Coastal and marine areas provide vital services to support the economic, cultural, recreational, and ecological needs of human communities, but sustaining these benefits necessitates a balance between growing and often competing uses and activities. Minimizing coastal zone conflict and reducing human-induced impacts to ecological resources requires access to consistent spatial information on the distribution and condition of marine resources. Seafloor mapping provides a detailed and reliable spatial template on the structure of the seafloor that has become a core data need for many resource management strategies. The absence of detailed maps of the seafloor hinders the effectiveness of priority setting in marine policy, regulatory processes, and marine stewardship. For large management areas, the relatively high cost of seafloor mapping and limited management budgets requires careful spatial prioritization. In order to address this problem, a consensus based approach, aided by decision-support tools, and participatory geographic information systems (GIS), was implemented in Long Island Sound to spatially prioritize locations, define additional data collection efforts needed, and identify products needed to inform decision-making. The methodology developed has utility for other states and regions in need of spatially prioritizing activities for coastal planning, and organizations charged with providing geospatial services to communities with broad informational needs.
Contemporary environmental policy incorporates a collaborative approach, and conservation management commonly denotes the formation of governance networks on the sub-national level. This trend toward networks implies a shift in the mode of public governance since state-centered top-down control is replaced by a primary focus on governing networks from the top. Previous research has studied the performance of collaborative networks while the role of the state in these settings has been acknowledged to a lesser extent. Thus, prevailing knowledge concerning how public agencies can govern networks towards the fulfillment of environmental objectives is restricted. This issue is addressed in this paper through an empirical case study of a state-initiated process aimed at implementing the ideas of ecosystem-based management, by means of collaboration networks, in five coastal regions in Sweden. What governance strategies were adopted by the environmental protection agency, and how can the governance outcome be described in terms of ecosystem-based management and stakeholder support? Based on the empirical findings, the influence of the chosen governance approach on the outcomes is discussed. The results clearly illustrate the particular tradeoffs that occur as various governance strategies interact and how these influence both social and ecological aspects. The application of extensive and rigorous governance strategies enhance the fulfillment of ecosystembased management while vagueness and flexibility enable local adaptation and enhance stakeholder support. Governing networks from the top involve a balancing act, and the idea of fulfilling environmental objectives through the dynamic of network is appealing albeit challenging in practice.
The debate about the governance aspects of marine protected areas has increased considerably over the last few years. Growing pressure on coastal and marine resources, international conservation targets set for 2020, and the persistence of ‘paper parks’ (i.e. only nominally declared) are some of the main reasons behind this trend. Based on the assumption that the prevalence of paper parks is associated with shortcomings in their institutional design, this article explores how institutional change theories, mainly from historical institutionalism, could add to the understanding of marine protected area governance. First, mechanisms leading to either stability or change of institutions are reviewed. Then, examples from existing literature are used to illustrate how these mechanisms might be preventing or enhancing the progress of marine protected areas. The focus is on developing countries where poorly functioning marine protected areas seem to be the norm rather than the exception. The analysis reveals that institutional change theories can be a helpful analytical tool to examine how institutions encompassing well-known challenges of marine protected areas, such as terrestrial conservation poorly adapted to marine ecosystems, imported conservation paradigms not fitting local realities, and difficulties posed by an incoherence of policies and top-down approaches to management, have developed over time. Conditions leading actors to notice these problems and take action to solve them as well as how they go about implementing changes are also explored. Finally, it is suggested that the issues raised here regarding the persistence of problems and how they are being tackled, especially those concerning the political process, can be beneficial to other fields of environmental governance.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a powerful tool for conserving marine biodiversity when designed using ecological information and conservation goals and targets. Dugongs (Dugong dugon) were not an explicit target in the design of the network of MPAs in New Caledonia, despite being one of the region’s World Heritage values. Our study retrospectively assessed the capacity of the New Caledonia MPA network to protect dugongs from anthropogenic threats. We developed a spatially explicit model of dugong distribution and relative density based on information collected from ∼10 years of aerial surveys. We quantified the amount of overlap between areas supporting high densities of dugongs and MPAs. We found that most of the important dugong habitats of New Caledonia had a low coverage of MPAs that provide high levels of restriction on anthropogenic activities. We identified several important dugong habitats along the west and the north-east coast that were not covered by MPAs and should be a priority for future management. The spatial mismatch between MPAs and dugongs was likely caused by weaknesses in the planning process, including the: (1) lack of explicit conservation goals and targets; (2) omission of spatial information on species’ distribution; (3) mismatch of spatial scales; (4) cost considerations; and (5) incorrect application of the IUCN protected area categories. We provide guidance on how these shortcomings can be avoided for marine species of conservation concern in New Caledonia and other regions.
