Small-scale fisheries are undeniably important for livelihoods, food security and income around the globe. However, they face major challenges, including global market and demographic shifts, policy changes and climate variations that may threaten the wellbeing, health and safety of fishing communities. Over the years, various forms of spatial management have been implemented in small-scale fisheries as a potential solution to problems afflicting these systems. The benefits of such approaches can be numerous for both ecosystems and coastal communities. In addition to the persistent challenges influencing small-scale fisheries practices, the emerging effects of climate change pose serious risks to coastal ecosystems and fishing communities, especially in low-lying islands. Despite a growing recognition of both the benefits of spatial management and the adverse effects of climate change on small-scale fisheries, integration of these concepts in a consistent and comprehensive way has not yet occurred. Spatial management has the potential to foster small-scale fisheries adaptation to climate change, however, in the face of such a global and transboundary phenomenon, management strategies will need to be carefully designed and implemented. First, key considerations for climate-informed spatial management in small-scale fisheries were identified. Second, these key considerations were illustrated in two selected case studies in Pacific Island countries and territories (i.e. Fiji and Papua New Guinea). Finally, the challenges associated with spatial management in a changing climate are discussed and ways forward for advancing this type of management as a climate adaptation approach for small-scale fisheries in the Pacific and beyond are proposed.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
Coral growth patterns result from an interplay of coral biology and environmental conditions. In this study colony size and proportion of live and dead skeletons in the cold-water coral (CWC) Lophelia pertusa(Linnaeus, 1758) were measured using video footage from Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) transects conducted at the inshore Mingulay Reef Complex (MRC) and at the offshore PISCES site (Rockall Bank) in the NE Atlantic. The main goal of this paper was to explore the development of a simple method to quantify coral growth and its potential application as an assessment tool of the health of these remote habitats. Eighteen colonies were selected and whole colony and dead/living layer size were measured. Live to dead layer ratios for each colony were then determined and analysed. The age of each colony was estimated using previously published data. Our paper shows that: (1) two distinct morphotypes can be described: at the MRC, colonies displayed a ‘cauliflower-shaped’ morphotype whereas at the PISCES site, colonies presented a more flattened ‘bush-shaped’ morphotype; (2) living layer size was positively correlated with whole colony size; (3) live to dead layer ratio was negatively correlated to whole colony size; (4) live to dead layer ratio never exceeded 0.27. These results suggest that as a colony develops and its growth rate slows down, the proportion of living polyps in the colony decreases. Furthermore, at least 73% of L. pertusa colonies are composed of exposed dead coral skeleton, vulnerable to ocean acidification and the associated shallowing of the aragonite saturation horizon, with significant implications for future deep-sea reef framework integrity. The clear visual contrast between white/pale living and grey/dark dead portions of the colonies also gives a new way by which they can be visually monitored over time. The increased use of marine autonomous survey vehicles offers an important new platform from which such a surveying technique could be applied to monitor deep-water marine protected areas in the future.
Gender inequity in science and academia, especially in senior positions, is a recognised problem. The reasons are poorly understood, but include the persistence of historical gender ratios, discrimination and other factors, including gender-based behavioural differences. We studied participation in a professional context by observing question-asking behaviour at a large international conference with a clear equality code of conduct that prohibited any form of discrimination. Accounting for audience gender ratio, male attendees asked 1.8 questions for each question asked by a female attendee. Amongst only younger researchers, male attendees also asked 1.8 questions per female question, suggesting the pattern cannot be attributed to the temporary problem of demographic inertia. We link our findings to the ‘chilly’ climate for women in STEM, including wider experiences of discrimination likely encountered by women throughout their education and careers. We call for a broader and coordinated approach to understanding and addressing the barriers to women and other under-represented groups. We encourage the scientific community to recognise the context in which these gender differences occur, and evaluate and develop methods to support full participation from all attendees.
