Taking changes, uncertainty and diversification of ecosystems and societies as prerequisites, the effective way to implement stable fisheries management involves engaging the stakeholders (e.g., fishers, authorities and researchers) in discussions of issues. Such dialogues allow the participants to select and implement initiatives for measures that suit the location in question. This process also can accommodate revisions to compensate for changes in nature and society as the results and significance of the initiatives are continually appraised via the varied knowledge possessed by the stakeholders. And, to support this kind of deliberation and decision-making, in cooperation with fishers, we have developed and are sharing a fisheries management tool-box. As a result, we are now able to compare various sites using a common framework, which enables us to search out general theories for fisheries management in the future. Moreover, by using the tool-box in recurring discussions among the diverse range of knowledge holders at the site in question, the diverse perspectives of stakeholders (including researchers) change. In turn, that change can be fed back to the tool-box, with the hope that it will contribute to “co-evolution” of knowledge related to fisheries management.
Recruitment and connectivity are important criteria for designing effective marine protected areas, as coastal fish populations must be sustained by settling juveniles. However, patterns of recruitment are difficult to observe, and adults and juveniles may occupy distinct habitats. We examined patterns of adult black rockfish Sebastes melanops abundance with respect to habitat and spatiotemporal variability in recruitment of young-of-the-year (YOY) to determine how these variables influence population density in and around a rockfish conservation area (RCA). For most year classes, there was no relationship between the density of YOY and the density of 1 yr olds or the density of adults, and instead habitat variables such as topological complexity and the amount of rocky substrate predicted adult black rockfish abundance. For 1 year class of moderate abundance at the YOY stage but high abundance at the 1 yr old stage, a significant relationship between 1 yr olds and subsequent adults was observed. We surmise that overwinter survival of YOY fish may be an important determinant for year-class strength in black rockfish. Although a companion study found low recruitment of YOY inside the RCA, our data indicate that the density of many species of rockfish was higher inside the RCA. These results highlight how the density of adults can be determined by post-recruitment processes such as movement into suitable habitat and mortality, rather than by recruitment of YOY, and have implications for the design of marine reserve networks.
In tropical and subtropical zones, the majority of people live along the coastline, relying on coastal fishery resources to make their livings. Yet, over fishing is deteriorating these resources, and coral and mangrove ecosystems that underpin the resources are threatened. Recently, though, attention is turning to marine protected areas (MPAs) as a method to effectively preserve ecosystems and manage fishery resources. In this chapter, we introduce two cases concerning Okinawa and Fiji, to show how community-based MPA approaches were activated by bilateral knowledge translators, as well as how specific processes were used to develop a broader framework. In the five types of Okinawan MPAs established with fishery cooperative associations (FCAs) at their core, prefectural fisheries extension officers and researchers are proving helpful as bilateral translators in effective management of resources. In Fiji, activities are incorporated into an international framework, with an MPA network system spreading rapidly. And, in Fiji as well, various bilateral translators are active in managing coastal resources.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) necessarily requires a degree of coordination across countries that share ocean ecosystems, and among national agencies and departments that have responsibilities relating to ocean health and marine resource utilization. This requires political direction, legal input, stakeholder consultation and engagement, and complex negotiations. Currently there is a common perception that within and across national jurisdictions there is excessive legislative complexity, a relatively low level of policy coherence or alignment with regards to ocean and coastal EBM, and that more aligned legislation is needed to accelerate EBM adoption. Our Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) task group was comprised of a small, focused and interdisciplinary mix of lawyers, social scientists, and natural scientists from Canada, the USA, and the EU. We characterized, compared, and synthesized the mandates that govern marine activities and ocean stressors relative to facilitating EBM in national and international waters of the North Atlantic, and identified formal mandates across jurisdictions and, where possible, policy and other non-regulatory mandates. We found that irrespective of the detailed requirements of legislation or policy across AORA jurisdictions, or the efficacy of their actual implementation, most of the major ocean pressures and uses posing threats to ocean sustainability have some form of coverage by national or regional legislation. The coverage is, in fact, rather comprehensive. Still, numerous impediments to effective EBM implementation arise, potentially relating to the lack of integration between agencies and departments, a lack of adequate policy alignment, and a variety of other socio-political factors. We note with concern that if challenges regarding EBM implementation exist in the North Atlantic, we can expect that in less developed regions where financial and governance capacity may be lower, that implementation of EBM could be even more challenging.
