Fisheries are constrained by ecosystem productivity and management effectiveness. Climate change is already producing impacts on marine ecosystems through overall changes in habitats, productivity and increased variability of environmental conditions. The way how these will affect fisheries is under debate and, also there is uncertainty on the best course of action to mitigate climate change impacts on fisheries. Harvest control rules are sets of pre-agreed rules that can be used to determine catch limits periodically and describe how harvest is automatically controlled by management in relation to the state of some indicator of stock status. In 2017, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas adopted a harvest control rule for North Atlantic albacore. This harvest control rule was evaluated using Management Strategy Evaluation against the main sources of uncertainty inherent to this fishery. Here, we used the same framework to evaluate the robustness of the adopted rule against two types of potential climate change impacts on North Atlantic albacore dynamics. First, we evaluated how the control rule would perform in the event of overall changes in productivity in the North Atlantic and second, against increases in climate driven recruitment variability. Overall, our results suggest that the adopted harvest control rule is robust to these climate driven impacts and also suggests bounds at which the current management framework would be vulnerable to climate change. Throughout the manuscript we also discuss the potential of harvest control rules and harvest strategies to adapt fisheries management to a changing environment. Our main conclusion is that despite the many uncertainties on climate impacts on fisheries, efficient fisheries management and HCRs will be critical to ensure the sustainability of fisheries in the future.
- A holistic approach to stakeholder participation is emerging where youth are increasingly being recognized as core stakeholders in community‐based conservation efforts.
- A growing number of youth‐focused marine conservation initiatives and representation at international marine conservation conventions demonstrate that youth are taking an active role in marine conservation worldwide.
- This paper surveys current best practices in youth engagement in marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada, across 10 different engagement strategies. These are: facilitate learning through experiential education; include studies of MPAs in academic and community programmes; utilize multimedia opportunities, including social media, film, website, and apps; provide meaningful volunteer opportunities; deliver professional development sessions for youth initiative building; create youth councils to assist organizations in an advisory role; hire youth for employment in internships, co‐ops and junior positions within organizations; showcase young people as Youth Ambassadors of MPAs; share opportunities through effective outreach and promotion; and, integrate under‐represented perspectives in MPAs.
- Recommendations are drawn from the case studies within each engagement strategy. Collectively, they offer insight into the variety of ways the international community can support, highlight and advance youth participation in MPAs.
- The Government of Canada has committed to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, which includes the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
- Aichi Target 11 indicates that countries are to conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, by 2020.
- In 2015 Canada affirmed its commitment to the 10% target, and also committed to an interim target to protect 5% of coastal and marine areas by the end of 2017. The interim target was met in October 2017 through a combination of federal and provincial marine protected areas (MPAs) and fisheries area closures that qualify as other effective area‐based conservation measures (OECMs), which are referred to domestically as marine refuges.
- In 2016 the Government of Canada set out a five‐point plan for achieving its marine conservation targets, which includes finishing what was started, protecting large offshore areas, protecting areas under pressure, advancing OECMs and establishing MPAs faster.
- Key challenges that the Government of Canada faces in meeting its 2020 marine conservation target include balancing socio‐economic impacts with the need to conserve biodiversity and sustain ecosystem health and ensuring meaningful engagement with partners and stakeholders in a short period of time.
- Once Canada has met its 2020 marine conservation target it will continue to advance ongoing marine conservation initiatives, most notably the development of a national conservation network, and seek to ensure effective long‐term conservation through the management, monitoring and enforcement of established MPAs and OECMs.
- Marine protected areas face numerous conflicts associated with the implementation of conservation measures. These conflicts generate costs, prevent progress, make cooperation between stakeholders difficult and create risks of ineffectiveness.
- Although they are often concealed or circumvented, they also offer opportunities for new connections and collective innovation. Rather than leaving them to these kinds of avoidance strategies, conflicts were the subject of a Knowledge Café event at the Fourth International Marine Protected Area Congress to compare the perspectives of managers, decision‐makers and scientists on dealing with conflict.
- This contribution presents the conceptual framework for discussions during and after the Fourth International Marine Protected Area Congress and the operational and research avenues they open up.
- Cross‐referencing the results of this collective approach and research contributions makes it possible to characterize the diversity and complexity of conflicts in marine protected areas and the driving forces behind them and analyse resolution strategies. Instead of avoidance strategies, the causes and consequences of the idea of understanding and valuing conflicts is explored, along with operational approaches to achieving this.