The tropical spiny lobster, Panulirus ornatus, is farmed in floating sea cages situated in shallow coastal waters in many parts of the Asia-Pacific region. Despite the rapid expansion of this aquaculture activity, very little is known about its environmental impacts. This study combines computer modelling with previous laboratory measures to provide information on benthic carbon deposition and the production of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) from hypothetical sea cage aquaculture of spiny lobsters. Modelling scenarios were run with two different lobster aquaculture stocking densities (3 and 5 kg m−3) and various feed conversion ratios (FCRs) using natural seafood or artificial lobster diet (FCR 1.28–28). Simulations from the model showed that cumulative benthic carbon deposition varied from 0.1 to over 0.8 kg C m−2 year−1, while the mean DIN levels around sea cages ranged from 5.6 up to 25 µg N l−1 and the maximum DIN levels ranged from 10.8 to 165 µg N l−1. The results showed that feeding lobsters with seafood resulted in a markedly higher benthic carbon loading and release of DIN when compared with artificial lobster feed. Therefore, the elimination of the use of trash fish would greatly reduce the environmental impacts of spiny lobster aquaculture. Overall, the effects from spiny lobster aquaculture were spatially localized with the highest concentrations of carbon deposition and DIN directly beneath the sea cages. Therefore, it seems unlikely that spiny lobster aquaculture in sea cages will cause adverse environmental effects unless the lobsters are heavily stocked and supplied with poor quality feed.
The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) declared Ras Mohamed National Park the first Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Egypt in 1983 to conserve the Gulf of Aqaba coral reef ecosystem, sustain artisanal fisheries and encourage tourism activities in this region. The European Commission helped, initially, by providing the needed funding for the establishment of this MPA and for the establishment of two others, one in Nabq and the other in Abu Gallum. The creation of these managed resource protected areas established the entire Egyptian marine sector in the Gulf of Aqaba as a protected area by 1996. Artisanal fisheries were permitted in selected areas in these marine protected areas which were only conducted by the local people (Bedouin). This research assessed the role of the marine protected areas in conserving the fish populations of target and nontarget families in four regions of the Gulf of Aqaba, all of which were subjected to different regulations and fishing pressures over the last decade. In addition, I evaluated the impact of fishing and the catch dynamics at Nabq to ascertain whether specialized fishing regulations of take and no-take zones was effective in conserving the fisheries. Lastly, I conducted a pilot study on the dependency of the Bedouin fishers on the Nabq fisheries and their attitude towards the initiative of conservation measures and perceived needs for change to increase their effectiveness.
I found that the coral reef fish populations have changed over the years since the protected areas came into existence in terms of species richness, diversity, abundance and size; a result of changing fishing pressure due to changes in the effectiveness of law enforcement and conservation. Nabq, which was relatively lightly fished in 2002, was the most affected region where species richness, total fish abundance, and the abundance of target and non-target families significantly declined by 2012 due to heavy fishing pressure and noncompliance to the regulations that applied to the no take zones in the region. In contrast, Dahab, the heavily fished region in 2002, exhibited an increase in species richness, diversity, total fish abundance, the abundances of the least commercially targeted herbivore families and other non-target fish families, by 2012; a result of reduced fishing pressure and increased law enforcement in this region. Additionally Ras Mohamed, which originally did not allow fishing, was found to have experienced illegal fishing beginning by 2003 ultimately resulting in a decline in the abundance of commercially valuable fish families by 2012.
Fishers from Nabq and Dahab depend on the Nabq fisheries for food security and livelihoods. However, many of the fishers were willing to change their occupations and work for tourism or other governmental secured job, as the fisheries currently were very poor. Although the local fishers were aware of the regulations for the protected area and noted the significant decline in the fisheries resources, they disagreed on the way that Nabq fisheries should be managed mainly due to the real and perceived lack of local engagement and enforcement. Lastly, it appears that tourism development that focused on having an intact healthy coral reef system and public awareness can play a role in reducing fishing pressure, increasing fish abundance and maintaining fish diversity in the future, and provide alternative sources of livelihoods for the local people.
Table of Contents:
- Adapting to Climate Change
- National Ocean Policy
- Cultural Resource Risks
- Bay-Delta Science Conference
- UPDATE: Deepwater Horizon
- Visualizing Wetland Change
- Marine Monument Expansion
- WOW! Record Salmon
- Quick Guide Climate Change
- Threatened Red Knot
- Whale Sculptures
- MARES Artic Study
- Conserving Coastal Wetlands
- Pacific Islands Climate Change
- Chukchi Sea Research
- World Parks Congress
- Waterbird Society Session
- Aloha from Maui!