Over 25 years ago the first satellite tracking studies of sea turtles were published. The technology and attachment methods have now come of age with long-term tracks over a year being commonplace and the ability to relay high resolution GPS locations via the Argos satellite system along with behavioral (e.g., diving and activity) and environmental (e.g., temperature) data. Early studies focused on breeding females because they come ashore to nest, allowing individuals to be restrained relatively easily for tag attachment. However, today the development of methods for the capture of turtles at sea are increasingly allowing studies on both adult male turtles as well as immature turtles as small as 11 cm carapace length. Here we review the extent of work after many thousands of individual turtles have been tracked. We consider the state-of-the-art equipment for satellite tracking turtles and how this technology is being used to tackle key questions. We highlight some of the emerging opportunities arising from improved spatial resolution of tracking, increased robustness and miniaturization of tags as well as increasing availability of environmental data. We highlight the huge potential for big-data studies to make use of the thousands of tracks that exist, although we discuss the long-standing challenges surrounding data accessibility.
As a response to increasing human pressures on marine ecosystems, the legislation aimed at improving the conservation and management of marine coastal areas in European and Contiguous Seas (ECS) underwent crucial advances. ECS, however, still remain largely affected by increasing threats leading to biodiversity loss. Here, by using emblematic case studies and expert knowledge, we review current conservation tools, comparing their application in different areas to assess their effectiveness, potential for synergies, and contradictions. Despite regional differences in their application, the existing legislative frameworks have the potential to regulate human activities and to protect marine biodiversity. However, four challenges remain to be addressed to fully achieve environmental policy goals: (1) Lack of shared vision representing a limitation in transboundary collaboration. Although all EU countries are committed to fulfil EU Directives and other binding international legislative acts, a remarkable heterogeneity exists among countries in the compliance with the common legislation on conservation and in their degree of implementation. (2) Lack of systematic procedures for the selection of protected marine sites. Regional and national approaches in designating Natura 2000 sites and nationally designated marine protected areas (MPAs) reflect varying conservation targets and importance of conservation issues in political agendas. (3) Lack of coherent ecological networks. Natura 2000 sites and other MPAs are still far from reaching the status of effective networks in all considered case studies. (4) Hotspot of conflicts with private economic interests prevailing over conservation aims. Recommendations are given to overcome the fragmented approach still characterizing the conservation and management of coastal marine environments. Holistic, integrated, ecosystem-based, cross-cutting approaches can avoid conflicts among institutions so as to provide effective and timely solutions to current and future challenges concerning the conservation and management of marine ecosystems and associated goods and services.
Marine benthic habitats are modified by a number of human-related disturbances. When these disturbances occur at large scales over areas of high environmental variability, it is difficult to assess impacts using metrics such as species richness or individual species distributions because of varying species-specific responses to environmental drivers (e.g., exposure, sediment, temperature). Impact assessment can also be problematic when assessed at broad spatial scales because of regional heterogeneity of species pools. Even when effects on individual species can be detected, it is difficult to upscale from individual species to ecosystem scale effects. Here, we use a functional group approach to assess broad scale patterns in ecological processes with respect to fishing and environmental drivers. We used data from field surveys of benthic communities from two large, widely separated areas in New Zealand’s EEZ (Chatham Rise and Challenger Plateau). We assigned 828 taxonomic units (most identified to species) into functional groups related to important ecosystem processes and likely sensitivity to, and recovery from, fishing disturbance to the seafloor. These included: opportunistic early colonists; substrate stabilisers (e.g., tube mat formers); substrate destabilisers; shell hash-creating species; emergent epifauna; burrowers; and predators and scavengers. Effects of fishing disturbance on benthic functional composition were observed, even at this broad spatial scale. Responses varied between functional groups, with some being tolerant of fishing impacts and others showing rapid declines with minimal fishing effort. The use of a functional group approach facilitates assessment of impacts across regions and species, allowing for improved generalisations of impacts to inform management and decision making.
