Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are known to contribute toward the conservation of marine biodiversity, particularly targeted fishery species. Snapper Chrysophrys auratus are an important recreational and commercial fish species in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and despite fishery management for this species, they are considered “growth overfished” in this region. To assess how C. auratus respond to the implementation of an MPA with several no-take and partially protected areas in temperate NSW, we monitored their populations over a decade (2006–2017) using baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs). Surveys were conducted in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park with BRUVs deployed on rocky reefs in depths of 20–50 m. Long term seasonal sampling (winter vs. summer) was undertaken at two locations (Broughton and Fingal Island), and changes in C. auratus abundance prior to, and 8 years after zoning implementation, were assessed between these two locations. In total, we sampled five no-take areas within the marine park and five comparative nearby partially protected fished areas and three sites located outside the marine park boundaries. The most pronounced changes in abundance and size structure for C. auratus were observed in the Broughton Island no-take area where numbers increased almost 3-fold (2.91 times) over 8 years of protection. Relative abundance showed seasonal variation at two locations, and we consistently recorded increasing abundance within no-take areas at Broughton and Fingal Island compared to nearby sites open to fishing. Surveys across the five no-take areas found a significant increase in the abundance of C. auratus, whilst the five partially-protected locations in the marine park still recorded higher abundances than sites outside the marine park. In addition, length measurements from stereo-BRUVS indicated that C. auratus were significantly larger in no-take areas compared to partially-protected areas in the marine park and sites outside the marine park. This study demonstrates how the implementation of the marine park and the protection afforded by no-take and partially-protected areas provides refuge for this important fishery targeted species.
The field of systematic conservation planning has grown substantially, with hundreds of publications in the peer-reviewed literature and numerous applications to regional conservation planning globally. However, the extent to which systematic conservation plans have influenced management is unclear. This paper analyses factors that facilitate the transition from assessment to implementation in conservation planning, in order to help integrate assessment and implementation into a seamless process. We propose a framework for designing implementation strategies, taking into account three critical planning aspects: processes, inputs, and context. Our review identified sixteen processes, which we broadly grouped into four themes and eight inputs. We illustrate how the framework can be used to inform context-dependent implementation strategies, using the process of ‘engagement’ as an example. The example application includes both lessons learned from successfully implemented plans across the engagement spectrum, and highlights key barriers that can hinder attempts to bridge the assessment-implementation gap.
Coral reefs can provide significant coastal protection benefits to people and property. Here we show that the annual expected damages from flooding would double, and costs from frequent storms would triple without reefs. For 100-year storm events, flood damages would increase by 91% to $US 272 billion without reefs. The countries with the most to gain from reef management are Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, and Cuba; annual expected flood savings exceed $400 M for each of these nations. Sea-level rise will increase flood risk, but substantial impacts could happen from reef loss alone without better near-term management. We provide a global, process-based valuation of an ecosystem service across an entire marine biome at (sub)national levels. These spatially explicit benefits inform critical risk and environmental management decisions, and the expected benefits can be directly considered by governments (e.g., national accounts, recovery plans) and businesses (e.g., insurance).
There is increasing evidence that intense fishing pressure is not only depleting fish stocks but also causing evolutionary changes to fish populations. In particular, body size and fecundity in wild fish populations may be altered in response to the high and often size‐selective mortality exerted by fisheries. While these effects can have serious consequences for the viability of fish populations, there are also a range of traits not directly related to body size which could also affect susceptibility to capture by fishing gears—and therefore fisheries‐induced evolution (FIE)—but which have to date been ignored. For example, overlooked within the context of FIE is the likelihood that variation in physiological traits could make some individuals within species more vulnerable to capture. Specifically, traits related to energy balance (e.g., metabolic rate), swimming performance (e.g., aerobic scope), neuroendocrinology (e.g., stress responsiveness) and sensory physiology (e.g., visual acuity) are especially likely to influence vulnerability to capture through a variety of mechanisms. Selection on these traits could produce major shifts in the physiological traits within populations in response to fishing pressure that are yet to be considered but which could influence population resource requirements, resilience, species’ distributions and responses to environmental change.
