The Ocean Affairs Council (OAC) is a central administrative agency under the Executive Yuan (cabinet) that was established by the government on April 28, 2018, in southern Taiwan. Taiwan has accomplished several important breakthroughs in ocean affairs and governance aiming to integrate and coordinate all ocean-related affairs through the establishment of the OAC. The OAC includes three agencies: the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), the Ocean Conservation Administration (OCA) and the National Academy of Marine Research (NAMR). Establishing the OAC allows Taiwan's government to focus more attention on ocean affairs, ocean governance and ocean countries. In addition, Taiwan now has its own specific marine agency and the capacity to establish future marine policy, maritime security, coastal management, marine resource conservation and sustainable development, marine science and technology research, and marine cultural and educational policy. Academics and legislators have worked with the Legislative Yuan for more than 20 years before the four ocean affairs-related organization acts were passed in 2015. However, the Legislative Yuan's proposal was suspended in 2016, and its unveiling ceremony was not held until April 2018. This paper seeks to introduce the missions of the OAC, CGA, OCA, and NAMR to provide a full overview of the new accomplishments and legal measures in the implementation of a national marine policy in Taiwan. Moreover, experiences will be shared with readers to provide an understanding of the reasons behind establishing Taiwan as an ocean country, and Taiwan's organizational blueprint will be outlined. Finally, we provide a reference for those who want to establish an ocean management agency.
During the production, use and disposal of plastic products, microplastics (MPs) are dispersed into the surrounding environment and have inevitable impacts on mangrove ecosystems in estuaries and offshore areas. In the mangroves of Southern China, the systematic evaluation of the distribution, characteristics and ecological risks of MPs is lacking. In this study, surface sediments (0-5 cm depth) were collected from six representative mangroves in China to explore MP contamination and its associated ecological risk. Based on the results, MP concentrations of MPs in mangrove sediments were as follows : FT (2249±747 items/kg), ZJ (736±269 items/kg), DF (649±443 items/kg), DZG (431±170 items/kg), YX (424±127 items/kg), and FCG (227±173 items/kg). The higher MP concentration in the Futian mangrove was mainly related to inputs from the Pearl River, the third largest river in China. The predominant shape, colour, and size of MPs were fibrous, white-transparent, and 500 -5,000 μm, respectively. The main MP polymer types were polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene. Degradation artefacts were present on surface of MPs as well as metallic and non-metallic elements. MPs concentration in mangrove sediments increased with increasing social-economic development of surrounding districts, which indicated the clear influence of anthropogenic activity on MP pollution in these mangroves. Furthermore, total organic carbon (TOC) and silt content were positively associated with MPs (P < 0.01), indicating a facilitatory role in deposition of MPs in mangroves. Based on a comprehensive evaluation using the potential ecological risk factor (Ei), potential ecological risk (RI), polymer risk index (H) and pollution load index (PLI), MPs were found to present ecological risks in these mangroves, with the highest risk occurring in the Futian mangrove.
This study combines published datasets with unpublished data on plastic ingestion in several North Sea fish species. The combined dataset of 4389 individuals from 15 species allows the analysis of spatial distribution and temporal variability of plastic uptake in fish. Airborne fibre contamination was observed to be the main contributor to fibres encountered in the samples. The number of fibres in samples was strongly related to the time needed to process a sample, not to the number of individual fishes in the sample. Accurate correction for secondary fibre contamination was not possible, but corrections required would be similar to fibre numbers observed in the samples. Consequently, all fibres were omitted from further analysis. The frequency of occurrence and the average number of plastics in fish is generally low (1.8% and 0.022 pieces per organism respectively), with only cod having a higher prevalence (12.3%). While latitude of catch locations influences plastic uptake in fish, no correlation with the distance to the coast was found. Slightly less plastics were ingested in winter, and a decrease in plastics ingested was observed between 2009 and 2018. These factors should be considered when fish species, catch location and time are discussed as indicators for plastic pollution in the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. We recommend considering demersal cod and pelagic sprat as two species suitable for monitoring plastic ingestion in biota, both on the seafloor and in the water column.
