Marine protected areas (MPAs) are used to protect species, communities, and their associated habitats, among other goals. Measuring MPA efficacy can be challenging, however, particularly when considering responses at the community level. We gathered 36 abundance and 14 biomass data sets on fish assemblages and used meta-analysis to evaluate the ability of 22 distinct community diversity metrics to detect differences in community structure between MPAs and nearby control sites. We also considered the effects of 6 covariates—MPA size and age, MPA size and age interaction, latitude, total species richness, and level of protection—on each metric. Some common metrics, such as species richness and Shannon diversity, did not differ consistently between MPA and control sites, whereas other metrics, such as total abundance and biomass, were consistently different across studies. Metric responses derived from the biomass data sets were more consistent than those based on the abundance data sets, suggesting that community-level biomass differs more predictably than abundance between MPA and control sites. Covariate analyses indicated that level of protection, latitude, MPA size, and the interaction between MPA size and age affect metric performance. These results highlight a handful of metrics, several of which are little known, that could be used to meet the increasing demand for community-level indicators of MPA effectiveness.
The interface between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems contributes to the provision of key ecosystem services including improved water quality and reduced flood risk. We develop an ecological–economic model using a Bayesian Belief Network (BBN) to assess and value the delivery of ecosystem services from riparian buffer strips. By capturing the interactions underlying ecosystem processes and the delivery of services we aim to further the operationalization of ecosystem services approaches. The model is developed through outlining the underlying ecological processes which deliver ecosystem services. Alternative management options and regional locations are used for sensitivity analysis.
We identify optimal management options but reveal relatively small differences between impacts of different management options. We discuss key issues raised as a result of the probabilistic nature of the BBN model. Uncertainty over outcomes has implications for the approach to valuation particularly where preferences might exhibit non-linearities or thresholds. The interaction between probabilistic outcomes and the statistical nature of valuation estimates suggests the need for further exploration of sensitivity in such models. Although the BBN is a promising participatory decision support tool, there remains a need to understand the trade-off between realism, precision and the benefits of developing joint understanding of the decision context.
We conducted a socioeconomic assessment of the commercial weathervane scallop (Patinopecten caurinus) fishery off Alaska. The research was structured within the framework of an SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, a strategy commonly used to analyze the internal (strengths, weaknesses) and external (opportunities, threats) components of an industry. Specifically, we focused on five categories: social, technological, economic, environmental, and regulatory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 27 participants who had detailed knowledge of the fishery, including industry members, fishery managers, biologists, and members of coastal communities who interact with the fishery. We addressed topics such as attitudes of the Alaskan public towards scallop dredging, impacts of the scallop industry on Alaskan coastal communities, market influences of U.S. east coast and imported scallops, changes in the management of the fishery, and a number of environmental considerations. Several unifying opinions emerged from this study, including a lack of awareness of the fishery in many Alaskan communities and fears about rising fuel costs and diminishing harvest levels. Whereas the data-poor status of the stock appears to be the fishery's biggest weakness, the greatest strengths come in the form of conservative management, industry self-regulation, and the small footprint of the fishery. Impending threats include stock decline, unknown long-term detrimental effects of dredging, and changes in the management and structure of the fishery with the sunset of the State of Alaska's limited entry permit program. Most participants consider the fishery to be managed sustainably, although lack of data on scallop recruitment and abundance is a large concern. This analysis provides relevant information to both fishery managers and scallop industry members to contribute to the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of the scallop fishery.
