Sharp declines in numerous shark populations around the world have generated considerable interest in better understanding and characterising their biology, ecology and critical habitats. The scalloped hammerhead shark (SHS, Sphyrna lewini) is subject to a multitude of natural and anthropogenic threats that are often exacerbated within the coastal embayments and estuaries used during SHS early life stages. In this study, we describe the temporal and spatial distribution, age class composition, and reproductive biology of SHS in the Rewa Delta (RD), Fiji. A total of 1054 SHS (including 796 tagged individuals; 101 of which were recaptured) were captured from September 2014 to March 2016 in the RD. A majority of the captures in this area were neonates and young-of-the-year (YOY) (99.8%). Significant seasonality in patterns of occurrence of both neonates and YOY individuals suggests a defined parturition period during the austral summer. Between the seven sampling sites in the RD we also found significant differences in SHS neonate catch per unit of effort, and average total length of individuals. According to the data, the RD is likely to represent an important nursery area for SHS up to one year of age.
Here we provide empirical evidence of the presence of an energetic pathway between jellyfsh and a commercially important invertebrate species. Evidence of scavenging on jellyfsh carcasses by the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) was captured during two deployments of an underwater camera system to 250–287m depth in Sogneforden, western Norway. The camera system was baited with two Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa) carcasses to simulate the transport of jellyfsh detritus to the seafoor, hereby known as jelly-falls. N. norveigus rapidly located and consumed a large proportion (>50%) of the bait. We estimate that the energy input from jelly-falls may represent a signifcant contribution to N. norvegicus energy demand (0.21 to 10.7 times the energy required for the population of N. norvegicus in Sogneforden). This potentially high energetic contribution from jelly-falls highlights a possible role of gelatinous material in the support of commercial fsheries. Such an energetic pathway between jellyfalls and N. norvegicus could become more important with increases in jellyfsh blooms in some regions
Entanglement in anthropogenic debris poses a threat to marine wildlife. Although this is recognised as a cause of marine turtle mortality, there remain quantitative knowledge gaps on entanglement rates and population implications. We provide a global summary of this issue in this taxon using a mixed methods approach, including a literature review and expert opinions from conservation scientists and practitioners worldwide. The literature review yielded 23 reports of marine turtle entanglement in anthropogenic debris, which included records for 6 species, in all ocean basins. Our experts reported the occurrence of marine turtles found entangled across all species, life stages and ocean basins, with suggestions of particular vulnerability in pelagic juvenile life stages. Numbers of stranded turtles encountered by our 106 respondents were in the thousands per year, with 5.5% of turtles encountered entangled; 90.6% of these dead. Of our experts questioned, 84% consider that this issue could be causing population level effects in some areas. Lost or discarded fishing materials, known as ‘ghost gear’, contributed to the majority of reported entanglements with debris from land-based sources in the distinct minority. Surveyed experts rated entanglement a greater threat to marine turtles than oil pollution, climate change and direct exploitation but less of a threat than plastic ingestion and fisheries bycatch. The challenges, research needs and priority actions facing marine turtle entanglement are discussed as pathways to begin to resolve and further understand the issue. Collaboration among stakeholder groups such as strandings networks, the fisheries sector and the scientific community will facilitate the development of mitigating actions.
The coastal ecosystems are very sensitive to external influences. Coastal resources such as sand dunes, coral reefs and mangroves has vital importance to prevent coastal erosion. Human based effects also threats the coastal areas. Therefore, the change of coastal areas should be monitored. Up-to-date, accurate shoreline information is indispensable for coastal managers and decision makers. Remote sensing and image processing techniques give a big opportunity to obtain reliable shoreline information. In the presented study, NIR bands of seven 1:5000 scaled digital orthophoto images of Riga Bay-Latvia have been used. The Object-oriented Simple Linear Clustering method has been utilized to extract shoreline of Riga Bay. Bend and Douglas-Peucker methods have been used to simplify the extracted shoreline to test the effect of both methods. Photogrammetrically digitized shoreline has been taken as reference data to compare obtained results. The accuracy assessment has been realised by Digital Shoreline Analysis tool. As a result, the achieved shoreline by the Bend method has been found closer to the extracted shoreline with Simple Linear Clustering method.