- The expansion of surfing as a multibillion‐dollar industry and sport has, on the one hand, increased awareness about threats posed to marine and coastal environments, but has also brought growing acknowledgement of the environmental, cultural and economic value that surfing provides. This has been accompanied by a growing movement of surfers and related stakeholders (e.g. communities and manufacturers that rely on the surf tourism and industry for income) that seek to protect surf breaks. This paper argues that certain emblematic surf breaks should be protected not only for their value to surfers, but also for the ecosystem services they provide and other benefits for marine conservation.
- Through a series of case studies from Peru, Chile and the USA, the paper discusses how, in areas where there is significant biodiversity or iconic seascapes, surf breaks can be integrated with marine conservation. Suggestions are given regarding the International Union for Conservation of Nature categories of protected areas that are most appropriate for such cases.
- The paper also explores how, in certain cases, several existing surf‐break protection mechanisms could qualify as other effective area‐based conservation measures, including Chile's proposed TURF–surf model, the international World Surfing Reserves, and Peru's Ley de Rompientes. In this way, certain surf‐break protection mechanisms could help contribute to countries' progress towards achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Target 11.
- Overall benefits of marine conservation groups and surfers joining forces are discussed, including how this can help reduce negative impacts of the sport on natural ecosystems.
- Ancient Hawaiians developed sophisticated natural resource management systems that included various forms of spatial management.
- The state of Hawaiʻi established its first legislated marine protected area (MPA) in 1953, and today there exists a patchwork of spatial marine management strategies along a range of sizes, with varying levels of governance, enforcement, and effectiveness.
- Approximately 12% of waters within the 50 m depth contour and 5% of waters within state jurisdiction (≤3 nmi) have some form of marine management. No‐take areas make up <0.5% of nearshore waters, and combined with highly protected areas account for 3.4% of this habitat. Most of the existing MPAs are small, with a median area of 1.2 km2 (confidence interval 0.2–8.1).
- Twenty‐five datasets, representing 1,031 individual surveys conducted throughout Hawaiʻi since 2000, were used to compare fish assemblage characteristics amongst a subset of MPAs using a regulation‐based protection classification scheme.
- Fully and highly protected areas had significantly greater resource fish biomass than areas with intermediate or low protection did. High human population density adjacent to MPAs had a negative influence on fish trophic structure within MPAs, whereas remote MPAs harboured higher fish biomass. Complex and heterogeneous habitats were important contributors to MPA effectiveness.
- Long‐term monitoring of select MPAs showed mixed and complex trajectories. Resource fish biomass increased after the establishment of the Hanauma Bay Marine Life Conservation District in 1967 but plateaued after ~15 years, followed by changes in assemblage structure from fish feeding and invasive species. The Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District, established in 1983, was expanded sevenfold in 2003 and showed dramatic increases in resource fish biomass following increased protection.
- This information is critical to improving effectiveness of existing MPAs, helping inform ongoing efforts to implement a network of MPAs statewide, and aiding in the development of comprehensive statewide marine spatial planning.
China is the world's largest capture fisheries and aquaculture producer. Over recent decades, China's domestic marine catch composition has changed markedly, from large volumes of a few high‐valued food species to multiple, small, low‐valued, species, a significant proportion of which is primarily used as animal, especially fish, feed. Despite the growing volume and economic importance of the feed catches, their species composition, catch volumes and socio‐environmental impacts are all poorly understood. Based on a nationwide survey of >800 fishing vessels, and the identification and measurement of >12,000 fish and invertebrate individuals, the present study provides an overview of the feed component of China's domestic marine catch, by volumes, species and sizes, and found it to be substantial and biologically unsustainable. Half of the trawler catch (3 million metric tons, mmt), or 35% of the total catch (4.6 mmt) in China's exclusive economic zone, are now comprised of low‐valued “feed‐grade fish”. The present study identified 218 fish species, 50 crustaceans and five cephalopods, and of these, 102 fish species were food species with 89% individuals in their juvenile size ranges. Feed‐grade fish were mainly used as aquaculture feed directly, or indirectly, through the feed industry after reduction to fishmeal and fish oil. The unparalleled scale and poor fisheries resource condition of China's domestic marine fisheries, in parallel with severe overfishing of juveniles, creates a demand for fundamental changes to fishery management practices, including a significant reduction of fishing effort to ensure productivity and ecosystem resilience.
