Variable density dependence within multispecies fisheries results in species restructuring as exploitation intensifies that is poorly understood. We examined unique species-based records across 25 years of exploitation to evaluate patterns, consequences, and predictions of species replacements within three coral-reef fisheries. Body-size was an expected determinant of species replacements, as larger fishes were consistently replaced by smaller, faster-growing counterparts. However, many species with similar sizes and growth rates responded differently. Naso unicornis, a primary component of coral-reef fisheries across the Pacific, was one of the most resilient species to exploitation despite having a similar maximum size and growth as many large parrotfishes that slowly disappeared from landings. Assessments conducted for all primary target species revealed clear distinctions in compensatory responses: 31% had diminishing size structures, 18% had diminishing proportional contribution, but only 5% showed both. Standard approaches to fisheries management assume constant rates of size-and-age restructuring and rely upon metrics such as fishing-versus-natural mortality. Instead, a deeper appreciation for varying recruitment rates may help to (re)define fisheries management units and reduce complexity in multispecies fisheries. We last consider our results alongside traditional knowledge and management in the Pacific that clearly appreciated species responses, but have been lost over the years.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
As global average sea‐level rises in the early part of this century there is great interest in how much global and local sea level will change in the forthcoming decades. The Paris Climate Agreement's proposed temperature thresholds of 1.5°C and 2°C have directed the research community to ask what differences occur in the climate system for these two states. We have developed a novel approach to combine climate model outputs that follow specific temperature pathways to make probabilistic projections of sea‐level in a 1.5°C and 2°C world. We find median global sea‐level (GSL) projections for 1.5°C and 2°C temperature pathways of 44 and 50 cm, respectively. The 90% uncertainty ranges (5%–95%) are both around 48 cm by 2100. In addition, we take an alternative approach to estimate the contribution from ice sheets by using a semi‐empirical GSL model. Here we find median projections of 58 and 68 cm for 1.5°C and 2°C temperature pathways. The 90% uncertainty ranges are 67 and 82 cm respectively. Regional projections show similar patterns for both temperature pathways, though differences vary between the median projections (2–10 cm) and 95th percentile (5–20 cm) for the bulk of oceans using process‐based approach and 10–15 cm (median) and 15–25 cm (95th percentile) using the semi‐empirical approach.
Population replenishment of marine life largely depends on successful dispersal of larvae to suitable adult habitat. Ocean acidification alters behavioural responses to physical and chemical cues in marine animals, including the maladaptive deterrence of settlement-stage larval fish to odours of preferred habitat and attraction to odours of non-preferred habitat. However, sensory compensation may allow fish to use alternative settlement cues such as sound. We show that future ocean acidification reverses the attraction of larval fish (barramundi) to their preferred settlement sounds (tropical estuarine mangroves). Instead, acidification instigates an attraction to unfamiliar sounds (temperate rocky reefs) as well as artificially generated sounds (white noise), both of which were ignored by fish living in current day conditions. This finding suggests that by the end of the century, following a business as usual CO2 emission scenario, these animals might avoid functional environmental cues and become attracted to cues that provide no adaptive advantage or are potentially deleterious. This maladaptation could disrupt population replenishment of this and other economically important species if animals fail to adapt to elevated CO2 conditions.
Anthropogenic noise pollution is recognized as a major global stressor of animals. While many studies have assessed the unimodal impacts of noise pollution with a focus on intraspecific acoustic communication, little is known about noise pollution on the perception of visual and chemical information. The ‘distracted prey hypothesis’ posits that processing noise interferes with processing other information in the brain. Here, we found evidence for such a cross-modal effect of noise on the antipredator behaviour of a freshwater prey fish, the fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas. In laboratory trials, exposure to noise from a motorboat caused the total absence of the classical fright reaction of minnows to conspecific alarm cues, whereas an ambient noise control had no such impact. In natural habitats, the impairment of such antipredator behaviour due to noise pollution could have major fitness consequences. We discuss how our findings translate to animal ecology and the need for future studies that target specific management decisions regarding noise pollution.