To help address the adverse effects associated with motorized boating activities in the Barnegat Bay National Estuary, New Jersey, a network of marine protected areas was identified to receive special consideration and management. Officially designated in spring 2012, the boundaries for these ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) were based on best professional judgment and a geographic information system–based assessment using extant maps of habitat natural features, including shellfish beds, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), presence of endangered species, and proximity to bird nesting areas. The need for and the subsequent effectiveness of ESA designation in managing the adverse effects of recreational boating activities were evaluated. Two indicators of boating usage and impact were mapped using visual interpretation of high-spatial-resolution aerial photography: (1) concentrations of boating activity (either moored or in transit) and (2) damage caused by both propeller-driven and personal watercraft–type boats to SAV habitats. The mapping clearly shows extensive prop scarring, with hot spots of damage in specific ESAs, confirming that some form of spatial zoning, with slow speed regulations or outright closures, are warranted to protect SAV. The mapping documents significant levels of boating usage and boat scarring still occurring within the ESAs postdesignation. Additional management actions to reduce boating impacts are clearly warranted. To reach a spectrum of the recreational boating community, a three-pronged approach that includes public education in responsible boating practices, placement of appropriate signage at the ESA boundaries, and routine enforcement by state marine police and conservation officers is recommended.
Marine ecosystems provide many services and benefits that directly or indirectly affect human welfare, and designating an marine protected area (MPA) is one of the management strategies for conserving marine ecosystem services. In Taiwan, 28 fishery resource conservation zones (FRCZs, one type of Taiwanese MPA) have been established since 1976, and two FRCZs in Yilan were selected as case studies for this research. Interviews and questionnaires were used to collect primary data, and then we employed factor analysis to determine what elements influence the perception of ecosystem services, and we also evaluated the respondents’ willingness to pay (WTP). The empirical results indicated that supporting services are the most important to the people in the study sites, followed by provisioning services. Ecosystem services can be divided into four major categories including ecological and educational services, provisioning services, regulating services and recreational services, and in this study, ecological and educational services accounted for the largest proportion of the perceived benefits. The perception of and WTP for ecosystem services are significantly different across socio-economic backgrounds. According to the findings of this research, government agencies need to adopt the ecosystem service concept; invest in improving the efficiency of management measures, such as ecological and environmental monitoring; develop eco-tourism and conduct environmental education and outreach; and establish an FRCZ fund to enhance financial sustainability.
This study evaluates the impacts of coral reef conservation and marine protected areas (MPAs) on the well-being of fishing communities in Central Vietnam. The Cu Lao Cham MPA is chosen as the case study. Coral reef health and four aspects of socioeconomic conditions (i.e., catch rate [also related to food security], access to the resource, employment, and income) are investigated. Data on the four different aspects were gathered from different sources. The results show that there is good evidence for how coral reef conservation can transfer the flow of benefits from the ecosystem to the local people. However, trade-offs also occur as a result of the development of tourism, including the degradation of fish resources and the environment. The managers of the MPA and the community should take into account trade-offs in resource management and should focus on appropriate MPA planning and fisheries management outside the MPA to achieve better outcomes for the local community from coral reef conservation
Beaches are basically managed mirroring user’s perception and normative requirements to obtain performance standards or distinctions made on well-known Quality Management Systems and/or Environmental Management Systems. However, when these systems are used in the management of these natural public goods, present practices do not fit with the Ecosystem Approach Strategy (EA) launched by United Nations at the end of last Century. To overcome this reality, an application of the Ecosystem-Based Management System (EBMS) was developed recently as a formal way to practice this approach at the beach social-ecological system. The EBMS is a stepwise process that combines environmental quality and risk management system theory with the EA principles. The EBMS is composed of three interactive pillars: Managerial, Information and Participatory. The Managerial pillar is the “engine” of the EBMS, following the classical Plan-Do-Check-Act managerial policy scheme. As a part of the Planning phase, a factual approach to decision making is suggested: DEMA (DEcision-MAking) tool. DEMA is a formal prioritization tool intended to help managers to determine, based on a social cost-benefit analysis and the vision established for a particular social-ecological system, which projects should be the first. DEMA uses risk management theory to decide what future activities should be selected in the policy cycle to avoid those identified risks that could impede us to get the desired vision for the beach under management. DEMA is using a framework of indicators related to the identified ecosystem services given by these systems, valuating and rating them to further prioritization of actions.