This paper focuses on local conflicts over marine conservation in southeastern Tanzania. It draws from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in 2014 and 2015 in a coastal village located inside the boundaries of a marine park. The paper first examines why villagers have come to contest the park, and subsequently outlines the various forms of resistance they employ to mobilize their opposition. Some people are willing to protest openly, as evidenced by the destruction of the park's gatehouse office and directory signs in 2013. However, an immediate violent response to such acts from state paramilitary forces has instilled fear in villagers. The swift crackdown, coupled with ongoing surveillance from ranger patrols, has engendered a degree of discipline in some people. Rather than risking further repercussions, many villagers engage in ‘everyday forms of resistance’ through subtle acts of noncompliance to the conservation regulations. These practices are entangled with material benefits and moral statements about customary rights to resources. They may also facilitate political mobility by destabilizing conservation management, while simultaneously avoiding open confrontation with governing authorities. I refer to this overall process as the (un)making of marine park subjects.
Swim-with-whale tourism is a lucrative and rapidly growing industry worldwide. Whale-watching can cause negative effects on the behaviour of targeted animals. Although this is believed to be particularly true for close-up interactions, such as swim-with operations, few empirical studies have investigated this. In 2016, the Western Australian State Government commenced a swim-with humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) trial in the Ningaloo Marine Park, where 11 commercial licences were granted. The swim-with trial was conducted during both the northern and southern whale migration (August to November), during which we assessed potential short-term behavioural effects on humpback whales to swim-with activities. From both an independent research vessel (n = 300 h) and on-board commercial swim-with vessels (n = 357 h), we collected group-follow data (n = 224) on whale behaviour before, during and after swim-with activities. Behavioural effects on whales were investigated, including movement patterns (deviation and directness index, heading, swim speed), surfacing patterns (dive duration and respiration rate) and occurrence of agonistic behaviours. Results showed that the most common type of vessel approach to place swimmers in the water was in the path of whales (89.8% of interactions). During in-path approaches, vessels travelled significantly faster (P = .002) compared to when approaching from the side (side/line abreast approaches). When vessels approached in the whales' path, whales exhibited horizontal and vertical avoidance strategies by adopting a less predictable path (deviating from 32° to 46°), increasing turning angles away from the vessel (heading from 73° to >90°), increasing swim speeds (from 1.68 to 1.89 ms−1), and decreasing the duration of their dives (from 224 to 194 s). Whales displayed a higher frequency of agonistic behaviours when a swim-with vessel was <100 m distance from them compared to >100 m away (P = .011). Young-of-year calves were present during 19.6% (18 of 92) of group-follows that included swim attempts. To reduce potential impacts on whales and increase swimmer safety, we recommend to avoid in-path vessel approaches, not place swimmers in the water with groups of whales that perform agonistic behaviours, and avoid swimming with young-of-year calves.
The present study deals with the monitoring for a real implementation of management policies in marine environments and the potential conflicts between professional and recreational fishery in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea. A comprehensive database of fishing effort and fisheries infringements from professional small-scale and recreational fisheries was screened to identify hotspots areas of fishing pressure in the coastal zones of Ionian Sea. Mapping points showed that the number of the recorded infringements conducted both by professional and recreational fishers are too low (1 and 6 recorded infringements per 104 km2 of vessel days per year) and that fishing effort, and subsequently the recorded infringements, are not evenly distributed but concentrated on specific fishing grounds. These revealed high-risk areas prone to illegal fishing activities and are implying problems in the implementation of the fisheries regulations rather than a low delinquency of the fishers to comply with the rules. Findings represents a step forward in applying tracking technology to the surveillance of small-scale fishery and are crucial towards the specification of the critical zones for setting an efficient control system.