Recent decades have revealed profound changes in population leisure paradigms, strengthening social representations attributed to the enjoyment of natural spaces and leading to the growth of informed, demanding, and conscious visitors. Responsible nature tourism assumes a continuous growth in tourism destinations and their marketing strategies. Without the attractiveness of the hot-water islands, the Azores follow a development model towards differentiation factors based on the quality and notoriety of the destination privileging, among others, specialized markets anchored in this territory's main resources and potentialities. The current expression of whale watching in these islands, assumed as one of the main representations of nautical tourism in the region, seems to raise important questions about the real impacts of its practice. This chapter proposes to synthesize this segment as a case study, presenting a successful and recurrent sustainable product and several valorisation strategies to promote its responsible development.
Strategic science communicators need to select tactics that can help them achieve both their short-term communication objectives and long-term behavioral goals. However, little previous research has sought to develop theory aimed at understanding what makes it more likely that a communicator will prioritize specific communication tactics. The current study aims to advance the development of a theory of strategic science communication as planned behavior based on the Integrated Behavioral Model. It does so in the context of exploring Canadian scientists’ self-reported willingness to prioritize six different tactics as a function of attitudinal, normative, and efficacy beliefs. The results suggest that scientists’ beliefs about ethicality, norms, response efficacy, and self-efficacy, are all meaningful predictors of willingness to prioritize specific tactics. Differences between scientists in terms of demographics and related variables provide only limited benefit in predicting such willingness.
The prevalence of social media platforms that share photos and videos could prove useful for wildlife research and conservation programs. When social media users post pictures and videos of animals, near real-time data like individual identification, sex, location, or other information are made accessible to scientists. These data can help inform researchers about animal occurrence, behavior, or threats to survival. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi) population has only 1,400 seals remaining in the wild. A small but growing population of seals has recently reestablished itself in the human-populated main Hawaiian Islands. While this population growth raises concerns about human-seal interactions it also provides the opportunity to capitalize on human observations to enhance research and conservation activities. We measured the potential utility of non-traditional data sources, in this case Instagram, to supplement current population monitoring of monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands. We tracked all Instagram posts with the identifier #monkseal for a one-year period and assessed the photos for biological and geographical information, behavioral concerns, human disturbance and public perceptions. Social media posts were less likely to provide images suitable for individual seal identification (16.5%) than traditional sighting reports (79.9%). However, social media enhanced the ability to detect human-seal interactions or animal disturbances: 22.1%, of the 2,392 Instagram posts examined showed people within 3 meters of a seal, and 17.8% indicated a disturbance to the animal, meanwhile only 0.64% of traditional reports noted a disturbance to the animal. This project demonstrated that data obtained through social media posts have value to monk seal research and management strategies beyond traditional data collection, and further development of social media platforms as data resources is warranted. Many conservation programs may benefit from similar work using social media to supplement the research and conservation activities they are undertaking.
Mass extinction at the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary coincides with the Chicxulub bolide impact and also falls within the broader time frame of Deccan trap emplacement. Critically, though, empirical evidence as to how either of these factors could have driven observed extinction patterns and carbon cycle perturbations is still lacking. Here, using boron isotopes in foraminifera, we document a geologically rapid surface-ocean pH drop following the Chicxulub impact, supporting impact-induced ocean acidification as a mechanism for ecological collapse in the marine realm. Subsequently, surface water pH rebounded sharply with the extinction of marine calcifiers and the associated imbalance in the global carbon cycle. Our reconstructed water-column pH gradients, combined with Earth system modeling, indicate that a partial ∼50% reduction in global marine primary productivity is sufficient to explain observed marine carbon isotope patterns at the K-Pg, due to the underlying action of the solubility pump. While primary productivity recovered within a few tens of thousands of years, inefficiency in carbon export to the deep sea lasted much longer. This phased recovery scenario reconciles competing hypotheses previously put forward to explain the K-Pg carbon isotope records, and explains both spatially variable patterns of change in marine productivity across the event and a lack of extinction at the deep sea floor. In sum, we provide insights into the drivers of the last mass extinction, the recovery of marine carbon cycling in a postextinction world, and the way in which marine life imprints its isotopic signal onto the geological record.
