The European Union (EU) instituted a carding system via its European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1005/2008 with the goal of incentivizing fish and fish products (fish) exporting countries to the Union to take action to reduce IUU fishing in their waters. This regulation stipulates that the EU will issue warnings, known as a “yellow card,” to countries that perform poorly in the effort to end IUU fishing in their waters. Failure to curb IUU fishing will result in a ban in the export of fish to the EU via the issuance of a red card. Here, I ask the following questions: what is the economic risk of being red carded by the EU? Is the economic risk big enough to significantly reduce IUU fishing in a targeted country’s waters? Would the risk be broad enough to result in a significant reduction in IUU fishing globally? What if the two other leading fish importing countries, i.e., the United States and Japan, also institute a similar carding system as the EU? To address these questions, I develop and compute an economic risk index for the carding system. This study suggests that the impact of an EU only IUU carding system could be significant for some targeted countries but its effect globally, with respect to reducing IUU fishing, would be minimal. However, I find that the economic risk to fish exporting countries would increase significantly if the United States and Japan also instituted similar carding systems, which would in turn help to reduce IUU fishing worldwide. This contribution shows that an IUU carding system could contribute significantly to the elimination of IUU fishing provided a critical mass of top fish importing countries participate in such a system.
The Gulf of Mexico blue carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrass, and salt marshes) form an important North American blue carbon hot spot. These habitats cover 2,161,446 ha and grow profusely in estuaries that occupy 38,000 km2 to store substantial sedimentary organic carbon of 480.48 Tg C. New investigations around GoM for Mexican mangroves, Louisiana salt marshes and seagrasses motivated our integration of buried organic carbon to elucidate a new estimate of GoM blue carbon stocks. Factors creating this include: large GoM watersheds enriching carbon slowly flowing through shallow estuarine habitats with long residence times; fewer SE Mexican hurricanes allowing enhanced carbon storage; mangrove carbon productivity enhanced by warm southern basin winter temperatures; large Preservation reserves amongst high anthropogenic development. The dominant total GoM mangrove blue carbon stock 196.88 Tg from total mangrove extent 650,482 ha is highlighted from new Mexican data. Mexican mangrove organic carbon stock is 112.74 Tg (1st sediment meter) plus USA 84.14 Tg. Mexican mangroves vary greatly in storage, total carbon depositional depths and in sediment age (to 3500 y). We report Mexican mangrove's conservative storage fraction for the normally-compared top meter, whereas the full storage depth estimates ranging above 366.78 Tg (high productivity in very deep sediment along the central Veracruz/Tabasco coast) are not reflected in our reported estimates. Seagrasses stock of 184.1 Tg C organic is derived from 972,327 ha areal extent (in 1st meter). The Louisiana marshes form the heart of GoM salt marsh carbon storage 99.5 Tg (in 1st meter), followed by lesser stocks in Florida, Texas, finally Mexico derived from salt marsh extent totaling 650,482 ha. Constraints on the partial estuarine fluxes given for this new data are discussed as well as widespread anthropogenic destruction of the GoM blue carbon. A new North American comparison of our GoM blue carbon stocks versus Atlantic coastal blue carbon stock estimates is presented.
Trait-based approaches to investigate (short- and long-term) phytoplankton dynamics and community assembly have become increasingly popular in freshwater and marine science. Although the nature of the pelagic habitat and the main phytoplankton taxa and ecology are relatively similar in both marine and freshwater systems, the lines of research have evolved, at least in part, separately. We compare and contrast the approaches adopted in marine and freshwater ecosystems with respect to phytoplankton functional traits. We note differences in study goals relating to functional trait use that assess community assembly and those that relate to ecosystem processes and biogeochemical cycling that affect the type of characteristics assigned as traits to phytoplankton taxa. Specific phytoplankton traits relevant for ecological function are examined in relation to herbivory, amplitude of environmental change and spatial and temporal scales of study. Major differences are identified, including the shorter time scale for regular environmental change in freshwater ecosystems compared to that in the open oceans as well as the type of sampling done by researchers based on site-accessibility. Overall, we encourage researchers to better motivate why they apply trait-based analyses to their studies and to make use of process-driven approaches, which are more common in marine studies. We further propose fully comparative trait studies conducted along the habitat gradient spanning freshwater to brackish to marine systems, or along geographic gradients. Such studies will benefit from the combined strength of both fields.