Integrated coastal management (ICM) is the paradigm for sustainable coastal development in South Africa and has been, since 2008, entrenched in government decision-making by the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, Act No. 24 of 2008 (ICM Act). The coast is a complex and dynamic space as a nexus of widely ranging and often conflicting socio-economic interests. ICM requires understanding and management of coastal systems at national and provincial policy-level but, more importantly, at the local government level. The ICM Act devolves some responsibility to municipalities, the smallest autonomous administrative management unit on the coast. However, this Act and the international literature are virtually silent on the most effective institutional arrangements to progress towards ICM within municipalities. This study is a “bottom-up” or examination of a number of internal institutional arrangements deemed appropriate to affect an increased degree of ICM within the City of Cape Town. This paper presents data and information that were collected during an institutional assessment of the coastal management competency in that city. Using a combination of qualitative methods, it was possible to assess three a priori scenarios of institutional arrangements for ICM in a large well-resourced municipality. The assessment resulted in a number of principles for the structuring of municipal institutions to increase the degree of ICM. The authors (from local government and the private, and research sector) contend that these principles are first applicable to metropolitan cities of South Africa but that it could also apply to local-level administrative units elsewhere. The data from the City of Cape Town indicate relatively low degrees of ICM, commensurately low degrees of political interest and constrained institutions, even within the buoyant and well-structured national ICM framework. Political interest; interpersonal and departmental conflicts; institutional idiosyncrasies, and overlapping operational mandates are not empirically measurable but are fundamentally rooted to the effectiveness of ICM.
Entered into force in 2011, the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in the Mediterranean is a major innovation in that it is the first supra-State legal instrument aimed at coastal zone management. However, the nature and magnitude of change it is actually generating, or is likely to generate, in domestic coastal zones management systems, are highly uncertain. Investigating such prospects for change in contrasted contexts around the Mediterranean, and therefore providing a critical view of the Protocol as a game-changer, is the aim of this article. Results call for vigilance: the risk is real that the Protocol will not change much and that it will become a paper-protocol only. Ratifying it is – relatively – easy. Avoiding “ratifications of convenience” is more demanding. For various reasons the Protocol is likely to have mostly limited impacts on domestic coastal law development. It probably has more potential in terms of influencing changes in governance processes and increasing the social demand for ICZM. But this potential may only be translated into facts under stringent conditions on political will and good faith from Parties to adopt an ambitious understanding of the Protocol, and on appropriation by civil societies around the Mediterranean.
The need for a statutory framework to manage valuable marine resources in the United States is highlighted by problems such as fragmented ocean governance and increasing conflict over the use of ocean spaces. On July 19, 2010 President Obama signed Executive Order 13547 to create a National Ocean Policy (NOP) for the United States. A subsequent Implementation Plan, released in 2013, set up hundreds of actions to be accomplished between 2013 and 2025 to address economic, community, scientific and other issues. Progress implementing the NOP appears to have stalled. The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the NOP and its Implementation Plan, and then discuss what needs to be done to bring the vision it set forth to fruition.
Non-indigenous species (NIS) are recognized as a global threat to biodiversity and monitoring their presence and impacts is considered a prerequisite for marine environmental management and sustainable development. However, monitoring for NIS seldom takes place except for a few baseline surveys. With the goal of serving the requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, the paper highlights the importance of early detection of NIS in dispersal hubs for a rapid management response, and of long-term monitoring for tracking the effects of NIS within recipient ecosystems, including coastal systems especially vulnerable to introductions. The conceptual framework also demonstrates the need for port monitoring, which should serve the above mentioned requirements but also provide the required information for implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments. Large scale monitoring of native, cryptogenic and NIS in natural and man-made habitats will collectively lead to meeting international requirements. Cost-efficient rapid assessments of target species may provide timely information for managers and policy-advisers focusing on particular NIS at particular localities, but this cannot replace long-term monitoring. To support legislative requirements, collected data should be verified and stored in a publicly accessible and routinely updated database/information system. Public involvement should be encouraged as part of monitoring programs where feasible.
