Fisheries in Guinea Bissau contribute greatly to the economy and food security of its people. Yet, as the ability of the country to monitor its fisheries is at most weak, and confronted with a heavy foreign fleet presence, the impact of industrial foreign fleets on fisheries catches is unaccounted for in the region. However, their footprint in terms of catch and value on the small-scale sector is heavily felt, through declining availability of fish. Fisheries in Guinea Bissau are operated by both legal (small-scale and industrial), and illegal (foreign unauthorized) fleets, whose catches are barely recorded. In this paper, we assess catches by both the legal and illegal sector, and the economic loss generated by illegal fisheries in the country, then attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) of Guinea Bissau's fisheries. Two main sectors were identified through official reports and a literature review, the large-scale (industrial) sector, which between 2011 and 2017 included exclusively catches by foreign owned and flagged vessels, and catches by the small-scale sector, which remain largely unmonitored in official statistics. We use the available data on the number of legal and illegal vessels and/or fishers, and their respective catch per unit of effort to estimate catches, and we analyze monitoring outcomes against the registered industrial and artisanal fleets. We find that of the legal industrial vessels, 20% were linked to criminal activities in the past 7 years. These activities range widely from using an illegal mesh size, to fishing in a prohibited area, to labor abuse. Overall, total small-scale and industrial catches were estimated at 370,000 t/year in 2017, of which less than 2% is ever reported to the FAO. Small-scale catches represented 8% of the total catch, and this contribution was found to be declining. Industrial fisheries generate over $458 million US, or which $75 million US is taken illegally, falling under the category trans-national fisheries crimes. The slight negative relationship between the number of monitoring days at sea illegal catches suggests increasing MCS efforts may play an important role in reducing illegal fishing in the country.
Hadal trenches, oceanic locations deeper than 6,000 m, are thought to have distinct microbial communities compared to those at shallower depths due to high hydrostatic pressures, topographical funneling of organic matter, and biogeographical isolation. Here we evaluate the hypothesis that hadal trenches contain unique microbial biodiversity through analyses of the communities present in the bottom waters of the Kermadec and Mariana trenches. Estimates of microbial protein production indicate active populations under in situ hydrostatic pressures and increasing adaptation to pressure with depth. Depth, trench of collection, and size fraction are important drivers of microbial community structure. Many putative hadal bathytypes, such as members related to the Marinimicrobia, Rhodobacteraceae, Rhodospirilliceae, and Aquibacter, are similar to members identified in other trenches. Most of the differences between the two trench microbiomes consists of taxa belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria whose distributions extend throughout the water column. Growth and survival estimates of representative isolates of these taxa under deep-sea conditions suggest that some members may descend from shallower depths and exist as a potentially inactive fraction of the hadal zone. We conclude that the distinct pelagic communities residing in these two trenches, and perhaps by extension other trenches, reflect both cosmopolitan hadal bathytypes and ubiquitous genera found throughout the water column.
The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. WoRMS is a unique database: there is no comparable global database for marine species, which is driven by a large, global expert community, is supported by a Data Management Team and can rely on a permanent host institute, dedicated to keeping WoRMS online. Over the past ten years, the content of WoRMS has grown steadily, and the system currently contains more than 242,000 accepted marine species. WoRMS has not yet reached completeness: approximately 2,000 newly described species per year are added, and editors also enter the remaining missing older names–both accepted and unaccepted–an effort amounting to approximately 20,000 taxon name additions per year. WoRMS is used extensively, through different channels, indicating that it is recognized as a high-quality database on marine species information. It is updated on a daily basis by its Editorial Board, which currently consists of 490 taxonomic and thematic experts located around the world. Owing to its unique qualities, WoRMS has become a partner in many large-scale initiatives including OBIS, LifeWatch and the Catalogue of Life, where it is recognized as a high-quality and reliable source of information for marine taxonomy.
