This Special Issue is intended to help readers gain a better understanding of the various definitions of blue growth, as well as to give a heightened awareness of the constraints of, and possibilities within, the important concept. Increased communication among those working together on these topics is of utmost importance, especially considering the diversity of the backgrounds of those who have a role to play in blue growth and sustainable development. Scientists, policy makers, business people, and the larger society need to become more precise and transparent in their language and meanings in order to effectively work together, and hopefully one day succeed in our joint goal to secure blue growth.
Our paper describes the application of a realist approach to synthesizing evidence from 31 articles examining the environmental outcomes of marine protected areas governed under different types of property regimes. The development of resource tenure interventions that promote sustainable management practices has been challenged by the difficulties of determining how contextual factors affect environmental outcomes given the complexity of socio-ecological systems. Realist synthesis is a promising evidence review technique for identifying the mechanisms that influence policy intervention outcomes in complex systems. Through a combination of inductive and deductive analysis of the links between context, mechanisms, and outcomes, realist synthesis can help clarify when, how, where, and why property regime interventions are likely to result in positive environmental outcomes. Our study revealed the importance of disaggregating property regimes into sub-categories, rather than treating them as homogenous categories. More importantly, use of a realist synthesis approach allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which three mechanisms—perceptions of legitimacy, perceptions of the likelihood of benefits, and perceptions of enforcement capacity—interact under different socio-ecological contexts to trigger behavioral changes that affect environmental conditions. The approach revealed the multi-faceted and interactive nature of perceptions of legitimacy, in which legal legitimacy, social acceptability, and ecological credibility combined to create robust legitimacy. The existence of robust legitimacy in turn appeared to be an important contributor to the success of regulatory systems reliant on voluntary compliance. Our study contributes to the field of natural resources governance by demonstrating the utility of a systematic review method which has received little attention by property scholars but which has promise to clarify understanding of how complex systems work. Our study also highlights that achieving long-term sustainability requires paying greater attention to the mechanisms that support or undermine people’s willingness to voluntarily engage in conservation behaviors.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are inherent to international commitments to protect the oceans and have the potential to recognize, honour, and re-invigorate Indigenous rights. Involvement of Indigenous peoples in the governance and management of MPAs, however, has received little attention. A review of the literature revealed only 15 publications on this topic (< 0.5% of papers on MPAs). In these case studies, governance arrangements of MPAs involving Indigenous peoples ranged from state-led to community-based, and included a spectrum of approaches in between. Cultural goals—which are compatible with biodiversity conservation—were emphasized by Indigenous peoples, and ecological goals were prevalent in state-led marine protected areas. Achievement of at least some cultural goals was the most common mention of success, whereas social issues were the most common challenge. Additional work is needed to ensure that existing and future MPAs serve the dual goals of biodiversity conservation and supporting Indigenous rights.
The abyssal ocean is broadly characterized by northward flow of the densest waters and southward flow of less-dense waters above them. Understanding what controls the strength and structure of these interhemispheric flows—referred to as the abyssal overturning circulation—is key to quantifying the ocean’s ability to store carbon and heat on timescales exceeding a century. Here we show that, north of 32° S, the depth distribution of the seafloor compels dense southern-origin waters to flow northward below a depth of about 4 kilometres and to return southward predominantly at depths greater than 2.5 kilometres. Unless ventilated from the north, the overlying mid-depths (1 to 2.5 kilometres deep) host comparatively weak mean meridional flow. Backed by analysis of historical radiocarbon measurements, the findings imply that the geometry of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic basins places a major external constraint on the overturning structure.