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are important management tools shown to protect marine organisms, restore biomass, and increase fisheries yields. While MPAs have been successful in meeting these goals for many relatively sedentary species, highly mobile organisms may get few benefits from this type of spatial protection due to their frequent movement outside the protected area. The use of a large MPA can compensate for extensive movement, but testing this empirically is challenging, as it requires both large areas and sufficient time series to draw conclusions. To overcome this limitation, MPA models have been used to identify designs and predict potential outcomes, but these simulations are highly sensitive to the assumptions describing the organism’s movements. Due to recent improvements in computational simulations, it is now possible to include very complex movement assumptions in MPA models (e.g. Individual Based Model). These have renewed interest in MPA simulations, which implicitly assume that increasing the detail in fish movement overcomes the sensitivity to the movement assumptions. Nevertheless, a systematic comparison of the designs and outcomes obtained under different movement assumptions has not been done. In this paper, we use an individual based model, interconnected to population and fishing fleet models, to explore the value of increasing the detail of the movement assumptions using four scenarios of increasing behavioral complexity: a) random, diffusive movement, b) aggregations, c) aggregations that respond to environmental forcing (e.g. sea surface temperature), and d) aggregations that respond to environmental forcing and are transported by currents. We then compare these models to determine how the assumptions affect MPA design, and therefore the effective protection of the stocks. Our results show that the optimal MPA size to maximize fisheries benefits increases as movement complexity increases from ~10% for the diffusive assumption to ~30% when full environment forcing was used. We also found that in cases of limited understanding of the movement dynamics of a species, simplified assumptions can be used to provide a guide for the minimum MPA size needed to effectively protect the stock. However, using oversimplified assumptions can produce suboptimal designs and lead to a density underestimation of ca. 30%; therefore, the main value of detailed movement dynamics is to provide more reliable MPA design and predicted outcomes. Large MPAs can be effective in recovering overfished stocks, protect pelagic fish and provide significant increases in fisheries yields. Our models provide a means to empirically test this spatial management tool, which theoretical evidence consistently suggests as an effective alternative to managing highly mobile pelagic stocks.
As the mean temperatures of the worlds oceans increase, it is predicted that marine heatwaves (MHWs) will occur more frequently and with increased severity. However, it has been shown that variables other than increases in sea water temperature have been responsible for MHWs. To better understand these mechanisms driving MHWs we have utilized atmospheric (ERA-Interim) and oceanic (OISST, AVISO) data to examine the patterns around southern Africa during coastal (<400 m from the low water mark; measured in situ) MHWs. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) was first used to determine that the atmospheric and oceanic states during MHW are different from daily climatological states. Self-organizing maps (SOMs) were then used to cluster the MHW states into one of nine nodes to determine the predominant atmospheric and oceanic patterns present during these events. It was found that warm water forced onto the coast via anomalous ocean circulation was the predominant oceanic pattern during MHWs. Warm atmospheric temperatures over the subcontinent during onshore or alongshore winds were the most prominent atmospheric patterns. Roughly one third of the MHWs were clustered into a node with no clear patterns, which implied that they were not forced by a recurring atmospheric or oceanic state that could be described by the SOM analysis. Because warm atmospheric and/or oceanic temperature anomalies were not the only pattern associated with MHWs, the current trend of a warming earth does not necessarily mean that MHWs will increase apace; however, aseasonal variability in wind and current patterns was shown to be central to the formation of coastal MHWs, meaning that where climate systems shift from historic records, increases in MHWs will likely occur.
The effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning is one of the major questions of ecology. However, the role of phytoplankton functional diversity in ecosystem productivity and stability under fluctuating (i.e. non-equilibrium) environments remains largely unknown. Here we use a marine ecosystem model to study the effect of phytoplankton functional diversity on both ecosystem productivity and its stability for seasonally variable nutrient supply and temperature. Functional diversity ranges from low to high along these two environmental axes independently. Changes in diversity are obtained by varying the range of uptake strategies and thermal preferences of the species present in the community. Species can range from resource gleaners to opportunists, and from cold to warm thermal preferences. The phytoplankton communities self-assemble as a result of species selection by resource competition (nutrients) and environmental filtering (temperature). Both processes lead to species asynchrony but their effect on productivity and stability differ. We find that the diversity of temperature niches has a strong and direct positive effect on productivity and stability due to species complementarity, while the diversity of uptake strategies has a weak and indirect positive effect due to sampling probability. These results show that more functionally diverse phytoplankton communities lead to higher and more stable ecosystem productivity but the positive effect of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning depends critically on the type of environmental gradient.