- Carbon Sequestration Report.
- Tribal GIS Training
- Tracking Nitrate to the Gulf
- Coral Reef Initiatives
- Coastal Defense Tool
- Methane Seepage Discovery
- Science for Society
- Swan Days at Mattamuskeet
- Adaptive Coastal Park
- That’s Wrack
- Gulf of Mexico Shipwrecks
- Renewable Energy
- Envisioning Sea-Level Rise
- Regional News
- Eating Invasive Species
- The Surfing Bison
Tools, such as participatory three-dimensional modeling (P3DM), participatory video and the facilitated development of photo journals and civil society plans for action on climate change, can be used across the Caribbean islands to facilitate effective participation by local communities and other stakeholders. These tools are needed by people in the Caribbean to facilitate the identification of general policy priorities, as well as specific policies and actions needed on-the-ground and at the landscape and site level to address the impacts of climate change and extreme climatic events. These tools bring relevant knowledge - both traditional and indigenous knowledge - into consideration when decisions are being made about climate change. This approach to decision-making also contributes to increasing capacity of community groups, facilitates coordination and collaboration across sectors, and builds buy-in for plans for action on climate change.
Download the related Policy Brief at http://www.canari.org/documents/CANARIPolicyBrief15English_000.pdf
Social valuation of ecosystem services and public policy alternatives is one of the greatest challenges facing ecological economists today. Frameworks for valuing nature increasingly include shared/social values as a distinct category of values. However, the nature of shared/social values, as well as their relationship to other values, has not yet been clearly established and empirical evidence about the importance of shared/social values for valuation of ecosystem services is lacking. To help address these theoretical and empirical limitations, this paper outlines a framework of shared/social values across five dimensions: value concept, provider, intention, scale, and elicitation process. Along these dimensions we identify seven main, non-mutually exclusive types of shared values: transcendental, cultural/societal, communal, group, deliberated and other-regarding values, and value to society. Using a case study of a recent controversial policy on forest ownership in England, we conceptualise the dynamic interplay between shared/social and individual values. The way in which social value is assessed in neoclassical economics is discussed and critiqued, followed by consideration of the relation between shared/social values and Total Economic Value, and a review of deliberative and non-monetary methods for assessing shared/social values. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of shared/social values for decision-making.
The Niger Delta wetlands are of international importance for their biodiversity, and support a large human population. The value and distribution of wetland ecosystem service benefits and costs across the three main stakeholder sectors (local community, government and corporate) were investigated. Results show that the net monetary value of the wetlands is $11,000 per delta household of which $9000 was generated as cash income supporting household activities such as education and healthcare. The total annual value of provisioning services to local people is approximately $25 billion, about three times the value of oil production in the region. However, local communities also bear about 75% of the environmental costs of oil extraction, equivalent to about 19% of the oil industry profit. Local people, who experience considerable economic hardship and lack alternative income sources, receive little compensation from the oil sector. These results highlight the importance of understanding not only the benefits provided by Niger Delta wetlands, but also the distribution of the environmental costs associated with their use. We conclude that ecosystem service valuation studies should give greater attention to the social distribution of identified values. Such distributional analyses, rarely available, provide insight into how sustainable natural resource management policy and practice could be better aligned to social justice concerns.
International policy frameworks such as the Common Fisheries Policy and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive define high-level strategic goals for marine ecosystems. Strategic goals are addressed via general and operational management objectives. To add credibility and legitimacy to the development of objectives, for this study stakeholders explored intermediate level ecological, economic and social management objectives for Northeast Atlantic pelagic ecosystems. Stakeholder workshops were undertaken with participants being free to identify objectives based on their own insights and needs. Overall 26 objectives were proposed, with 58% agreement in proposed objectives between two workshops. Based on published evidence for pressure-state links, examples of operational objectives and suitable indicators for each of the 26 objectives were then selected. It is argued that given the strong species-specific links of pelagic species with the environment and the large geographic scale of their life cycles, which contrast to demersal systems, pelagic indicators are needed at the level of species (or stocks) independent of legislative region. Pelagic community indicators may be set at regional scale in some cases. In the evidence-based approach used in this study, the selection of species or region specific operational objectives and indicators was based on demonstrated pressure-state links. Hence observed changes in indicators can reliably inform on appropriate management measures.
The Coral Triangle covers an area between the Indian and Pacific oceans that represents the global epicenter of abundant marine life and diversity. The region surrounding these oceans includes some or all of the land and seas of six countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.
