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.
Numerous international bodies have advocated the development of strategies to achieve the sustainability of marine environments. Typically, such strategies are based on information from expert groups about causes of degradation and policy options to address them, but these strategies rarely take into account assessed information about public awareness, concerns, and priorities. Here we report the results of a pan-European survey of public perceptions about marine environmental impacts as a way to inform the formation of science and policy priorities. On the basis of 10,106 responses to an online survey from people in 10 European nations, spanning a diversity of socioeconomic and geographical areas, we examine the public’s informedness and concern regarding marine impacts, trust in different information sources, and priorities for policy and funding. Results show that the level of concern regarding marine impacts is closely associated with the level of informedness and that pollution and overfishing are two areas prioritized by the public for policy development. The level of trust varies greatly among different information sources and is highest for academics and scholarly publications but lower for government or industry scientists. Results suggest that the public perceives the immediacy of marine anthropogenic impacts and is highly concerned about ocean pollution, overfishing, and ocean acidification. Eliciting public awareness, concerns, and priorities can enable scientists and funders to understand how the public relates to marine environments, frame impacts, and align managerial and policy priorities with public demand.
Guidelines for spatial planning, including those from integrated coastal management, systematic conservation planning, and marine spatial planning, have conceived planning processes as iterative and adaptive. Adaptive spatial planning is advocated because it allows decisions to be improved with new data, as knowledge accumulates on management within particular contexts, and to fine-tune spatial management arrangements to fit constantly changing social-ecological systems. Yet, to date there have been very few reviews of the process and practice of adaptive spatial planning in real-world contexts. Here we review the theoretical challenges presented in the literature on adaptive spatial planning against 5 case studies of adaptive planning in the marine realm: Kubulau District, Fiji; Southeast Cebu, Philippines; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; central California, USA; and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Our aim is to assess the extent to which the theoretical challenges have been addressed in practice. We find that none of the case studies analyzed effectively addressed all the challenges of adaptive spatial planning. Differences in legislation, resources, and capacity to undertake adaptive spatial planning mean that each planning process is operated differently in each case study. For example, adaptive spatial planning can occur through a structured and institutionalized approach when resources and government support are available, but it can also operate in a relatively more opportunistic and flexible way if governments are weaker but civil society has strong champions. Although the case studies addressed aspects of adaptive planning, some persistent challenges remain, including scientific gaps regarding triggers for adaptation and unsympathetic institutional and policy contexts and planning cultures. These challenges must be addressed before all the benefits of adaptive spatial planning can be realized.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) requires spatially explicit environmental risk assessment (ERA) frameworks with quantitative or probabilistic measures of risk, enabling an evaluation of spatial management scenarios. ERAs comprise the steps of risk identification, risk analysis, and risk evaluation. A review of ERAs in in the context of spatial management revealed a synonymous use of the concepts of risk, vulnerability and impact, a need to account for uncertainty and a lack of a clear link between risk analysis and risk evaluation. In a case study, we addressed some of the identified gaps and predicted the risk of changing the current state of benthic disturbance by bottom trawling due to future MSP measures in the German EEZ of the North Sea. We used a quantitative, dynamic, and spatially explicit approach where we combined a Bayesian belief network with GIS to showcase the steps of risk characterization, risk analysis, and risk evaluation. We distinguished 10 benthic communities and 6 international fishing fleets. The risk analysis produced spatially explicit estimates of benthic disturbance, which was computed as a ratio between relative local mortality by benthic trawling and the recovery potential after a trawl event. Results showed great differences in spatial patterns of benthic disturbance when accounting for different environmental impacts of the respective fleets. To illustrate a risk evaluation process, we simulated a spatial shift of the international effort of two beam trawl fleets, which are affected the most by future offshore wind development. The Bayesian belief network (BN) model was able to predict the proportion of the area where benthic disturbance likely increases. In conclusion, MSP processes should embed ERA frameworks which allow for the integration of multiple risk assessments and the quantification of related risks as well as uncertainties at a common spatial scale.
The biofuels community has shown considerable interest in the possibility that microalgae could contribute significantly to providing a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Microalgae species with high growth rates and high yields of oil that can be grown on domestic wastewater using nonarable land could produce biofuel without competing with agriculture. It is difficult to envision where the cultivation facilities would be located to produce the quantity of algae needed for fuels, given that these facilities must be close to wastewater treatment plants to save energy.
Researchers investigated a possible solution called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae for coastal cities. This system involved growing fast-growing, oil-producing freshwater algae in flexible, inexpensive clear plastic photobioreactors attached to floating docks anchored offshore in naturally or artificially protected bays. Wastewater and carbon dioxide from coastal facilities provided water, nutrients, and carbon. The surrounding seawater controlled the temperature inside the photobioreactors and killed any algae that might escape. The salt gradient between seawater and wastewater created forward osmosis to concentrate nutrients and to facilitate algae harvesting. Both the algae and forward osmosis cleaned the wastewater, removing nutrients as well as pharmaceuticals and personal care products, so-called compounds of emerging concern.
This report provided the results of two years of research into the feasibility of the Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae system in which prototype systems were studied, built, and tested in seawater tanks. A 110-liter floating system was developed and scaled up to 1,600 liters. Algae’s ability to grow on and treat wastewater was described. The impact of biofouling on photobioreactors and forward osmosis membranes floating in the marine environment was considered. Life-cycle and technoeconomic analyses provided a perspective on what must be done to make this system commercially viable. Outreach efforts have carried the concept worldwide. sions from conversion for development.