Automatic identification system (AIS) is becoming increasingly popular with marine vessels providing accessible, up-to-date information on vessel activity in the marine environment. Although AIS has been utilised in several different fields to address specific questions, no published work has outlined the potential of AIS as a tool for a wide range of industries and users of the marine environment such as spatial planning, developments, and local marine industries (e.g. fisheries). This work demonstrates a procedure for processing, analysing, and visualisation of AIS data with example outputs and their potential uses. Over 730 000 data points of AIS information for 2013 from around Shetland were processed, analysed, and mapped. Tools used included density mapping, vessel tracks, interpolations of vessel dimensions, and ship type analysis. The dataset was broken down by sector into meaningful and usable data packets which could also be analysed over time. Density mapping, derived from both point and vessel track data, proved highly informative but were unable to address all aspects of the data. Vessel tracks showed variation in vessel routes, especially around island groups. Additional uses of AIS data were addressed and included risk mapping for invasive non-native species, fisheries, and general statistics. Temporal variation of vessel activity was also discussed.
Models are increasingly used to support decision-making in the management of natural resources. They can provide system understanding, learning, a platform for stakeholder engagement, projections of system behaviour and an environment for virtual testing of alternative management strategies. However, rarely is a single numerical model suitable for all these purposes. Our experience is that a suite of models of different size, complexity and scope can be more effective and can better address the needs of environmental management projects. Models of different complexity can address different needs, but can also be combined as a flexibly sculpted tool kit – as they require very different development effort they can be deployed at different stages during a project. Using rapidly deployed qualitative, or simple quantitative, models stakeholders can be exposed to models very early in the project, eliciting feedback on appropriate model content and familiarity with the modelling process without affecting the development of more complex, resource intensive, models aimed at answering core management questions. This early and continuous stakeholder exposure to models provides flexibility in addressing specific novel questions as they arise during project development, as well as an opportunity for developing skills and changing both modellers and stakeholders’ attitudes, as is often needed when facing complex problems.
Using an example where we used five different model types in an effort to inform policy-making around regional multiple use management in north-western Australia, we describe (i) how each model type can be used, (ii) the different roles the models cover, and (iii) how they fit into a full decision making process and stakeholder engagement. We conclude by summarising the lessons we learnt.
We are at a key juncture in history where biodiversity loss is occurring daily and accelerating in the face of population growth, climate change, and rampant development. Simultaneously, we are just beginning to appreciate the wealth of human health benefits that stem from experiencing nature and biodiversity. Here we assessed the state of knowledge on relationships between human health and nature and biodiversity, and prepared a comprehensive listing of reported health effects. We found strong evidence linking biodiversity with production of ecosystem services and between nature exposure and human health, but many of these studies were limited in rigor and often only correlative. Much less information is available to link biodiversity and health. However, some robust studies indicate that exposure to microbial biodiversity can improve health, specifically in reducing certain allergic and respiratory diseases. Overall, much more research is needed on mechanisms of causation. Also needed are a re-envisioning of land-use planning that places human well-being at the center and a new coalition of ecologists, health and social scientists and planners to conduct research and develop policies that promote human interaction with nature and biodiversity. Improvements in these areas should enhance human health and ecosystem, community, as well as human resilience.
Assessments and sustainable management of ecosystem services (ES) require an understanding of both ES supply and demand qualities, quantities, spatial scales and dynamics. Mismatches, i.e., differences in quality or quantity between the supply and demand of ES, can occur in many different forms. Being able to identify these mismatches and their nature is of prime importance for informing governance and management decisions. This manuscript explores which mismatches can be detected by current ES supply and demand assessments and which mismatches currently remain unidentified.
An analytic framework was developed comprised of five interlinked components of ES supply and demand linking nature and society (i.e., potential supply, managed supply, match, demand, and interests). This framework was used to examine 11 recent papers, which applied ES assessments to both ES supply and demand, to determine which mismatches were or could be identified and which mismatches remained unidentified.
The selected papers typically used multiple methods in their assessments to capture supply and demand components. The found diversity in methods and the inclusion of temporal and spatial dimensions, and the existence of multiple stakeholder groups allowed for the assessments to identify several mismatches, but also lead to differences in the discriminative capacity of the assessments between the selected papers. The mismatch that was most often included in the assessments was Unsatisfied demand, whereas the least included mismatch was Unsustainable uptake. The mismatches caused by differing spatial patterns were most often identified, whereas the existence of mismatches among different stakeholder groups was least often detected in the assessment methods.