This report provides general information on the status of biophysical characteristics; governance; socioeconomic characteristics; and threats to, and vulnerabilities of, the coral reef ecosystems of Indonesia, part of which lies within the Coral Triangle. It outlines Indonesia’s plans and initiatives and its progress toward the conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.
Increasing CO2 atmospheric levels lead to increasing ocean acidification, thereby enhancing calcium carbonate dissolution of calcifying species. We gathered peer-reviewed experimental data on the effects of acidified seawater on calcifying species growth, reproduction, and survival. The data were used to derive species-specific median effective concentrations, i.e., pH50, and pH10, via logistic regression. Subsequently, we developed species sensitivity distributions (SSDs) to assess the potentially affected fraction (PAF) of species exposed to pH declines. Effects on species growth were observed at higher pH than those on species reproduction (mean pH10 was 7.73 vs 7.63 and mean pH50 was 7.28 vs 7.11 for the two life processes, respectively) and the variability in the sensitivity of species increased with increasing number of species available for the PAF (pH10 standard deviation was 0.20, 0.21, and 0.33 for survival, reproduction, and growth, respectively). The SSDs were then applied to two climate change scenarios to estimate the increase in PAF (ΔPAF) by future ocean acidification. In a high CO2 emission scenario, ΔPAF was 3 to 10% (for pH50) and 21 to 32% (for pH10). In a low emission scenario, ΔPAF was 1 to 4% (for pH50) and 7 to 12% (for pH10). Our SSDs developed for the effect of decreasing ocean pH on calcifying marine species assemblages can also be used for comparison with other environmental stressors.
To further describe movement patterns and distribution of East Pacific green turtles (Chelonia mydas agassizii) and to determine threat levels for this species within the Eastern Pacific. In order to do this we combined published data from existing flipper tagging and early satellite tracking studies with data from an additional 12 satellite tracked green turtles (1996-2006). Three of these were tracked from their foraging grounds in the Gulf of California along the east coast of the Baja California peninsula to their breeding grounds in Michoacán (1337-2928 km). In addition, three post-nesting females were satellite tracked from Colola beach, Michoacán to their foraging grounds in southern Mexico and Central America (941.3-3020 km). A further six turtles were tracked in the Gulf of California within their foraging grounds giving insights into the scale of ranging behaviour. Turtles undertaking long-distance migrations showed a tendency to follow the coastline. Turtles tracked within foraging grounds showed that foraging individuals typically ranged up to 691.6 km (maximum) from release site location. Additionally, we carried out threat analysis (using the cumulative global human impact in the Eastern Pacific) clustering pre-existing satellite tracking studies from Galapagos, Costa Rica, and data obtained from this study; this indicated that turtles foraging and nesting in Central American waters are subject to the highest anthropogenic impact. Considering that turtles from all three rookeries were found to migrate towards Central America, it is highly important to implement conservation plans in Central American coastal areas to ensure the survival of the remaining green turtles in the Eastern Pacific. Finally, by combining satellite tracking data from this and previous studies, and data of tag returns we created the best available distributional patterns for this particular sea turtle species, which emphasized that conservation measures in key areas may have positive consequences on a regional scale.
There is a growing need to identify shark products in trade, in part due to the recent listing of five commercially important species on the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES; porbeagle, Lamna nasus, oceanic whitetip, Carcharhinus longimanus scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, smooth hammerhead, S. zygaena and great hammerhead S. mokarran) in addition to three species listed in the early part of this century (whale, Rhincodon typus, basking, Cetorhinus maximus, and white, Carcharodon carcharias). Shark fins are traded internationally to supply the Asian dried seafood market, in which they are used to make the luxury dish shark fin soup. Shark fins usually enter international trade with their skin still intact and can be identified using morphological characters or standard DNA-barcoding approaches. Once they reach Asia and are traded in this region the skin is removed and they are treated with chemicals that eliminate many key diagnostic characters and degrade their DNA (“processed fins”). Here, we present a validated mini-barcode assay based on partial sequences of the cytochrome oxidase I gene that can reliably identify the processed fins of seven of the eight CITES listed shark species. We also demonstrate that the assay can even frequently identify the species or genus of origin of shark fin soup (31 out of 50 samples).