The utility of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a means of protecting exploited species and conserving biodiversity within MPA boundaries is supported by strong empirical evidence. However, the potential contribution of MPAs to fished populations beyond their boundaries is still highly controversial; empirical measures are scarce and modelling studies have produced a range of predictions, including both positive and negative effects. Using a combination of genetic parentage and relatedness analysis, we measured larval subsidies to local fisheries replenishment for Australasian snapper (Chrysophrys auratus: Sparidae) from a small (5.2 km2), well-established, temperate, coastal MPA in northern New Zealand. Adult snapper within the MPA contributed an estimated 10.6% (95% CI: 5.5–18.1%) of newly settled juveniles to surrounding areas (approx. 400 km2), with no decreasing trend in contributions up to 40 km away. Biophysical modelling of larval dispersal matched experimental data, showing larvae produced inside the MPA dispersed over a comparable distance. These results demonstrate that temperate MPAs have the potential to provide recruitment subsidies at magnitudes and spatial scales relevant to fisheries management. The validated biophysical model provides a cost-efficient opportunity to generalize these findings to other locations and climate conditions, and potentially informs the design of MPA networks for enhancing fisheries management.
Because the Anthropocene by definition is an epoch during which environmental change is largely anthropogenic and driven by social, economic, psychological and political forces, environmental social scientists can effectively analyse human behaviour and knowledge systems in this context. In this subject review, we summarize key ways in which the environmental social sciences can better inform fisheries management policy and practice and marine conservation in the Anthropocene. We argue that environmental social scientists are particularly well positioned to synergize research to fill the gaps between: (1) local behaviours/needs/worldviews and marine resource management and biological conservation concerns; and (2) large-scale drivers of planetary environmental change (globalization, affluence, technological change, etc.) and local cognitive, socioeconomic, cultural and historical processes that shape human behaviour in the marine environment. To illustrate this, we synthesize the roles of various environmental social science disciplines in better understanding the interaction between humans and tropical marine ecosystems in developing nations where issues arising from human–coastal interactions are particularly pronounced. We focus on: (1) the application of the environmental social sciences in marine resource management and conservation; (2) the development of ‘new’ socially equitable marine conservation; (3) repopulating the seascape; (4) incorporating multi-scale dynamics of marine social–ecological systems; and (5) envisioning the future of marine resource management and conservation for producing policies and projects for comprehensive and successful resource management and conservation in the Anthropocene.
- Since the implementation of the commercial whaling ban in the 1980s, whale-watching has become the most important economic activity involving whales worldwide.
- Whale-watching is promoted as a platform for education and conservation awareness of marine biodiversity. In Peru, where cetacean species are still in jeopardy, whale-watching may play an important part in promoting the protection of these species.
- This study aimed to determine the degree of whale-watching tourists' knowledge regarding cetacean ecology and conservation status and to evaluate if whale-watching tours could serve as platforms for educating the public and raising conservation awareness.
- The results of 196 closed-ended questionnaires and 20 open-ended interviews conducted before and after whale-watching tours, during the humpback whale season (winter–spring 2014) in northern Peru, revealed an overall lack of knowledge concerning the presence of species of cetaceans in Peruvian waters and threats to marine biodiversity. However, after the whale-watching excursion, participants said they would be more willing to change their behaviour with respect to cetacean conservation and marine environment protection.
- This study suggests that whale-watching platforms, when implemented with adequate interpreters, can serve as a source of environmental education and can raise conservation awareness. This is an important conservation strategy to consider in countries, such as Peru, where by-catch and direct hunting are decimating local cetacean populations.
Competing usage of marine space has prompted several coastal nations to implement marine spatial planning (MSP). While progressive governments promote the deployment of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in order to meet renewable energy capacity and greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, offshore RETs become another player operating within a finite and already stressed marine environment. This paper applies the sectoral MSP process employed by Scotland to the Nova Scotia context in order to draft a MSP for the province's tidal energy sector. Applicable legislation is reviewed in order to establish the regulatory authorities with powers to plan for both the marine development and ecosystem protection agendas. The scoping process identifies suitable resource areas based on the operational parameters of commercially viable tidal current turbines (TCTs), while the sustainability appraisal identifies areas of cultural, industry, ecological, and socioeconomic constraint and exclusion. Plan option areas emanating from the applied methodology demonstrated a 238.345 km2 (98.1%) increase in suitable TCT deployment area than the marine renewable energy areas identified in Nova Scotia's Marine Renewable Energy Act which did not undertake such a methodology.
