying the recovery potential of more than 800 coral reefs along an exploitation gradient. We show that resident reef fish biomass in the absence of fishing (B0) averages ~1,000 kg ha−1, and that the vast majority (83%) of fished reefs are missing more than half their expected biomass, with severe consequences for key ecosystem functions such as predation. Given protection from fishing, reef fish biomass has the potential to recover within 35 years on average and less than 60 years when heavily depleted. Notably, alternative fisheries restrictions are largely (64%) successful at maintaining biomass above 50% of B0, sustaining key functions such as herbivory. Our results demonstrate that crucial ecosystem functions can be maintained through a range of fisheries restrictions, allowing coral reef managers to develop recovery plans that meet conservation and livelihood objectives in areas where marine reserves are not socially or politically feasible solutions.
Good governance of consumptive wildlife tourism, a complex socio-ecological system, requires finding the right balance between natural resource and tourism management. Fishing takes the lead globally as the most popular product offering within consumptive wildlife tourism, and both Iceland and Norway offer a marine angling tourism product. The two countries offer similar pristine Arctic fjord topography and similar fish species; but the management strategies are very different. Iceland’s management strategy for marine angling tourism prioritizes ecosystem-based management of the fish as a living resource, and requires a full accounting of all statistics related to marine angling tourists’ activities. Norway’s strategy relies on estimates of key statistics such as total seasonal catch, and the regulations put the burden of accountability primarily on the tourists. Using data from a multiple case study analysis of marine angling tourism in Iceland and Norway, the differences in governance inter-dynamics are examined using a theoretical model developed to analyse a complex socio-ecological system as an institution. This paper analyses how the differing management strategies influence institutional function, conflict creation and mitigation. Special focus is placed on the impacts of non-compliance by the tourists. This study demonstrates how such a model can serve as a tool to perform an analysis of a socio-ecological system in order to better understand institutional inter-dynamics, thereby assisting in the creation of a more effective governance strategy.
This technical paper provides an inventory of, and describes trends in, legal, administrative and management frameworks in place for managing marine capture fisheries in the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) area. This review includes 16 countries and overseas territories and is part of an ongoing process initiated by FAO to report on the state of world marine capture fisheries management. The review identifies a number of challenges in fisheries management, including: inadequate legislation; ad hoc management processes and plans; uncoordinated monitoring and enforcement; non-management-driven scientific information; insufficient stakeholder identification and participation, conflict resolution and fishing capacity measurements; limited incorporation of issues pertaining to the operation of multispecies fisheries and use of the ecosystem approach; unequal application of management tools and measures across fisheries subsectors; and rising fisheries management costs coupled with stagnant budgets for governments. Actions are listed to address the challenges, and specific recommendations are made to address legislative issues, apply participatory approaches and implement a successful fisheries management process.
The fifteenth session of WECAFC (March 2014) endorsed the review outcomes and adopted recommendation WECAFC/15/2014/4 “on strengthening fisheries management planning in the WECAFC area”. This technical paper aims to inform fishery policy decision-makers, fishery managers and other stakeholders with interest in fisheries in the Wider Caribbean Region.
The Tupinambás Ecological Station (TES) is a Marine Protected Area consisting of two sectors: the Archipelago of Alcatrazes and the Cabras and Palmas islets. This investigation aimed to provide a first diagnosis of the concentrations of metals (Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Ni, Pb, Zn), As and P in sediments from the TES. 24 sediment samples were collected in both sectors using a Van Veen grab sampler. Sediment textures and levels of Organic Matter (OM) and CaCO3 were determined, as well as the concentrations of the above-mentioned elements after partial acid digestion. Sediments were predominantly sandy. Higher levels of CaCO3 occurred in the Alcatrazes sector, whereas the OM contents were higher in the islets sector. Metals concentrations were low and associated with fines, while P and As presented a different behavior. The observed concentrations to all studies elements in sediments from the TES were considered as background values.
Northern Sri Lanka has gone through a long period of civil war that has had significant impacts on the fishing economy. This paper presents ethnographic material from a longitudinal (1977-2013) study on fisheries regulation from a village in the Jaffna region. Starting from the observation that fisher law, which is based on old perceptions of territorial use rights, has survived the war, it investigates the manner in which the fisheries cooperative of Kadalur has reacted to three challenges occurring at various scale levels: (1) the incursion of a fleet of Indian trawlers into inshore waters, (2) the arrival of diving companies from southern Sri Lanka, and (3) the initiation of squid-jigging by local fishers. The cooperative responds differently to each of these challenges, seeking alliances with, but sometimes engaging in strong opposition to, military and civil authorities. The paper concludes that fisheries governance in northern Sri Lanka is murky and infected by various degrees of power struggle. A conspicuous feature, however, is that fisher organizations enjoy (varying extents of) space to articulate and implement their own perception of fishing rights.