Social media has revolutionized how people communicate with one another. This has important implications for science, environmental advocacy, and natural resource management, with numerous documented professional benefits for people in each of these fields. Some fisheries management professionals have been wary of social media use, in no small part due to unfamiliarity. The goal of this paper is to summarize the professional benefits of social media usage that are applicable for fisheries science and management professionals and to provide a detailed guide for those who wish to get started. Though many Web 2.0 tools exist, this paper will focus on the use of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
The ubiquitous occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in the marine environment is raising concern for interactions with marine organisms. These particles efficiently adsorb persistent organic pollutants from surrounding environment and, due to the small size, they are easily available for ingestion at all trophic levels. Once ingested, MPs can induce mechanical damage, sub-lethal effects, and various cellular responses, further modulated by possible release of adsorbed chemicals or additives. In this study, ecotoxicological effects of MPs and their interactions with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), chosen as a model compound for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in Mediterranean mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis. Organisms were exposed for 4 weeks to 10 mg/L of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microparticles (2.34 * 107 particles/L, size range 20–25 μm), both virgin and pre-contaminated with BaP (15 μg/g). Organisms were also exposed for comparison to BaP dosed alone at 150 ng/L, corresponding to the amount adsorbed on microplastics. Tissue localization of microplastics was histologically evaluated; chemical analyses and a wide battery of biomarkers covering molecular, biochemical and cellular levels allowed to evaluate BaP bioaccumulation, alterations of immune system, antioxidant defenses, onset of oxidative stress, peroxisomal proliferation, genotoxicity, and neurotoxicity. Obtained data were elaborated within a quantitative weight of evidence (WOE) model which, using weighted criteria, provided synthetic hazard indices, for both chemical and cellular results, before their integration in a combined index. Microplastics were localized in hemolymph, gills, and especially digestive tissues where a potential transfer of BaP from MPs was also observed. Significant alterations were measured on the immune system, while more limited effects occurred on the oxidative status, neurotoxicity, and genotoxicity, with a different susceptibility of analyzed pathways, depending on tissue, time, and typology of exposure. Molecular analyses confirmed the general lack of significant transcriptional variations of antioxidant and stress genes. The overall results suggest that microplastics induce a slight cellular toxicity under short-term (28 days) exposure conditions. However, modulation of immune responses, along with bioaccumulation of BaP, pose the still unexplored risk that these particles, under conditions of more chronic exposure (months to years) or interacting with other stressors, may provoke long-term, subtle effects on organisms' health status.
Paleoclimate research define the baselines for the natural climate change and is imperative to help us to set the recent observed changes in the long-term natural climate context. Fossil marine diatoms have proved to be an excellent tools for the paleoclimatic reconstructions, e.g. for the reconstruction of sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice. A number of studies have been conducted from the northern high latitude region using diatoms as potential proxy. Nevertheless, these studies are scattered and thus there is a need to expand diatom research in the Arctic regions. Due to the possibilities offered by an emerging trend of diatom-based research, it is important to identify both the research themes and geographical areas of highest importance in order to obtain the best possible scientific outcome in the research. Here we review some of up-to-date diatom-based reconstruction methods applicable for paleoceanographic research for the northern North Atlantic and Arctic regions, and discuss the knowledge gaps in the Arctic research, which potentially can be solved by diatom applications. The modern diatom research has progressively concentrated on quantitative reconstruction based on diatoms and statistical transfer function providing the most useful data for the climate research. However, also qualitative reconstruction methods are still needed; the recent studies show that although the quantitative reconstruction method for SST appears to be statistically robust, there are uncertainties in quantitative reconstructions for sea-ice, and thus it is still recommended to use the Marginal Ice Zone diatom taxa as a qualitative reconstruction method for the Arctic sea ice. Diatom applications offer highly potential tools for filling the knowledge gaps in the Arctic research.