Mangrove forests provide many services, some of which are used mostly or exclusively by local people, often the relatively poor and marginalised. Here, such ‘local ecosystem services’ are defined as those benefitting people living zero to tens of kilometres from a forest. The provision of fuel, timber, fodder, crustacean, fin-fish and shoreline protection services are reviewed, and their relationships with global patterns in biodiversity and poverty are examined. Higher floral and faunal diversity in the Indo-West-Pacific, compared with the Atlantic-East-Pacific, correlate with a greater range of species exploited for fuel, timber, crustaceans and coastal protection. Whilst poverty is a strong predictor for reliance on some local services, such as fuel wood, it is not related to others, such as fin-fish; hence, local people may be ‘liberated’ from reliance on some services by increased income but use others to generate that wealth. The vulnerability of these services to climate change depends on local geomorphological, biological and social factors. Forests with good supplies of sediment and fresh water, and fauna with relatively simple life cycles, will probably be more resilient. Greater wealth (or investment) may permit people to shift from capture to aquaculture fisheries and to show flexibility in the face of changing or reduced service provision.
Inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis of the root causes of overfishing can lead to misguided and ineffective fisheries policies and programmes. The “Malthusian overfishing narrative” suggests that overfishing is driven by too many fishers chasing too few fish and that fishing effort grows proportionately to human population growth, requiring policy interventions that reduce fisher access, the number of fishers, or the human population. By neglecting other drivers of overfishing that may be more directly related to fishing pressure and provide more tangible policy levers for achieving fisheries sustainability, Malthusian overfishing relegates blame to regions of the world with high population growth rates, while consumers, corporations and political systems responsible for these other mediating drivers remain unexamined. While social–ecological systems literature has provided alternatives to the Malthusian paradigm, its focus on institutions and organized social units often fails to address fundamental issues of power and politics that have inhibited the design and implementation of effective fisheries policy. Here, we apply a political ecology lens to unpack Malthusian overfishing and, relying upon insights derived from the social sciences, reconstruct the narrative incorporating four exemplar mediating drivers: technology and innovation, resource demand and distribution, marginalization and equity, and governance and management. We argue that a more nuanced understanding of such factors will lead to effective and equitable fisheries policies and programmes, by identifying a suite of policy levers designed to address the root causes of overfishing in diverse contexts.
The FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics Yearbook contains all the most updated data on capture production, fleet and employment, aquaculture production, commodities, food balance sheets.
Fisheries dynamics can be thought of as the reciprocal relationship between an exploited population and the fishers and/or managers determining the exploitation patterns. Sustainable production of protein of these coupled human-natural systems requires an understanding of their dynamics. Here, we characterized the fishery dynamics for 173 fisheries from around the globe by applying general additive models to estimated fishing mortality and spawning biomass from the RAM Legacy Database. GAMs specified to mimic production models and more flexible GAMs were applied. We show observed dynamics do not always match assumptions made in management using “classical” fisheries models, and the suitability of these assumptions varies significantly according to large marine ecosystem, habitat, variability in recruitment, maximum weight of a species and minimum observed stock biomass. These results identify circumstances in which simple models may be useful for management. However, adding flexibility to classical models often did not substantially improve performance, which suggests in many cases considering only biomass and removals will not be sufficient to model fishery dynamics. Knowledge of the suitability of common assumptions in management should be used in selecting modelling frameworks, setting management targets, testing management strategies and developing tools to manage data-limited fisheries. Effectively balancing expectations of future protein production from capture fisheries and risk of undesirable outcomes (e.g., “fisheries collapse”) depends on understanding how well we can expect to predict future dynamics of a fishery using current management paradigms.