Conservation actions (as Marine Protected Areas) are key tools to maintain coastal ecosystems. However, many reserves are characterized by several problems related to inadequate zonings that preclude important areas from economic activities, determining a strong hostility by local populations. Thus, estimations of marine economic values-in-use are needed for protection of marine ecosystem in order to find the best compromise between conservation priorities and local population needs. Algorithms to estimate monetary values of the main human activities in marine territories (large scale and small scale fishings, aquaculture, beach resorts, yachting, diving and commercial shipping) are here implemented using Gulf of Naples (centre Tyrrhenian sea, Italy) as study area example. These algorithms are based on different sources data (questionnaires, monitoring activities, official local authority reports, web and scientific literature). They can also be compared with each other being their outputs all expressed in the same measure unit. During the models development process a new flexible approach, called “Systematic Costs Assessment” (SCA), to assess opportunity costs in systematic conservation planning process was developed and applied. Results show that the total turnover in the Gulf of Naples is 3,950,753,487 € per year and 747,647,887 € per year excluding small scale fishing estimation, and one hectare of marine territory is worth 40,672 € and 7696 € per year excluding small scale fishing activity. In particular, excluding small scale fishing activity, beach resort and yachting show the highest values referred to one hectare of marine territories. In conclusion, SCA is a flexible approach where no long and costly sampling campaigns are always needed, provided that two assumptions have to be taken into account, in order to estimate credible values-in-use costs: i) do not use economic activities data and ecosystem services data in the same assessment layer, since it could lead to costs overestimation and ii) SCA method are efficient when used by operators with strong knowledge of the study area, since they are able to recognize parameters affecting economic activities of local population.
- Scientists became aware of the ocean plastics problem in the 1950s, and understanding of the nature and severity of the problem grew over the next decades.
- The major chemical and petroleum companies and industry groups were aware of the ocean plastics problem no later than the 1970s.
- Plastics producers have often taken the position that they are only responsible for plastic waste in the form of resin pellets, and that other forms of plastic waste are out of their control.
Climate models provide the principal means of projecting global warming over the remainder of the twenty-first century but modelled estimates of warming vary by a factor of approximately two even under the same radiative forcing scenarios. Across-model relationships between currently observable attributes of the climate system and the simulated magnitude of future warming have the potential to inform projections. Here we show that robust across-model relationships exist between the global spatial patterns of several fundamental attributes of Earth’s top-of-atmosphere energy budget and the magnitude of projected global warming. When we constrain the model projections with observations, we obtain greater means and narrower ranges of future global warming across the major radiative forcing scenarios, in general. In particular, we find that the observationally informed warming projection for the end of the twenty-first century for the steepest radiative forcing scenario is about 15 per cent warmer (+0.5 degrees Celsius) with a reduction of about a third in the two-standard-deviation spread (−1.2 degrees Celsius) relative to the raw model projections reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our results suggest that achieving any given global temperature stabilization target will require steeper greenhouse gas emissions reductions than previously calculated.
Recreational beaches are strategic ecosystems for tourism and should be used in a sustainable manner. We studied three beaches in the municipality of Guaymas (NW Mexico), in order to assess their beach quality and identify key management issues. The evaluation was based on the perceptions of users concerning: (1) the user profile; (2) the recreational habits of users; and (3) the biophysical characteristics, infrastructure, services, and cleanliness of each beach. The results showed that the beaches were of different quality. The key management issues identified were the need to design and apply specific management programs for each beach, specifically in regards to improving infrastructure and services, and obtaining certification as a sustainable beach. The evaluation of the beaches as perceived by users suggests that it would be useful to assess beach quality in order to support management goals and be applicable to other beaches, both nationally and internationally.