Recreational fishing has taken place for centuries and is a globally popular activity, yet a lack of monitoring data means historical trends in recreational fisheries are often little understood compared to their commercial counterparts. We examined archival sources and conducted fisher interviews to examine changes in the Queensland recreational snapper (Chrysophrys auratus) fishery throughout its documented history. We extracted data spanning the past 140 years on technological innovations, catch rate trends, and social and regulatory change. Technological innovations were evident throughout the history of the recreational fishery. During the 1960s, 1990s and 2000s, several periods of rapid technological transition occurred, where a technology was adopted by >50% of recreational fishers within 10 years of its introduction. Since the 1960s, the timing and rate of adoption of fish-finding technology by recreational fishers has kept pace with the commercial sector. These technological advances have profoundly increased recreational targeting ability, but despite these advances, recalled recreational catch rate trends demonstrated significant declines over the course of the 20th century. While minimum size limits have been imposed on the snapper fishery for over a century, in contrast, the introduction of recreational in-possession limits only commenced in the 1990s. At this time, the beginnings of a societal transition was also observed, where longstanding ‘take-all’ attitudes towards fishing began to be replaced by a more conservation-minded ethic. This shift was driven in part by the changing regulatory landscape, as well as wider attitudinal change influenced by the media and shifting societal norms, although whether this led to a reduction in total recreational catch remains unclear due to a lack of fishery-wide monitoring data and the open access nature of the recreational fishery. This study demonstrates that in the absence of systematic data collection, archival sources and fisher interviews can contribute an interdisciplinary knowledge base for understanding and interpreting historical fishery trends.
Depredation in longline fisheries by odontocete whales is a worldwide growing issue, having substantial socioeconomic consequences for fishers as well as conservation implications for both fish resources and the depredating odontocete populations. An example of this is the demersal longline fishery operating around the Crozet Archipelago and Kerguelen Island, southern Indian Ocean, where killer whales (Orcinus orca) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) depredate hooked Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). It is of great interest to better understand relationships of this modern fishery with its environment. Thus, we examined the factors influencing the decision-making process of fishers facing such competition while operating on a patch. Using optimal foraging theory as the underlying hypothesis, we determined that the probability captains left an area decreases with increasing fishing success, whereas in presence of competition from odontocete whales, it increases. Our study provides strong support that fishers behave as optimal foragers in this specific fishery. Considering that captains are optimal foragers and thus aim at maximizing the exploitation of the resources, we highlight possible risks for the long-term sustainability of the local ecosystems.
Environmental change amplifies the challenge of protecting and restoring Puget Sound. As rising pressures from population growth, development, unsustainable resource use, climate impacts and other factors alter this urbanizing basin, efforts to recover salmon and ecosystem health and to enhance climate resilience face unprecedented social complexities and intensifying competition for space. A multi-method study of citizen and practitioner perspectives on protection and restoration suggests that capacity to manage under these conditions can be improved through strengthening an approach that has already become central in restoration practice: multiple-benefit planning. In this research, we examine and compare planning approaches used to develop marine protected areas (MPA) and estuary restoration (ER) projects in Puget Sound. Surveying non-tribal public attitudes toward these projects, we found limited knowledge concerning existing MPAs but support for wider use of such protections. We find that initiatives pursuing conservation, protection, restoration and resilience can gain advantage from (a) broadly inclusive and collaborative planning; (b) recognition of tribal treaty rights, management authorities, and leadership; (c) careful consideration and mitigation of project impacts on affected people (e.g. especially tribal and non-tribal fisheries for MPAs; farm interests and landowners for restoration projects). We note that “no-take” MPA designation has stalled, while ER efforts are overcoming sharp objections and controversies by crafting projects to deliver multiple social-ecological benefits: improved flood control and drainage, salmon recovery, recreational enjoyment, and resilience to climate change. Comparable strategies have not yet evolved in designation of “no-take” MPAs in Puget Sound. We offer conclusions and recommendations for accelerating conservation and resilience initiatives to keep pace with a changing environment. A key human dimensions research-based recommendation is that increasing environmental pressures intensify the need to strengthen collaborative and sustained planning and implementation processes.
