Many social scientists in the field of fisheries display a strong concern for the social engineering of environmental sustainability, but also a tendency to identify with the concerns of government. This paper posits that social scientists have their own responsibility in the fisheries field, and that this responsibility includes more attention to the realm of social struggle and distributional justice. Social struggles within and over fisheries are argued to be globally intensifying, as a result of four trends: (1) the condition that inshore fisheries have now largely become a zero sum game; (2) the new sets of controls that are occurring in the fish value chain; (3) the incursion of new business interests into marine and coastal space; and (4) the increasing participation, if not interference, by governments in what used to be mainly fisher affairs. Not only does a reinvigorated social science agenda create attention to other, neglected domains of fisher society; the authors argue that addressing distributional justice concerns may be a precondition for achieving sustainable human-nature relations.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a primary management tool for mitigating threats to marine biodiversity1,2. MPAs and the species they protect, however, are increasingly being impacted by climate change. Here we show that, despite local protections, the warming associated with continued business-as-usual emissions (RCP8.5)3 will likely result in further habitat and species losses throughout low-latitude and tropical MPAs4,5. With continued business-as-usual emissions, mean sea-surface temperatures within MPAs are projected to increase 0.035 °C per year and warm an additional 2.8 °C by 2100. Under these conditions, the time of emergence (the year when sea-surface temperature and oxygen concentration exceed natural variability) is mid-century in 42% of 309 no-take marine reserves. Moreover, projected warming rates and the existing ‘community thermal safety margin’ (the inherent buffer against warming based on the thermal sensitivity of constituent species) both vary among ecoregions and with latitude. The community thermal safety margin will be exceeded by 2050 in the tropics and by 2150 for many higher latitude MPAs. Importantly, the spatial distribution of emergence is stressor-specific. Hence, rearranging MPAs to minimize exposure to one stressor could well increase exposure to another. Continued business-as-usual emissions will likely disrupt many marine ecosystems, reducing the benefits of MPAs.
Notwithstanding their potential benefit as a non-carbon-emitting energy source, the number and the size of marine renewable energy (MRE) farms increases conflict uses, creating a kind of private occupation of the sea space. The multipurpose marine cadastre (MMC) seems to be an efficient tool to determine a better way to allocate exclusive rights to ocean energy developers, in accordance with other users rights. The United-States are the pioneers with their marinecadastre.gov website, which has been set clearly to promote offshore renewable energy, and many others countries are studying this concept, as a complement to marine spatial planning.
Seafood provides the most important source of protein on the planet, and millions in coastal communities depend on this sector for nutrition, livelihoods, and cultural values. Despite seafood's important role, in many locations the contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to local food security have not been accurately assessed. An overview is provided of current and future contributions of seafood to food security in Hawai‘i through metrics using a supply chain approach from hook-to-plate, encompassing production and consumption. Hawai‘i's local seafood production is nearly 21,000 metric tons per year, with ~90% sourced from pelagic fisheries, and 6% from reef fisheries. Seafood is a bright spot in the overall Hawai‘i food system, providing a relatively higher degree of self-sufficiency than other food sources. Annual local production of seafood in Hawai‘i is estimated at 20,424,243 ± 1,958,488 kg (μ ± SD). Accounting for imports and exports, the total locally available seafood (32,450,820 kg ± 1,571,905 kg) accounts for about 134 ± 6.5 million meals available every year. Wild-capture fisheries (pelagic and nearshore) in Hawai‘i are modeled to be able to meet 45% or less of the growing seafood demand in Hawai‘i by 2040, compared to an estimated 55% in 2015. A projected 20% increase in total seafood demand by 2040 would exceed current average annual local production by up to 37%. Improvement in sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, and innovations in value and supply chains are critical if Hawai‘i is to improve its seafood security and the food provisioning functions of ocean and coastal environments.