How real-world marine food webs absorb change, recover and adapt (that is, ecological resilience) to climate change remains problematic. Here we apply a novel approach to show how the complex changes in resilience of food webs can be understood with a small core set of self-organizing configurations that represent different simultaneously nested and multiple-species interactions. We identified a recent emergent pattern of an improving but possibly short-lived resilience of a highly observed Arctic marine food web (2004–2016), considered a harbinger of future Arctic change. The changes can be explained by continuing subsidiary inputs of Atlantic species that repair (self-organize) interactions within some configurations. Despite significant environmental perturbation, we found that the core ecological processes are maintained. We conclude that Arctic marine food webs can absorb and begin to adapt to ongoing climate change.
Separating microplastics from marine and freshwater sediments is challenging, but necessary to determine their distribution, mass, and ecological impacts in benthic environments. Density separation is commonly used to extract microplastics from sediments by using heavy salt solutions, such as zinc chloride and sodium iodide. However, current devices/apparatus used for density separation, including glass beakers, funnels, upside-down funnel-shaped separators with a shut-off valve, etc., possess various shortcomings in terms of recovery rate, time consumption, and/or usability. In evaluating existing microplastic extraction methods using density separation, we identified the need for a device that allows rapid, simple, and efficient extraction of microplastics from a range of sediment types. We have developed a small glass separator, without a valve, taking a hint from an Utermöhl chamber. This new device is easy to clean and portable, yet enables rapid separation of microplastics from sediments. With this simple device, we recovered 94–98% of <1,000 µm microplastics (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polystyrene). Overall, the device is efficient for various sizes, polymer types, and sediment types. Also, microplastics collected with this glass-made device remain chemically uncontaminated, and can, therefore, be used for further analysis of adsorbing contaminants and additives on/to microplastics.
The loss of biodiversity, including the collapse of fish stocks, affects the vulnerability of social-ecological systems (SESs) and threatens local livelihoods. Incorporating community-centered indicators and SES drivers and exposures of change into coastal management can help anticipate and mitigate human and/or coastal vulnerability. We have proposed a new index to measure the social-ecological vulnerability of coastal fishing communities (Index of Coastal Vulnerability [ICV]) based on species, ecosystem, and social indicators. The ICV varies from 0 (no vulnerability) to 1 (very high vulnerability) and is composed of 3 components: species vulnerability, i.e., fish biological traits; ecosystem vulnerability, i.e., environmental indicators of ecosystem health; and adaptive capacity, i.e., human ability to cope with changes. We tested the ICV of Brazil’s 17 coastal states. The average ICV for the Brazilian coast was 0.77, and variation was low among states. More than half of the coastal states revealed very high vulnerability (> 0.8). The ecosystem vulnerability values were worse than the adaptive capacity and species vulnerability values, and the North and Northeast regions were revealed to be vulnerable hot spots. Additionally, we investigated how the ICV related to specific anthropogenic risks, i.e., fish landing richness, fishery instability, market, coastal extension, and coastal population, and found that states with fewer species landings and higher coastal populations presented higher ICVs. At a time when human impacts are overtaking natural processes, understanding how these impacts lead to coastal vulnerability can help improve conservation policies. For this case study, we suggest both fisheries management measures and restoration of sensitive habitats to protect species and decrease vulnerability. The integrated evaluation developed here could be used as a baseline for coastal monitoring and conservation planning and be applied to coastal regions in which governments evaluate both social and biological aspects.
Marine litter is widely dispersed throughout coastal environments. Assessing the distribution and accumulation of such contaminants is crucial to understand their environmental impacts. This study presents a baseline for the monitoring of litter and microplastics in intertidal sediments along the Atlantic shores of southern Portugal and Morocco and identifies potential sources of contamination. Although variable, distribution and composition of both litter and microplastics did not follow a latitudinal pattern. Most of the litter had an undifferentiated source. Within the identifiable sources of litter, food packaging, fishing and tobacco were the most abundant, with variable contributions among sites. Over 97% of marine litter retrieved was plastic. Fragments and filaments were the most abundant categories of plastics at sites with the highest and lowest microplastic abundance respectively. Filaments were mainly made of Polypropylene (PP,50%) and Polyethylene terephthalate (PET,29%) while the predominant polymers for fragments were Polyethene (PE, 75%) and PP (25%).
In this work, samples were collected from the Argentinean continental shelf –including a Marine Protected Area (MPA) - to assess the occurrence and distribution of synthetic microfibers (MFs), a widespread type of microplastic. MFs were present at 100% of the samples showing an average concentration of 182.85 ± 115.14 particles per Kg of dry sediment and 0.14 ± 0.08 items per m3 of marine water. MFs less than 1 mm were the most abundant (56.4% and 63%, for sediment and surface seawater respectively), followed by 1–2 mm and then 2–3 mm. In regards to the colour, both sediments and water had the major percentage of black MFs (25.6% and 28%, respectively) and the lowest one of green MFs (2.5% and 3%, respectively). Finally, MFs content in sediments was inversely correlated with depth (r = -0.93, p < 0.05). These findings provide the first evidence of microplastic contamination at the Argentinean continental shelf.