Humanity’s relationship with fish dates back to prehistory, when ancestral hominins evolved the capacity to exploit aquatic resources. The impacts of early fishing on aquatic ecosystems were likely minimal, as primitive technology was used to harvest fish primarily for food. As fishing technology became more sophisticated and human populations dispersed and expanded, local economies transitioned from hunter-gatherer subsistence to barter and complex trade. This set up a positive feedback ratcheting fishing technology, mercantilization, and the commoditization of fish. A historical narrative based on archaeology and documentary evidence follows the principal changes in fisheries through evolutionary, ancient, classical and medieval eras to modern times. Some local depletions are recorded from early fishing, but from the 1950s, massive impacts of serial depletions by size, species, area and depth are driven by commoditized fishery products. North Sea herring fisheries are described in detail. Today’s severely depleted wild fish populations reflect social institutions built on global markets that value fish predominantly as a consumptive commodity, risking future ecological integrity and human food security. To sustain global fisheries, decommoditization strategies that sustain human and ecosystem relationships with fish beyond their commodity value are needed.
The decline of the Great Barrier Reef can be reversed by improvements to governance and management: current policies that promote fossil fuels and economic development of the Reef region need to be reformed to prioritize long-term protection from climate change and other stressors.
In this essay, I review six decades of my career in marine science and fisheries, considering the ideas that came and went in the period as “food for thought”. I describe my inspirations and successes, and my disappointments and failures. My activities were both administrative and research-oriented. As regards the former, I was part of major changes in ocean policy and new ocean research programmes that gave me a unique perspective. For example, I was responsible for the implementation of the US extended jurisdiction in fisheries under National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Also I conceived and led the creation of the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Programme (GLOBEC) and guided it in many international contexts, including its integration with the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP). From a research standpoint, my efforts leading up to GLOBEC strongly influenced the introduction of ocean physics into biological oceanography. This led me into plankton dynamics, food signals, small-scale turbulence and physical forcing, even into the stochastic geometry of the plankton. My life-long interest in the dynamics of marine fish populations was strongly influenced by the seminal thinkers in fisheries and my research explored population regulation processes as well as practical applications of statistics and operations research to fisheries management. In my last academic post, I became founding Dean of the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts. This position required integrating administrative and research (both pure and applied) perspectives to create an institution of academic excellence which was at the same time actively responsive to issues arising in our local, nationally prominent fisheries. I end the essay with a consideration of “what has changed”.
In 1999, the California Legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), which directed the state to establish a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) along California’s coastline. As part of this legislation, monitoring of MPAs is required to evaluate whether they are achieving the goals set out by the MLPA and to support adaptive management in the future. The South Coast Lobster Research Group (SCLRG) was formed in 2011 in response to interest in how MPAs may affect the abundance, size, and behavior of the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus). The California spiny lobster is one of the State’s most economically important organisms that supports large commercial and recreational fisheries, has non- consumptive value for recreational divers, and plays an important role in the ecology and stability of coastal ecosystems. The SCLRG is a partnership between scientists, managers, stakeholders, and volunteers, and encompasses personnel from a diverse set of institutions: the San Diego Oceans Foundation (SDOF), San Diego State University (SDSU), Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the California Lobster Trap Fishermen’s Association (CLTFA). Our team initiated lobster monitoring in five South Coast MPAs and addressed the following goals:
Form a collegial group of researchers and volunteers representing different perspectives and walks-of-life to successfully evaluate the status of lobsters in and around South Coast MPAs;
Estimate spiny lobster abundance, size-frequency distribution, growth, spillover, and mortality through the implementation of a tag-recapture program;
Establish baseline estimates of lobster density and behavior through SCUBA-based surveys;
Map benthic substrata to link lobster abundance to benthic habitat composition and distribution across a range of spatial scales; and,
Determine whether MPAs cause short-term changes in lobster CPUE, and the amount and distribution of lobster fishing effort.