Coastal and marine ecosystems around the world are under threat from a growing number of anthropogenic impacts, including climate change. Resource managers, researchers, policy makers, and coastal community planners are tasked with identifying, developing, and monitoring strategies to reduce or reverse the ecological, economic and social impact of environmental stressors. These individuals must make decisions about how to prioritize and allocate finite resources to address these issues, all under conditions of significant uncertainty about which of these stressors to address. This paper presents the results of a survey and workshop designed to rank the impact of a series of stressors on four components of the marine and coastal ecosystems of the Northeast United States. The methodology described here – expert elicitation supplemented by workshop deliberations – proved to be relatively cost-effective, time-efficient, and informative for identifying priority stressors for the ecosystem components under consideration, both now and in the future.
Scuba diving has attracted increased numbers of tourists on a global scale. While the beneficial as well as detrimental impacts of scuba diving tourism have been well documented, limited research attention is given to the perspectives of dive operators with respect to sustainable development. This study examined the perspectives and experiences of dive operators in relation to sustainable resource use in Mozambique and Italy, two countries that are home to popular coastal destinations and offshore marine parks. Interviews suggested that overall operators have positive attitudes towards sustainable resource use, engaging in actions such as deploying four-stroke engines, recycling equipment and waste, and favouring electric-over fuel-powered vehicles. Yet, they do not promote sustainable resource use at the dive centre, with reasons including limited time, lack of government incentives, and absence of rebate systems. Implications were discussed for sustainable diving operations in the study areas and generally.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in September 2015, are accompanied by targets which have to be met individually and collectively by the signatory states. SDG14 Life Below Water aims to lay the foundation for the integrated and sustainable management of the oceans. However, any environmental management has to be based around targets which are SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bounded – otherwise it is not possible to determine whether management actions are successful and achieve the desired aims. The discussion here shows that many of the targets adopted for SDG14, and especially a detailed analysis of Target 1, are aspirational rather than fully quantified. In order to move towards making the targets operational, we advocate merging the language of environmental management with that used by industry for linking risks to the environment, management performance and ensuing controls. By adopting an approach which uses Key Performance Indicators (‘KPIs’), Key Risk Indicators (‘KRIs’) and Key Control Indicators (‘KCIs’), we advocate that a degree of rigour leading to defendable actions can be brought to marine management.
Databases are systematic tools to archive and manage information related to marine mammal stranding and mortality events. Stranding response networks, governmental authorities and non-governmental organizations have established regional or national stranding networks and have developed unique standard stranding response and necropsy protocols to document and track stranded marine mammal demographics, signalment and health data. The objectives of this study were to (1) describe and review the current status of marine mammal stranding and mortality databases worldwide, including the year established, types of database and their goals; and (2) summarize the geographic range included in the database, the number of cases recorded, accessibility, filter and display methods. Peer-reviewed literature was searched, focussing on published databases of live and dead marine mammal strandings and mortality and information released from stranding response organizations (i.e. online updates, journal articles and annual stranding reports). Databases that were not published in the primary literature or recognized by government agencies were excluded. Based on these criteria, 10 marine mammal stranding and mortality databases were identified, and strandings and necropsy data found in these databases were evaluated. We discuss the results, limitations and future prospects of database development. Future prospects include the development and application of virtopsy, a new necropsy investigation tool. A centralized web-accessed database of all available postmortem multimedia from stranded marine mammals may eventually support marine conservation and policy decisions, which will allow the use of marine animals as sentinels of ecosystem health, working towards a ‘One Ocean-One Health’ ideal.
