The current regime governing Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) as a global commons has resulted in overutilization of fisheries resources and patchwork attempts to regulate resource extraction. States are looking to expand resource extraction in ABNJs, including marine genetic resources, creating pressures to regulate these activities. As a result, since 2004, the United Nations has been holding preparatory meetings to lay the groundwork for a new international legally binding instrument (ILBI) to address the gaps left by UNCLOS. The negotiations for an ILBI are focuses on four thematic focus areas: marine genetic resources (including benefit sharing), area based management tools (including MPAs), environmental impact assessments, and capacity building and technology transfer. At the conclusion of the first round of negotiations in September 2018, we comment on the process and the tensions observed during the two weeks of talks based on observations and interviews with delegates and observers, contextualized within the authors’ expertise and perspectives
Climate change effects on marine ecosystems include impacts on primary production, ocean temperature, species distributions and abundance at local to global scales. These changes will significantly alter marine ecosystem structure and function with associated socio‐economic impacts on ecosystem services, marine fisheries, and fishery‐dependent societies. Yet how these changes may play out among ocean basins over the 21st century remains unclear, with most projections coming from single ecosystem models that do not adequately capture the range of model uncertainty. We address this by using six marine ecosystem models within the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Model Intercomparison Project (Fish‐MIP) to analyze responses of marine animal biomass in all major ocean basins to contrasting climate change scenarios. Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), total marine animal biomass declined by an ensemble mean of 15‐30% (±12‐17%) in the North and South Atlantic and Pacific, and the Indian Ocean by 2100, whereas polar ocean basins experienced a 20‐80% (±35‐200%) increase. Uncertainty and model disagreement were greatest in the Arctic and smallest in the South Pacific Ocean. Projected changes were reduced under a low (RCP2.6) emissions scenario. Under RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, biomass projections were highly correlated with changes in net primary production and negatively correlated with projected sea surface temperature increases across all ocean basins except the polar oceans. Ecosystem structure was projected to shift as animal biomass concentrated in different size‐classes across ocean basins and emissions scenarios. We highlight that climate change mitigation measures could moderate the impacts on marine animal biomass by reducing biomass declines in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean basins. The range of individual model projections emphasizes the importance of using an ensemble approach in assessing uncertainty of future change.
Multifunctionality is characterized by two key elements: the existence of jointly produced multiple commodity and non-commodity outputs (NCOs), and that NCOs exhibit the characteristics of public goods externalities. The term “multifunctionality” is almost not used outside agriculture. However, several issues discussed in fishery literature and in international contexts clearly refer to public goods provision and joint production. The key point is to recognize if fisheries, similar to agriculture, provide other (public) benefits beyond their primary food supply function. The paper establishes a theoretical framework for the classification and valuation of multifunctionality in fisheries, and outlines policy options to increase (through multifunctionality) social welfare. NCOs include: ecosystem- and biodiversity-related NCOs, other environmental public goods/bads, cultural heritage and coastal viability, coastal employment externalities, food security, and strategic benefits. The main NCO characteristics to be analysed are the degree of jointness between commodity outputs and NCOs, and the distribution of property rights over fish stocks and NCOs. Policy options to increase social welfare include, among others, command and control schemes, market based instruments (e.g., payment for ecosystem services), and marine protected areas. Customary marine tenure institutions, or other modern fishery organizations, may represent a framework for the communitarian provision of NCOs. Fishery subsidies, which can because of overfishing, are justified if they allow increasing social benefits, given by the sum of catch and NCOs value. Particularly, incentives may be necessary to support small-scale fisheries or other less efficient technologies.
Coral reefs are important to the dive experience, suggesting the expected increase in coral bleaching events has the potential to alter global flows of dive tourists. There are a growing number of studies that suggest taking people's estimation of their options and ability to react to a threat into account provides a clearer picture of the decision to respond to a threat. This study applied Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) to help understand the motivational factors associated with intended adaptation to coral bleaching. Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the effects of threat and coping appraisal variables. This study provided the first empirical evidence of scuba divers' response to marginal reef conditions, indicating that the majority of respondents would significantly alter their behavior in some way. PMT was able to explain between 12.8% and 47.7% of the variance in adaptation intentions, with response efficacy and self-efficacy consistently emerging as the strongest significant predictors. Consideration of multiple adaptation responses demonstrates the variability of model performance and highlights the need to consider the context of adaptation when interpreting results. Implications for future research and the dive tourism industry are discussed.
The implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP) is bringing together a new body of practitioners who are largely drawn from related professions but have relatively little specific education, training or qualifications in MSP. This is partly due to the newness of the field and the limited opportunities available for personal development. Educational capacity is developing, though MSP content is mostly being added on to existing marine-related programmes. Taking a learning-centred approach, this article seeks to contribute to the development of higher-education curricula that can support a newly-forming MSP practitioner and research community. The proposals presented here are based upon existing educational provision, the ongoing experience of an Erasmus+ partnership in MSP teaching and learning and the results of a related survey. This lays emphasis upon enabling students: to gain a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary body of knowledge and understanding; to develop a strong set of academic and professional skills to underpin MSP practice and research; and to benefit from a variety of methods of learning, teaching and assessment that are designed to facilitate autonomous learning and skills development. Educators should be encouraged to respond to current practice needs and work collaboratively with students in developing courses that respond to their concerns and ambitions.
In the past two decades there have been fears that many low-lying atoll islands around the world could disappear as a consequence of climate change and sea level rise, leading to mass migration and threatening the existence of several island nations. Here we show how sea level rise does not inevitably lead to coastal areas becoming uninhabitable, and that humans have an innate and often underestimated capacity to adapt to changes in their environment. To do so we showcase three instances of human- and earthquake-induced land subsidence that have taken place in the 21st century, where the coastal/island areas are still inhabited despite the challenge of living with higher water levels: the Tohoku coastline following the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami (subsidence ∼0.4–1.0 m), the present day situation of coastal areas in Jakarta due to ground water extraction (>5.0 m), and the islands of Tubigon, Bohol in central Philippines after the 2013 Bohol Earthquake (∼1.0 m). Humans are able to adapt and arrive at solutions even when confronted with cases of rapid rises in water levels, and thus it is likely that in the future vulnerable coastlines will be engineered and largely remain at present day locations, particularly in densely populated areas. If anything, around densely populated areas it is more likely that humans will continue to encroach on the sea rather than the reverse. We caution, however, that small islands are not homogeneous, and many are unlikely to respond to rising sea levels in the manner that atolls do (in fact, many might just resort to build at higher elevations). Where engineering and other adaptation responses become necessary, the financial and human resource requirements may well be beyond capacity of some small islands, which could lead to impoverishment and associated challenges in many communities.
Maritime Border Collision is one of the vital concerns in coastal states since the maritime boundaries of any two countries cannot be identified easily during fishing. Maritime domain awareness and the border line control are the essential requirement which happens via recognition, and observing of boats inside their country boundary. It is necessary to identify the maritime border and alert the fisherman during the fishing. In this paper, we propose an Automatic Identification System (AIS) which can protect fishermen by notifying the country’s border. If they are nearing towards the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL), an alert will be sent to coast guards via VHF set. Using the inbuilt GPS, AIS can find the location and transmits to the embedded systems, which gathers the recent position by comparing autonomy and longitudinal values with the existing assessment. The proposed system is validated under a case study in the maritime border between India and Sri Lanka, which is identified as Gulf of Mannar. It has been revealed that fishermen can aware that they are about to near the nautical border by means of visual and audio alert. Then, protectors in the coast preserve support and afford supplementary assist to those fishermen. This system also provides collision avoidance by using AIS/ ultrasonic sensors. It has better performance than the relevant methods such as RF (Charan et al. 2016), ECDIS (Vanparia and Ghodasara, International Journal of Computer Applications & Information Technology, 1:58–64, 2014), Android (Kumar et al. 2016), GSM and GPS (Sivagnanam et al., International Journal of Innovative Research in Advanced Engineering (IJIRAE), 2:124–132, 2015).