Establishing marine-protected areas (MPA) is important for maintaining biodiversity and protecting endangered species. MPAs can also effectively inhibit human interference, such as tourism and pollution. MPA implementation is a feasible measure to fulfill the sustainable management goal that is to conserve marine habitats for achieving an integrative ecosystem and higher biodiversity. However, how to design an MPA under these concerns remains an important research issue to be explored. A spatial resource allocation modeling approach has been developed by integrating some earlier study efforts. The integer linear programming technique was used to develop the models, and they account for the spatial attribute of the compactness in terms of boundary length. Two models (the minimal protected area model and the maximal biodiversity conservation model) were formulated to address 2 major MPA design objectives. The models show the reciprocal relationship between MPA compactness and the 2 objectives: area size and the biodiversity value. In particular, the modeling results show that a more compact MPA contains less biodiversity. This tradeoff relationship, which is easily explored using the spatial resource allocation modeling approach, enables an MPA design to allow decision makers to select various non-inferior solutions to meet their decision preferences. This study uses the Kaomei coastal wetland in Taiwan as a case study to demonstrate the proposed modeling approach.
It is widely recognised that anchored, nearshore fish aggregating devices (FADs) are one of the few practical ‘vehicles’ for increasing access to tuna to help feed the rapidly growing rural and urban populations in many Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). However, considerable planning, monitoring and research is still needed to understand and fulfil the potential of nearshore FADs. Investments are required to (1) identify the locations where FADs are likely to make the greatest contributions to the food security of rural (coastal) communities, and yield good catches near urban centres; (2) integrate the use of FADs with other livelihood options available to rural communities and remove any blockages preventing such communities from harnessing the full range of benefits from FADs; (3) assess whether exclusion zones for industrial fishing provide adequate access to tuna for small-scale-fishers; (4) determine if small-scale fishers are able to catch sufficient tuna to meet the protein needs of rural communities; (5) evaluate whether FADs add value to coral reef management initiatives; and (6) improve the design and placement of nearshore FADs. This paper describes these investments and outlines other steps that governments and their development partners need to take to establish and maintain nearshore FADs as part of national infrastructure for food security of PICTs.
Understanding the role of a global seawater desalination plant project using potential ecological indicators is important in assessing ecological risk and/or impact evaluations from observations at a molecular level. A marine health assessment of ecological indicators (e.g., as an early-warning system) can provide information about an area of ecosystem disturbance, the disappearance of symbiosis, organism mortality, instability of fertility and breeding species, the emergence of single species, the bioaccumulation of test bed operation pollutants discharged, and changes in the communities. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of ecosystem health assessments using potential ecological indicators in a seawater desalination test bed. We review some empirical analyses and compare desalination concentrate treatments, the impact of reverse osmosis and multistage flash, chemicals used in the plant, the impact pathway, the brine outfall pipe, an operational assessment, salinity tolerances, and the eco-toxicological effect of brine in a marine ecosystem. Based on literature research results and data illustrating the degraded ecosystem and/or the original ecosystem, stress caused by a desalination project on the marine ecosystem damage can provide information about the marine ecosystem disturbance, the disappearance of symbiosis relationship, which may be as important as sustainable management using living ecological indicators.
Collisions between traffic and wildlife can have population-level consequences and carry economic costs. Vessel-strike may threaten the viability of whale populations especially where habitat overlaps with frequent vessel traffic; as seen in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, which is the entrance to the busy Ports of Auckland and holds a year-round population of endangered Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera edeni). Here, we identify a serious threat: out of 44 Bryde’s whale-deaths, 17 of 20 (85%), with known cause of mortality, sustained injuries consistent with vessel-strike; a mortality rate that is likely to be unsustainable. This information started a social forum with stakeholders engaged in science-based discussion of mitigation measures to reduce lethal vessel-strikes in this region. To determine the viability of different mitigation actions we studied Bryde’s whale behavior with suction-cup attached tags. Tagged whales (n = 7, 62.5 h) spent 91% of their time at depths within the maximum draft of vessels transiting the Gulf, increasing the probability of vessel-strike. Whales are broadly distributed throughout the Gulf so re-routing traffic would not lessen the threat of vessel-strike. Monitoring whales visually is difficult and not applicable at night, when whales rested closer to the surface than during the day. Passive acoustic monitoring is unreliable due to the whales’ low vocal activity and because low frequency calls are susceptible to masking from vessel noise. These findings resulted in a Transit Protocol for Shipping including voluntary speed restrictions and a monitoring plan, highlighting the value of scientific and social stakeholders working together for conservation.