Three options emerged that could further strengthen the discriminative capacity of ES supply and demand assessments to inform sustainable ES governance and management decisions: (i) include multiple stakeholders groups and the diversification of their roles and demands; (ii) acknowledge that ES supply is not only determined by the bio-geophysical conditions, but also determined by the ES demand by society, in terms of their quantity, quality and location, as well as by the applied management; (iii) include temporal and spatial scale sensitivity into the discriminative capacity of assessment methods to allow for a better identification which institutional structures could most effectively act upon them.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been widely used to protect benthic habitats and sedentary species. They have also been used as fisheries management tools. Historically, MPAs alone have been considered ineffective for the protection of highly mobile species, because MPAs are unlikely to cover the range of a highly mobile species for a sufficient proportion of time. Recent studies, however, have shown MPAs to be successful in the protection of certain mobile species. The majority and most successful of these examples tend to focus on tropical reef species because there is currently a lack of understanding about mobile species from temperate climates. Questions therefore remain regarding their success for the wide ranging and migratory species found in temperate regions. We reviewed the relevant literature and discuss the critical factors that should be considered during MPA designation, but focus on how these relate to highly mobile fish species in particular. We use examples from both tropical and temperate regions to illustrate how current knowledge can be a useful starting point in MPA design where information is lacking. We conclude that using studies from tropical waters can fill some gaps in scientific data for some temperate species, but that scientific evidence is crucial to MPA success in temperate areas.
Common dolphins, Delphinus sp., are one of the marine mammal species tourism operations in New Zealand focus on. While effects of cetacean-watching activities have previously been examined in coastal regions in New Zealand, this study is the first to investigate effects of commercial tourism and recreational vessels on common dolphins in an open oceanic habitat. Observations from both an independent research vessel and aboard commercial tour vessels operating off the central and east coast Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand were used to assess dolphin behaviour and record the level of compliance by permitted commercial tour operators and private recreational vessels with New Zealand regulations. Dolphin behaviour was assessed using two different approaches to Markov chain analysis in order to examine variation of responses of dolphins to vessels. Results showed that, regardless of the variance in Markov methods, dolphin foraging behaviour was significantly altered by boat interactions. Dolphins spent less time foraging during interactions and took significantly longer to return to foraging once disrupted by vessel presence. This research raises concerns about the potential disruption to feeding, a biologically critical behaviour. This may be particularly important in an open oceanic habitat, where prey resources are typically widely dispersed and unpredictable in abundance. Furthermore, because tourism in this region focuses on common dolphins transiting between adjacent coastal locations, the potential for cumulative effects could exacerbate the local effects demonstrated in this study. While the overall level of compliance by commercial operators was relatively high, non-compliance to the regulations was observed with time restriction, number or speed of vessels interacting with dolphins not being respected. Additionally, prohibited swimming with calves did occur. The effects shown in this study should be carefully considered within conservation management plans, in order to reduce the risk of detrimental effects on common dolphins within the region.
In this report, we synthesize the overarching principles and general guidelines that underpin the establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks designed to meet ecological, governance, social and cultural objectives, based on the peer-reviewed literature. These guidelines are supported by scientific research, institutional experience and global case studies, and take a social-ecological systems approach to marine conservation. Our synthesis suggests the successful establishment and effective management of MPA networks depend on legitimate and effective governance arrangements that can accommodate ecological criteria while considering the perspectives and input of local resource users and stakeholders. Planners, managers and decision-makers can use the guidelines summarized in this report to support the process of MPA network design in their local contexts. We discuss how several of the design guidelines apply to the Pacific region of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, given the federal and provincial governments have committed to establishing a bioregional network of MPAs.
Specifically, this report contains:
- Ecological principles and guidelines for MPA network design, with discussion and recommendations on how each of these principles could be applied in B.C.;
- Species-specific movement and larval duration estimates for a selection of marine species of ecological, economic, cultural and conservation importance in B.C., with recommendations on how this can inform guidelines on the size and spacing of MPA networks in B.C.;
- Overarching principles from global literature on good governance of MPAs and MPA networks;
- Design goals and strategies for achieving different social objectives in MPA and MPA network planning; and
- Opportunities and challenges for integrating local knowledge systems (focus on Traditional Ecological Knowledge) into marine planning and MPA design.
