Nature conservation and fisheries management often focus on particular seabed features that are considered vulnerable or important to commercial species. As a result, individual seabed types are protected in isolation, without any understanding of what effect the mixture of seabed types within the landscape has on ecosystem functions. Here we undertook predictive seabed modelling within a coastal marine protected area using observations from underwater stereo-video camera deployments and environmental information (depth, wave fetch, maximum tidal speeds, distance from coast and underlying geology). The effect of the predicted substratum type, extent and heterogeneity or the diversity of substrata, within a radius of 1500 m around each camera deployment of juvenile gadoid relative abundance was analysed. The predicted substratum model performed well with wave fetch and depth being the most influential predictor variables. Gadus morhua (Atlantic cod) were associated with relatively more rugose substrata (Algal-gravel-pebble and seagrass) and heterogeneous landscapes, than Melanogrammus aeglefinus (haddock) or Merlangius merlangus (whiting) (sand and mud). An increase in M. merlangus relative abundance was observed with increasing substratum extent. These results reveal that landscape effects should be considered when protecting the seabed for fish and not just individual seabed types. The landscape approach used in this study therefore has important implications for marine protected area, fisheries management and monitoring advice concerning demersal fish populations.
Climate change poses serious threats to many coastal and marine systems, including those being managed as protected areas.
Yet people responsible for the management of coastal and marine protected areas (CMPAs) do not have to wait and see their sites deteriorate, but can take active steps to minimise the detrimental impacts of climate change. Because many coastal areas are heavily settled by human communities, such actions need to be taken in close cooperation with people living inside or near to the CMPA, which often include fishing communities and tourism operators.
The following manual describes an approach – Climate Adaptation Methodology for Protected Areas (CAMPA): Coastal and Marine – for developing climate adaptation measures in CMPAs. It combines ecosystem and community-based approaches
to adaptation and uses a participatory approach that aims to build consensus amongst stakeholders on the actions necessary to address the current and potential impacts of climate change. The methodology is described in detail and three case studies summarise lessons learned from its eld-testing in six CMPAs in Colombia, Madagascar and the Philippines. It utilises a series of worksheets to simplify the process of completion and can be applied either in a detailed, data-driven process that will take some time or a shorter, quicker but less rigorous assessment to help make basic decisions about management.
An introductory section provides some background and key concepts. The CAMPA begins by defining the objectives and scope of any approach, then identifies ecological, ecosystem service and socio-economic targets and explains how to collate information on baseline conditions.
The main vulnerability assessment then starts by identifying possible climate and oceanographic manifestations (i.e. weather and climate events) in the area of the CMPA, along with non-climate influences, and develops scenarios looking at likely changes as a result of these various threats. A vulnerability analysis is then carried out: the manual lists various alternative methods and provides a simple assessment approach developed specifically for the CAMPA. Results from whatever vulnerability assessment system is used then undergo validation and prioritisation in a workshop involving a range of stakeholders. The end result will be the identification of potential impacts, categorised by type, plus a long list of possible adaptation
actions to address these impacts. The proposals are compared against a checklist of adaptation actions to test for gaps and are further assessed in a second stakeholder workshop, which considers the benefits, opportunities, risks and costs of each from environmental, social and economic perspectives. The workshop aims to develop a priority list of actions for climate adaptation in the protected area. Advice is given on running a workshop and drawing up and checking the resulting adaptation plan. A nal section provides guidance on implementation, monitoring and evaluation and adaptive management.
Case studies describe application of CAMPA in the Gorgona and Sanquianga National Protected Areas in Colombia; Nosy Hara and Ambodivahibe Marine Protected Areas in northern Madagascar and two small protected areas in the Island Garden City of Samal in the Philippines.
Boosted Regression Trees. Excellent for data-poor spatial management but hard to use
Marine resource managers and scientists often advocate spatial approaches to manage data-poor species. Existing spatial prediction and management techniques are either insufficiently robust, struggle with sparse input data, or make suboptimal use of multiple explanatory variables. Boosted Regression Trees feature excellent performance and are well suited to modelling the distribution of data-limited species, but are extremely complicated and time-consuming to learn and use, hindering access for a wide potential user base and therefore limiting uptake and usage.
BRTs automated and simplified for accessible general use with rich feature set
We have built a software suite in R which integrates pre-existing functions with new tailor-made functions to automate the processing and predictive mapping of species abundance data: by automating and greatly simplifying Boosted Regression Tree spatial modelling, the gbm.auto R package suite makes this powerful statistical modelling technique more accessible to potential users in the ecological and modelling communities. The package and its documentation allow the user to generate maps of predicted abundance, visualise the representativeness of those abundance maps and to plot the relative influence of explanatory variables and their relationship to the response variables. Databases of the processed model objects and a report explaining all the steps taken within the model are also generated. The package includes a previously unavailable Decision Support Tool which combines estimated escapement biomass(the percentage of an exploited population which must be retained each year to conserve it) with the predicted abundance maps to generate maps showing the location and size of habitat that should be protected to conserve the target stocks (candidate MPAs), based on stakeholder priorities, such as the minimisation of fishing effort displacement.
Gbm.auto for management in various settings
By bridging the gap between advanced statistical methods for species distribution modelling and conservation science, management and policy, these tools can allow improved spatial abundance predictions, and therefore better management, decision-making, and conservation. Although this package was built to support spatial management of a data-limited marine elasmobranch fishery, it should be equally applicable to spatial abundance modelling, area protection, and stakeholder engagement in various scenarios.
Connectivity among individual marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the most important considerations in the design of integrated MPA networks. To provide such information for managers in Hawaii, USA, a numerical circulation model was developed to determine the role of ocean currents in transporting coral larvae from natal reefs throughout the high volcanic islands of the Maui Nui island complex in the southeastern Hawaiian Archipelago. Spatially- and temporally-varying wind, wave, and circulation model outputs were used to drive a km-scale, 3-dimensional, physics-based circulation model for Maui Nui. The model was calibrated and validated using satellite-tracked ocean surface current drifters deployed during coral-spawning conditions, then used to simulate the movement of the larvae of the dominant reef-building coral, Porites compressa, from 17 reefs during eight spawning events in 2010–2013. These simulations make it possible to investigate not only the general dispersal patterns from individual coral reefs, but also how anomalous conditions during individual spawning events can result in large deviations from those general patterns. These data also help identify those reefs that are dominated by self-seeding and those where self-seeding is limited to determine their relative susceptibility to stressors and potential roadblocks to recovery. Overall, the numerical model results indicate that many of the coral reefs in Maui Nui seed reefs on adjacent islands, demonstrating the interconnected nature of the coral reefs in Maui Nui and providing a key component of the scientific underpinning essential for the design of a mutually supportive network of MPAs to enhance conservation of coral reefs.
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.