Citizen science is often assumed to increase public science engagement; however, little is known about who is likely to volunteer and the implications for greater societal impact. This study segments 1,145 potential volunteers into six groups according to their current engagement in science (EiS). Results show groups with high levels of EiS are significantly more interested in volunteering and more likely to participate in various research roles than those with lower EiS scores. While citizen science benefits some in science and society, its use as a strategy to bring about positive shifts in public science engagement needs to be reconsidered.
Dredging can have significant impacts on aquatic environments, but the direct effects on fish have not been critically evaluated. Here, a meta-analysis following a conservative approach is used to understand how dredging-related stressors, including suspended sediment, contaminated sediment, hydraulic entrainment and underwater noise, directly influence the effect size and the response elicited in fish across all aquatic ecosystems and all life-history stages. This is followed by an in-depth review summarizing the effects of each dredging-related stressor on fish. Across all dredging-related stressors, studies that reported fish mortality had significantly higher effect sizes than those that describe physiological responses, although indicators of dredge impacts should endeavour to detect effects before excessive mortality occurs. Studies examining the effects of contaminated sediment also had significantly higher effect sizes than studies on clean sediment alone or noise, suggesting additive or synergistic impacts from dredging-related stressors. The early life stages such as eggs and larvae were most likely to suffer lethal impacts, while behavioural effects were more likely to occur in adult catadromous fishes. Both suspended sediment concentration and duration of exposure greatly influenced the type of fish response observed, with both higher concentrations and longer exposure durations associated with fish mortality. The review highlights the need for in situ studies on the effects of dredging on fish which consider the interactive effects of multiple dredging-related stressors and their impact on sensitive species of ecological and fisheries value. This information will improve the management of dredging projects and ultimately minimize their impacts on fish.
In 2010, Canada committed to a set of 20 targets known as the Aichi Targets established under the Convention on Biological Diversity. Target 11 commits parties to an aspirational goal of protecting at least 17% of terrestrial and inland waters and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The target also mandates that protection focus on areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services and that protected areas be well-managed, ecologically representative, well-connected and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes. Canada’s achievement of target 11 formed the foundation of the Committee’s study.
Intact, functional ecosystems – both terrestrial and marine – provide habitat needed to maintain biodiversity and its inherent value as well as ecosystem services essential for human well-being. As Canada’s natural spaces are threatened by human activity, Canada urgently needs to establish an integrated network of protected areas of high ecological value across the land and water.
In addition to the benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services, investments in protected areas bring jobs and other long-term economic benefits, often to rural, economically underdeveloped communities. Establishing protected areas in partnership with Indigenous peoples provides a means of advancing shared conservation objectives while simultaneously advancing reconciliation.
Canada has a long way to go to meet Aichi Target 11. Currently, 10.57% of terrestrial and 0.98% of marine areas are counted as protected. However, target 11 is an interim goal toward more comprehensive protection. It has been suggested that perhaps 50% of terrestrial and marine areas is needed to safeguard Canada’s natural heritage. It is clear that a great deal of work remains to be done.
Federal protected areas account for about half – 45% terrestrial and 83% marine – of Canada’s total protected areas. Accordingly, collaborative action by all levels of government including Indigenous governments, landowners, industrial stakeholders and civil society is required to resolve issues of competing uses for land and water in order to achieve and exceed our targets. Protecting areas in the Arctic marine and boreal regions are of particular importance.
The federal government has a variety of roles to play to meet our targets. It must provide the leadership needed to ensure coherent and coordinated plans are developed to reach the targets. It must partner with Indigenous peoples to establish and recognize new types of protected areas in Indigenous territories while providing new opportunities for Indigenous economic development and advancing reconciliation. The federal government must also put its own house in order by coordinating its efforts, accelerating the establishment of federal protected areas and demonstrating political will, including through the provision of funding.
