Environmental change amplifies the challenge of protecting and restoring Puget Sound. As rising pressures from population growth, development, unsustainable resource use, climate impacts and other factors alter this urbanizing basin, efforts to recover salmon and ecosystem health and to enhance climate resilience face unprecedented social complexities and intensifying competition for space. A multi-method study of citizen and practitioner perspectives on protection and restoration suggests that capacity to manage under these conditions can be improved through strengthening an approach that has already become central in restoration practice: multiple-benefit planning. In this research, we examine and compare planning approaches used to develop marine protected areas (MPA) and estuary restoration (ER) projects in Puget Sound. Surveying non-tribal public attitudes toward these projects, we found limited knowledge concerning existing MPAs but support for wider use of such protections. We find that initiatives pursuing conservation, protection, restoration and resilience can gain advantage from (a) broadly inclusive and collaborative planning; (b) recognition of tribal treaty rights, management authorities, and leadership; (c) careful consideration and mitigation of project impacts on affected people (e.g. especially tribal and non-tribal fisheries for MPAs; farm interests and landowners for restoration projects). We note that “no-take” MPA designation has stalled, while ER efforts are overcoming sharp objections and controversies by crafting projects to deliver multiple social-ecological benefits: improved flood control and drainage, salmon recovery, recreational enjoyment, and resilience to climate change. Comparable strategies have not yet evolved in designation of “no-take” MPAs in Puget Sound. We offer conclusions and recommendations for accelerating conservation and resilience initiatives to keep pace with a changing environment. A key human dimensions research-based recommendation is that increasing environmental pressures intensify the need to strengthen collaborative and sustained planning and implementation processes.
Numerous studies over the last decades have focused on marine protected areas (MPAs) and their effects on fish communities. However, there is a knowledge gap regarding how species that live associated with soft-substrates (e.g., sand, mud) respond to spatial protection. We analyzed abundance, biomass and total lengths of the soft-bottom fishes in a multiple-use MPA in the north-eastern Atlantic, the Luiz Saldanha Marine Park (Portugal), during and after the implementation of its management plan. Data were collected by experimental fishing in areas with three different levels of protection, during the implementation period and for three years after full implementation of the MPA. Univariate analysis detected significant biomass increases between the two periods. Fish assemblages were mainly structured by depth and substrate, followed by protection level. Community composition analyses revealed significant differences between protection levels and between the two periods. Species exhibited a broad variation in their response to protection, and we hypothesize that factors such as species habitat preferences, body size and late maturity might be underlying determinants. Overall, this study provides some evidence of protection effectiveness in soft-bottom fish communities, supported by the significant increase in biomass in the protected areas and the positive trends of some species.
The seafloor is recognized as one of the major sinks for microplastics (MPs). However, to date there have been no studies reported the MP contamination in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Therefore, this study provided the first data on the abundances and characteristics of MPs in a total of 413 dominant benthic organisms representing 11 different species inhabiting in the shelf of Bering and Chukchi Seas. The mean abundances of MP uptake by the benthos from all sites ranged from 0.02 to 0.46 items g−1 wet weight (ww) or 0.04–1.67 items individual−1, which were lower values than those found in other regions worldwide. The highest value appeared at the northernmost site, implying that the sea ice and the cold current represent possible transport mediums. Interestingly, the predator A. rubens ingested the maximum quantities of MPs, suggesting that the trophic transfer of MPs through benthic food webs may play a critical role. Fibers constituted the major type (87%) in each species, followed by film (13%). The colors of fibers were classified as red (46%) and transparent (41%), and the film was all gray. The predominant composition was polyamide (PA) (46%), followed by polyethylene (PE) (23%), polyester (PET) (18%) and cellophane (CP) (13%). The most common sizes of MPs concentrated in the interval from 0.10 to 1.50 mm, and the mean size was 1.45 ± 0.13 mm. Further studies about the temporal trends and detrimental effects of MPs remain to be carried out in benthic organisms from the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.