Numerous studies over the last decades have focused on marine protected areas (MPAs) and their effects on fish communities. However, there is a knowledge gap regarding how species that live associated with soft-substrates (e.g., sand, mud) respond to spatial protection. We analyzed abundance, biomass and total lengths of the soft-bottom fishes in a multiple-use MPA in the north-eastern Atlantic, the Luiz Saldanha Marine Park (Portugal), during and after the implementation of its management plan. Data were collected by experimental fishing in areas with three different levels of protection, during the implementation period and for three years after full implementation of the MPA. Univariate analysis detected significant biomass increases between the two periods. Fish assemblages were mainly structured by depth and substrate, followed by protection level. Community composition analyses revealed significant differences between protection levels and between the two periods. Species exhibited a broad variation in their response to protection, and we hypothesize that factors such as species habitat preferences, body size and late maturity might be underlying determinants. Overall, this study provides some evidence of protection effectiveness in soft-bottom fish communities, supported by the significant increase in biomass in the protected areas and the positive trends of some species.
The seafloor is recognized as one of the major sinks for microplastics (MPs). However, to date there have been no studies reported the MP contamination in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Therefore, this study provided the first data on the abundances and characteristics of MPs in a total of 413 dominant benthic organisms representing 11 different species inhabiting in the shelf of Bering and Chukchi Seas. The mean abundances of MP uptake by the benthos from all sites ranged from 0.02 to 0.46 items g−1 wet weight (ww) or 0.04–1.67 items individual−1, which were lower values than those found in other regions worldwide. The highest value appeared at the northernmost site, implying that the sea ice and the cold current represent possible transport mediums. Interestingly, the predator A. rubens ingested the maximum quantities of MPs, suggesting that the trophic transfer of MPs through benthic food webs may play a critical role. Fibers constituted the major type (87%) in each species, followed by film (13%). The colors of fibers were classified as red (46%) and transparent (41%), and the film was all gray. The predominant composition was polyamide (PA) (46%), followed by polyethylene (PE) (23%), polyester (PET) (18%) and cellophane (CP) (13%). The most common sizes of MPs concentrated in the interval from 0.10 to 1.50 mm, and the mean size was 1.45 ± 0.13 mm. Further studies about the temporal trends and detrimental effects of MPs remain to be carried out in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.
There is a good understanding of past and present coastal processes as a result of coastal monitoring programmes within the UK. However, one of the key challenges for coastal managers in the face of climate change is future coastal change and vulnerability of infrastructure and communities to flooding. Drawing on a vulnerability-led and decision-centric framework (VL-DC) a Decision Support Tool (DST) is developed which, combines new observations and modelling to explore the future vulnerability to sea-level rise and storms for nuclear energy sites in Britain. The combination of these numerical projections within the DST and a Real Options Analysis (ROA) delivers essential support for: (i) improved response to extreme events and (ii) a strategy that builds climate change resilience.
Advocates for recreational fishing, public servants charged with fisheries management, and scientists and other experts who provide objective advice, all need to understand the nature and dimensions of fisheries politics.
Accusing someone of “playing politics” usually is intended as a criticism, even an insult. But politics is the social process by which differences are expressed and resolved. If you don’t have differences, then you don’t have politics. A political situation, whether it is in a family, the workplace, government administration or a contest for public office is the process through which differences are discussed and settled.
Fisheries politics takes place at many levels. It determines the resources available to manage fisheries and understand their impacts. It defines the relationship between conservation and extraction. It determines the allocation of harvest between competing interests. It sets the international rules between nations for the conservation and sharing of migratory and straddling stocks.
Underlying these political relationships are rules and norms of political behavior that can be learned and practised by those who wish to maximize their influence over how fisheries are managed and practised.