Synthetic polymer-based materials are ubiquitous in aquatic environments, where weathering processes lead to their progressive fragmentation and the leaching of additive chemicals. The current study assessed the chemical content of freshwater and marine leachates produced from car tire rubber (CTR), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics, and their adverse effects on the microalgae Raphidocelis subcapitata (freshwater) and Skeletonema costatum (marine) and the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. A combination of non-target and target chemical analysis revealed a number of organic and metal compounds in the leachates, including representing plasticizers, antioxidants, antimicrobials, lubricants, and vulcanizers. CTR and PVC materials and their corresponding leachates had the highest content of tentatively identified organic additives, while PET had the lowest. The metal content varied both between polymer leachates and between freshwater and seawater. Notable additives identified in high concentrations were benzothiazole (CTR), phthalide (PVC), acetophenone (PP), cobalt (CTR, PET), zinc (CTR, PVC), lead (PP) and antimony (PET). All leachates, except PET, inhibited algal growth with EC50 values ranging from 0.5% (CTR) and 64% (PP) of the total leachate concentration. Leachates also affected mussel endpoints, including the lysosomal membrane stability and early stages endpoints as gamete fertilization, embryonic development and larvae motility and survival. Embryonic development was the most sensitive parameter in mussels, with EC50 values ranging from 0.8% (CTR) to 65% (PET) of the total leachate. The lowest impacts were induced on D-shell larvae survival, reflecting their ability to down-regulate motility and filtration in the presence of chemical stressors. This study provides evidence of the relationship between chemical composition and toxicity of plastic/rubber leachates. Consistent with increasing contamination by organic and inorganic additives, the leachates ranged from slightly to highly toxic to mussels and algae, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the overall impact of plastic-associated chemicals on aquatic ecosystems.
Global climate change has attracted worldwide attention. The ocean is the largest active carbon pool on the planet and plays an important role in global climate change. However, marine plastic pollution is getting increasingly serious due to the large consumption and mismanagement of global plastics. The impact of marine plastics on ecosystem responsible for the gas exchange and circulation of marine CO2 may cause more greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, in this paper, threats of marine microplastics to ocean carbon sequestration are discussed. Marine microplastics can 1) affect phytoplankton photosynthesis and growth; 2) have toxic effects on zooplankton and affect their development and reproduction; 3) affect marine biological pump; and 4) affect ocean carbon stock. Phytoplankton and zooplankton are the most important producer and consumer of the ocean. As such, clearly, further research should be needed to explore the potential scale and scope of this impact, and its underlying mechanisms.
A major goal of ecology is to understand how spatial heterogeneity determines patterns of species diversity and composition. Studies have demonstrated positive relationship between environmental heterogeneity and diversity, but evidence from marine ecosystems is controversial and scarce in terms of how spatial heterogeneity and diel period mediate this relationship. We used fish communities from four Southwestern Atlantic vessel reefs to assess whether positive heterogeneity-diversity relationships (HDR) hold for these mobile organisms and whether the relationships weaken with nightfall. We sampled fishes in three habitats of contrasting structural complexity (high, low and control), over day and night, and employed two complementary diversity frameworks: partitioning of gamma diversity into independent alpha and beta components (Jost's approach) and partitioning of beta diversity into turnover and nestedness components (Baselga's approach). We recorded 5005 fishes belonging to 76 species and 31 families. As expected, the mean alpha diversity of rare species (0D) doubled from control to high complexity areas and decreased by half from day to night. The diversity of typical species (1D) also doubled from control to high complexity areas, but did not reduce at night. Complexity and diel period did not have significant effect on the diversity of dominant species (2D). No relationship between complexity and alpha diversity was weakened at night. Beta diversity of the three diversity orders significantly differed from 1 (totally homogeneous vessel reef), indicating that complexity underlies patterns of beta diversity. This effect was consistent in both diel periods, contradicting expectations of weaker influence of complexity at night. The turnover component of beta diversity was consistently greater than nestedness at day and nigth (2.8 and 1.9-fold, respectively). Our findings support positive HDR for the diversity of rare and typical species. Dominant species also respond to heterogeneity by replacing each other across the complexity gradient, but not by becoming more numerous in high complexity areas. Diel changes did not affect the strenght of HDR, revealing an uninterrupted role of environmental heterogenity on fish communities. Conserving heterogeneous, structurally complex habitats is crucial for conserving marine fish diversity.