- An assessment of relevant B.C. policy documents using the ecological and good governance guideline frameworks.
The benefits of Washington’s outdoor recreation industry go beyond supporting jobs to include creating a way of life. It is estimated that Washingtonians, on average, spend 56 days a year recreating outdoors. According to the recreation surveys and public land records used in this study, there were a total of about 446 million participant days a year spent on outdoor recreation in Washington, resulting in $21.6 billion dollars in annual expenditures.
Expenditures were highest for recreation associated with public waters. Water recreation includes a number of activities with high trip and equipment expenditures, especially motorized boating. Ranking second were special events such as sports tournaments and races, which generally involve fees and attract overnight stays. Ranking third was recreation on private lands, which includes expensive recreation activities such as golf, skiing, and off-highway vehicle riding and hunting, which often occur on private timberland. Local parks are the most common place for people to visit as well as the most accessible and least costly destination.
Around the globe, marine soft sediments on continental shelves are affected by bottom trawl fisheries. In this study, we explore the effect of this widespread anthropogenic disturbance on the species richness of a benthic ecosystem, along a gradient of bottom trawling intensities. We use data from 80 annually sampled benthic stations in the Dutch part of the North Sea, over a period of 6 years. Trawl disturbance intensity at each sampled location was reconstructed from satellite tracking of fishing vessels. Using a structural equation model, we studied how trawl disturbance intensity relates to benthic species richness, and how the relationship is mediated by total benthic biomass, primary productivity, water depth, and median sediment grain size. Our results show a negative relationship between trawling intensity and species richness. Richness is also negatively related to sediment grain size and primary productivity, and positively related to biomass. Further analysis of our data shows that the negative effects of trawling on richness are limited to relatively species-rich, deep areas with fine sediments. We find no effect of bottom trawling on species richness in shallow areas with coarse bottoms. These condition-dependent effects of trawling suggest that protection of benthic richness might best be achieved by reducing trawling intensity in a strategically chosen fraction of space.
Ghost fishing is the capacity of lost traps to continue to catch and kill animals. In the spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) fishery in Florida, the effects of ghost fishing are of particular concern, given the estimated 10s of 1000s of traps lost annually. We distributed 40 each of the three types of lobster traps (wire, wood–wire hybrid, and wood slat) at three locations in the Florida Keys to simulate ghost fishing. Divers monitored these traps biweekly for 1 year then monthly for two additional years, recording the time ghost traps remained intact and continued to fish, as well as the number of live and dead lobsters and other animals in each trap. Wood slat and hybrid traps remained intact and fished for 509 ± 97 (median ± median absolute deviation) and 480 ± 142 d, respectively. Wire traps fished significantly longer (779.5 ± 273.5 d, p < 0.001), and several fished until the end of the experiment (1071 d). Traps in Florida Bay fished longer (711.5 ± 51.5 d) than traps inshore (509 ± 94.5 d) and offshore (381 ± 171 days; p < 0.001) in the Atlantic Ocean. More lobsters were observed in hybrid traps (mean = 4.81 ± 0.03 s.e.) than in wood slat (3.85 ± 0.16) or wire traps (3.17 ± 0.03; F = 40.15, d.f. = 2, p < 0.001). Wire traps accounted for 83% of fish confined overall and 74% of the dead fish observed in traps. Ghost traps in Florida Bay and Atlantic inshore killed 6.8 ± 1.0 and 6.3 ± 0.88 lobsters per trap annually, while Atlantic offshore traps killed fewer (3.0 ± 0.69) lobsters, likely as a result of lower lobster abundance in traps. The combined effects of greater lobster mortality and greater abundance of lost traps in inshore areas account for the majority of the estimated 637 622 ± 74 367 (mean ± s.d.) lobsters that die in ghost traps annually.