Interactions between environmental and social change are complex and require deep insights into human perceptions, values, motivations and choices. Humanities disciplines can bring these insights to the study of marine social–ecological systems in the context of global environmental challenges. Such systems can be defined on a range of scales, but the cases most easily studied include those of small islands and their communities. This paper presents findings from three studies in the Western and Northern isles of Scotland, concentrating on some of the processes involved in social sustainability that contribute on the one hand to protecting what a community has, and on the other hand allowing a community to evolve so as to adapt to new conditions. It relates the several sorts of transformations involved, to the role and impact of external institutions such as those of governance of the natural environment, the energy market, and academic research, which together make up the environment of the transformation. By examining the world-views of different groups of actors, this paper illustrates that an understanding of the mental constructs underlying these world-views can help marine governance through integrating different ways of knowing. This paper identifies where it would be useful to employ a transdisciplinary ‘translator’ or a ‘space’ for dialogue in order to capture the diverse ‘visions’ and perceptions that these groups have in relation to management of the marine environment, where there are synergies and where more should to be done to negotiate between competing values and needs. It illustrates the practical contributions to operational policy that can emerge through challenging the dominant management discourses for the marine environment.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is one of the world's largest marine protected areas and was designated the first mixed conservation site in the United States due to its natural and cultural importance. It is also the world's first cultural seascape, being recognized for its continuing connections to indigenous people. As the westernmost place in the Hawaiian universe, many believe these islands and seas are the pathway that Native Hawaiians travel after death, returning to pō (night; realm of the gods). This intimate kinship has profound implications for contemporary management. Current management emphasizes integration of science, policy, cultural knowledge, traditions, and practices to create successful management strategies appropriate for both natural and cultural resources. This management is based on Native Hawaiian values and practices that incorporate observation and understanding of the natural world, indigenous principles and philosophies, cultural norms, community relationships, and unique epistemologies deeply imbedded in and formed by relationships of people with place. A cornerstone of this effort has been the direct involvement of cultural practitioners in policy, management, education, and research. This biocultural approach has led to more effective management of the monument and serves as a model for conservation around the world.
The European Union has launched the Blue growth concept as a strategy for stimulating economic growth in European seas. It is accompanying the core principles of the Green growth paradigm that seek to stimulate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of economic activities. Focusing on Blue growth, this article examines its adequacy to enable social innovation as a strategy for the use and management of marine resources. Social innovation is interpreted as the changing behaviour of a group of actors joined in a network, leading to new and improved ways of collaborative action within the group and beyond. Social innovation can contribute to changing behaviour across different institutional settings, across markets and public sectors, and to enhancing bottom-up responsible inventiveness towards integration of social, economic and environmental objectives. Based on case-study research it is concluded that, to secure long-term sustainable development over short-term benefits, a social innovation perspective in the maritime domain will depend on cooperation, inclusiveness and trust.
The objective of this paper is to analyse the factors that determine Spanish aquaculture firm survival to improve understanding of the sector dynamics. Specifically, this paper focuses on marine aquaculture enterprises and evaluates how internationalization, the environmental commitment of the firm, and the ability to innovate, as well as other factors such as a firm's financial and accounting information, may be associated with the decisions by Spanish aquaculture firms to remain in the industry.
The empirical analysis, conducted over the 2007–2014 period, is based on the Cox proportional hazard model. Our main findings reveal that those firms that have an environmental commitment are less likely to exit the industry than those that have no such commitment. Furthermore, our results also highlight the positive effect of economic profitability and long-term solvency on the survival of the firms and the negative effect of the age of the firms. Finally, we find that the investment in R&D activities and the internationalization of the firms did not contribute significantly to the model, indicating that they are not crucial factors for the survival of the firms.
The atolls and coral banks of the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) in the central Indian Ocean were badly affected by the warm water event that started in 2015 and lasted for nearly two years. On these reefs, coral mortality was very severe, reducing coral cover to <10% cover and usually about 5%, almost eliminating soft corals and reducing the 3-Dimensional structure of the reefs. Most atolls are not inhabited, so any changes are driven by climate changes rather than by any direct, local anthropogenic effect. Coral cover has been measured for 20 years using the same methods, while temperature loggers have recorded water temperature at various depths for over 10 years. Water temperatures have risen by one third of a degree on ocean reefs and over one half of a degree in lagoons over this period, causing the recent severe mortality. Juvenile corals have also been recorded at intervals during the last few years, and numbers severely declined following the mortality of the adults. Estimates of calcification suggest a marked reduction, from a state of vigorous reef growth that had not long recovered from the previous severe warming event of 1998, to one of net erosion. Predictions suggest that recurrences of mass mortalities will take place too frequently for any significant recovery of reef health in these atolls by the late 2020s.