A general northward shift in marine species distributions has been observed in the western North Atlantic Ocean, which may have significant ecological consequences. Large coastal sharks can have wide migratory distributions but show fidelity to specific nursery habitats. Here we show evidence for nursery range expansion into Pamlico Sound, North Carolina by a marine apex predator, the Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas). Previous assessments have shown little to no use of estuarine North Carolina waters as nursery habitat by Bull Sharks from 1965–2011. Juvenile sharks were rarely captured in a fishery-independent gillnet survey conducted by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) from 2003–2011, but were present every year from 2011–2016. Juvenile Bull Shark presence in the Sound was strongly related to early summer temperatures and late summer salinities, which have increased in the estuary over the 13 survey years, and further evidence for increasing water temperatures in Pamlico Sound was found in a 45-year data set for the NCDMF estuarine trawl survey. These results suggest that increasing water temperature and salinity have allowed Bull Sharks to expand their nursery habitat. This shift will have unknown, but potentially strong, impacts on both the local ecosystem and interactions with humans.
Sustained observations of marine biodiversity and ecosystems focused on specific conservation and management problems are needed around the world to effectively mitigate or manage changes resulting from anthropogenic pressures. These observations, while complex and expensive, are required by the international scientific, governance and policy communities to provide baselines against which the effects of human pressures and climate change may be measured and reported, and resources allocated to implement solutions. To identify biological and ecological essential ocean variables (EOVs) for implementation within a global ocean observing system that is relevant for science, informs society, and technologically feasible, we used a driver‐pressure‐state‐impact‐response (DPSIR) model. We (1) examined relevant international agreements to identify societal drivers and pressures on marine resources and ecosystems, (2) evaluated the temporal and spatial scales of variables measured by 100+ observing programs, and (3) analysed the impact and scalability of these variables and how they contribute to address societal and scientific issues. EOVs were related to the status of ecosystem components (phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass and diversity, and abundance and distribution of fish, marine turtles, birds and mammals), and to the extent and health of ecosystems (cover and composition of hard coral, seagrass, mangrove and macroalgal canopy). Benthic invertebrate abundance and distribution and microbe diversity and biomass were identified as emerging EOVs to be developed based on emerging requirements and new technologies. The temporal scale at which any shifts in biological systems will be detected will vary across the EOVs, the properties being monitored and the length of the existing time‐series. Global implementation to deliver useful products will require collaboration of the scientific and policy sectors and a significant commitment to improve human and infrastructure capacity across the globe, including the development of new, more automated observing technologies, and encouraging the application of international standards and best practices.
Forage fish occupy a central position in marine food‐webs worldwide by mediating the transfer of energy and organic matter from lower to higher trophic levels. The lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) is one of the ecologically and economically most important forage fish species in the North‐east Atlantic, acting as a key prey for predatory fish and sea birds, as well as supporting a large commercial fishery. In this case study, we investigate the underlying factors affecting recruitment and how these in turn affect productivity of the North Sea sandeel using long‐term data and modelling. Our results demonstrate how sandeel productivity in the central North Sea (Dogger Bank) depends on a combination of external and internal regulatory factors, including fishing and climate effects, as well as density dependence and food availability of the preferred zooplankton prey (Calanus finmarchicus and Temora longicornis). Furthermore, our model scenarios suggest that while fishing largely contributed to the abrupt stock decline during the late 1990s and the following period of low biomass, a complete recovery of the stock to the highly productive levels of the early 1980s would only be possible through changes in the surrounding ecosystem, involving lower temperatures and improved feeding conditions. To that end, we stress the need for ecosystem‐based management accounting for multiple internal and external factors occurring within the broader context of the ecosystem in which forage fish species, such as sandeel, play an important and integral part.
Brexit poses a major challenge to the stability of European fisheries management. Until now, neighbouring EU Member States have shared the bounty of the living resources of the seas around Britain. Taking full responsibility for the regulation of fisheries within the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone will cut across longstanding relationships, potentially putting at risk recent recovery and future sustainability of shared fish stocks. The paper considers the meaning of Brexit in relation to fisheries and the issues that will need to be resolved in any rebalancing of fishing opportunities within the UK EEZ. It examines the longer term implications for the governance of fisheries and the likely restructuring of institutional and regulatory arrangements, emphasising the prior need for a shared vision and robust modus operandi for collaboration between the UK and EU to ensure the sustainability of resources, viability of fishing activity and the health of marine ecosystems.