Increasing human pressures and global environmental change may severely affect the diversity of species assemblages and associated ecosystem services. Despite the recent interest in phylogenetic and functional diversity, our knowledge on large spatio-temporal patterns of demersal fish diversity sampled by trawling remains still incomplete, notably in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the most threatened marine regions of the world. We investigated large spatio-temporal diversity patterns by analysing a dataset of 19,886 hauls from 10 to 800 m depth performed annually during the last two decades by standardised scientific bottom trawl field surveys across the Mediterranean Sea, within the MEDITS program. A multi-component (eight diversity indices) and multi-scale (local assemblages, biogeographic regions to basins) approach indicates that only the two most traditional components (species richness and evenness) were sufficient to reflect patterns in taxonomic, phylogenetic or functional richness and divergence. We also put into question the use of widely computed indices that allow comparing directly taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversity within a unique mathematical framework. In addition, demersal fish assemblages sampled by trawl do not follow a continuous decreasing longitudinal/latitudinal diversity gradients (spatial effects explained up to 70.6% of deviance in regression tree and generalised linear models), for any of the indices and spatial scales analysed. Indeed, at both local and regional scales species richness was relatively high in the Iberian region, Malta, the Eastern Ionian and Aegean seas, meanwhile the Adriatic Sea and Cyprus showed a relatively low level. In contrast, evenness as well as taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional divergences did not show regional hotspots. All studied diversity components remained stable over the last two decades. Overall, our results highlight the need to use complementary diversity indices through different spatial scales when developing conservation strategies and defining delimitations for protected areas.
The impact of mean sea level rise (SLR) on extreme water levels is investigated using a numerical model that covers the entire North Sea, but has its highest spatial resolution in the northern part of the German Bight. A 40-year hindcast covering the period 1970 to 2009 is conducted using observed mean sea level (MSL) changes, tides and atmospheric forcing as boundary conditions. The model reproduces the observed water levels well for this control period. A second 40-year run is then conducted considering the same atmospheric forcing but adding + 0.54 m to the MSL to explore the effects of sea level rise on storm surges in the investigation area. At most locations, the second model run leads to changes in the storm surge water levels that are significantly different from the changes in MSL alone. The largest increases of the order of 15 cm (in addition to the MSL changes) occur in the shallow water areas of the Wadden Sea. These increases in storm surge water levels are caused by nonlinear changes in the tidal constituents which are spatially not coherent. The response of the tidal propagation to SLR is investigated based on the results from a tidal analysis of each individual event. These analyses point to an increase in the M2 amplitude and decrease in the amplitudes of frictional and overtides accompanied by less tidal wave energy dissipation. Attributed effects are changes in phase lags of individual constituents leading to a different tidal modulation, thus additionally increasing tidal water levels. Finally, we estimate how SLR affects return water levels in the northern part of the German Bight, with the result that relevant design water levels increase due to the non-linear relationship between SLR and changes in extremes.
Sociospatial information is critical to marine and coastal ecosystem management. The Hawaii Coastal Uses Mapping Project used a participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) methodology to gather local knowledge regarding the location and intensity of coastal human activities in Hawaii's priority sites for coral reef management. PGIS provided an efficient and effective means of obtaining information in a data-poor context, particularly at a scale and location where considerable local knowledge is held by community members and resource users. We detail the PGIS methods developed to collect sociospatial data on human uses in the project regions and discuss important considerations regarding the practice of PGIS that emerged from the mapping process, as well as implications for the production and documentation of spatial knowledge. Key themes include: issues of scale and appropriateness in using PGIS as a method for mapping human coastal and marine activities; data validity, authority, and the nature of local knowledge; community trust, engagement, and collaboration; and utility for coral reef management. While several factors limit local agencies' ability to use this spatial information to date, natural resource managers found the participatory mapping process to be highly valuable for stakeholder identification and engagement, and the maps provide a resource to state and federal managers to better understand the human implications of future management scenarios.