Offshore wind is gaining momentum in the United States as a viable source for meeting domestic energy needs. Although offshore wind farms have been developed in Europe and Asia, the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) is the first offshore wind farm built in North America. To improve marine resource management, it is critical to understand the impacts of the wind farm on marine resource users in context. Little is known about the impacts of offshore wind farms on marine resource users in the United States. This study investigates recreational and commercial fishers' perceptions of the impacts of the BIWF on the local marine ecosystem. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 fishers, mostly based out of Block Island or Point Judith, Rhode Island (US), in the summer and fall of 2017. During the interviews, fishers were asked about their perceptions of changes in the marine ecology of the wind farm area during and after the offshore wind turbines were constructed, and how their activities in the area have changed since the wind farm was installed. Results indicate that there were perceived impacts of the BIWF on the local ecosystem and the behavior of the marine resource users. For some recreational fishers, the wind farm functioned as a destination or target and served as an artificial reef for spearfishing. For some commercial fishers, the increase in recreational fishing due to the establishment of the BIWF crowded out commercial fishers in these areas. As the offshore wind farm industry expands within US waters, findings from this study and others like it can provide valuable insights on the potential impacts of these wind farms on marine resource users.
Sexually produced larvae are used in various fields of coral research. Because the vast majority of scleractinians reproduces only on one or few occasions per year through simultaneous release of gametes, and because an ex situspawning induction is still very hard to achieve, great efforts are required to obtain planula larvae. Brooding corals have been used to harvest planulae although their larvae often differ in various traits from most spawning corals, e.g., in settlement behavior. Other cnidarians, such as Aiptasia spp., have been substituting for scleractinians in many aspects of coral research. However, organisms such as Aiptasia differ strongly from scleractinians, thus limiting the transferability of obtained results. This study examines the potential of Leptastrea purpurea as a reliable source of larvae for coral research. Larval output as well as settlement behavior of planulae was investigated. Our results show that colonies of L. purpurea released a daily average of 3.7 (±0.2) larvae during a period of 65 days, thus allowing continual access to planula larvae. We collected a total of 58127 larvae from our broodstock of 243 colonies. Larval settlement is induced by the same and/or similar cues as in many spawning species which increases the transferability of conclusions. We discuss the utility of L. purpurea for research on scleractinian physiology, ecology and larval settlement and conclude that L. purpurea is a well-suited organism to accelerate progress in many fields of coral research.
Citizen science is an innovative approach that relies on non-specialists to monitor species and ecosystems over long time periods and vast geographical areas. Citizen science has been used extensively in marine science to monitor endangered species such as sharks and marine turtles, coral reefs and their associated fish species, marine mammals, invasive species and, more recently, coral bleaching and marine litter. Engaging people over the long term can be challenging but using social media, gamification, and emphasizing the value of volunteer contributions through data sharing, can help to keep communities motivated. In the Red Sea, there is enormous potential for using citizen science in monitoring endangered species and ecosystems due to the presence of a fleet of safari boats and dive centres going to sea daily. Engaging with this sector and creating long lasting partnerships for data collection through simple protocols could be a winning approach to obtain important information from remote areas and/or on rare species. In this chapter, we present the preliminary results of a citizen science program targeting marine turtles in their feeding grounds in the Egyptian Red Sea waters that was conducted from 2011 to 2013. During the study period 2,448 surveys were completed at 157 sites and included a total of 1,038 sightings of turtles. The most commonly observed species were hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green (Chelonia mydas) turtles; however, rarer species, such as loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles were also recorded. Among the sites that were monitored, some were considered as important for turtles (i.e., had a high probability of observing a turtle), while in others, turtles were not observed despite carrying out multiple surveys. Participants reported turtles of various sizes and ages with adults and sub-adults being the predominant observed age class. The presence of adults seemed to be related to the nesting season (May–September), which was also when the survey effort was higher. Adult male turtles were observed on various occasions, providing important input on their whereabouts during nesting and non-nesting seasons. Finally, participants detected behaviour that had not been previously described in the region, such as courting and mating. Results from TurtleWatch Egypt provided new insight in our knowledge of marine turtles in the Red Sea, especially from the largely under-studied feeding grounds.