Marine ecosystems provide a range of valuable services, some of which come with market prices to quantify value and others for which markets have not set prices. Lacking perfect information, policy makers are at risk of undercounting non-priced values and services, leading to biases in policy decisions in favor of services valued through markets. Furthermore, understanding users’ valuation of specific site attributes, such as marine biodiversity, can contribute to effective policy decisions. This paper presents a non-market valuation of private recreational boaters (PRBs) in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary located in California, USA, using data from an intercept survey conducted in 2006 and 2007. A Random Utility Model is used to estimate PRBs’ daily trip values and the importance of specific site attributes. The average consumer surplus was estimated at $48.62 per trip, with a total non-market value of non-consumptive private recreational boating of $86,325 annually. PRBs show a preference for visiting locations with lower exposure to prevailing winds and greater species richness and abundance, which to the authors’ knowledge is the first time that PRBs have been found to value biological diversity in site choices. Furthermore, this suggests that improved biodiversity and productivity of marine ecosystems contribute to better recreational experiences. The results from this study reveal the importance of including non-market services and stakeholder's preferences into policy decisions.
This study presents an analysis of marine resource management activities designed to ameliorate concerns over fish stocks, food and livelihood insecurity in the coastal Asia Pacific region, with a specific focus on the area encompassed by the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). Firstly, the study explores how the CTI-CFF framing of food insecurity as symptomatic of economic deficiencies at the household level reflects the broader neoliberal conservation agenda driving the CTI-CFF and serves to legitimate the latter as the natural authority for intervention. Secondly, the paper uses an example of local level fishery management to demonstrate how the logic of neoliberalism translates to regulations which fail to recognise social and political complexities confronting fishers, thereby exacerbating the precarity of food and livelihood security in these communities. Thirdly, the paper contrasts the Western scientific emphasis on maintaining food security through managing coral reef fisheries with evidence from Indonesia and the Philippines which demonstrates the much larger contribution from pelagic fisheries and aquaculture to food security. The paper concludes with a call for research and aid-funded interventions on fishery management, livelihoods and food security to better reflect the needs of coastal people in the Asia-Pacific region, rather than the values commonly espoused by Western scientists and conservationists.
Marine debris' transboundary nature and new strategies to identify sources and sinks in coastal areas were investigated along the Paranaguá estuarine gradient (southern Brazil), through integration of hydrodynamic modelling, ground truthing estimates and regressive vector analysis. The simulated release of virtual particles in different parts of the inner estuary suggests a residence time shorter than 5 days before being exported through the estuary mouth (intermediate compartment) to the open ocean. Stranded litter supported this pathway, with beaches in the internal compartment presenting proportionally more items from domestic sources, while fragmented items with unknown sources were proportionally more abundant in the oceanic beaches. Regressive vector analysis reinforced the inner estuarine origin of the stranded litter in both estuarine and oceanic beaches. These results support the applicability of simple hydrodynamic models to address marine debris' transboundary issues in the land-sea transition zone, thus supporting an ecosystem transboundary (and not territorial) management approach.
Biological oceanic processes, principally the surface production, sinking and interior remineralization of organic particles, keep atmospheric CO2 lower than if the ocean was abiotic. The remineralization length scale (RLS, the vertical distance over which organic particle flux declines by 63%, affected by particle respiration, fragmentation and sinking rates) controls the size of this effect and is anomalously high in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ). Here we show in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific OMZ 70% of POC remineralization is due to microbial respiration, indicating that the high RLS is the result of lower particle fragmentation by zooplankton, likely due to the almost complete absence of zooplankton particle interactions in OMZ waters. Hence, the sensitivity of zooplankton to ocean oxygen concentrations can have direct implications for atmospheric carbon sequestration. Future expansion of OMZs is likely to increase biological ocean carbon storage and act as a negative feedback on climate change.
The increased number of human activities within the marine environment and the demand for maritime space has increased to a point where in some parts of the globe the demand for maritime space has exceeded the available area. The overlapping objectives and activities have caused severe conflicts among users and with the natural marine environment itself. For that reason, holistic strategies such as Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) have been evolved and developed to sustainably manage the marine environment, avoiding conflicts and creating synergies.
Spatial analysis tools like Marxan have been used for several years as decision support tools mostly for conservation plans, such as design and establishment of protected areas. In this study we approach the potential of this tool with a different purpose in mind: instead of using the available information of the region for the development of a conservation plan, we used this tool and the available information to select areas to establish Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs). We also intended to analyse how the existing features of the region would affect the final result of a spatial plan aimed to establish areas for economic and development purposes.