Canada’s West Coast provides a useful example of efforts by the Canadian government to facilitate fisheries politics by providing structures and processes within which different interests can contribute to the politics of fisheries management. A participant-observer brings his perspective as both an ardent angler and a political scientist specializing in the relationship between interest groups and government to suggest some rules for effective engagement in fisheries politics.
In November and December 2016, local residents around St. Mary’s Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, noticed something alarming: thousands of dead fish were washing up along the coast. Scientists from the Canadian government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans investigated, but the cause remains a mystery. This research note excogitates a potential cause: dumped chemical and conventional munitions. Between 1918 and 1972, most industrialized countries disposed of surplus munitions at sea. As a result, hundreds of millions of tons of corroded ordnance now pollute marine environments around the world. The article then discusses various research obstacles impeding further scholarly investigations and the possible connections between underwater munitions and the mass death of aquatic life.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an essential tool for reversing the global degradation of ocean life. Hence, it is important to know which types of MPAs are more effective, and under which conditions. No-take marine reserves – the MPAs with stronger protection – are very effective in restoring and preserving biodiversity, and in enhancing ecosystem resilience. A new meta-analysis of previous studies shows that biomass of whole fish assemblages in marine reserves is, on average, 670% greater than in adjacent unprotected areas, and 343% greater than in partially-protected MPAs. Marine reserves also help restore the complexity of ecosystems through a chain of ecological effects (trophic cascades) once the abundance of large animals recovers sufficiently. Marine reserves may not be immune to the effects of climate change, but to date, reserves with complex ecosystems are more resilient than unprotected areas. Although marine reserves were conceived to protect ecosystems within their boundaries, they have also been shown to enhance local fisheries and create jobs and new incomes through ecotourism.
Much of my career has been focussed on exploring the causes and consequences of variation in the productivity of fish. The aim has been to provide better advice for fisheries management. We have realized that variation in the components of productivity, such as growth, maturation, and fecundity is substantial. Incorporating this variation into stock assessment leads to a significant change in the perception of reference points and stock status. If exploitation levels are not adjusted for varying productivity, they will not be sustainable. Although we have learned much about the causes and consequences of variation in productivity there is still much to learn. It will be a huge leap forward when we can explain the processes driving this variation and use this information in our population models. My contributions to the field have benefitted greatly from a series of collaborations that have fuelled my creativity, productivity and enjoyment. My direct involvement in stock assessment has resulted in my research being used directly in the provision of scientific advice and also opened up areas of research that I would not have otherwise pursued. Get involved. Be open to new opportunities and seize them. You never know where they will lead you!
I describe my personal evolution as a modeller of behaviour, both human and (non-human) animal behaviour, using dynamic state-variable models. At first I worked in renewable resource Economics, especially the economics of marine fisheries where I collaborated extensively with Gordon R. Munro. Subsequently, in collaboration with Marc Mangel (and many field biologists) I worked in Behavioural Ecology. Mathematical models have played a major role in both of these subjects, but until recently mostly static models were used, on the grounds that dynamic (not to mention stochastic) models were too difficult to work with. I express the hope that our use of relatively simple (but not too simple) dynamic models has established the fact that such models can be extremely helpful, perhaps essential, in understanding many aspects of behaviour.
As human activities continue to expand globally, there will be increased need to incorporate the impacts of these activities into ecological studies for a holistic understanding of ecosystems. Within the Southern California Bight, as in other highly productive marine ecosystems, fishing has long contributed to the ecology and evolution of marine fish and invertebrate communities. As fishing varies across space and over time, there is a need for a reliable metric that quantifies the spatiotemporal variation in the impact of fishing. Here, we quantify an index of harvest intensity on the highly productive and heavily fished, shallow rocky reefs of Southern California. To this end, we take advantage of two long‐term, spatially explicit, multi‐species datasets collected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on commercial and recreational marine harvest, combined with reef‐species survey data and a geospatial reef data layer. Using this approach, we recover predictable patterns for harvest intensity across the Southern California Bight, with harvest intensity decreasing in fishing blocks located at greater distances from the nearest port. Further, our results indicate an important interaction effect between distance to nearest port and year on harvest intensity, suggesting there are important shifts in spatiotemporal patterns over the 30‐year time period. As fishing can have numerous impacts on ecological and evolutionary processes, the observed spatiotemporal variation in harvest intensity illustrates the need for incorporating the contribution of human impacts into marine ecosystem studies.