Harnessing information encoded in environmental DNA (eDNA) in marine waters has the potential to revolutionize marine biomonitoring. Whether using organism-specific quantitative PCR assays or metabarcoding in conjunction with amplicon sequencing, scientists have illustrated that realistic organism censuses can be inferred from eDNA. The next step is establishing ways to link information obtained from eDNA analyses to actual organism abundance. This is only possible by understanding the processes that control eDNA concentrations. The present study uses mesocosm experiments to study the persistence of eDNA in marine waters and explore the role of sunlight in modulating eDNA persistence. We seeded solute-permeable dialysis bags with water containing indigenous eDNA and suspended them in a large tank containing seawater. Bags were subjected to two treatments: half the bags were suspended near the water surface where they received high doses of sunlight, and half at depth where they received lower doses of sunlight. Bags were destructively sampled over the course of 87 hours. eDNA was extracted from water samples and used as template for a Scomber japonicus qPCR assay and a marine fish-specific 12S rRNA PCR assay. The latter was subsequently sequenced using a metabarcoding approach. S. japonicus eDNA, as measured by qPCR, exhibited first order decay with a rate constant ~0.01 hr -1 with no difference in decay rate constants between the two experimental treatments. eDNA metabarcoding identified 190 organizational taxonomic units (OTUs) assigned to varying taxonomic ranks. There was no difference in marine fish communities as measured by eDNA metabarcoding between the two experimental treatments, but there was an effect of time. Given the differences in UVA and UVB fluence received by the two experimental treatments, we conclude that sunlight is not the main driver of fish eDNA decay in the experiments. However, there are clearly temporal effects that need to be considered when interpreting information obtained using eDNA approaches.
Predicting the impact of sea-level (SL) rise on coral reefs requires reliable models of reef accretion. Most assume that accretion results from vertical growth of coralgal framework, but recent studies show that reefs exposed to hurricanes consist of layers of coral gravel rather than in-place corals. New models are therefore needed to account for hurricane impact on reef accretion over geological timescales. To investigate this geological impact, we report the configuration and development of a 4-km-long fringing reef at Punta Maroma along the northeast Yucatan Peninsula. Satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB) shows the crest is set-back a uniform distance of 315 ±15 m from a mid-shelf slope break, and the reef-front decreases 50% in width and depth along its length. A 12-core drill transect constrained by multiple 230Th ages shows the reef is composed of an ~2-m thick layer of coral clasts that has retrograded 100 m over its back-reef during the last 5.5 ka. These findings are consistent with a hurricane-control model of reef development where large waves trip and break over the mid-shelf slope break, triggering rapid energy dissipation and thus limiting how far upslope individual waves can fragment corals and transport clasts. As SL rises and water depth increases, energy dissipation during wave-breaking is reduced, extending the clast-transport limit, thus leading to reef retrogradation. This hurricane model may be applicable to a large sub-set of fringing reefs in the tropical Western-Atlantic necessitating a reappraisal of their accretion rates and response to future SL rise.
Climate change poses significant and increasing risks for Pacific Island communities. Sea-level rise, coastal flooding, extreme and variable storm events, fish stock redistribution, coral bleaching, and declines in ecosystem health and productivity threaten the wellbeing, health, safety, and national sovereignty of Pacific Islanders, and small-scale fishers in particular. Fostering the response capacity of small-scale fishing communities will become increasingly important for the Pacific Islands. Challenging decisions and trade-offs emerge when choosing and mobilizing different responses to climate change. The trade-offs inherent in different responses can occur between various exposures, across spatial and temporal scales, among segments of society, various objectives, and evaluative criteria. Here we introduce a typology of potential trade-offs inherent in responses, elaborated through examples from the Pacific. We argue that failure to adequately engage with trade-offs across human responses to climate change can potentially result in unintended consequences or lead to adverse outcomes for human vulnerability to climate change. Conversely, proactively identifying and addressing these trade-offs in decision-making processes will be critical for planning hazard mitigation and preparing island nations, communities, and individuals to anticipate and adapt to change, not only for Pacific Islands, but for coastal communities around the world.