Global threats to ocean biodiversity have driven international targets calling for a worldwide network of marine protected areas (MPAs). In line with these targets, the Commission on the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been working towards adopting MPAs in the Southern Ocean. CCAMLR is considered a leader in science-based management and has been guiding the way on international MPAs. The west Antarctic Peninsula, threatened by climate change and industrial fishing, has been a priority area for MPA planning in CCAMLR. Since 2011, Chile and Argentina have worked to develop an Antarctic Peninsula MPA proposal which they submitted to CCAMLR in 2018. We use the Antarctic Peninsula MPA proposal process as a case study for understanding the science-policy interface in this international conservation regime. Specifically, we use existing frameworks for co-production of actionable science to examine the Antarctic Peninsula MPA process. We show that the Antarctic Peninsula MPA Proponents engaged in a highly collaborative, transparent, and science-based process which exemplified best practices for actionable science and co-production. Despite following best practices for actionable science, the MPA proposal has not yet been adopted, largely due to political barriers. We elaborate on the importance of co-production of actionable science and its effectiveness as well as to limitations in the Southern Ocean and beyond. Finally, we highlight that science-policy best practices may not be sufficient to drive consensus and the ultimate need for political will in the decision-making underpinning MPA designation in the Southern Ocean.
Numerous organisations collect data in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), but they are rarely analysed together due to different program objectives, methods, and data quality. We developed a weighted spatio-temporal Bayesian model and used it to integrate image-based hard-coral data collected by professional and citizen scientists, who captured and/or classified underwater images. We used the model to predict coral cover across the GBR with estimates of uncertainty; thus filling gaps in space and time where no data exist. Additional data increased the model's predictive ability by 43%, but did not affect model inferences about pressures (e.g. bleaching and cyclone damage). Thus, effective integration of professional and high-volume citizen data could enhance the capacity and cost-efficiency of monitoring programs. This general approach is equally viable for other variables collected in the marine environment or other ecosystems; opening up new opportunities to integrate data and provide pathways for community engagement/stewardship.
The UK has adopted a feature-based approach to MPA designation and monitoring to meet international and national obligations. Despite operational challenges, this approach is considered key to optimising conservation outcomes whilst making efficient use of limited resources. Drawing on lessons learnt from the UK's MPA Programme we discuss the practical issues which arise from: i) effective selection of conservation features identified as surrogates for biodiversity, ii) adequacy of feature representation across the MPA network and iii) implementation of quantifiable conservation objectives and ability to monitor progress in relation to them [4,5]. There is recognition that high-level feature surrogates adopted for MPA designation may not adequately represent the full range of biodiversity present across UK marine habitats, and several of these features are indiscernible using acoustic mapping techniques. This results in our inability to accurately map their distribution and extent. Additionally, monitoring progress in relation to conservation targets is hampered by a lack of reliable indicators to assess change in their ecological status. Recommendations for the optimisation of MPA designation and monitoring using a systematic, evidence based approach are provided. These include: 1) flexibility in feature classifications to allow additional features to be designated as required, 2) communication of limitations in the evidence base to enable informed use in adaptive management decisions, 3) use of innovative technologies to more accurately map habitat features and 4) development of wider UK and regional sea scale monitoring programmes which align with an ecosystem based approach to the ongoing assessment of marine biodiversity.