For the past two decades, the need to shield strategic maritime interests, to tackle criminality and terrorism at or from the sea and to conserve valuable marine resources has been recognized at the highest political level. Acknowledging and accounting for the interplay between climate change, the vulnerability of coastal populations and the occurrence of maritime criminality should be part of any ocean governance process. Still, given the complex interactions between climate change and socio-economic components of the marine realm, it has become urgent to establish a solid methodological framework, which could lead to sound and effective decisions. We propose that any such framework should not be built from scratch. The adaptation of well tested, existing uncertainty-management tools, such as Cumulative Effect Assessments, could serve as a solid basis to account for the magnitude and directionality of the dependencies between the impacts of climate change and the occurrence of maritime criminality, offering spatial explicit risk evaluations. Multi-Criteria Decision Making could then be employed to better and faster inform decision-makers. These mechanisms could provide a framework for comparison of alternative mitigation and adaptation actions and are essential in assessing responses to tackle maritime crime in the context of climate change.
Marine managers and conservationists increasingly emphasize the importance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a key tool for sustaining ocean ecosystems. The designation of MPAs often meets with resistance from stakeholders for reasons that include loss of access, unclear benefits, and misunderstanding of the nature of the intervention. In this chapter, we use case studies from two small MPAs on the east coast of Canada to illustrate the issues surrounding planning, implementing, and demonstrating their efficacy.
In 2015, an online survey was conducted to investigate public attitudes and perceptions toward key cetacean (whale, dolphin, and porpoise) conservation and “hot topic” issues such as legislative protection and whaling (n = 858). The vast majority of the participants in this study indicated their permanent residence was the United States (n = 577) or India (n = 251). Perceptions of participants on the conservation priority of cetacean species did not match with the factual IUCN status, where most participants assumed that the larger and more charismatic whales (blue whale, 24.01%; humpback whale, 22.14%; and killer whale, 23.43%) were more endangered or more important to conserve than the small cetacean species such as the Vaquita or Hector's dolphin. Additionally, 39.74% of participants indicated that they thought bottlenose dolphin was the most important to conserve. More members of the public highlighted non-existent (fake) species (e.g., pygmy short-fined whale, lump-headed dolphin, and majestic spotted dolphin) as being of conservation concern than certain species of actual, genuine concern. The majority of participants considered dolphins and whales to be “under protected” or only “slightly protected” (29.95%; 41.96%, respectively) and expressed that marine mammal conservation laws and policies were “very important” or “important” (47.43 and 37.88%, respectively). In addition, 86.83% of participants expressed opposition to the hunting of dolphins and whales (57.93% “strongly opposed” and 28.90% “opposed”); however, only 47.44% of participants were aware that several countries are still involved in whaling. A lack of awareness of the conservation status of whales and dolphins and continued whaling activities suggests that greater outreach to the public about the conservation status of whale and dolphin species is needed.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is designed partly to implement the ecosystem-based approach to the management of marine resources worldwide. This article focuses on the principles of good governance to which MSP is tied: principles of transparency and participation. With increasing efforts to analyse the impact of MSP, it is timely to explore its commitment to these principles of good governance. Guided by governance theory this paper explores the opportunities that exist in Scotland's MSP system for communities to voice their opinions in decision-making processes. Whilst authorities in Scotland are doing a good job of transferring the National Marine Plan to local planning regions, there are some issues relating to planning partnerships in these regions and the activities of the Crown Estate. Further analysis is offered by considering terrestrial planning in Scotland, where communities often feel excluded and are challenging the status quo in planning processes through alternative, informal governance arrangements. The roles and rights of communities have taken centre stage in land reform debates, which has not been the case in MSP. By looking outward (and inland) it might be possible to design a more adaptable and inclusive MSP system.
Coastal zone is of great importance in the provision of various valuable ecosystem services. However, it is also sensitive and vulnerable to environmental changes due to high human populations and interactions between the land and ocean. Major threats of pollution from over enrichment of nutrients, increasing metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and climate change have led to severe ecological degradation in the coastal zone, while few studies have focused on the combined impacts of pollution and climate change on the coastal ecosystems at the global level. A global overview of nutrients, metals, POPs, and major environmental changes due to climate change and their impacts on coastal ecosystems was carried out in this study. Coasts of the Eastern Atlantic and Western Pacific were hotspots of concentrations of several pollutants, and mostly affected by warming climate. These hotspots shared the same features of large populations, heavy industry and (semi-) closed sea. Estimation of coastal ocean capital, integrated management of land-ocean interaction in the coastal zone, enhancement of integrated global observation system, and coastal ecosystem-based management can play effective roles in promoting sustainable management of coastal marine ecosystems. Enhanced management from the perspective of mitigating pollution and climate change was proposed.