Colonially-breeding seabirds have long served as indicator species for the health of the oceans on which they depend. Abundance and breeding data are repeatedly collected at fixed study sites in the hopes that changes in abundance and productivity may be useful for adaptive management of marine resources, but their suitability for this purpose is often unknown. To address this, we fit a Bayesian population dynamics model that includes process and observation error to all known Adélie penguin abundance data (1982–2015) in the Antarctic, covering >95% of their population globally. We find that process error exceeds observation error in this system, and that continent-wide “year effects” strongly influence population growth rates. Our findings have important implications for the use of Adélie penguins in Southern Ocean feedback management, and suggest that aggregating abundance across space provides the fastest reliable signal of true population change for species whose dynamics are driven by stochastic processes.
Wind turbines continuously remove kinetic energy from the lower troposphere, thereby reducing the wind speed near hub height. The rate of electricity generation in large wind farms containing multiple wind arrays is, therefore, constrained by the rate of kinetic energy replenishment from the atmosphere above. In recent years, a growing body of research argues that the rate of generated power is limited to around 1.5 W m−2 within large wind farms. However, in this study, we show that considerably higher power generation rates may be sustainable over some open ocean areas. In particular, the North Atlantic is identified as a region where the downward transport of kinetic energy may sustain extraction rates of 6 W m−2 and above over large areas in the annual mean. Furthermore, our results indicate that the surface heat flux from the oceans to the atmosphere may play an important role in creating regions where sustained high rates of downward transport of kinetic energy and thus, high rates of kinetic energy extraction may be geophysical possible. While no commercial-scale deep water wind farms yet exist, our results suggest that such technologies, if they became technically and economically feasible, could potentially provide civilization-scale power.
Studies of oil spills on sand beaches have focused traditionally on the effects of short-term oil exposure, with recovery of sand beach macrobenthic communities occurring within several weeks to several years. The Deepwater Horizon spill resulted in chronic, multi-year re-oiling and up to 4 yr of extensive and often intensive treatments. Of the 965 km of sand beaches that were oiled, shoreline treatment was documented on 683 km. Intensive mechanical treatment was conducted from 9 to 45 mo after the initial oiling on 32.4 km of shoreline in Louisiana, and deep beach excavation/sifting and tilling was conducted along 60.5 km in Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, often along contiguous lengths of beach. Recovery of sand beach invertebrate communities from the combined effects of oiling and treatment would likely be delayed by 2 to 6 yr after the last response action was completed. We introduce the concept of ‘Response Injury’ categories that reflect both intensity and frequency of beach treatment methods. We use the literature on similar types of disturbances to sand beach communities (foot traffic, vehicular traffic, wrack removal, beach nourishment) to describe the expected impacts. Temporal patterns of response-related disturbances can affect seasonal recruitment of organisms and the overall rate of ecosystem recovery from both oil exposure and treatment disturbance. This concept provides a framework for specifically assessing response-related impacts in future spills, which has not been considered in previous injury assessments.