Ecosystem services have become a dominant paradigm for understanding how people derive well-being from ecosystems. However, the framework has been critiqued for over-emphasizing the availability of services as a proxy for benefits, and thus missing the socially-stratified ways that people access ecosystem services. We aim to contribute to ecosystem services’ theoretical treatment of access by drawing on ideas from political ecology (legitimacy) and anthropology (entanglement). We hypothesize that where customary and modern forms of resource management co-exist, changes in customary institutions will also change people’s ability to and means of benefiting from ecosystem services, with implications for well-being. We ask a) what are the constellations of social, economic, and institutional mechanisms that enable or hinder access to a range of provisioning ecosystem services; and b) how are these constellations shifting as different elements of customary institutions gain or lose legitimacy in the process of entanglement with modernity? Through a qualitative mixed-methods case study in a coastal atoll community in Papua New Guinea, we identify key access mechanisms across the value chain of marine provisioning services. Our study finds the legitimacy of customary systems – and thus their power in shaping access – has eroded unevenly for some ecosystem services, and some people within the community (e.g. younger men), and less for others (e.g. women), and that different marine provisioning services are shaped by specific access mechanisms, which vary along the value chain. Our findings suggest that attention to entanglement and legitimacy can help ecosystem services approaches capture the dynamic and relational aspects of power that shape how people navigate access to resources in a changing world. We contend that viewing power as relational illuminates how customary institutions lose or gain legitimacy as they become entangled with modernity.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have the potential to be an important tool providing low-cost but sufficiently precise mapping products to support environmental management. In this study, we present possible applications of UAVs to map and monitor three representative coastal tropical habitats: mangroves, rocky shores and coral reefs. We conducted UAVs surveys in a Marine Protected Area (MPA) of the tropical eastern Pacific region to investigate the suitability and usefulness of using this tool in a remote area for a variety of management and monitoring purposes. For mangrove ecosystems, we evaluated the potential of UAV-derived data to estimate canopy cover. On an intertidal rocky shore, we evaluated the potential of UAVs to obtain a detailed relative topographic position index that can be used to correlate the distribution patterns of resident and transient fauna. Finally, we compared the standard diver-based coral reef mapping approach used at the MPA with the use of a map produced with the UAV. Our results suggest that the use of UAVs by conservation practitioners in MPAs with diverse habitats, such as in the tropics, is likely to improve the knowledge of the MPAs environments and provide highly detailed information for monitoring helping to understand the nursery function of these inter-connected tropical habitats, at a reduced cost. This tool, therefore, has the potential to support conservation measures in a more effective way.
Mangrove degradation threatens the capacity of these important ecosystems to provide goods and services that contribute to human wellbeing. This study uses a deliberative choice experiment to value non-market mangrove ecosystem services (ES) at Mida Creek, Kenya. The attributes assessed include “shoreline erosion protection”, “biodiversity richness and abundance”, “nursery and breeding ground for fish”, and “education and research”. Unpaid labour (volunteer time) for mangroves conservation was used as the payment mechanism to estimate willingness to pay (WTP). Results suggest that respondents were willing to volunteer: 5.82 h/month for preserving the mangrove nursery and breeding ground functions to gain an additional metric ton of fish; 21.16 h/month for increasing biodiversity richness and abundance; 10.81 h/month for reducing shoreline erosion by 1 m over 25 years; and 0.14 h/month for gaining 100 student/researcher visits/month. The estimation of WTP for mangrove ES provides valuable insights into the awareness of local communities about the contribution of mangrove forests to ES delivery. This knowledge could assist decision-making for the management and conservation of mangroves in Mida Creek and its environs.