This paper speaks to the home/away debate in tourism research through a case study of leisure boating. Practice theory and affordance theory, participant observation and interviews with boaters touring or departing from Bohuslän, Sweden are used to illustrate how changes in material affordances and material setup co-transform practices and meanings. Through the introduction of house-like facilities, powered by the boat’s engines and employing home skills, some boats afford a family/single person a more comfortable and independent “stay at home” on the sea than in the past, while boating resembling camping is becoming an ex-practice. However, boats continue to afford mobility, for which boating skills are required. This paper thus challenges the theoretical opposition in tourism studies between home and away.
To examine down-estuary effects and how differences in food webs along a salinity gradient might influence mercury (Hg) biomagnification, we conducted a study from 2010 to 2015 in an estuary with a known biological hotspot at its headwaters. Over 907 samples of biota, representing 92 different taxa of fish and invertebrates, seston and sediments were collected from the upper, middle and lower reach for Hg determination and for stable nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses. Trophic magnification slopes (TMS; log Hg versus δ15N), as a measure of biomagnification efficiency, ranged from 0.23 to 0.241 but did not differ statistically among reaches. Hg concentrations were consistently highest, ranging as high as 4.9 mg/kg in top predatory fish, in the upper-reach of the estuary where basal Hg entering the food web was also highest, as evidenced by methylmercury concentrations in suspension feeders. Top predatory fish at the mouth of the estuary contained relatively low [THg], likely due to lower basal Hg. This was nonetheless surprising given the potential for down-estuary biotransport.
The science-policy nexus has long puzzled scholars and managers working across diverse public policy areas, including environment. The rise of science-based management, especially in an era of big data, assumes science can improve environmental policy. At the same time, increasing attention to stakeholder engagement provides avenues for non-scientists to participate in collaborative environmental management, which might displace science in decision-making processes. Prior research points to a variety of factors thought to affect the degree to which science is used in collaborative partnerships. Drawing on such research, we examine the use of science across 9 collaborative partnerships structured and resourced from the top-down by a state government agency. All of these partnerships are working in the U.S.’s second largest estuary, the Puget Sound in Washington State. Data from partnership meeting minutes indicates that science is scarcely discussed in executive committee meetings, but is more commonly discussed in technical committee meetings. We thus might expect that the ecosystem management plans produced by these technical committees would be closely informed by science. Results indicate these plans include few citations to peer-reviewed scientific studies, but they do draw consistently on scientific information from grey literature including scientific and technical reports from federal and state agencies. These results raise important questions about government efforts to foster the use of science in collaborative partnerships, including the benefits and drawbacks of using grey literature rather than scientific articles directly, the interaction of science with other forms of knowledge, and local actors’ capacity to understand and access science.
Aquaculture is supporting demand and surpassing wild-caught seafood. Yet, most fed aquaculture species (finfish and crustacea) rely on wild-captured forage fish for essential fatty acids and micronutrients, an important but limited resource. As the fastest growing food sector in the world, fed aquaculture demand will eventually surpass ecological supply of forage fish, but when and how best to avoid this ecological boundary is unclear. Using global production data, feed use trends, and human consumption patterns, we show how combined actions of fisheries reform, reduced feed use by non-carnivorous aquaculture and agricultural species, and greater consistent inclusion of fish by-products in China-based production can circumvent forage fish limits by mid-century. However, we also demonstrate that the efficacies of such actions are diminished if global diets shift to more seafood-heavy (that is, pescatarian) diets and are further constrained by possible ecosystem-based fisheries regulations in the future. Long-term, nutrient-equivalent alternative feed sources are essential for more rapid and certain aquaculture sustainability.