Farmlands are globally widespread and their management should consider both human and environmental needs. In fact, these man-made ecosystems provide subsistence to the human population but are also habitats for plant and animal communities. The worldwide increase of exotic species has affected native communities, but also human activities or health. We used an exploited farmland in northern Italy, where many exotics are present, as a test case for identifying restoration measures based on an ecosystem approach. In particular, we focused on red swap crayfish for its ecosystem engineering capabilities, and examined the factors affecting its invasion success in order to attempt the definition of management strategies. We used multivariate and regression analysis to evaluate the relationships between the red swamp crayfish, water quality, macrophytes abundance, watercourse hydraulics and the fish community. All analyses indicated that red swamp crayfish was less likely to establish in large, deeper and fast flowing waterways, especially when these are deprived of vegetation and less eutrophicated. Based on our results, fish predation was also a significant factor in limiting red swamp crayfish abundance. We thus concluded that a different hydraulic management, which leaves more water in irrigation canals throughout the winter, could be possibly used to slow down or even reverse the invasion process.
Exposure to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill may have lasting impacts on preservation of historic shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. Submerged steel structures, including shipwrecks, serve as artificial reefs and become hotspots of biodiversity in the deep sea. Marine biofilms on submerged structures support settlement of micro- and macro-biota and may enhance and protect against corrosion. Disruptions in the local environment, including oil spills, may impact the role that biofilms play in reef preservation. To determine how the Deepwater Horizon spill potentially impacted shipwreck biofilms and the functional roles of the biofilm microbiome, experiments containing carbon steels disks (CSDs) were placed at five historic shipwreck sites located within, and external to the benthic footprint of the Deepwater Horizon spill. The CSDs were incubated for 16 weeks to enable colonization by biofilm-forming microorganisms and to provide time for in situ corrosion to occur. Biofilms from the CSDs, as well as sediment and water microbiomes, were collected and analyzed by 16S rRNA amplicon gene sequencing to describe community composition and determine the source of taxa colonizing biofilms. Biofilm metagenomes were sequenced to compare differential gene abundances at spill-impacted and reference sites. Biofilms were dominated by Zeta-, Alpha-, Epsilon-, and Gamma-proteobacteria. Sequences affiliated with the Mariprofundus and Sulfurimonas genera were prolific, and Roseobacter, and Colwellia genera were also abundant. Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences from sediment, water, and biofilms revealed sediment to be the main known source of taxa to biofilms at impacted sites. Differential gene abundance analysis revealed the two-component response regulator CreC, a gene involved in environmental stress response, to be elevated at reference sites compared to impacted sites within the spill plume fallout area on the seafloor. Genes for chemotaxis, motility, and alcohol dehydrogenases were differentially abundant at reference vs. impacted sites. Metal loss on CSDs was elevated at sites within the spill fallout plume. Time series images reveal that metal loss at a heavily impacted site, the German Submarine U-166, has accelerated since the spill in 2010. This study provides evidence that spill residues on the seafloor may impact biofilm communities and the preservation of historic steel shipwrecks.
Reaching protected area (PA) coverage goals is challenged by a lack of sufficient financial resources. This funding gap is particularly pervasive for marine protected areas (MPAs). It has been suggested that marine conservationists examine examples from terrestrial protected areas (TPAs) for potential solutions to better fund MPAs. However, the funding needs for MPAs and TPAs have not been directly compared, and there is risk of management failures if any such differences are not properly considered when designing MPA financial strategies. We perform an in-depth literature review to investigate differences in distribution of costs incurred by MPAs and TPAs across three primary categories; establishment, operational, and opportunity costs. We use our findings to conduct a snapshot quantitative comparison, which we complement with theoretical support to provide preliminary insight into differences between MPA and TPA costs, and how these may influence financial strategies most appropriate for each type of PA. Our research suggests that TPA costs, and thereby funding requirements, are greater for the time period leading up to and including the implementation phase, whereas MPAs have higher financial requirements for meeting long-term annual operational costs. This may be primarily due to the prevalence of private property rights for terrestrial regions, which are less frequently in place for ocean areas, as well as logistical requirements for enforcement and monitoring in a marine environment. To cement these suggestions in greater analytical certainty, we call for more thorough and standardized PA cost reporting at all stages, especially for MPAs and PAs in developing countries. The quantity and quality of such data presently limits research in PA sustainable finance, and will need to be remedied to advance the field in future years.