Abundances of semi-pelagic fish are often estimated using acoustic or bottom trawl surveys, both of which sample only a fraction of the water column. Acoustic instruments are effective at sampling the majority of the water column, but they have a near-surface blind zone and a near-bottom acoustic dead zone (ADZ), where fish remain undetected. Bottom trawls are effective near the seabed, but miss fish that are located above the effective fishing height of the trawl. Quantification of the extent of overlap between these gears is needed, particularly in cases where environmental factors play a role. We developed logistic regression models to predict the availability (qa) of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) to both acoustic and bottom trawl gears using factors shown to affect qa (depth, light intensity, fish length) and introducing additional factors (tidal currents, surface and bottom temperature, sediment size). Results build on earlier studies and quantify the uncertainty associated with the estimation of the ADZ correction using Bayesian methods. Our findings indicate that on average during the day, walleye pollock are more available to the bottom trawl than to the acoustics. Availability to both gears depends mostly on bottom depth, light conditions, and fish size, and to a lesser extent sediment size. Availability to the acoustic gear is also related on surface temperature. Variability in availability to both gears also depends on environmental factors.
Studies typically assess the effects of temperature on development time, larval drift, and fisheries recruitment in American lobster at a range of constant temperatures. However, in nature, lobster larvae are exposed to varying temperatures, which might result in different development times than would be predicted from mean temperatures alone. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a modelling exercise in which we simulated larval development from hatch through stages I–IV under different combinations of mean and variance in temperature. Two thermal scenarios were modelled, the first based on estimated (i.e. interpolated by a model from empirical data) recent historical mean and variability of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) experienced by developing larvae in specific parts of the species' range, and the second based on a broad range of simulated combinations of mean and variability in temperature, including conditions that may be experienced by larvae in the future. The model calculated development times using daily SSTs and temperature-dependent development equations from previous studies of warm- and cold-water origin larvae. For warm-origin larvae, higher variability in temperature resulted in shorter development times at very cold and very warm mean temperatures, and longer development at intermediate mean temperatures, than lower (or no) variability. For cold-origin larvae, the effect of variable temperature was overall much smaller, and opposite to that for warm-origin larvae at very cold and very warm mean temperatures. These results show that lobster larvae experience meaningful variability of water temperature in nature, and that this variability can markedly impact larval development. Thermal variability therefore should be considered when estimating development and drift of lobster larvae, including under scenarios of climate change.
This paper examines the allocation of entitlement rights for the management of common property resources. In particular, the case of allocating a Total Allowable Catch quota for the Mediterranean swordfish is examined as a case study. The proposed approach comprises three steps. First, there is a bargaining procedure between the European Union (EU) and the rest of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) countries. As soon as an initial agreement is possible, the EU considers various equitable rationing methods to allocate its share to the European Member States. These rationing methods draw upon two different streams of the literature, bankruptcy and ‘burden sharing’. Finally, the European Member States reach a fair agreement through minimising an envy-free index. The allocation rule which is defined as the weighted average of equal proportion and equal share rationales represents the best compromise solution.
In coupled human and natural systems ecosystem services form the link between ecosystem function and what humans want and need from their surroundings. Interactions between natural and human components are bidirectional and define the dynamics of the total system. Here we describe the MIMES, an analytical framework designed to assess the dynamics associated with ecosystem service function and human activities. MIMES integrate diverse types of knowledge and elucidate how benefits from ecosystem services are gained and lost. In MIMES, users formalize how materials are transformed between natural, human, built, and social capitals. This information is synthesized within a systems model to forecast ecosystem services and human-use dynamics under alternative scenarios. The MIMES requires that multiple ecological and human dynamics be specified, and that outputs may be understood through different temporal and spatial lenses to assess the effects of different actions in the short and long term and at different spatial scales. Here we describe how MIMES methodologies were developed in association with three case studies: a global application, a watershed model, and a marine application. We discuss the advantages and disadvantage of the MIMES approach and compare it to other broadly used ecosystem service assessment tools.
In the present work, abundance, spatial distribution and qualitative composition, of benthic marine litter, were investigated in five study areas from the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas (Saronikos, Patras and Echinades Gulfs; Limassol Gulf; Constanta Bay). Surveys were performed using the monitoring protocol proposed by the Technical Group for Marine Litter. Densities ranged from 24 items/km2 to 1211 items/km2, with the Saronikos Gulf being the most affected area. Plastics were predominant in all study areas ranging from 45.2% to 95%. Metals and Glass/Ceramics reached maximum values of 21.9% and of 22.4%. The size distribution of litter items showed that ⩾50% fall into medium size categories (10 × 10 cm, 20 × 20 cm) along with an elevated percentage of small-sized (<5 × 5 cm) plastic litter items. The comparative analysis of the data highlighted the dependence of the marine litter problem on many local factors (human sources and oceanographic conditions) and the urgent need for specific actions.