Fisheries transform marine ecosystems and compete with predators, but temporal trends in seabird-fishery competition had never been assessed on a worldwide scale. Using catch reconstructions for all fisheries targeting taxa that are also seabird prey, we demonstrated that average annual fishery catch increased from 59 to 65 million metric tons between 1970–1989 and 1990–2010. For the same periods, we estimated that global annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million metric tons. Despite this decrease, we found sustained global seabird-fishery food competition between 1970–1989 and 1990–2010. Enhanced competition was identified in 48% of all areas, notably the Southern Ocean, Asian shelves, Mediterranean Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Californian coast. Fisheries generate severe constraints for seabird populations on a worldwide scale, and those need to be addressed urgently. Indeed, seabirds are the most threatened bird group, with a 70% community-level population decline across 1950–2010.
Governments are facing mounting pressure to ‘do something on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14’. The SDG 14 comprises targets and indicators for countries to show progress in achieving conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. One novel approach experiencing traction in improving growth performance of marine resource sectors — particularly marine biotechnology and fisheries — is open innovation. This review assesses the potential impacts of using open innovation approaches more widely with good governance principles to promote sustainable management of marine resource use.
Recent research filled the gap in creating a quantitative marine open innovation measure to monitor and manage marine sector innovation process. Prior 2018, formulation of marine policies — aimed at building economic prosperity from sustainable use of marine environments — were constrained by the absence of a tool to provide an index to compare marine sectors’ innovation performance. This review highlights a need to broaden the measures used to determine marine management effectiveness especially in the context of achieving the SDGs. Governments are urged to pay more attention to new governance tools including open innovation when formulating new policy aimed at building future scenarios of economic resilience involving marine resource use.
In the Philippines, partially protected marine areas known as marine reserves are promoted extensively as conservation strategies for reef fishery resources. This type of marine protected area (MPA) allows traditional fishing to a certain extent. At present, 90% of the total area of the MPAs in the Philippines is considered partially protected, but their effectiveness in terms of conservation has received little attention. Thus, we evaluated the potential effectiveness of conservation in partially protected areas by comparing the species richness and abundance of commercially important fishes with those in fully protected and adjacent open fishing areas using underwater visual belt transect survey in four MPAs with diverse features (age, size, design, and fishing activity) in the Bicol region, northeastern Philippines. Fishing activities in partially protected and open fishing areas were also investigated in the four MPA sites through interviews of local fishermen. The species richness and abundance of fishery target sized fishes were significantly higher in fully protected areas compared with those in partially protected and open fishing areas in the four MPA sites. Similarly, species richness and abundance in partially protected areas were significantly higher than open fishing areas in large and conventionally designed MPAs, but there were no differences in small and non-conventional MPAs. The species richness and abundance of fishery non-target sized fish did not differ significantly among the three zones in each MPA. There were also no significant differences in the fishing indices (e.g., fishing time and gears) for partially protected and open fishing areas in each MPA site, thereby suggesting that large MPAs with conventionally designed partially protected areas could reduce the fishing pressure and/or increase fish movements from fully protected area.