The French initial assessment of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) highlighted the lack of reliable data concerning offshore areas. During the planning of the monitoring programmes, the scientists therefore proposed to partially cover this gap by using existing fisheries research vessel surveys deployed for the purposes of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). This paper describes ways of improving the effectiveness of these surveys and making them better suited to delivering the information needed for the MSFD. The process took two years and became operational at the beginning of the year 2016. Testing phases from October 2013 to August 2015 had to be organized to fit within the ongoing fisheries tasks without significantly increasing the workload in terms of both time and human resources. Six fisheries research surveys henceforth collect new data, with or without additional sampling techniques. Specific examples are given with litter and hydrological data which will be used to assess the environmental status of French marine waters. The paper also identifies certain limitations regarding this approach. This French experiment enabled more efficient and effective use of current data collection efforts, while optimising vessel time and implementing an ecosystem approach in collecting data for fisheries management.
Regime shifts from one ecological state to another are often portrayed as sudden, dramatic, and difficult to reverse given the extent of substantial reorganizations in system structure, functions and feedbacks. However, most assessments of regime shifts in terrestrial and aquatic systems have emphasized their physical and/or biological dimensions. Our objective is to illustrate how equivalent concern with ecological and social processes can enhance our ability to understand and navigate ‘social-ecological’ regime shifts. We draw on two coastal lagoon systems experiencing rapid change to provide an empirical foundation for an initial analytical framework. Key issues we address include: 1) distinguishing underlying versus proximate drivers of rapid change (ecological and social); 2) considering appropriate scales of intervention; 3) considering the appropriate unit(s) for understanding regime shifts; 4) reflecting on social equity and the distribution of impacts (and benefits) of regime shifts; 5) assessing the influence of social power in the framing of and response to regime shifts; and 6) clarifying the role of management and governance in the context of rapid social-ecological change. Effective responses to social-ecological regime shifts will require a transition towards interdisciplinary research, inclusion of integrative and scale-specific suite of attributes for assessment, and interventions in management and governance approaches that are more multi-level, collaborative and adaptive.
Effective management of coral reefs requires strategies tailored to cope with cumulative disturbances from human activities. In Brazil, where coral reefs are a priority for conservation, intensifying threats from local and global stressors are of paramount concern to management agencies. Using a cumulative impact assessment approach, our goal was to inform management actions for coral reefs in Brazil by assessing their exposure to multiple stressors (fishing, land-based activities, coastal development, mining, aquaculture, shipping, and global warming). We calculated an index of the risk to cumulative impacts: (i) assuming uniform sensitivity of coral reefs to stressors; and (ii) using impact weights to reflect varying tolerance levels of coral reefs to each stressor. We also predicted the index in both the presence and absence of global warming. We found that 16% and 37% of coral reefs had high to very high risk of cumulative impacts, without and with information on sensitivity respectively, and 42% of reefs had low risk to cumulative impacts from both local and global stressors. Our outputs are the first comprehensive spatial dataset of cumulative impact on coral reefs in Brazil, and show that areas requiring attention mostly corresponded to those closer to population centres. We demonstrate how the relationships between risks from local and global stressors can be used to derive strategic management actions.
Coral bleaching is the detrimental expulsion of algal symbionts from their cnidarian hosts, and predominantly occurs when corals are exposed to thermal stress. The incidence and severity of bleaching is often spatially heterogeneous within reef-scales (<1 km), and is therefore not predictable using conventional remote sensing products. Here, we systematically assess the relationship between in situ measurements of 20 environmental variables, along with seven remotely sensed SST thermal stress metrics, and 81 observed bleaching events at coral reef locations spanning five major reef regions globally. We find that high-frequency temperature variability (i.e., daily temperature range) was the most influential factor in predicting bleaching prevalence and had a mitigating effect, such that a 1 °C increase in daily temperature range would reduce the odds of more severe bleaching by a factor of 33. Our findings suggest that reefs with greater high-frequency temperature variability may represent particularly important opportunities to conserve coral ecosystems against the major threat posed by warming ocean temperatures.