Interactions between marine mammals and plastic debris have been the focus of studies for many years. Examples of interactions include entanglement in discarded fishing items or the presence of ingested debris in digestive tracts. Plastics, including microplastics, are a form of marine debris globally distributed in coastal areas, oceanic waters and deep seas. Cetaceans which strand along the coast present a unique opportunity to study interactions between animals with macro- and microplastics. A combination of novel techniques and a review of historical data was used to complete an extensive study of cetaceans interacting with marine debris within Irish waters. Of the 25 species of marine mammals reported in Irish waters, at least 19 species were reported stranded between 1990 and 2015 (n = 2934). Two hundred and forty-one of the stranded cetaceans presented signs of possible entanglement or interactions with fisheries. Of this number, 52.7% were positively identified as bycatch or as entangled in fisheries items, 26.6% were classified as mutilated and 20.7% could not be related to fisheries but showed signs of entanglement. In addition, 274 cetaceans were recorded as by-catch during observer programmes targeting albacore tuna. Post-mortem examinations were carried out on a total of 528 stranded and bycaught individuals and 45 (8.5%) had marine debris in their digestive tracts: 21 contained macrodebris, 21 contained microdebris and three had both macro- and microdebris. Forty percent of the ingested debris were fisheries related items. All 21 individuals investigated with the novel method for microplastics contained microplastics, composed of fibres (83.6%) and fragments (16.4%). Deep diving species presented more incidences of macrodebris ingestion but it was not possible to investigate this relationship to ecological habitat. More research on the plastic implications to higher trophic level organisms is required to understand the effects of these pollutants.
There is a growing need for instruments to control and reduce the impacts of the increasing number of tourists visiting protected natural areas. Among these economic instruments, the use of access fees can have positive effects on enhancing environmental sustainability by reducing the number of visitors. Access fees are also a source of financing the management costs of a protected area. Among the negative impacts of tourism, users of beaches perceive congestion as a factor in reducing the final value of the touristic experience. This article analyses the perception of locals of an access fee to enter the small Canary island of Lobos, a protected natural area with high quality beaches, whose quietness is endangered by an increasing number of visitors, clearly exceeding the current carrying capacity. We approached the problem using different tools: firstly, we looked at visitors’ opinions on the website TripAdvisor to identify whether congestion is perceived as a problem; secondly, we carried out an opinion survey using Likert-type scale questions to capture opinions about crowding and pricing; and finally, we used a discrete choice experiment to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) for accessing the island and reducing congestion. The results reveal a high degree of perception of congestion and the potential of an entrance fee as an effective tool in reducing that congestion and thus generating resources to cover the maintenance costs of the protected area.
The development of seawater desalination plants to increase water reliability in coastal areas poses a threat to the health of near shore marine ecosystems and may affect the effectiveness of marine protected areas (MPAs) that have been established to meet international conservation targets. This paper applies a multi-criteria analysis approach to quantify stakeholder groups’ priorities for seawater desalination plants that have been proposed in communities adjacent to a National Marine Sanctuary. All groups placed the highest importance on minimizing environmental impacts on protected areas and endangered species that could be affected by water intake and brine discharge emphasizing the need for integrated land and sea conservation. Minimizing socio-economic impacts on coastal communities was much less important. Stakeholders also weighted reducing pressure on water levels in rivers, streams, and aquifers as more important than increasing water for residential consumption, which may foster coastal growth rather than replacing water taken from other sources. The study further revealed differences in the importance of multiple management objectives among stakeholder groups, which highlights the need to elicit distinct priorities of all groups to understand concerns and potential conflicts of desalination with existing marine users. The analysis of consistency ratios revealed that around half of all surveyed stakeholders had high inconsistencies in their responses, which suggests either a lack of understanding of desalination, or reflects the complexity of establishing desalination plants in coastal areas adjacent to a marine protected area.