Like many other countries, France and Japan now have their own ocean policy, though at different stage of development and in quite different context. On the European side, buzz words like ‘Blue Growth’, ‘Maritime Spatial Planning’, and others, are on the forefront and could make us feel that ocean policies are primarily focused beyond the coast, in offshore waters and their corresponding human activities, somewhat leaving coastal communities in the back seat. Through case studies, we will try to show that ocean policies should be coast-to-coast, across oceans, regional seas, or local well delineated water body, never forgetting that, beyond ‘Blue growth’, we should be heading towards a ‘Blue society’.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a common management strategy for conserving marine resources, but it can be challenging to evaluate their effectiveness for meeting management objectives. Measuring the effectiveness of MPAs is particularly challenging in dynamic and changing environments where other management approaches are simultaneously implemented. Before–after–control–impact (BACI) analysis is a tool that offers a simple and robust design for evaluating complex effects. However, design and interpretation of a BACI analysis is not always straightforward. The goal of this study was to explore the potential for BACI to evaluate MPA performance in a system simultaneously impacted by other management measures and environmental change. We develop a typology of interpretations of BACI results based on the main and interaction effects of the model, categorized by the extent to which dynamics inside and outside of the MPA are independent. Furthermore, we examine how decisions about the spatial and temporal design of the study, and the focal species and response variables, can determine which outcomes from within the typology are evident through BACI applications to New England groundfish area closures. We identify strengths and limitations of the BACI approach and demonstrate that BACI is a valuable but imperfect tool for evaluating MPAs.
Restoring degraded peat soils presents an attractive, but largely untested, climate change mitigation approach. Drained peat soils used for agriculture can be large greenhouse gas sources. By restoring subsided peat soils to managed, impounded wetlands, significant agricultural emissions are avoided, and soil carbon can be sequestered and protected. Here, we synthesize 36 site-years of continuous carbon dioxide and methane flux data from a mesonetwork of eddy covariance towers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in California, USA to compute carbon and greenhouse gas budgets for drained agricultural land uses and compare these to restored deltaic wetlands. We found that restored wetlands effectively sequestered carbon and halted soil carbon loss associated with drained agricultural land uses. Depending on the age and disturbance regime of the restored wetland, many land use conversions from agriculture to restored wetland resulted in emission reductions over a 100-year timescale. With a simple model of radiative forcing and atmospheric lifetimes, we showed that restored wetlands do not begin to accrue greenhouse gas benefits until nearly a half century, and become net sinks from the atmosphere after a century. Due to substantial interannual variability and uncertainty about the multi-decadal successional trajectory of managed, restored wetlands, ongoing ecosystem flux measurements are critical for understanding the long-term impacts of wetland restoration for climate change mitigation.
Ocean acidification (OA), the global decrease in surface water pH from absorption of anthropogenic CO2, may put many marine taxa at risk. However, populations that experience extreme localized conditions, and are adapted to these conditions predicted in the global ocean in 2100, may be more tolerant to future OA. By identifying locally adapted populations, researchers can examine the mechanisms used to cope with decreasing pH. One oceanographic process that influences pH, is wind driven upwelling. Here we compare two Californian populations of the coral Balanophyllia elegans from distinct upwelling regimes, and test their physiological and transcriptomic responses to experimental seawater acidification. We measured respiration rates, protein and lipid content, and gene expression in corals from both populations exposed to pH levels of 7.8 and 7.4 for 29 days. Corals from the population that experiences lower pH due to high upwelling, maintained the same respiration rate throughout the exposure. In contrast, corals from the low upwelling site had reduced respiration rates, protein content, and lipid‐class content at low pH exposure, suggesting they have depleted their energy reserves. Using RNA‐Seq, we found that corals from the high upwelling site upregulated genes involved in calcium ion binding and ion transport, most likely related to pH homeostasis and calcification. In contrast, corals from the low upwelling site downregulated stress response genes at low pH exposure. Divergent population responses to low pH observed in B. elegans highlight the importance of multi‐population studies for predicting a species’ response to future OA.