Ziegler et al. (2018) assessed tourists’ perceptions of the ethics of feeding an endangered species for tourism purposes. The ethical decisions made, and justifications provided, were assessed using utilitarian and animal welfare ethical philosophies. We concluded that despite the substantial social and economic benefits of this activity, it remains unclear whether these benefits outweigh the potential costs to the whale sharks, the community, and the greater environment. There is no evidence that provisioning is not detrimental to the sharks. Consequently, we invoke the precautionary principle whereby the onus to prove no detrimental impact should be on the proponents of provisioning whale sharks. Due to the lack of published, peer-reviewed “robust and unequivocal” scientific evidence of the impacts of this activity alluded to by Meekan and Lowe, our conclusions stand until thorough cost-benefit analyses are completed.
This paper draws on the published literature on marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine protected areas targets to argue that the MPA target (14.5) will dominate in the pursuit, measurement, and evaluation of the much broader ‘oceans’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2015. MPAs are a ‘privileged solution’ in marine conservation, in part because their expansion is relatively easy to measure and there is opportunity for further expansion in the mostly unprotected global ocean. However, the evolution of MPA targets over time in organizations like the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) illustrates the importance of other means for achieving conservation and of elements other than area coverage, including the need to ensure MPAs are effectively and equitably managed. By excluding these important, but contested, complex, and difficult to measure components, Target 14.5 is likely to be met. However, the meaning of this success will be limited without concerted efforts get beyond area coverage.
Global initiatives have been increasingly focusing on mainstreaming the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making at all levels. Due to the accelerated rate at which biodiversity is declining and its consequences for the functioning of ecosystems and subsequently, the services they provide, there is need to develop comprehensive assessments of the services and the benefits nature delivers to society. Based on expert evaluation, we identified relevant flow linkages in the supply-side of the socio-ecological system, i.e. from biodiversity to ecosystem services supply for eight case studies across European aquatic ecosystems covering freshwater, transitional, coastal and marine waters realms. Biological mediated services were considered, as well as those reliant on purely physical aspects of the ecosystem, i.e. abiotic outputs, since both have implications for spatial planning, management and decision-making. Due to the multidimensional nature of ecosystems and their biodiversity, our approach used ecosystem components such as habitats and biota as proxies for biodiversity and as the focal point for linkage identification. Statistical analysis revealed the importance of considering mobile biota in the spatial assessment of habitats. Contrary to literature evidences so far, our results showed significantly different and complementary ecosystem services supply patterns across the continuum of aquatic realms. The implemented score of ecosystem services supply has a high potential for integrated aquatic ecosystem service supply assessments in the context of ecosystem-based management.
As the world's population continues to grow, the way in which ocean industries interact with ecosystems will be key to supporting the longevity of food and social securities. Aquaculture is crucial to the future supply of seafood, but challenges associated with negative impacts could impede increased production, especially production that is efficient and safe for the environment. Using the typology established by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Initiative, we describe how marine aquaculture could be influential in supporting ecosystem services beyond solely the production of goods, through provisioning services, regulating services, habitat or supporting services, and cultural services. The provision of these services will vary, depending on functional traits of culture species, biotic and abiotic characteristics of the surrounding environment, farm design, and operational standards. Increasing recognition, understanding, and accounting of ecosystem service provision by mariculture through innovative policies, financing, and certification schemes may incentivize active delivery of benefits and may enable effects at a greater scale
Aquatic ecosystems are indispensable for life on earth and yet despite their essential function and services roles, marine and freshwater biomes are facing unprecedented threats from both traditional and emerging anthropogenic stressors. The resultant species and ecosystem-level threat severity requires an urgent response from the conservation community. With their care facilities, veterinary and conservation breeding expertise, reintroduction and restoration and public communication reach, stand-alone aquariums and zoos holding aquatic taxa have great collective potential to help address the current biodiversity crisis, which is now greatest in freshwater than land habitats. However, uncertainty regarding the number of species kept in such facilities hinders assessment of their conservation value. Here we analyzed standardized and shared data of zoological institution members of Species360, for fish and Anthozoa species (i.e. Actinopterygii, Elasmobranchii, Holocephali, Myxini, Sarcopterygii and Anthozoa). To assess the conservation potential of populations held in these institutions, we cross-referenced the Species360 records with the following conservation schemes: the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), the IUCN Red List, Climate Change Vulnerability, Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) and The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE). We found that aquariums hold four of the six fish species listed by the IUCN Red List as ‘Extinct in the Wild’, 31% of Anthozoa species listed by Foden et al. (2013) as Vulnerable to Climate Change, 19 out of the 111 Anthozoa EDGE species, and none of the species prioritized by the AZE. However, it’s very likely that significant additional species of high conservation value are held in aquariums that do not manage their records in standardized, sharable platforms such as Species360. Our study highlights both the great value of aquarium and zoo collections for addressing the aquatic biodiversity crisis, as well as the importance that they maintain comprehensive, standardised, globally-shared taxonomic data.