We conclude that the use of Marxan can be advantageous to support the planning and development of coastal regions, not only in a conservationist point of view (as it has been mostly used), but also into a developing and economic driven approach. This tool can be particularly useful in regions or situations where there is a large number of stakeholders, ecological and geographical features that could potentially conflict with the establishment, the management and the success of the proposed management areas.
The oceans provide food, employment and income for billions of people. We analyzed data from scientific stock assessments, and from a statistical model for other fish stocks, to summarize the past and present status, and the potential catch, abundance and profit for 4713 fish stocks constituting 78% of global fisheries. Three major scenarios of future trends are considered; business as usual (BAU) in which largely unmanaged fisheries move towards bioeconomic equilibrium but where well-managed fisheries maintain their management, maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in which fisheries are managed to maximize yield, and fisheries reform (REF) where the competitive race to fish is eliminated and fisheries are managed to maximize profit. The future prospects differ greatly based on region of the world and product type. This analysis forecasts that yield in major tuna and forage fish species will remain roughly the same as current levels under all three scenarios, while there does appear to be potential for increased yield of whitefish. There is considerable room for increased profit in most of these fisheries from better management. Increased yield will come from rebuilding overexploited stocks, reducing fishing mortality on stocks that are still abundant but fished at high rates, and surprisingly from fishing some stocks harder. Indeed in Europe and North America the primary potential for increased yield comes from fully exploiting stocks that are now lightly exploited. Asia provides the greatest opportunity for increased fish abundance and increased profit by fisheries reform that would lead to reduced fishing pressure.
Management strategies for fisheries typically do not account for environmental stressors, such as hypoxia (dissolved oxygen < 2 mg·L−1). Hypoxia can lead to shoaling of organisms into normoxic habitats, enhancing catchability, which could reduce the performance of fishery management strategies. Here, we conducted a management strategy evaluation of Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) fisheries in Hood Canal, Washington, a seasonally hypoxic fjord in Puget Sound. Specifically, we asked whether the current management strategy was robust to hypoxia-induced catchability changes under alternative scenarios of illegal take, incidental capture mortality, and reproductive limitation. We find that the management strategy performed well to changes in catchability when illegal and incidental fishing mortality was low and fishing did not lead to reproductive limitation. However, the performance eroded markedly (reduced long-term catch and (or) population and higher catch variation) under the alternative scenarios. These findings underscore the benefit of applying an ecosystem approach to fisheries management because it identifies potential risks to management strategies in systems subject to environmental change.
Understanding how information flows between scientific and decision-making communities is essential for the creation of effective strategies to link scientific advice to management decisions. Interviews of scientists and managers in two inter-related fisheries management organizations – the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – and direct observations at science and management meetings revealed important organizational characteristics that influence the production, communication, and use of scientific information in decision-making. Formal processes for communicating scientific advice to managers – DFO's Canadian Scientific Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) and NAFO's Fisheries Commission's Request for Advice – demonstrate the use of credible, relevant, and legitimate advice for operational decision-making for fisheries management. Such defined processes, in addition to governmental bureaucracy, departmentalization, and de-centralization, can limit communication as highlighted for Canada as a Contracting Party to NAFO. Administrative mechanisms can pose challenges to implementing ecosystem approaches to fisheries management (EAF) and to addressing the impacts of climate change. Emerging organizational structures and behaviours facilitate communication at the science-policy interface, within and between the organizations, thereby improving understanding of science and management needs and promoting trust relationships between scientists and managers. The involvement of multiple stakeholders in the information pathways addresses concerns about scientific uncertainty in assessment advice. A linear model of information flow typifies operational decision-making; however, collaborative models that incorporate different types of information, apart from fisheries science, are required to enable ecosystem-based management. The characteristics of the information pathways are particularly relevant as the organizations address their EAF mandates.