Fisheries usually first remove large predators before switching to smaller species, causing lasting changes to fish community structure. Reef fish provide essential protein and income for many people, and the impacts of commercial and high-intensity subsistence fishing on reef fish are well documented. However, how fish communities respond to low levels of subsistence fishing using traditional techniques (fishing for food, few fishers) is less well understood. We use three atolls in the Marshall Islands as a model system to quantify effects of commercial and subsistence fishing on reef fish communities, compared to a near-pristine baseline. Unexpectedly, fish biomass was highest on the commercially-fished atoll where the assemblage was dominated by herbivores (50% higher than other atolls) and contained few top predators (70% lower than other atolls). By contrast, fish biomass and trophic composition did not differ between pristine and subsistence-fished atolls – top predators were abundant on both. We show that in some cases, reefs can support fishing by small communities to provide food but still retain intact fish assemblages. Low-intensity subsistence fishing may not always harm marine food webs, and we suggest that its effects depend on the style and intensity of fishing practised and the type of organisms targeted.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood supply chain fraud are multifaceted problems that demand multifaceted solutions. Here, we investigate the extent to which global fisheries trade data analyses can support effective seafood traceability and promote sustainable seafood markets using one of the world’s most highly prized, yet misunderstood, groups of fishes as a model: the snappers, family Lutjanidae. By collating and comparing production, import and export data from international and national statistical collections for the period 2006–2013, we show that official trade data severely lack the level of detail required to track snapper trade flows, uncover potential IUU activities and/or inform exploitation management of snappers and related species. Moreover, we contend that the lack of taxonomic granularity and use of vague generic names in trade records represent one of the most insidious impediments to seafood traceability, and suggest that widely used harmonised commodity classification systems should evolve to address these gaps.
In the latter part of the 20th century, fishery research expanded from its original biological base to include new areas, notably investigations of fishing-gear performance and fish-detection by sonar. The past 50 years have seen huge advances in technology and the combination of physical and biological insights in fishery research. Fishing-gear investigations initially focussed on the economics of commercial fishing, but in the 1970s energy consumption in fishing became a major issue. Thereafter, the objectives changed to support for fishery management through gear innovations and research, giving a better understanding of exploitation patterns. During this period, fishery acoustics advanced from crude beginnings in the 1960s to the powerful stock-assessment tool it is today. Progress in these fields has depended on multi-disciplinary research involving both the physical and biological sciences. There have been failures along the way, but there is now good understanding of how technology as well as science can make a positive contribution to fishery management. This essay describes these developments as seen from my personal involvement over the past half century. It concludes with some pointers to the future, and practical advice to young researchers considering a career in fishery research.
Iñupiaq, Yup'ik, and Cup'ik hunters in 14 Alaska Native communities described a rapidly changing marine environment in qualitative traditional knowledge interviews conducted over the course of a decade with 110 individuals. Based on their observations, sea ice conditions are the most notable change, with later freeze-up, thinner and less reliable ice, and earlier and more rapid break-up. Marine mammal populations in northern and western Alaska have been affected by changes in the physical environment, with alterations to migratory timing and routes, distribution, abundance, health, and behavior. Despite these changes, marine mammal populations in the region remain generally healthy and abundant. For hunters, access is the biggest challenge posed by changing conditions. Sea ice is less safe for travel, particularly for more southerly communities, making hunting more dangerous or impossible. Rapid break-up has reduced the time available for hunting amid broken ice in spring, formerly a dependable and preferred season. Social change also affects the ways in which hunting patterns change. Increased industrial development, for example, can also alter marine mammal distribution and reduce hunting opportunity. Reduced use of animal skins for clothing and other purposes has reduced demand. More powerful and reliable engines make day trips easier, reducing the time spent camping. An essential component of adjustment and adaptation to changing conditions is the retention of traditional values and the acquisition of new information to supplement traditional knowledge. Our findings are consistent with, and add detail to, what is known from previous traditional knowledge and scientific studies. The ways in which hunters gather new information and incorporate it into their existing understanding of the marine environment deserves further attention, both as a means of monitoring change and as a key aspect of adaptation. While the changes to date have been largely manageable, future prospects are unclear, as the effects of climate change are expected to continue in the region, and ecological change may accelerate. Social and regulatory change will continue to play a role in fostering or constraining the ability of hunters to adapt to the effects of climate change.