There is a good understanding of past and present coastal processes as a result of coastal monitoring programmes within the UK. However, one of the key challenges for coastal managers in the face of climate change is future coastal change and vulnerability of infrastructure and communities to flooding. Drawing on a vulnerability-led and decision-centric framework (VL-DC) a Decision Support Tool (DST) is developed which, combines new observations and modelling to explore the future vulnerability to sea-level rise and storms for nuclear energy sites in Britain. The combination of these numerical projections within the DST and a Real Options Analysis (ROA) delivers essential support for: (i) improved response to extreme events and (ii) a strategy that builds climate change resilience.
Advocates for recreational fishing, public servants charged with fisheries management, and scientists and other experts who provide objective advice, all need to understand the nature and dimensions of fisheries politics.
Accusing someone of “playing politics” usually is intended as a criticism, even an insult. But politics is the social process by which differences are expressed and resolved. If you don’t have differences, then you don’t have politics. A political situation, whether it is in a family, the workplace, government administration or a contest for public office is the process through which differences are discussed and settled.
Fisheries politics takes place at many levels. It determines the resources available to manage fisheries and understand their impacts. It defines the relationship between conservation and extraction. It determines the allocation of harvest between competing interests. It sets the international rules between nations for the conservation and sharing of migratory and straddling stocks.
Underlying these political relationships are rules and norms of political behavior that can be learned and practised by those who wish to maximize their influence over how fisheries are managed and practised.
Canada’s West Coast provides a useful example of efforts by the Canadian government to facilitate fisheries politics by providing structures and processes within which different interests can contribute to the politics of fisheries management. A participant-observer brings his perspective as both an ardent angler and a political scientist specializing in the relationship between interest groups and government to suggest some rules for effective engagement in fisheries politics.
In November and December 2016, local residents around St. Mary’s Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, noticed something alarming: thousands of dead fish were washing up along the coast. Scientists from the Canadian government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans investigated, but the cause remains a mystery. This research note excogitates a potential cause: dumped chemical and conventional munitions. Between 1918 and 1972, most industrialized countries disposed of surplus munitions at sea. As a result, hundreds of millions of tons of corroded ordnance now pollute marine environments around the world. The article then discusses various research obstacles impeding further scholarly investigations and the possible connections between underwater munitions and the mass death of aquatic life.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an essential tool for reversing the global degradation of ocean life. Hence, it is important to know which types of MPAs are more effective, and under which conditions. No-take marine reserves – the MPAs with stronger protection – are very effective in restoring and preserving biodiversity, and in enhancing ecosystem resilience. A new meta-analysis of previous studies shows that biomass of whole fish assemblages in marine reserves is, on average, 670% greater than in adjacent unprotected areas, and 343% greater than in partially-protected MPAs. Marine reserves also help restore the complexity of ecosystems through a chain of ecological effects (trophic cascades) once the abundance of large animals recovers sufficiently. Marine reserves may not be immune to the effects of climate change, but to date, reserves with complex ecosystems are more resilient than unprotected areas. Although marine reserves were conceived to protect ecosystems within their boundaries, they have also been shown to enhance local fisheries and create jobs and new incomes through ecotourism.
Much of my career has been focussed on exploring the causes and consequences of variation in the productivity of fish. The aim has been to provide better advice for fisheries management. We have realized that variation in the components of productivity, such as growth, maturation, and fecundity is substantial. Incorporating this variation into stock assessment leads to a significant change in the perception of reference points and stock status. If exploitation levels are not adjusted for varying productivity, they will not be sustainable. Although we have learned much about the causes and consequences of variation in productivity there is still much to learn. It will be a huge leap forward when we can explain the processes driving this variation and use this information in our population models. My contributions to the field have benefitted greatly from a series of collaborations that have fuelled my creativity, productivity and enjoyment. My direct involvement in stock assessment has resulted in my research being used directly in the provision of scientific advice and also opened up areas of research that I would not have otherwise pursued. Get involved. Be open to new opportunities and seize them. You never know where they will lead you!