Sudden disruptions, or shocks, to food production can adversely impact access to and trade of food commodities. Seafood is the most traded food commodity and is globally important to human nutrition. The seafood production and trade system is exposed to a variety of disruptions including fishery collapses, natural disasters, oil spills, policy changes, and aquaculture disease outbreaks, aquafeed resource access and price spikes. The patterns and trends of these shocks to fisheries and aquaculture are poorly characterized and this limits the ability to generalize or predict responses to political, economic, and environmental changes. We applied a statistical shock detection approach to historic fisheries and aquaculture data to identify shocks over the period 1976–2011. A complementary case study approach was used to identify possible key social and political dynamics related to these shocks. The lack of a trend in the frequency or magnitude of the identified shocks and the range of identified causes suggest shocks are a common feature of these systems which occur due to a variety, and often multiple and simultaneous, causes. Shocks occurred most frequently in the Caribbean and Central America, the Middle East and North Africa, and South America, while the largest magnitude shocks occurred in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Shocks also occurred more frequently in aquaculture systems than in capture systems, particularly in recent years. In response to shocks, countries tend to increase imports and experience decreases in supply. The specific combination of changes in trade and supply are context specific, which is highlighted through four case studies. Historical examples of shocks considered in this study can inform policy for responding to shocks and identify potential risks and opportunities to build resilience in the global food system.
Biotic indices for monitoring marine ecosystems are mostly based on the analysis of benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Due to their high sensitivity to pollution and fast response to environmental changes, bacterial assemblages could complement the information provided by benthic metazoan communities as indicators of human-induced impacts, but so far, this biological component has not been well explored for this purpose. Here we performed 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to analyze the bacterial assemblage composition of 51 estuarine and coastal stations characterized by different environmental conditions and human-derived pressures. Using the relative abundance of putative indicator bacterial taxa, we developed a biotic index that is significantly correlated with a sediment quality index calculated on the basis of organic and inorganic compound concentrations. This new index based on bacterial assemblage composition can be a sensitive tool for providing a fast environmental assessment and allow a more comprehensive integrative ecosystem approach for environmental management.
In response to the growing demand for unbiased answers and analysis on how deregulatory initiatives by the new Administration and Congress will impact environmental protection, governance, and the rule of law, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) has released Regulatory Reform in the Trump Era. The report explains the legal mechanisms and processes that may get deployed, how they work, and the effect on the current regulatory landscape. It responds to the questions that are increasingly being asked of ELI: What are the pathways and impacts of regulatory reform efforts likely to be undertaken? What are the opportunities for the public and other stakeholders to engage relative to reform initiatives?
Continued growth of tourism has led to concerns about direct and indirect impacts on the ecology of coral reefs and ultimate sustainability of these environments under such pressure. This research assessed impacts of reef walking by tourists on a relatively pristine reef flat community associated with an ‘ecoresort’ on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Heavily walked areas had lower abundances of live hard coral but greater amounts of dead coral and sediment. Abundances of macroalgae were not affected between sites. Coral-associated butterflyfish were less abundant and less diverse in more trampled sites. A manipulative experiment showed handling holothurians on reef walks had lasting negative impacts. This is the first study to show potential impacts of such handling on holothurians. Ecological impacts of reef walking are weighed against sociocultural benefits of a first hand experience in nature.
Anthropogenic debris results in detrimental interactions with many marine species. Several seabirds include debris items in their nests, which can lead to entanglement of chicks and adults, resulting in injury or death. Anthropogenic debris was found in 4–67% of kelp gull Larus dominicanus nests in seven colonies in the Western Cape, South Africa. Nests contained two types of litter: items included in the nest structure during construction (mainly ropes and straps), and regurgitated items (mainly bags and food wrappers) that probably accumulate primarily during the chick-rearing period. Debris used in nest construction was more likely to injure gulls, and was found mainly at coastal sites where there was little natural vegetation for construction. Distance to the nearest urban waste landfill significantly affected the occurrence of debris items in nests, especially dietary-derived items. The amount of debris in kelp gull nests highlights the need for improved debris management in South Africa.
In this study, spatiotemporal dynamics of macrofaunal assemblages and their associations with environmental conditions were examined in Jinhae Bay (10 sites), where the obvious sources of pollution including industries, oyster farms (hanging cultures), and municipal discharges has surrounded. The survey had performed over five consecutive seasons in 2013–2014. Target sedimentary variables included grain size, organic content, C/N ratio, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios, and some heavy metals. Five ecological quality indices (EcoQ) were calculated from the benthic community data to evaluate ecological qualities in site-specific manner. Jinhae Bay is a shallow (depths range, 11–24 m) and typical semi-enclosed bay. The benthic environments represented mud dominated bottoms (>70%) with fairly substantial organic content levels (>2%) over all five seasons. Seasonal patterns were observed with peak abundances in the spring and distinctive macrozoobenthos species shifts in the summer. The spring bloom could be explained by drastic increases of some polychaetes, mainly Capitella sp., at certain site, particularly near the shore. The oyster farms situated in the innermost locations seem to provide organic-rich bottoms being dominated by opportunistic species and/or organic pollution indicator species, such as Lumbrineris longifolia, Capitella sp., and Paraprionospio patiens. In general, the EcoQ indicators indicated that Jinhae Bay was moderately polluted, with exceptionally poor EcoQ in a few locations during the specific season(s). Overall, adverse effects on benthic community was broadly attributable to contaminations of heavy metals and nearby aquatic farm activities in Jinhae Bay, which requires a prompt action toward ecosystem-based management practice in the given area.