Conventional common property thinking assumes that a central goal of management is to maintain social-ecological systems in a healthy and resilient state, including maintaining the ability of communities to harvest across time and generations. Little research has been done, however, on how common property systems are affected by demographic shifts, the social status of emerging livelihoods, and the employment aspirations of users for their offspring. An empirical case study from Chile (well known for its common property fisheries) suggests that major socio-cultural shifts are now occurring, with a lack of entry by new fishers and an aging population of existing ones. These types of social and cultural changesare increasingly common through globalization and worldwide economic development, and pose significant policy challenges across broad classes of common property systems. The Chilean case reveals that community adaptive capacity can come at the expense of social-ecological common property systems, and highlights the need to consider the broader context of ‘slow’ social variables.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program in Russia is now well established and, in addition to fishery clients and stakeholders, involves environmental NGOs and experts familiar with the local management system. The present study aims to analyze the current status of the program and constitutes the first study covering all Russian MSC certifications. Based on certification reports and twenty semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, it was shown that problems with certification vary among fisheries. The most advanced in terms of management are the Barents Sea codfish fisheries, which are co-managed by Russia and Norway. The main concern of these fisheries is the use of bottom trawls, which may seriously affect bottom communities. The Alaska pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk experienced serious pressure from rival fisheries during the certification process. In the Far East, interviewees dealing with the salmon fisheries note a high level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and insufficient scientific data for comprehensive stock assessment. For small-scale inland perch fisheries from the central part of the country, recreational and illegal fishing are important problems that are difficult to quantify. Many interviewees repeatedly mentioned communication issues, difficulties with access to scientific and management information, and the overall complexity of the MSC certification process. The study shows that important preconditions to expanding certification are making the process manageable for export-oriented companies and developing a national market for sustainable seafood.
The European Union banned fishing operations with trammel, entangling and gillnets in Portuguese continental waters at depths >200 m in consideration of the potential impact of fisheries on deep-sea sharks. Derogation could be considered if Member States demonstrate that by-catch mortality does not adversely affect this group of species. This regulation has had an impact on the trammel net fishery for anglerfish (Lophius piscatoriusand Lophius budegassa), one of the most important Portuguese multi-species fisheries. This study evaluates the impact of this fishery on deep-water shark populations by looking at onboard observations of by-catch in the commercial fishery and by analysing survey catch composition. Results suggest that this fishery has a very low impact on deep-water shark populations: by-catch was <5% by weight of the total catch in 98% of the hauls conducted in the depth range allowed for this fishery (<600 m). Frequency of occurrence of deep-water sharks was also low. Etmopterus spinax and Etmopterus pusillus were the only species found to overlap with this fishery to any great extent; all the others largely distribute at depths greater than 600 m. A higher overlap is expected in hauls catching L. piscatorius, which seems to distribute at greater depths, but more information is needed to clarify the distribution pattern of this species. Scientific data supports the proposed change to the EU regulation. If necessary, future management measures may rely on spatial closures, but would require enhanced knowledge on species’ spatial distributions and also on social and economic aspects of this fishery.
The effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) to manage natural resources has been undermined in small insular lagoons due to massive mortalities triggered by climatic events that have hit some lagoons but not others. To minimize the future risk of ineffective management efforts, it has previously been argued that management should focus on a multi-island conservation target (regional scale), rather than on individual lagoons (local scale). However, it is unclear how a MPA network designed to meet objectives at a regional scale would impact on the management of resources at the local scale. In particular, it is necessary to understand if a regional plan might incidentally maintain conservation objectives at the local scale, without disproportionately affecting, or relying on particular islands. This study used the population of the giant clam (Tridacna maxima) in a fishery context to explore the distributions of conservation features and socio-economic costs for regional networks (computed within a set of islands), compared to individual islands. Designing a MPA network at regional scale led to unbalanced representation of conservation features among atolls and incidentally missed the targeted level of protection for conservation features at local scale. Moreover, the regional network generated inequitable costs for fishermen between islands, which is likely to lead to poor perceived equity. This study suggests that perceived equity and the representation of local conservation objectives will be major factors to consider, if the French Polynesian authorities follow the path of implementing MPAs in each atoll for a regional-scale resource management plan.