The increasing economic power of East-Asian nations, new technologies, and demographic change in the Pacific Rim countries bring new opportunities for Pacific Islands Countries (PICs). The 21st century is often referred to as the “Pacific Century,” reflecting the rising economic and political importance of East Asian nations and trans-Pacific relationships. This report argues that the PICs can truly make the Pacific Century their own, by taking advantage of new opportunities that are already on the horizon. These developments may help offset the challenges the PICs are facing to achieve sustained high growth, which include extreme remoteness, small size, geographic dispersion, and environmental fragility that limit the range of economic activities where the PICs can be competitive. Indeed, many PICs have seen only very limited increases in per capita incomes over the past 25 years.
Pacific Possible assesses whether fully exploiting new economic opportunities and dealing effectively with major threats could lead to a significant acceleration of economic growth and improved standards of living over the next 25 years. Pacific Possible examines specific opportunities and risks for the PICs in seven selected areas. These include opportunities for increased incomes (tourism, knowledge economy, fisheries, deep sea mining, and labor mobility) as well as risks (climate change and disaster risks, noncommunicable diseases - NCDs) that, if not managed well, could undermine development gains. While Pacific Possible focuses on those economic opportunities that have the greatest potential to drive faster economic growth in the future, it is important to note that other economic activities such as agriculture, coastal fisheries and so forth will remain important sources of livelihoods for much of the population of the PICs and require continued attention by policy makers.
For each of the transformational opportunities, Pacific Possible develops an “opportunity scenario” that considers external developments (such as demographic developments or technological changes) as well as policy decisions that drive the opportunity. The “opportunity scenario” typically presents an ambitious, although realistic, outlook on what is possible. For each of the opportunities, we then estimate the achievable impact on per capita incomes, employment, and government revenue. Comparing this to “business-as-usual” projections, that typically re ect historical trends, gives us the additional income, employment, and government revenue that could be achieved if opportunities are fully exploited and adequate policy decisions taken and implemented.
The report covers 11 World Bank member countries in the Pacific (PIC11-Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). Opportunities and risks discussed best describe the smaller PICs but are also valid for larger countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea), although in these countries there are many more economic opportunities (for example, Lique ed Natural Gas in Papua New Guinea or niche manufacturing in Fiji) which are beyond the scope of Pacific Possible.
Citizen Science is an approach which involves members of the public in gathering scienti c data and, in more advanced cases, also involves them in the analysis of such data and in the design of scienti c research. Bene ts of this approach include enhancing monitoring capabilities, empowering citizens and increasing Ocean Literacy, which can itself lead to the development of environmentally-friendly behaviours. There is a long history of citizen participation in science as a general concept. However, the process of studying and understanding the best ways to develop, implement, and evaluate Citizen Science is just beginning and it has recently been proposed that the study of the process and outcomes of Citizen Science merits acknowledgement as a distinct discipline in its own right.
Considering the vastness of the ocean, the extensiveness of the world’s coastlines, and the diversity of habitats, communities and species, a full scienti c exploration and understanding of this realm requires intensive research and observation activities over time and space. Citizen Science is a potentially powerful tool for the generation of scienti c knowledge to a level that would not be possible for the scienti c community alone. Additionally, Citizen Science initiatives should be promoted because of their bene ts in creating awareness of the challenges facing the world’s ocean and increasing Ocean Literacy.
Responding to this, the European Marine Board convened a Working Group on Citizen Science, whose main aim was to provide new ideas and directions to further the development of Marine Citizen Science, with particular consideration for the European context.
This position paper introduces the concept and rationale of Citizen Science, in particular regarding its relationship to marine research. The paper then explores European experiences of Marine Citizen Science, presenting common factors of success for European initiatives as examples of good practice. The types of data amenable to Citizen Science are outlined, along with concerns and measures relating to ensuring the scienti c quality of those data. The paper further explores the social aspects of participation in Marine Citizen Science, outlining the societal bene ts in terms of impact and education. The current and potential future role of technology in Marine Citizen Science projects is also addressed including, the relationship between citizens and earth observations, and the relevance of progress in the area of unmanned observing systems. The paper nally presents proposals for the improved integration and management of Marine Citizen Science on a European scale. This leads to a detailed discussion on Marine Citizen Science informing Marine Policy, taking into account the requirements of the Aarhus Convention as well as the myriad of EU marine and environmental policies.