I describe my personal evolution as a modeller of behaviour, both human and (non-human) animal behaviour, using dynamic state-variable models. At first I worked in renewable resource Economics, especially the economics of marine fisheries where I collaborated extensively with Gordon R. Munro. Subsequently, in collaboration with Marc Mangel (and many field biologists) I worked in Behavioural Ecology. Mathematical models have played a major role in both of these subjects, but until recently mostly static models were used, on the grounds that dynamic (not to mention stochastic) models were too difficult to work with. I express the hope that our use of relatively simple (but not too simple) dynamic models has established the fact that such models can be extremely helpful, perhaps essential, in understanding many aspects of behaviour.
As human activities continue to expand globally, there will be increased need to incorporate the impacts of these activities into ecological studies for a holistic understanding of ecosystems. Within the Southern California Bight, as in other highly productive marine ecosystems, fishing has long contributed to the ecology and evolution of marine fish and invertebrate communities. As fishing varies across space and over time, there is a need for a reliable metric that quantifies the spatiotemporal variation in the impact of fishing. Here, we quantify an index of harvest intensity on the highly productive and heavily fished, shallow rocky reefs of Southern California. To this end, we take advantage of two long‐term, spatially explicit, multi‐species datasets collected by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on commercial and recreational marine harvest, combined with reef‐species survey data and a geospatial reef data layer. Using this approach, we recover predictable patterns for harvest intensity across the Southern California Bight, with harvest intensity decreasing in fishing blocks located at greater distances from the nearest port. Further, our results indicate an important interaction effect between distance to nearest port and year on harvest intensity, suggesting there are important shifts in spatiotemporal patterns over the 30‐year time period. As fishing can have numerous impacts on ecological and evolutionary processes, the observed spatiotemporal variation in harvest intensity illustrates the need for incorporating the contribution of human impacts into marine ecosystem studies.
This paper speaks to the home/away debate in tourism research through a case study of leisure boating. Practice theory and affordance theory, participant observation and interviews with boaters touring or departing from Bohuslän, Sweden are used to illustrate how changes in material affordances and material setup co-transform practices and meanings. Through the introduction of house-like facilities, powered by the boat’s engines and employing home skills, some boats afford a family/single person a more comfortable and independent “stay at home” on the sea than in the past, while boating resembling camping is becoming an ex-practice. However, boats continue to afford mobility, for which boating skills are required. This paper thus challenges the theoretical opposition in tourism studies between home and away.
To examine down-estuary effects and how differences in food webs along a salinity gradient might influence mercury (Hg) biomagnification, we conducted a study from 2010 to 2015 in an estuary with a known biological hotspot at its headwaters. Over 907 samples of biota, representing 92 different taxa of fish and invertebrates, seston and sediments were collected from the upper, middle and lower reach for Hg determination and for stable nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses. Trophic magnification slopes (TMS; log Hg versus δ15N), as a measure of biomagnification efficiency, ranged from 0.23 to 0.241 but did not differ statistically among reaches. Hg concentrations were consistently highest, ranging as high as 4.9 mg/kg in top predatory fish, in the upper-reach of the estuary where basal Hg entering the food web was also highest, as evidenced by methylmercury concentrations in suspension feeders. Top predatory fish at the mouth of the estuary contained relatively low [THg], likely due to lower basal Hg. This was nonetheless surprising given the potential for down-estuary biotransport.
The science-policy nexus has long puzzled scholars and managers working across diverse public policy areas, including environment. The rise of science-based management, especially in an era of big data, assumes science can improve environmental policy. At the same time, increasing attention to stakeholder engagement provides avenues for non-scientists to participate in collaborative environmental management, which might displace science in decision-making processes. Prior research points to a variety of factors thought to affect the degree to which science is used in collaborative partnerships. Drawing on such research, we examine the use of science across 9 collaborative partnerships structured and resourced from the top-down by a state government agency. All of these partnerships are working in the U.S.’s second largest estuary, the Puget Sound in Washington State. Data from partnership meeting minutes indicates that science is scarcely discussed in executive committee meetings, but is more commonly discussed in technical committee meetings. We thus might expect that the ecosystem management plans produced by these technical committees would be closely informed by science. Results indicate these plans include few citations to peer-reviewed scientific studies, but they do draw consistently on scientific information from grey literature including scientific and technical reports from federal and state agencies. These results raise important questions about government efforts to foster the use of science in collaborative partnerships, including the benefits and drawbacks of using grey literature rather than scientific articles directly, the interaction of science with other forms of knowledge, and local actors’ capacity to understand and access science.