Marine ecosystem services provide various benefits to people. In order to receive those benefits sustainably, conservation of marine environment is an important measure, and how to motivate people to marine conservation would be one of the keys to secure sustainable receipt of marine ecosystem services. This study explores perception of marine ecosystem services by residents of remote islands, namely Taketomi Town in Japan and how the perception would influence their behavioural intentions for marine conservation. A questionnaire survey was administered to the residents, and factor analysis and Structural Equation Model were applied to analyse data from 344 respondents. The results show that respondents perceive marine ecosystem services in four categories, namely “Benefits closely related to daily lives”, “Benefits from supporting services”, “Benefits from regulating services”, and “Benefits irrelevant to daily lives”. Among the four categories, “Benefits from regulating services” is the most influential to enhance behavioural intentions for marine conservation. The perception of marine ecosystem services by respondents of Taketomi Town and their influence on behavioural intentions for marine conservation are different from the results of previous studies administered to residents in the main island Honshu, Japan. This shows possibility that perception of marine ecosystem services and motivation for behavioural intention for marine conservation would relate to their connectednesspossibility to the sea.
To facilitate the wider implementation of ecosystem modeling platforms and, thereby, to help advance ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) worldwide, tools delivering a large quantity of inputs to ecosystem models are needed. We developed a web application providing OSMOSE ecosystem models with values for trophic, growth and reproduction parameters derived from data from two global information systems (FishBase and SeaLifeBase). Our web application guides the user through simple queries to extract information from FishBase and SeaLifeBase data archives, and it delivers all the configuration files necessary for running an OSMOSE model. Here, we present our web application and demonstrate it for the West Florida Shelf ecosystem. Our software architecture can serve as a basis for designing other advanced web applications using FishBase and SeaLifeBase data in support of EBFM.
Despite growing plastic discharge into the environment, researchers have struggled to detect expected increases of marine plastic debris in sea surfaces, sparking discussions about “missing plastics” and final sinks, which are hypothesized to be coastal and deep-sea sediments. While it holds true that the highest concentrations of plastic particles are found in these locations (103-104 particles m-3 in sediments vs. 0.1-1 particles m-3in the water column), our meta-analysis also highlights that in open oceans, microplastic polymer types segregated in the water column according to their density. Lower density polymers, such as polypropylene and polyethylene, dominated sea surface samples (25% and 42%, respectively) but decreased in abundance through the water column (3% and 2% in the deep-sea, respectively), whereas only denser polymers (i.e.polyesters and acrylics) were enriched with depth (5% in surface seawater vs. 77 % in deep-sea locations). Our meta-analysis demonstrates that some of the most abundant and recalcitrant manufactured plastics are more persistent in the sea surface than previously anticipated and that further research is required to determine the ultimate fate of these polymers as current knowledge does not support the deep sea as the final sink for all polymer types.
The European Union has a legally-binding framework for the establishment of maritime spatial plans in the sea areas covered by the exclusive economic zones of its Member States by 2021. The European Commission is supporting EU Member States in their planning efforts with concrete tools and financing. The European Union is well positioned to use its experience and expertise in promoting international and transboundary maritime spatial planning to help address global and regional governance gaps and challenges in ocean management, thereby contributing to improved international ocean governance. In this paper, the European Commission's Bernhard Friess and Marie Grémaud-Colombier explain the EU's legal framework for maritime spatial planning, and elaborate on how the Commission supports EU Member States in the preparation of their maritime spatial plans and the establishment of lasting mechanisms for cross-border cooperation. They set out how the EU's MSP experience led to intensification of its work on international MSP, including with the adoption of the joint DG MARE – IOC-UNESCO Roadmap on International MSP which sets out a clear forward looking and global perspective towards implementing the Agenda 2030.