Novel approaches are required to estimate the bycatch associated with artisanal fisheries. Foremost among these is the use of fisher knowledge (FK). An interview survey was conducted in ports along 2631 km of the Peruvian coast to assess the spatial patterns and bycatch rates of marine megafauna of the artisanal longline fishery and its relation with vessel characteristics and fishing operations. The survey allowed the assessment of 18% of the fleet, while only 1% of the Peruvian longline fleet has been monitored with on board observations in the past. The results indicate that big vessels (higher capacity, longline length and number of hooks) that travel long distances (average distance to coast: 123 nm) mainly catch turtles and show a small amount of seabird bycatches in north‐central Peru. Small vessels especially impact turtles in southern Peru and near the coast (63 nm on average). Contrary to previously published information, which indicates a low level of cetacean bycatch in this fishery, a group of fishers reported more than 1000 cetaceans were incidentally captured in 2009. Using FK allowed to integrate different sources of information and scale the implications of artisanal fisheries in terms of bycatch. FK could further be used to help managers deal with the uncertainties in the dynamics of these generally data‐ poor social‐ecological systems.
Coral reefs provide numerous ecosystem goods and services, but are threatened by multiple environmental and anthropogenic stressors. To identify management scenarios that will reverse or mitigate ecosystem degradation, managers can benefit from tools that can quantify projected changes in ecosystem services due to alternative management options. We used a spatially-explicit biophysical ecosystem model to evaluate socio-ecological trade-offs of land-based vs. marine-based management scenarios, and local-scale vs. global-scale stressors and their cumulative impacts. To increase the relevance of understanding ecological change for the public and decision-makers, we used four ecological production functions to translate the model outputs into the ecosystem services: “State of the Reef,” “Trophic Integrity,” “Fisheries Production,” and “Fisheries Landings.” For a case study of Maui Nui, Hawai‘i, land-based management attenuated coral cover decline whereas fisheries management promoted higher total fish biomass. Placement of no-take marine protected areas (MPAs) across 30% of coral reef areas led to a reversal of the historical decline in predatory fish biomass, although this outcome depended on the spatial arrangement of MPAs. Coral cover declined less severely under strict sediment mitigation scenarios. However, the benefits of these local management scenarios were largely lost when accounting for climate-related impacts. Climate-related stressors indirectly increased herbivore biomass due to the shift from corals to algae and, hence, greater food availability. The two ecosystem services related to fish biomass increased under climate-related stressors but “Trophic Integrity” of the reef declined, indicating a less resilient reef. “State of the Reef” improved most and “Trophic Integrity” declined least under an optimistic global warming scenario and strict local management. This work provides insight into the relative influence of land-based vs. marine-based management and local vs. global stressors as drivers of changes in ecosystem dynamics while quantifying the tradeoffs between conservation- and extraction-oriented ecosystem services.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are essential for safeguarding marine biodiversity. Various international and regional agreements require that nations designate sufficient marine areas under protection. Assessing the functionality and coherence of MPA networks is challenging, unless extensive data on species and habitats is available. We evaluated the efficiency of the Finnish MPA network by utilizing a unique dataset of ∼140,000 samples, recently collected by the Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment, VELMU. Using the quantitative conservation planning and the spatial prioritization method Zonation, we identified sites of high biodiversity and developed a balanced ranking of marine conservation values. Only 27% of the ecologically most valuable features were covered by the current MPA network. Based on the analyses, a set of expansion sites were identified that efficiently complement the ecological and geographical gaps in the current MPA network. Increasing protected sea area by just one percent point, would double the mean conservation cover, and specifically increase the protection levels of habitat types based on IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, key species, threatened species and fish reproduction areas. We also discovered that a large part of ecologically valuable species, such as many brown and red algae, blue mussels and eelgrass, exist in the underwater parts of rocky islands and sandy shores. These areas do not belong to the present (Finnish) interpretation of the habitats (e.g., reefs and underwater sandbanks) listed in the EU Habitats Directive. Neglecting these environments may lead to lack of protection of functionally important biodiversity. We emphasize that, in addition to establishing MPAs, also ecosystem-based marine spatial planning is needed to safeguard the integrity of marine biodiversity in the northern Baltic Sea. The spatial prioritization maps produced in this study are essentially environmental value maps which can also be used in impact avoidance, such as siting of wind energy and aquaculture, or in avoiding overfishing in the most valuable fish areas. Our approach and analytical procedure can be replicated in the Baltic Sea or elsewhere provided that sufficient data exist.