Aquaculture is supporting demand and surpassing wild-caught seafood. Yet, most fed aquaculture species (finfish and crustacea) rely on wild-captured forage fish for essential fatty acids and micronutrients, an important but limited resource. As the fastest growing food sector in the world, fed aquaculture demand will eventually surpass ecological supply of forage fish, but when and how best to avoid this ecological boundary is unclear. Using global production data, feed use trends, and human consumption patterns, we show how combined actions of fisheries reform, reduced feed use by non-carnivorous aquaculture and agricultural species, and greater consistent inclusion of fish by-products in China-based production can circumvent forage fish limits by mid-century. However, we also demonstrate that the efficacies of such actions are diminished if global diets shift to more seafood-heavy (that is, pescatarian) diets and are further constrained by possible ecosystem-based fisheries regulations in the future. Long-term, nutrient-equivalent alternative feed sources are essential for more rapid and certain aquaculture sustainability.
The aim of this research was to propose and evaluate a methodological approach to integration and spatial data analysis in order to generate information towards a participatory site selection for bivalve marine aquaculture in the Baía Sul, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. For this purpose, the Baía Sul was investigated considering an ecosystem approach for aquaculture leading to an assessment of its potential for marine aquaculture. The planning of the aquaculture parks was made through a participatory process to incorporate both environmental carrying capacity and social carrying capacity. Experts and modellers developed a GIS model to assess the potential for marine aquaculture in Baía Sul. Continuous (unclassified) maps were used to provide spatial information about the variation of the potential for marine aquaculture in the Baía Sul. The maps were used to plan 53 aquaculture parks over the Baía Sul. The site selection of the parks was made in six public hearings attended by 403 stakeholders from 38 institutions representing different sectors with diverse interests in coastal zone. The results showed that although the Baía Sul is suitable for the growth of bivalve molluscs, some hydrodynamic characteristics and the influence of urbanization constitute a sanitary risk for the activity. Experts, modellers and stakeholders had a different perception about the importance of criteria in the aquaculture parks site selection. While the experts and modellers considered the environmental criteria as the most important aspect to locate the aquaculture parks, the stakeholders took into account mainly the logistics. The final result of the aquaculture parks location, approved by the Brazilian Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture (MPA), adopted the site selection by the stakeholders, providing aquaculture parks in areas with sanitary risk for the bivalve cultivation. The main advantage of the adopted assessment strategy was to identify the divergence between experts, modellers and the stakeholders and the distance that still exist between scientist and decision makers in Brazil.
This study examines the use of water-use fees in California’s bidding-based power markets to balance freshwater conservation and reduction of the marine ecosystem impact of coastal once-through-cooled power plants. An hourly power dispatch is simulated using the state’s 2014 demand and generation capacity data. Fees on ocean water withdrawals of $5–120/acre-ft are simulated in three scenarios that test the grid’s ability to simultaneously mitigate its impact on marine ecosystems, conserve freshwater, and incentivize recycled water use. Although fees modeled represent a small share of generator fuel costs, results show that they trigger declines in ocean water withdrawals of up to 11% that are almost always cost-effective if accounting for effects on system-wide fuel costs and CO2 emissions. An appropriately designed fee-structure reduces ocean water withdrawals by 9% without increasing freshwater consumption elsewhere. Wholesale electricity price increases of 5–10% are concentrated in Northern California, and marine ecosystem benefits are partly offset by increases in NOx and SO2 emissions inland. Overall, this study finds that water-use fees could be an effective strategy for reducing the marine ecosystem impacts of California’s power sector, particularly because they can also address short term fluctuations in freshwater scarcity. Keywords: Energy-water nexus, once-through cooling, scarce water, environmental pricing, energy policy, electricity dispatch, power systems.