Ocean acidification (OA) is already impacting marine organisms and may fundamentally alter marine ecosystems in the coming decades, with major implications for ocean services, such as food provision. Though OA is an emerging concern in coastal zone management, current actions are limited to monitoring and knowledge production. This article presents a framework for addressing coastal zone OA in local-level policy agendas through workshops, and lessons learned and outcome from the implementation of this framework in two cases in southern and northern Norway. The framework includes four components: 1) facilitating knowledge exchange and identify challenges and opportunities relating to OA; 2) ensuring legitimacy of new knowledges; 3) building capacity through learning and skill development; and 4) raise awareness about OA among local decisionmakers. The case studies include local and regional coastal zone management stakeholders and, using OA measurements and modelling, illustrate co-production of new knowledge of coastal ocean acidification and its potential local impacts. Through two rounds of workshops, we demonstrate that the level of OA awareness markedly increases among stakeholders. This awareness manifests in vocal interest for looming projected impacts and their necessary mitigative measures. This concern is compounded by stakeholders who recognize that OA should be treated as a component of water-quality, implying that OA is gaining salience as a local policy issue. However, it is evident that local management faces challenges in addressing such an issue, combined with expectations that higher levels of government take responsibility for mitigative and adaptive actions in response to OA.
The delineation of essential fish habitats is necessary to identify, design and prioritize efficient marine protected area (MPA) networks with fishery objectives, capable, in addition to other possible objectives and functions of MPAs, of sustaining the renewal of marine living resources. Generally, the first step to obtain maps of essential fish habitats consists in choosing one of the numerous existing statistical approaches to build robust habitat suitability models linking relevant descriptors of the marine environment to the spatial distribution of fish presence or density. When these descriptors are exhaustively known, i.e. maps are available for each of them, geo-referenced predictions from these models and their related uncertainty may be imported into Geographic Information Systems for the quantitative identification and characterization of key sites for the marine living resources. The usefulness of such quantitative maps for management purposes is endless. These maps allow for the quantitative identification of the different habitats that are required for these marine resources to complete their life cycles and enable to measure their respective importance for population renewal and conservation. The consequences of anthropogenic pressures, not only fishing but also land reclamation, aggregate extractions or degradation of habitat quality (e.g. nutrient excess or xenobiotics loadings, invasive species or global change), on living resources, may also be simulated from such habitat models. These quantitative maps may serve as input in specific spatial planning software or to spatialise population or fishery dynamics, ecosystem or trophic models that may then be used to simulate various scenarios. Fish habitat maps thus may help decision makers to select relevant protection areas and design coherent MPA networks and management levels which objectives are to sustain fishing resources and fisheries.
How to improve marine oil spill response efficiency to minimize environmental and socioeconomic impacts has been recognized as a growing, critical need worldwide in both scientific and practical fields. The efficiency much depends on how sound the response decisions can be made simultaneously at both systematic (or holistic) (e.g., best use of resources for the entire response system) and individual levels (e.g., optimal operation of skimmers on a spill site). This study proposed a new simulation-based multi-agent particle swarm optimization (SA-PSO) approach for supporting marine spill decision-making through the integrated simulation and optimization of response device allocation and process control. Agent-based modeling as an emerging simulation method was first applied for simulating oil spill fate and response. Particle swarm optimization method was further adopted to optimize response device/vessel allocation and performance with a minimal cost and time. Multi-agent system finally controlled and transmitted the results from agent-based modeling and particle swarm optimization as a dynamic and interactive system. The proposed method was tested by a hypothetical case study in the North Atlantic Ocean with consideration of oil weathering and non-weathering scenarios based on simplified conditions. Through the developed approach, the response time was reduced by 11.7% and 5.9% respectively under the two scenarios for vessel allocation and recovery operations with about 90% decrement of fuel consumption. The results showed the strong capability of the approach for decision makings in oil spill responses by recommending optimal management of resources and efficient response operation in a dynamic manner.