Out of nearly 30,000 teleosts dwelling in our planet's water bodies, only hundreds of them are commercially exploited and prevail on the global food market. Yet, our estimates of the species actually underpinning global trade is severely hampered by inaccuracy and non-compliance in labelling and reporting. Here, we target ethnic food stores in two British cities (Liverpool and Manchester metropolitan areas), whose numbers are increasing throughout Europe, to examine accuracy of traceability information available to consumers. Despite the existence of thorough EU labelling regulations, we unveil a high level of non-compliance, with a diverse range of poorly-known fish species, often sold without any label or with erroneous information, as demonstrated by DNA barcoding. Results indicate that about 41% of the samples were mislabelled, in stark contrast with a recent study that, in 2015, found < 5% mislabelling in EU supermarkets and fishmongers. These results highlight that inspectors and governments might not be fully aware of the wide diversity of fish species traded, indicating the need for a stronger enforcement of the EU labelling legislations. Compliance with regulations is required not only to protect consumers, but also fish stocks, as for many of the species identified in this survey, population assessment is poor or lacking altogether.
The ecosystem approach to fisheries management requires ecosystems to be perceived in a holistic way, including the dynamics not only within an ecosystem but also between the ecosystem and society. This implies that people involved in decision-making processes should understand why fish and fisheries are important for society, that is, be aware of the socio-cultural values that people associate with fisheries. In this paper, the justification theory of Boltanski and Thévenot is applied to material collected through a literature review to identify socio-cultural values relating to Baltic salmon, and the potential of the approach for fisheries governance is discussed. The analysis demonstrates that fish resources can have multiple meanings to society. Justification theory is found useful for identifying socio-cultural values related to fisheries, since it suggests shifting attention from opposing interests to the common good. Agreeing on the common good is crucial for the legitimacy of governance. However, because the common good can be defined in multiple ways, these definitions have to be made transparent through empirical analysis so that they can be further deliberated, evaluated and agreed upon by governors, stakeholders and others involved.
With over 1 billion people currently relying on the services provided by marine ecosystems – e.g. food, fibre and coastal protection – governments, scientists and international bodies are searching for innovative research to support decision-makers in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Valuing past and present ecosystem services allows investigation into how different scenarios impact the SDGs, such as economic growth, sustainability, poverty and equity among stakeholders. This paper investigates the past and current value of the lobster fishery located in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area. It then uses InVEST to highlight future changes under different scenarios. While we found a significant decline in fishery value over the next ten years under all three scenarios, the exclusion of large-scale fisheries from the marine protected area seems to yield the most positive results in regard to South Africa’s SDG commitments. This scenario has the potential to generate approximately 50% more revenue, while also producing the highest available protein to local communities, highest quantity of spawners and highest economic distribution to small-scale fisheries. It is clear through this research that valuing ecosystem services can enable a future of healthy economies, people and environments; the highly sought-after triple-bottom line.
Resource monitoring is a key issue in ecosystem management especially for marine protected areas (MPAs), where information on the composition and structure of fish assemblages is crucial to design a suitable management process. Data on fish assemblage are usually collected using underwater visual censuses (UVC). However, fish assemblages monitoring in MPAs usually calls for considerable resources in terms of costs, time and technical/scientific skills. Financial resources and trained scientific divers may, however, not be available in certain geographical areas, that are thus understudied. Therefore, involving citizen volunteer divers in fish assemblage monitoring and adopting easy-to-use underwater visual census methods could be an effective way to collect crucial data. Citizen science can be used only if it can provide information that is consistent with that collected using standard scientific monitoring. Here, we aim: 1) to compare the consistency of results from a Standard scientific UVC (S-UVC) and an Easy-to-use UVC (E-UVC) method in assessing fish assemblage spatial variability, and 2) to test the consistency of data collected by Scientific Divers (SD) and Scientifically-Trained Volunteer divers (STV), using E-UVC. We used, in two consecutive years, three Tunisian future Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and adjacent areas as case studies. E-UVC and S-UVC data were consistent. Both methods reported the same spatial patterns for the three MPAs (between MPAs and, inside and outside each one), highlighting the consistency between S-UVC and E-UVC. No significant difference was recorded between data collected by SD or STV. Our results suggest that E-UVC can provide information representing simplified proxies for describing fish assemblages and can therefore be a valuable tool for fish monitoring by citizen divers in understudied areas. This evidence could foster citizen science as an effective tool to raise environmental awareness and involve stakeholders in resource management.