Sea-level rise (SLR) is predicted to elevate water depths above coral reefs and to increase coastal wave exposure as ecological degradation limits vertical reef growth, but projections lack data on interactions between local rates of reef growth and sea level rise. Here we calculate the vertical growth potential of more than 200 tropical western Atlantic and Indian Ocean reefs, and compare these against recent and projected rates of SLR under different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Although many reefs retain accretion rates close to recent SLR trends, few will have the capacity to track SLR projections under RCP4.5 scenarios without sustained ecological recovery, and under RCP8.5 scenarios most reefs are predicted to experience mean water depth increases of more than 0.5 m by 2100. Coral cover strongly predicts reef capacity to track SLR, but threshold cover levels that will be necessary to prevent submergence are well above those observed on most reefs. Urgent action is thus needed to mitigate climate, sea-level and future ecological changes in order to limit the magnitude of future reef submergence.
Coastal wetlands are some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth because they provide many ecological services for coastal security. However, these wetlands are seriously threatened by accelerated climate change and intensive anthropogenic activities. To understand the impacts of land reclamation on landscape change of coastal wetlands and the long-term effects of disturbances of coastal wetlands on their sustainable management, we used time-series Landsat imagery with an object-oriented classification and Digital Shoreline Analysis System to map wetland changes within a reclaimed area in the Pudong District (PD), in Shanghai, China. Our analysis indicated that from 1989 to 2013, 19,793.4 ha of coastal wetlands have been changed to inland wetlands enclosed by a seawall and dike since 1989, thereby cutting off the exchange of sediment and water flux between the wetlands and the coastal ocean. Subsequently, under the increasing threats of anthropogenic activities, the wetland ecosystem collapsed sharply, in a transformation chain of inland wetland (fresh swamp), artificial wetland (agriculture and aquaculture wetland), and non-wetland (urban land). Under this explosive utilization following coastal reclamation, only 8.9% of natural wetlands remain in the reclaimed area, which has experienced an average annual wetland loss rate of 3.8% over the past 24 years. More than 80% of the wetlands have been developed for agricultural, industrial, and urban land uses, leading to an enormous loss of associated ecological services—benefits arising from the ecological functions provided by wetland ecosystems, thereby undermining the coastal protection these wetlands provided. Nevertheless, considerable regeneration of wetlands occurred because of their inherent resilience. This paper addresses the importance of maintaining a balance between economic growth and coastal ecological protection for sustainable management. It proposes a strategy for how ecosystem-based land planning and ecological engineering should be applied to ensure the effective and sustainable management of living shorelines so that the benefits of healthy ecological functions accrue to coastal ecosystems.
The ocean is the next frontier for many conservation and development activities. Growth in marine protected areas, fisheries management, the blue economy, and marine spatial planning initiatives are occurring both within and beyond national jurisdictions. This mounting activity has coincided with increasing concerns about sustainability and international attention to ocean governance. Yet, despite growing concerns about exclusionary decision-making processes and social injustices, there remains inadequate attention to issues of social justice and inclusion in ocean science, management, governance and funding. In a rapidly changing and progressively busier ocean, we need to learn from past mistakes and identify ways to navigate a just and inclusive path towards sustainability. Proactive attention to inclusive decision-making and social justice is needed across key ocean policy realms including marine conservation, fisheries management, marine spatial planning, the blue economy, climate adaptation and global ocean governance for both ethical and instrumental reasons. This discussion paper aims to stimulate greater engagement with these critical topics. It is a call to action for ocean-focused researchers, policy-makers, managers, practitioners, and funders.
This study aimed to determine the main anthropogenic pressures and the effectiveness of management practices in marine protected areas (MPAs) (Rocas Atoll and Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, South Atlantic). The MPAs exhibited high management effectiveness over the last 25 years due to the control of local pressures (i.e., fishing and tourism). However, the increase in regional and global pressures, such as invasive species, marine debris, and climate change stressors (sea-level rise, extreme events, range shifts of species, warming, and ocean acidification), are environmental risks that need to be considered during conservation. Strategies for large scale marine spatial planning, as well as proposals for an integrated management of MPAs (including coral reef islands and seamounts) by the articulation of a network, which reduces regional human pressures and improves ocean governance were discussed. This study provided insights into the challenges faced in the management of MPAs in a rapidly changing ocean.