Coastal wetlands are a significant carbon (C) sink since they store carbon in anoxic soils. This ecosystem service is impacted by hydrologic alteration and management of these coastal habitats. Efforts to restore tidal flow to former salt marshes have increased in recent decades and are generally associated with alteration of water inundation levels and salinity. This study examined the effect of water level and salinity changes on soil organic matter decomposition during a 60‐day incubation period. Intact soil cores from impounded fresh water marsh and salt marsh were incubated after addition of either sea water or fresh water under flooded and drained water levels. Elevating fresh water marsh salinity to 6 to 9 ppt enhanced CO2 emission by 50%−80% and most typically decreased CH4 emissions, whereas, decreasing the salinity from 26 ppt to 19 ppt in salt marsh soils had no effect on CO2 or CH4 fluxes. The effect from altering water levels was more pronounced with drained soil cores emitting ~10‐fold more CO2 than the flooded treatment in both marsh sediments. Draining soil cores also increased dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. Stable carbon isotope analysis of CO2 generated during the incubations of fresh water marsh cores in drained soils demonstrates that relict peat OC that accumulated when the marsh was saline was preferentially oxidized when sea water was introduced. This study suggests that restoration of tidal flow that raises the water level from drained conditions would decrease aerobic decomposition and enhance C sequestration. It is also possible that the restoration would increase soil C decomposition of deeper deposits by anaerobic oxidation, however this impact would be minimal compared to lower emissions expected due to the return of flooding conditions.
An inventory of the marine fish fauna in the extreme northeast of South America was performed, as well as biomass estimates, species richness and environmental variables were collected. Techniques of spatial statistics were used to identify biomass trends and species richness. The main objectives were to generate new information about the specific composition of the fish fauna, allowing the identification of the spatial and temporal distribution of fishing resources, as well as the influence of environmental variables on habitat use, generating information that contributes to establishing measures of management and conservation of the fishing resources of the region. Bottom trawls were conducted on the northern coast of the continental shelf of Rio Grande do Norte (Northeast of Brazil), between May 2002 and November 2004. A total of 20,895 fishes (806.5 kg) distributed within 153 species, 108 genera and 57 families were caught. The number of species identified by trawls ranged from 1 to 46. For species richness, the season of the year, depth, latitude, longitude and distance from the coast were statistically significant. Fish biomass presented values between 0.76 and 6,132 g/km, with highest values occurring between depths of 45 and 65 m during the rainy season, while in dry period higher biomass was found in depths from 35 to 75 m. According to the GLM, season of the year and depth influence the distribution of biomass. Thus, in general terms both models indicated that environmental variables directly influence the occurrence and distribution of the ichthyofauna of the continental shelf of Rio Grande do Norte and therefore should be prioritized in establishing measures for conservation and management of these important resources.
Carbon offset credits, and associated projects, are acclaimed to address economic, environmental and social issues simultaneously. However, critics argue that carbon offset mechanisms are ill equipped to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development. Social standards now exist to provide robust methods for assessing the social and biodiversity performance of carbon offset projects and credible impact assessments to help ensure positive outcomes for local people and biodiversity. Following such a standard, and simultaneously applying the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, we develop the Coastal Carbon Impacts Framework (CCIF) as a conceptual framework to document the potential positive and negative impacts of coastal carbon offset projects on local livelihoods. We apply the CCIF to four case studies and derive its main livelihood outcomes as well as describe potential long-term impacts. By using the capitals approach, the CCIF is able to dismantle the different impact areas into smaller entities. This allows a more detailed analysis on the positive and negative impacts a project has on communities – across the natural, financial, social, human, physical, cultural and political capital. While the case studies analysed show mainly positive outcomes, certainly no project is without risk of negatively impacting the community. The CCIF is however able to demonstrate potential social risk areas. If applied to additional coastal carbon offset projects, best practice documents, community engagement and the monitoring and evaluation process of such projects can be improved.