Cultural ecosystem services are generally understood to be the non-material value that can be gained through ecosystems such as a sense of well-being, reflection and spiritual enhancement. These are often linked with a sense of place, culture, heritage and identity. The assessment of cultural ecosystem services, particularly in the marine environment is an inherently complex and difficult task, because they often involve making value judgments which can be hard to quantify. Methods applied to determining the value of these services are often focused on their financial value. Whilst methodologies have been developed to assess the non-material importance of these services, this paper argues that Q methodology provides a highly appropriate way of examining unmeasurable values by being able to convert qualitative, subjective data into quantitative information. The research presents two data sets derived from Q methodology which examined stakeholder views of the cultural values from two marine protected areas; the Pacific Rim National Park, Vancouver Island, Canada and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Chichester Harbour, UK. The relevance of using Q methodology as a valuation mechanism in this type of study is examined and justified; whilst highlighting the advantages of tackling a subject of values and intangibility, highly qualitative information, with a structured, semi-automated and primarily quantitative methodology. The findings show that the case-study areas hold three predominant ‘factors’ of value for its stake holders. These include the protected areas; as a place of care for each other and oneself through the natural world; a place of spirituality; and as a place of freedom and refuge. The paper strongly argues for the use of Q methodology in such a study, which ultimately helps to bring about a depth of information that arguably traditional methods are incapable of in the same capacity.
On a national level, the law of 14 April 2006 saw the creation of the Marine Protected Areas Agency and established the first six categories of marine protected areas, including the new category of marine nature park.
The current strategy specifies how France intends to expand its action to develop and manage the network of marine protected areas: objectives, geographical priorities, principles, etc.
The French Marine Protected Areas Agency was established in 2006, particularly to define and implement an ambitious strategy to create and manage France’s marine protected areas. Developing a national assessment process, the MPA dashboard, is an integral part of this strategy. The first step consists in developing dashboards in each French MPA.
The Agency must be able to assess the effectiveness of MPAs that it manages directly, such as marine nature parks or Natura 2000 sites, and provide technical support for the assessment of MPAs managed by other entities.
The Internet provides a unique opportunity for scientists to be in direct contact with the public in order to promote citizens’ scientific literacy. Recently, Internet users have started to spend most of their online time on social networking sites (SNS). Knowledge of how these SNSs work as an arena for interaction, as well as for the development of scientific literacy, is important to guide scientists’ activities online, and to be able to understand how people develop knowledge of science. This was evaluated by scrutinizing the Facebook page of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the consequences for users’ ocean literacy. We investigated which practices could increase the number of users reached by a Facebook story. We also found that Facebook pages do not offer the appropriate social context to foster participation since it has only a few of the features of an arena where such practices could develop.
Integrated coastal and ocean management requires transparent and accessible approaches for understanding the influence of human activities on marine environments. Here we introduce a model for assessing the combined risk to habitats from multiple ocean uses. We apply the model to coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds in Belize to inform the design of the country's first Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan. Based on extensive stakeholder engagement, review of existing legislation and data collected from diverse sources, we map the current distribution of coastal and ocean activities and develop three scenarios for zoning these activities in the future. We then estimate ecosystem risk under the current and three future scenarios. Current levels of risk vary spatially among the nine coastal planning regions in Belize. Empirical tests of the model are strong—three-quarters of the measured data for coral reef health lie within the 95% confidence interval of interpolated model data and 79% of the predicted mangrove occurrences are associated with observed responses. The future scenario that harmonizes conservation and development goals results in a 20% reduction in the area of high-risk habitat compared to the current scenario, while increasing the extent of several ocean uses. Our results are a component of the ICZM Plan for Belize that will undergo review by the national legislature in 2015. This application of our model to marine spatial planning in Belize illustrates an approach that can be used broadly by coastal and ocean planners to assess risk to habitats under current and future management scenarios.
The sustainable science-based management of natural resources requires knowledge exchange between scientists and environmental decision-makers; however, evidence suggests that information flow is inhibited by a range of barriers. To date, our understanding of the range and importance of factors limiting knowledge exchange between scientists and decision-makers is based primarily on the perceptions of decision-makers, while the perceptions of scientists have been largely overlooked. This study addresses this knowledge gap by quantitatively assessing the perceptions of scientists, represented by a sample of 78 Australian marine scientists, regarding (i) the role and importance of engaging with environmental decision-makers on a personal level, (ii) the role and importance of engaging with environmental decision-makers at the institutional level, (iii) current barriers to engaging with environmental decision-makers and (iv) options for overcoming barriers to engaging with environmental decision-makers. Survey results suggest that Australian marine scientists feel that they have an obligation to engage decision-makers in their science, and that engaging with and communicating to environmental decision-makers is important on a personal level. This study also identifies a range of barriers that impede engagement activities, including inadequate measures of science impact that do not account for engagement activities, a lack of organisational support for engagement activities, insufficient time to conduct engagement activities in addition to other responsibilities and a lack of funding to support engagement activities. To overcome these barriers, participants identified the need for institutional innovation by research institutions, research funders and decision-making agencies alike to promote a culture whereby knowledge exchange activities are legitimised as core business for research scientists, and recognised and rewarded appropriately. Although difficulties exist in implementing such institutional innovations, doing so will improve two-way knowledge exchange among scientists and decision-makers and improve the likely success of environmental management.