The paper concludes with the presentation of eight Strategic Action Areas for Marine Citizen Science in Europe (see summary below with details in Chapter 4). These action areas, which are aimed not only at the marine research community, but also at scientists from multiple disciplines (including non-marine), higher education institutions, funding bodies and policy makers, should together enable coherent future Europe-wide application of Marine Citizen Science for the bene t of all.
Almost all of the world's fisheries overlap spatially and temporally with foraging seabirds, with impacts that range from food supplementation (through scavenging behind vessels), to resource competition and incidental mortality. The nature and extent of interactions between seabirds and fisheries vary, as does the level and efficacy of management and mitigation. Seabird dietary studies provide information on prey diversity and often identify species that are also caught in fisheries, providing evidence of linkages which can be used to improve ecosystem based management of fisheries. However, species identification of fish can be difficult with conventional dietary techniques. The black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) has a circumpolar distribution and has suffered major population declines due primarily to incidental mortality in fisheries. We use DNA metabarcoding of black-browed albatross scats to investigate their fish prey during the breeding season at six sites across their range, over two seasons. We identify the spatial and temporal diversity of fish in their diets and overlaps with fisheries operating in adjacent waters. Across all sites, 51 fish species from 33 families were identified, with 23 species contributing >10% of the proportion of samples or sequences at any site. There was extensive geographic variation but little inter-annual variability in fish species consumed. Several fish species that are not easily accessible to albatross, but are commercially harvested or by-caught, were detected in the albatross diet during the breeding season. This was particularly evident at the Falkland Islands and Iles Kerguelen where higher fishery catch amounts (or discard amounts where known) corresponded to higher occurrence of these species in diet samples. This study indicates ongoing interactions with fisheries through consumption of fishery discards, increasing the risk of seabird mortality. Breeding success was higher at sites where fisheries discards were detected in the diet, highlighting the need to minimize discarding to reduce impacts on the ecosystem. DNA metabarcoding provides a valuable non-invasive tool for assessing the fish prey of seabirds across broad geographic ranges. This provides an avenue for fishery resource managers to assess compliance of fisheries with discard policies and the level of interaction with scavenging seabirds.
California’s policymakers, coastal managers, and communities increasingly recognize that the inevitable collision of sea level rise with certain coastal development trends—what some have termed the “coastal squeeze”—threatens California’s coast. In addition to reducing the availability of highly valued coastal access and recreation areas, the coastal squeeze carries the potential to degrade, destroy, or privatize the state’s shoreline and tidelands and the economic, cultural, and ecological benefits they provide.
These important public values and benefits associated with our coast are protected by the public trust doctrine, a legal doctrine that reflects the supreme importance of public values, resources, and uses in California’s coastal tidelands and submerged lands.1 Under the public trust doctrine, California has a duty to protect and sustain its coastal tidelands and submerged lands for public purposes ranging from navigation and commerce to recreation and conservation, as well as the authority to defend the public’s interests when they are at risk.
The public trust doctrine can function as an important legal tool for adapting the use of California’s coastal lands to ongoing changes. California will find strong legal support—rooted in long-standing precedents and principles of property law—for considering the anticipated effects of sea level rise and other climate change impacts on public trust resources and interests. The doctrine also provides a framework for effective adaptation of public and private activities in vulnerable areas. Yet complex and sometimes conflicting interpretations of the doctrine have limited its application.
To provide a clear interpretation of the public trust doctrine’s potential role in climate change adap- tation along California’s coast, the Center for Ocean Solutions convened a working group of public trust and coastal land use experts in October 2016. The working group members jointly authored the following consensus statement, which describes California’s duty and authority under the public trust doctrine and identifies opportunities for policymakers, coastal managers, and stakeholders to improve the governance and management of our coastal public trust resources and uses in light of sea level rise.