Small-scale capture fisheries have a very important place globally, but unfortunately are still mostly unregulated. Typically, they are defined based on capture fisheries characteristics, technical attributes of fishing vessels, and socio-economic attributes of fishers. Indonesia uses the term ‘small-scale fisher’ (nelayan kecil), currently defined to include fishing boats of < 10 gross tons (GT), which previously covered only boats of < 5 GT. Because small-scale fishers are by law granted a privilege by government to be exempted from fisheries management measures (e.g. fisheries licensing system), its current definition jeopardizes fisheries sustainability and significantly increases the size of unregulated and unreported fisheries. It is also unfair, as it legitimizes the payment of government support to relatively well-off fishers. This paper aims to develop a functional definition of small-scale fisheries (perikanan skala kecil) to guide policy implementation to improve capture fisheries management in Indonesia. A definition of small-scale fisheries is proposed as a fisheries operation, managed at the household level, fishing with or without a fishing boat of < 5 GT, and using fishing gear that is operated by manpower alone. This definition combines attributes of the fishing vessel (GT), the fishing gear (mechanization), and the unit of business decision making (household) to minimize unregulated and unreported fishing and focus government aid on people who are truly poor and vulnerable to social and economic shocks. The terms small-scale fisheries and small-scale fishers must be legally differentiated as the former relates to fisheries management and the latter relates to empowerment of marginalized fishers.
Sustainable management of coastal ecosystems requires engaged communities—communities that support sustainable management policies and are willing to adopt behaviours that promote waterway health. Information provision is a common component of engagement practices, yet little is known about what type of information will most effectively motivate engaged communities. We conducted an experimental study (N = 702) examining the effectiveness of different messages about benefits of sustainable coastal management. We examined two messages about cultural ecosystem services (economic benefits and lifestyle benefits), messages focused on conservation benefits, and a ‘control’ message, which mentioned threats to coastal ecosystems but no benefits of management. We also compared the effect of factual and moral arguments on engagement outcomes. Overall, economic messages generated lower intentions to adopt household behaviours, and reduced information seeking across the whole sample. Moral arguments were not more effective than messages using factual arguments. In fact, factual arguments were associated with greater policy support and behavioural intentions. We also examined the role of participant values, political orientation and knowledge on message effectiveness. Participants with a conservative political orientation exhibited poorer responses to framed messages, compared with the control message. These findings highlight the importance of considering message content when communicating with communities. Specifically, messages about ecosystem services may not be superior to environmental messages when communicating about local issues. Recommendations for effective communication commonly suggest aligning messages with audience values. While our findings do not contradict this, they do serve as a reminder to avoid simple assumptions about what these values may entail, and that groups less supportive of conservation goals are likely to require more specific strategies to enhance communication effectiveness.