Marine litter is a global concern with a range of problems associated to it, as recognised by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Marine litter can impact organisms at different levels of biological organization and habitats in a number of ways namely: through entanglement in, or ingestion of, litter items by individuals, resulting in death and/or severe suffering; through chemical and microbial transfer; as a vector for transport of biota and by altering or modifying assemblages of species. Marine litter is a threat not only to marine species and ecosystems but also carries a risk to human health and has significant implications to human welfare, impacting negatively vital economic sectors such as tourism, fisheries, aquaculture or energy supply and bringing economic losses to individuals, enterprises and communities. This technical report aims to provide clear insight about the major negative impacts from marine litter by describing the mechanisms of harm. Further it provides reflexions about the evidence for harm from marine litter to biota comprising the underlying aspect of animal welfare while also considering the socioeconomic effects, including the influence of marine litter on ecosystem services. General conclusions highlight that understanding the risks and uncertainties with regard to the harm caused by marine litter is closely associated with the precautionary principle. The collected evidence in this report can be regarded as a supporting step to define harm and to provide an evidence base for the various actions needed to be implemented by decision-makers. This improved knowledge about the scale of the harmful effects of marine litter will further support EU Member States (MSs) and Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) to implement their programme of measures, regional action plans and assessments.
Current debates about the efficacy of no-take marine reserves (MR) in protecting large pelagic fish such as tuna and sharks have usually not considered the evolutionary dimension of this issue, which emerges because the propensity to swim away from a given place, like any other biological trait, will probably vary in a heritable fashion among individuals. Here, based on spatially explicit simulations, we investigated whether selection to remain in MRs to avoid higher fishing mortality can lead to the evolution of more philopatric fish. Our simulations, which covered a range of life histories among tuna species (skipjack tuna vs. Atlantic bluefin tuna) and shark species (great white sharks vs. spiny dogfish), suggested that MRs were most effective at maintaining viable population sizes when movement distances were lowest. Decreased movement rate evolved following the establishment of marine reserves, and this evolution occurred more rapidly with higher fishing pressure. Evolutionary reductions in movement rate led to increases in within-reserve population sizes over the course of the 50 years following MR establishment, although this varied among life histories, with skipjack responding fastest and great white sharks slowest. Our results suggest the evolution of decreased movement can augment the efficacy of marine reserves, especially for species, such as skipjack tuna, with relatively short generation times. Even when movement rates did not evolve substantially over 50 years (e.g., given long generation times or little heritable variation), marine reserves were an effective tool for the conservation of fish populations when mean movement rates were low or MRs were large.
Currently little is known about the prevalence of plastics and microplastics (MPs) in the Persian Gulf. Five sampling stations were selected along the Strait of Hormuz (Iran) that exhibited different levels of industrialization and urbanization, and included a marine protected area. Debris was observed and sediments were collected for MPs extraction via fluidization/floatation methodology. The order of MP abundance (par/kg) generally reflected the level of anthropogenic activity: Bostanu (1258 ± 291) > Gorsozan (122 ± 23) > Khor-e-Yekshabeh (26 ± 6) > Suru (14 ± 4) > Khor-e-Azini (2 ± 1). Across all sites fibers dominated (83%, 11% film, 6% fragments). FT-IR analysis showed polyethylene (PE), nylon, and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) were the commonly recovered polymers. Likely sources include beach debris, discarded fishing gear, and urban and industrial outflows that contain fibers from clothes. This study provides a ‘snapshot’ of MP pollution and longitudinal studies are required to fully understand plastic contamination in the region.