Subtropical reefs are biogeographic transition zones, providing critical habitat for a range of tropical, subtropical and temperate biota, including many endemic species. To date, limited research has been conducted on assessing the level of SCUBA diving risks to subtropical benthic habitats. This study surveyed 407 SCUBA divers to determine the types and rates of contact presenting the greatest risk to benthic taxa. Data were aggregated to give the total number of severe contacts for each diver. Site-level analysis based on 95% confidence level showed that severe impacts were more probable as reef complexity increased vertically. A general linear regression model was used to assess the level of risk to habitat based on the contact type and benthic percentage cover. SCUBA tank, camera, diver's knee and untethered equipment created the greatest proportion of severe impacts to benthic taxa. As benthic percentage cover increased for Scleractinia, Echinodermata, Ascidiacea, Porifera, susceptibility and vulnerability to severe impacts also increased. Abrasions, breaks, compression and mucus release were common forms of impact. Risk assessment findings suggest that subtropical benthic taxa are highly susceptible to SCUBA diver impacts. Targeted risk reduction is required in future management strategies.
This paper considers fisheries bycatch reduction within the least-cost biodiversity impact mitigation hierarchy. It introduces conservatory offsets that are implemented earlier in the biodiversity impact mitigation hierarchy than conventional compensatory offsets used as instruments of last resort. The paper illustrates implementation in an on-going sea turtle conservation programme by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
Indonesia's marine ecosystems form a fundamental part of the world's natural heritage, representing a global maxima of marine biodiversity and supporting the world's second largest production of seafood. Seagrasses are a key part of that support. In the absence of empirical data we present evidence from expert opinions as to the state of Indonesia's seagrass ecosystems, their support for ecosystem services, with a focus on fisheries, and the damaging activities that threaten their existence. We further draw on expert opinion to elicit potential solutions to prevent further loss. Seagrasses and the ecosystem services they support across the Indonesian archipelago are in a critical state of decline. Declining seagrass health is the result of shifting environmental conditions due largely to coastal development, land reclamation, and deforestation, as well as seaweed farming, overfishing and garbage dumping. In particular, we also describe the declining state of the fisheries resources that seagrass meadows support. The perilous state of Indonesia's seagrasses will compromise their resilience to climate change and result in a loss of their high ecosystem service value. Community supported management initiatives provide one mechanism for seagrass protection. Exemplars highlight the need for increased local level autonomy for the management of marine resources, opening up opportunities for incentive type conservation schemes.
“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right”—the sad case of Vaquita, the Trump administration and the removal of protections for whales and dolphins
Improving and conserving marine ecosystems to maintain and promote their sustainability and to enhance or protect biodiversity and ecosystems’ services and functions is clearly a necessity. The importance of biodiversity in supporting ecosystem services and functioning has been established; thus, the worldwide creation of marine protected areas (MPAs), the goals of which vary with location, design, management, and compliance enforcement has been increasing. This paper explores the opinions regarding the creation of MPAs in Italy, people’s willingness to pay (WTP) for the conservation of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services, and maintenance of MPAs. The results indicate that most people would be willing to pay an entrance fee to MPAs, that is, depending of the valuation scenario proposed the mean WTP for a visit ranged from about €5 to €21 per person, and preferred environmental organizations as the most trustworthy organization type to manage the MPAs.
Warming weather conditions in the Arctic are already resulting in changes in both sea ice extent and thickness. The resulting extended ‘open water’ season has many implications for vessel traffic and marine life. For example, an increase in vessel traffic due to ice-free waters will most likely lead to an increased risk of impact on cetaceans through increased noise pollution, strike risk for some cetacean species, and the possibility of exposure to chemical pollutants. The objective of this study was to pre-empt a predicted increase in vessels by investigating and exploring possible management scenarios, with the aim of mitigating negative impacts on locally important species such as bowhead and beluga whales. Utilizing insights gained from established vessel management schemes in more southerly regions, this paper evaluates the current suite of tools being implemented and their appropriateness for implementation in a more extreme Arctic environment.