The high degree of marine habitat degradation and the depletion of marine resources has led to numerous calls and initiatives to increase the coverage of marine protected areas (MPAs). Currently, marine reserves (no-take areas) cover approximately 2.2% of the world's oceans whilst most calls and targets suggest protection levels should be between 20% and 30% in order to achieve both conservation and resource management objectives. In this study a systematic conservation planning framework was developed using ecological and socio-economic data. This framework was used to test different protection scenarios in Portugal. The current situation in mainland Portugal is alarming, with 0.2% of the waters under national jurisdiction included in MPAs and only 0.002% being marine reserves. Moreover, ecologically important habitats, such as seagrass beds and mäerl beds, have less than 10% of their area protected. The solutions provided by Marxan, and subsequently improved with MinPatch, revealed that there is a need to considerably increase the area under protection. However, adequate protection could be achieved with a number of MPAs (between 5 and 14) similar to the number of already existing MPAs (n = 8). Different stakeholders (artisanal fisheries, industrial fisheries, and other human uses such as oil and gas, and offshore aquaculture) were considered in different scenarios, with the results of the multivariate analysis indicating that there are several solutions that satisfy all stakeholders. Therefore, the results of this study are a valuable starting point for the ongoing implementation process of an MPA network in Portugal since they integrate the most important stakeholders whilst also taking in consideration the ecological aspects. This framework can be applied elsewhere and can be easily amended whenever new information is available.
Beach loss and shoreline retreat caused by sea level rise (SLR) is considered one of the most worldwide significant issues. The Mediterranean coastline of Egypt (approximately 1066 km) is likely to face beach erosion, particularly in the low-lying and sandy coastal areas in the future as a direct response to SLR. Consequently, the projection of future shoreline recession and corresponding beach loss due to SLR using the Bruun rule were investigated to assess the proper impacts of SLR on the shoreline recession and beach loss. In addition, the uncertainties ratios associated with SLR scenarios and sediment sizes were assessed. Furthermore, this study investigated the influence of local land subsidence in combination with SLR scenarios on the shoreline recession and associated beach loss along the Nile Delta coastline. The ensemble-mean regional SLR data included representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios and 21 models of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). The projected shoreline retreats and associated average beach loss in the future 2081–2100 were ranged from 12.6 m and 11.3 km2 to 41.9 m and 19.2 km2 for the ensemble-mean SLR RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively. The uncertainty caused by the sediment size of 0.15 to 0.35 mm ranged from 17% to 30% for RCP2.6 and RCP8.5, respectively. The projected annual shoreline retreats ranged from 0.36 to 0.65 m/yr for the ensemble-mean SLR in combination with local land subsidence for RCP2.6 and 0.48 to 0.85 m/yr for RCP8.5, respectively. Highly vulnerable areas to shoreline recession for SLR and local land subsidence were detected from EL-Manzala lake to Port Said coastlines, Abo Qir bay, from Rosetta to Damietta promontories, and Alexandria coastline. Thus, shoreline retreat and associated beach loss due to SLR is an urgent issue that should be addressed through the integrated coastal zone management strategies of Egypt.
In a nutshell,
- We used an insurance industry catastrophe model from RMS to quantify the flood reduction benefits of mangroves across Florida
- Annually, across multiple storms, mangroves reduce flood damages by 25.5% to properties behind them in Collier County
- During Hurricane Irma, over 626,000 people living behind mangrove forests saw reduced flooding in census tracts across Florida
- During Hurricane Irma, mangroves averted $1.5 billion in surge-related flood damages to properties; which represents a 25% savings in counties with mangroves
- Every hectare of mangroves with properties behind them provided, on average, $7,500 in risk reduction benefits during Hurricane Irma
The concept of ecosystem‐based fisheries management (EBFM) has been subjected to debate since it was introduced in the late 1990s. The development of the concept seems to follow two separate but simultaneous trajectories of increased popularity but also sustained critique. This paper offers an analysis of potential mechanisms behind these disparate trajectories by drawing on a theoretical framework from science and technology studies (STS) centred around "black box" and actor‐network theory. To support our analysis, we perform an exploratory literature review of how the EBFM concept has been used in a selection of high impact fisheries research papers. We find that the popularity of EBFM does not guarantee its integrity, usefulness or analytical insight, but also that persistent critique of how the concept is used seems to be driving some change. We think that a continued trajectory of increased understanding, contextualization and discernibility of EBFM can help overcome the considerable ambiguity associated with the concept and make it increasingly useful to fisheries management. This means moving away from routine use of the term towards a practicable and tangible approach to improve fisheries sustainability.