A changing climate, in particular a warming ocean, is likely to impact marine industries in a variety of ways. For example, aquaculture businesses may not be able to maintain production in their current location into the future, or area-restricted fisheries may need to follow the fish as they change distribution. Preparation for these potential climate impacts can be improved with information about the future. Such information can support a risk-based management strategy for industries exposed to both short-term environmental variability and long-term change. In southern Australia, adverse climate impacts on valuable seafood industries have occurred, and they are now seeking advice about future environmental conditions. We introduce a decision tree to explain the potential use of long-term climate projections and seasonal forecasts by these industries. Climate projections provide insight into the likely time in the future when current locations will no longer be suitable for growing or catching particular species. Until this time, seasonal forecasting is beneficial in helping industries plan ahead to reduce impacts in poor years and maximize opportunities in good years. Use of seasonal forecasting can extend the period of time in which industries can cope in a location as environmental suitability declines due to climate change. While a range of short-term forecasting approaches exist, including persistence and climatological forecasts, only dynamic model forecasts provide a viable option for managing environmental risk for marine industries in regions where climate change is reducing environmental suitability and creating novel conditions.
Most research studies related to biodiversity offsetting have focused on governance systems already in place in the terrestrial realm – these studies tend to rely on an approach of organizational economics, in particular in relation to mitigation banking schemes. In this study, emerging marine offsetting governance systems has been analyzed using the Actor–Network Theory (ANT) with the aim of highlighting the key elements that enable the emergence of marine offsetting tools. The ANT framework has been applied to four case studies in California using data collected in a field study that consisted of interviewing 30 stakeholders working closely with the issue of marine offsetting. Employing ANT allowed to ascertain the role of commonly studied elements such as impacted ecosystems, sizing methodologies and ecological engineering techniques. Further, it highlighted the key role of other critical factors, such as ‘skilled intermediaries’, who succeed in overcoming uncertainties generated by the use of new tools and contribute to leading other stakeholders towards the goal: the offset instrument. These mediators call upon effective translation processes to put forward new arguments: a change in spatial and temporal scales and adaptive solutions. The findings point to a line of approach that encourages reconfiguring environmental governance systems that could benefit from feedbacks from Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) processes, in order to facilitate the development of marine offset schemes.
Marine eutrophication in the North-East Atlantic (NEA) strongly relies on nutrient enrichment at the river outlets, which is linked to human activities and land use in the watersheds. The question is whether human society can reduce its nutrient emissions by changing land use without compromising food security. A new version of Riverstrahler model (pyNuts-Riverstrahler) was designed to estimate the point and diffuse nutrient emissions (N, P, Si) to the rivers depending on land use in the watersheds across a large domain (Western Europe agro-food systems, waste water treatment). The loads from the river model have been used as inputs to three marine ecological models (PCOMS, ECO-MARS3D, MIRO&CO) covering together a large part of the NEA from the Iberian shelf to the Southern North Sea. The modelling of the land-ocean continuum allowed quantifying the impact of changes in land use on marine eutrophication. Pristine conditions were tested to scale the current eutrophication with respect to a “natural background” (sensu WFD), i.e. forested watersheds without any anthropogenic impact. Three scenarios representing potential management options were also tested to propose future perspectives in mitigating eutrophication. This study shows that a significant decrease in nitrogen fluxes from land to sea is possible by adapting human activities in the watersheds, preventing part of the eutrophication symptoms in the NEA rivers and adjacent coastal zones. It is also shown that any significant achievement in that direction would very likely require paradigmatic changes at social, economic and agricultural levels. This requires reshaping the connections between crop production and livestock farming, and between agriculture and local human food consumption. It also involves cultural changes such as less waste production and a shift towards lower-impact and healthier diets where half of the animal products consumption is replaced by vegetal proteins consumption, known as a demitarian diet (http://www.nine-esf.org/node/281/index.html).