Human activities lead to several impacts on marine ecosystems, among which a massive input of plastic entering the marine environment. This scenario has the potential to threaten ecosystem health and integrity, also reducing the ability of marine ecosystems to provide good and services on which human well-being relies. In this study, the global scientific literature on marine microplastics was explored by combining social network analysis and bibliometrics. Network maps displayed the relationships among keywords, authors, countries, and journals dealing with the issue of microplastics in marine ecosystems. The citation analysis of journals showed that “Marine Pollution Bulletin” resulted the first among the scientific journals publishing articles on this subject. The results also highlighted that most research on the subject is focused on toxicology and environmental chemistry, while ecological studies focusing on the impact of microplastics at ecosystem level are still limited.
On the Colombian continental shelf, 12 km SW of the municipality of Galerazamba, Department of Bolívar, is the northern-most island of the Colombian Caribbean: Isla Arena. Despite being remote and uninhabited, this island is being affected by one of the most persistent problems in the marine environment: Marine Anthropogenic Litter (MAL). In this first Colombian insular MAL study, a total of 1436 MAL items were collected along Isla Arena, equivalent to an average abundance of 2.87 items/m2. MAL items belong to 54 categories that are grouped in nine material typologies. These typologies include plastic (36 categories), metal (6), glass (3), medical waste (3), machined wood (2), pottery (1), sanitary waste (1), rubber (1) and cloth (1). Isla Arena now is considered as an “Extremely dirty” site in terms of the Clean Coast Index. Hazardous litter items (sharp and toxic) occur in percentages as high as 10.2% (146 items, Avg: 0.29 items/m2). Along the island, current MAL amounts are so elevated that simple clean-up operations are an insufficient solution, and restoration measures are needed. MAL mainly comes from land-based sources, primarily generated by activities in the adjacent mainland river basins and coastal urban developments, particularly in the area of beaches. Marine anthropogenic litter found on Isla Arena reflects a strong influence from longshore-current transport. Management solutions need to begin at the same litter sources, and must include analytics, policy reforms and enforcement, and private and public investments.
To safeguard biodiversity effectively, marine protected areas (MPAs) should be sited using the best available science. There are numerous ongoing United Nations and non-governmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. The criteria used by these initiatives vary, resulting in contradictions in the areas identified as important. Our analysis is the first to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus, and conduct gap analyses at the global scale. We found that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identified by as many as seven overlapping initiatives. Using our overlay map and data on current MPA coverage, we highlight gaps in protection of important areas of the ocean. We considered any area identified by two to four initiatives to be of moderate consensus. Over 14% of the ocean fell under this category and most of this area (88%) is not yet protected. The largest concentrations of medium-consensus areas without protection were found in the Caribbean Sea, Madagascar and the southern tip of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle. Areas of high consensus (identified by five to seven initiatives) were almost always within MPAs, but their no-take status was often unreported. We found that nearly every marine province and nearly every exclusive economic zone contained area that has been identified as important but is not yet protected. Much of the identified area lies within contiguous stretches of >100,000 km2; it is unrealistic to expect that all this area be protected. Nonetheless, our results on areas of consensus provide initial insight into opportunities for further ocean protection.
Bleaching and disease are decimating coral reefs especially when warming promotes bleaching pathogens, such as Vibrio coralliilyticus. We demonstrate that sterilized washes from three common corals suppress V. coralliilyticus but that this defense is compromised when assays are run at higher temperatures. For a coral within the ecologically critical genus Acropora, inhibition was 75 to 154% greater among colonies from coral-dominated marine protected areas versus adjacent fished areas that were macroalgae-dominated. Acropora microbiomes were more variable within fished areas, suggesting that reef degradation may also perturb coral microbial communities. Defenses of a robust poritid coral and a weedy pocilloporid coral were not affected by reef degradation, and microbiomes were unaltered for these species. For some ecologically critical, but bleaching-susceptible, corals such as Acropora, local management to improve reef state may bolster coral resistance to global change, such as bacteria-induced coral bleaching during warming events.