This study provides an integrated perspective to ecosystem based management (EBM) by considering a diverse array of societal goals, i.e. sustainable food supply, clean energy and a healthy marine ecosystem, and a selection of management measures to achieve them. The primary aim of this exercise is to provide guidance for (more) integrated EBM in the North Sea based on an evaluation of the effectiveness of those management measures in contributing to the conservation of marine biodiversity. A secondary aim is to identify the requirements of the knowledge base to guide such future EBM initiatives.
Starting from the societal goals we performed a scoping exercise to identify a “focal social-ecological system” which is a subset of the full social-ecological system but considered adequate to guide EBM towards the achievement of those societal goals. A semi-quantitative risk assessment including all the relevant human activities, their pressures and the impacted ecosystem components was then applied to identify the main threats to the North Sea biodiversity and evaluate the effectiveness of the management measures to mitigate those threats.
This exercise revealed the need for such risk-based approaches in providing a more integrated perspective but also the trade-off between being comprehensive but qualitative versus quantitative but limited in terms of the “focal” part of the SES that can be covered. The findings in this paper provide direction to the (further) development of EBM and its knowledge base that should ultimately allow an integrated perspective while maintaining its capacity to deliver the accuracy and detail needed for decision-making.
Overfishing is a major threat to the survival of shark species, primarily driven by international trade in high-value fins, as well as meat, liver oil, skin and cartilage. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) aims to ensure that commercial trade does not threaten wild species, and several shark species have recently been listed on CITES as part of international efforts to ensure that trade does not threaten their survival. However, as international trade regulations alone will be insufficient to reduce overexploitation of sharks, they must be accompanied by practical fisheries management measures to reduce fishing mortality. To examine which management measures might be practical in the context of a targeted shark fishery, we collected data from 52 vessels across 595 fishing trips from January 2014 to December 2015 at Tanjung Luar fishing port in East Lombok, Indonesia. We recorded 11,920 landed individuals across 42 species, a high proportion of which were threatened and regulated species. Catch per unit effort depended primarily on the number of hooks and type of fishing gear used, and to a lesser degree on month, boat engine power, number of sets and fishing ground. The most significant factors influencing the likelihood of catching threatened and regulated species were month, fishing ground, engine power and hook number. We observed significant negative relationships between standardised catch per unit effort and several indicators of fishing effort, suggesting diminishing returns above relatively low levels of fishing effort. Our results suggest that management measures focusing on fishing effort controls, gear restrictions and modifications and spatiotemporal closures could have significant benefits for the conservation of shark species, and may help to improve the overall sustainability of the Tanjung Luar shark fishery. These management measures may also be applicable to shark fisheries in other parts of Indonesia and beyond, as sharks increasingly become the focus of global conservation efforts.
Pollution of the marine environment by large and microscopic plastic fragments and their potential impacts on organisms has stimulated considerable research interest and has received widespread publicity. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the fate and effects of microplastic particles that are fibrous in shape, also referred as microfibres, which are mostly shed from synthetic textiles during production or washing. Here we assess composition and abundance of microfibres in seafloor sediments in southern European seas, filling gaps in the limited understanding of the long-range transport and magnitude of this type of microplastic pollution. We report abundances of 10–70 microfibres in 50 ml of sediment, including both natural and regenerated cellulose, and synthetic plastic (polyester, acrylic, polyamide, polyethylene, and polypropylene) fibres. Following a shelf-slope-deep basin continuum approach, based on the relative abundance of fibres it would appear that coastal seas retain around 33% of the sea floor microfibres, but greater quantities of the fibres are exported to the open sea, where they accumulate in sediments. Submarine canyons act as preferential conduits for downslope transport of microfibres, with 29% of the seafloor microfibres compared to 18% found on the open slope. Around 20% of the microfibres found had accumulated in the deep open sea beyond 2000m of water depth. The remoteness of the deep sea does not prevent the accumulation of microfibres, being available to become integrated into deep sea organisms.