Understanding the full extent of past ecological changes in human-influenced marine systems is needed to inform present management policies, but is often hampered by the scarcity of information about exploitation practices and population status over the entire history of fishing. The history of commercial fishing in South East Australia is relatively recent and thus easier to document. Our aim is to reconstruct such history and to use this information to understand general patterns and consequences of fishing exploitation. Intense exploitation of marine resources arrived in South East Australia with European colonization in the early 1800s, and unregulated sealing, whaling and oyster dredging resulted in the first documented significant impact on local marine populations. Exploitation extended to demersal resources in 1915 when the trawl fishery developed. Between the early 1800s and the 1980s, some of the exploited stocks collapsed, but fishing moved further offshore and in deeper waters as technology improved and new resources became available or were discovered. This phase of fisheries expansion masked the unsustainable nature of some fishing industries, such as trawling and whaling, and postponed the need for management regulations. From the 1990s onward, an increasing awareness of the depleted nature of some fisheries led to the establishment of management strategies aiming at a more sustainable exploitation of target stocks and, from the mid-2000s onwards, management strategies were revised and improved to better address the effect of fishing on multiple components of marine ecosystems. This led to the recovery of some depleted populations and to increased habitat protection. The relatively short history of fishing exploitation and the small scale of the fishing industry in South East Australia played a significant role in limiting the magnitude of fishing impacts on local populations and helped to achieve recoveries when fisheries restrictions were imposed. However, the experience in South East Australia also shows that ecological improvements for some depleted populations can be slow, suggesting that the time to recovery may be longer than expected despite relatively low historical and present levels of exploitation, favorable social conditions and a large investment in resource management and scientific research.
Bycatch interactions with deep-sea elasmobranchs are increasingly common and can lead to dramatic declines in abundance over short time scales. Sharks hooked in the deep sea could face a higher likelihood of severe physiological disturbance, at-vessel mortality, and post-release mortality (PRM) than their shallower counterparts. Unfortunately, robust PRM rates have not yet been estimated for longline-caught deep-sea sharks, and as such are not currently incorporated into total fishery mortality estimates or bycatch assessments, limiting the effectiveness of current conservation or management initiatives. We empirically estimated PRM for 2 focal taxa of deep-sea shark, the Cuban dogfish Squalus cubensis and the gulper shark Centrophorus sp., using post-release enclosures deployed at-depth. We calculated 24 h PRM rates of 49.7 ± 8.5% (mean ± SE) for S. cubensis and 83 ± 16% for Centrophorus sp. and identified blood lactate, total length, glucose, and vitality scores as predictors of PRM in S. cubensis. We also observed all 24 h PRM within 11 h post-capture and demonstrated the effects of recovery depth and at-vessel blood chemistry metrics on post-release behavior. Our results suggest that PRM rates of deep-sea sharks are high and highlight the need for filling in this gap in fishery mortality estimates for other common discards in the future.
Food insecurity remains a common problem for Southeast Asian communities that specialise in fishing. Food insecurity is closely linked to other social conditions, and the linkages between these social conditions and their underlying drivers are less well explored in fishing contexts than they are in agricultural contexts. In this paper I draw on fieldwork from a community that specialises in fishing in the Western Philippines to examine the linkages between and drivers of food and water insecurity. Food insecurity is common, and characterised by a lack of funds to buy food, particularly during periods of bad weather. Water insecurity is also characterised by the need to pay for the delivery of drinking water from one of several remote sources. Because of the central role of markets in communities that specialise in fishing, I argue that both food and water insecurity are driven by income poverty. Understanding the relations between food and water insecurity and the wider drivers of poverty in specialised fishing community contexts should generate improved understandings of how food and water insecurity persist, and how these conditions may be better addressed.
For the first time, this research addresses the assessment of the quality of knowledge embedded in beach quality indexes from a socioecological perspective. We took the most widespread beach quality indexes and identified, selected and assessed the most important existing assumptions. We scored the robustness of these assumptions, using an inclusive methodology (stakeholder meeting, four focus groups and an online questionnaire). The NUSAP criteria for assessing the value-ladenness of scientific studies (Influence of resource limitations, (Im)Plausibility, Choice space, Agreement among peers, Analysts’ subjectivity and Influence on global results) were contrasted and discussed. A final list of the 10 weakest assumptions was presented and discussed. Most of these assumptions are fairly robust, but attention should mainly focus on their influence on global outcomes and (im)plausibility, as the weakest scored criteria. The choice space scores revealed the possibility of including new alternatives to the assumptions, when necessary. Assumptions loaded with framing concepts are weaker than those linked to more concrete objectives. We detected dissociation between the discourse and the operational development of the indexes, in which the narratives prioritizing user satisfaction are predominant and scientific data analysis is often decontextualized. We therefore suggest that science should be opened up throughout the building process of indexes: from the identification of problems to the reporting of results and related uncertainties. The NUSAP method proved to be useful for identifying weak points in beach quality indexes.