Coastal and marine ecosystems (CMEs) generate some of the most important services to humankind, but they are endangered from overexploitation and loss. The widespread decline in CME services suggests that it is important to understand what is at stake in terms of the critical benefits and values of these services. This article examines how environmental and resource economics has contributed to our knowledge of CME services and discusses progress as well as challenges in valuing these services. The article highlights case studies in which the economic valuation of key CME services has influenced policy decisions concerning the management of CMEs. Two key features of CME benefits are also examined. First, the natural spatial variability in these systems can influence the economic value of CME services. Second, because they occur at the interface between watersheds, the coast, and open water, CMEs can produce cumulative and synergistic benefits across the entire seascape that are much more significant and unique than the services provided by any single ecosystem.
Managing a complex ecosystem to balance delivery of all of its services is at the heart of ecosystem‐based management. But how can this balance be accomplished amidst the conflicting demands of stakeholders, managers, and policy makers? In marine ecosystems, several common ecological mechanisms link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning and to a complex of essential services. As a result, the effects of preserving diversity can be broadly beneficial to a wide spectrum of important ecosystem processes and services, including fisheries, water quality, recreation, and shoreline protection. A management system that conserves diversity will help to accrue more “ecoservice capital” for human use and will maintain a hedge against unanticipated ecosystem changes from natural or anthropogenic causes. Although maintenance of biodiversity cannot be the only goal for ecosystem‐based management, it could provide a common currency for evaluating the impacts of different human activities on ecosystem functioning and can act as a critical indicator of ecosystem status.
Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on average. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.
In this article, we track a relatively new term in global environmental governance: “blue economy.” Analyzing preparatory documentation and data collected at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio + 20), we show how the term entered into use and how it was articulated within four competing discourses regarding human–ocean relations: (a) oceans as natural capital, (b) oceans as good business, (c) oceans as integral to Pacific Small Island Developing States, and (d) oceans as small-scale fisheries livelihoods. Blue economy was consistently invoked to connect oceans with Rio + 20’s “green economy” theme; however, different actors worked to further define the term in ways that prioritized particular oceans problems, solutions, and participants. It is not clear whether blue economy will eventually be understood singularly or as the domain of a particular actor or discourse. We explore possibilities as well as discuss discourse in global environmental governance as powerful and precarious.
While the global rush to control land resources is well established, ‘power-grabs’ in relation to marine and coastal resources are less well researched. Under the banner of ‘blue growth’, such power-grabs are taking shape through global policy processes that purportedly align the needs of the poor with profit interests and climate change concerns. This contribution critically interrogates these policy proposals and situates them within broader neoliberalization of nature debates. It is argued that the policy proposals fail on their own terms and are a form of ‘antipolitics’ that precludes more radical visions of addressing environmental and climate change issues. In an attempt to challenge this, small-scale fishers’ movements are increasingly framing their opposition in terms of the broader struggle for ‘food sovereignty’.
Marine fisheries are in crisis, requiring twice the fishing effort of the 1950s to catch the same quantity of fish, and with many fleets operating beyond economic or ecological sustainability. A possible consequence of diminishing returns in this race to fish is serious labour abuses, including modern slavery, which exploit vulnerable workers to reduce costs. Here, we use the Global Slavery Index (GSI), a national-level indicator, as a proxy for modern slavery and labour abuses in fisheries. GSI estimates and fisheries governance are correlated at the national level among the major fishing countries. Furthermore, countries having documented labour abuses at sea share key features, including higher levels of subsidised distant-water fishing and poor catch reporting. Further research into modern slavery in the fisheries sector is needed to better understand how the issue relates to overfishing and fisheries policy, as well as measures to reduce risk in these labour markets.
This article discusses the tendency within environmental communication to homogenise diverse situations. Utilising the case of whale conservation it describes how actors on both sides of the whaling debate utilise the ‘super-whale’ – a homogenised discursive construct. The article argues that there are pragmatic advantages to such framing of environmental situations but also costs. In the case of whale conservation, the super-whale maintains focus on whaling rather than other, arguably more pressing, threats to whale species. More generally, utilising such framing tactics arguably prevent the voicing of new narratives about the global social order.