Among the various materials that make up marine debris, lumps of petroleum waxes such as paraffin and microcrystalline wax, are regularly found on beaches worldwide, although not included in the current definition of marine litter. Ingestion by marine organisms is occasionally documented in the scientific literature and mass beaching events are frequently reported along the European coasts, with obvious detrimental consequences to the local communities that have to manage the clean-up and disposal of this substance. According to Annex II of the MARPOL regulation, petroleum waxes are classified as “high viscosity, solidifying, and persistent floating products,” whose discharge at sea of tank-washing residues is strictly regulated, but currently permitted within certain limits. Starting from the description of a large stranding event occurred along the Italian coasts in 2017, we review the existing knowledge and regulatory framework and urge the relevant authorities to address this issue, showing that wax pollution is creating evident damages to the European coastal municipalities. Pending further investigations on the potential hazard that this kind of pollution is posing to marine ecosystems, we suggest a careful and more stringent revision of the policies regulating discharges of these products at sea.
Predatory open access (OA) journals can be defined as non-indexed journals that exploit the gold OA model for profit, often spamming academics with questionable e-mails promising rapid OA publication for a fee. In aquaculture—a rapidly growing and highly scrutinized field—the issue of such journals remains undocumented. We employed a quantitative approach to determine whether attributes of scientific quality and rigor differed between OA aquaculture journals not indexed in reputable databases and well-established, indexed journals. Using a Google search, we identified several non-indexed OA journals, gathered data on attributes of these journals and articles therein, and compared these data to well-established aquaculture journals indexed in quality-controlled bibliometric databases. We then used these data to determine if non-indexed journals were likely predatory OA journals and if they pose a potential threat to aquaculture research. On average, non-indexed OA journals published significantly fewer papers per year, had cheaper fees, and were more recently established than indexed journals. Articles in non-indexed journals were, on average, shorter, had fewer authors and references, and spent significantly less time in peer review than their indexed counterparts; the proportion of articles employing rigorous statistical analyses was also lower for non-indexed journals. Additionally, articles in non-indexed journals were more likely to be published by scientists from developing nations. Worryingly, non-indexed journals were more likely to be found using a Google search, and their articles superficially resembled those in indexed journals. These results suggest that the non-indexed aquaculture journals identified herein are likely predatory OA journals and pose a threat to aquaculture research and the public education and perception of aquaculture. Several points of reference from this study, in combination, may help scientists and the public more easily identify these possibly predatory journals, as these journals were typically established after 2010, publishing <20 papers per year, had fees <$1,000, and published articles <80 days after submission. Subsequently checking reputable and quality-controlled databases such as the Directory of Open Access Journals, Web of Science, Scopus, and Thompson Reuters can aid in confirming the legitimacy of non-indexed OA journals and can facilitate avoidance of predatory OA aquaculture journals.
Fisheries in Guinea Bissau contribute greatly to the economy and food security of its people. Yet, as the ability of the country to monitor its fisheries is at most weak, and confronted with a heavy foreign fleet presence, the impact of industrial foreign fleets on fisheries catches is unaccounted for in the region. However, their footprint in terms of catch and value on the small-scale sector is heavily felt, through declining availability of fish. Fisheries in Guinea Bissau are operated by both legal (small-scale and industrial), and illegal (foreign unauthorized) fleets, whose catches are barely recorded. In this paper, we assess catches by both the legal and illegal sector, and the economic loss generated by illegal fisheries in the country, then attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) of Guinea Bissau's fisheries. Two main sectors were identified through official reports and a literature review, the large-scale (industrial) sector, which between 2011 and 2017 included exclusively catches by foreign owned and flagged vessels, and catches by the small-scale sector, which remain largely unmonitored in official statistics. We use the available data on the number of legal and illegal vessels and/or fishers, and their respective catch per unit of effort to estimate catches, and we analyze monitoring outcomes against the registered industrial and artisanal fleets. We find that of the legal industrial vessels, 20% were linked to criminal activities in the past 7 years. These activities range widely from using an illegal mesh size, to fishing in a prohibited area, to labor abuse. Overall, total small-scale and industrial catches were estimated at 370,000 t/year in 2017, of which less than 2% is ever reported to the FAO. Small-scale catches represented 8% of the total catch, and this contribution was found to be declining. Industrial fisheries generate over $458 million US, or which $75 million US is taken illegally, falling under the category trans-national fisheries crimes. The slight negative relationship between the number of monitoring days at sea illegal catches suggests increasing MCS efforts may play an important role in reducing illegal fishing in the country.
Hadal trenches, oceanic locations deeper than 6,000 m, are thought to have distinct microbial communities compared to those at shallower depths due to high hydrostatic pressures, topographical funneling of organic matter, and biogeographical isolation. Here we evaluate the hypothesis that hadal trenches contain unique microbial biodiversity through analyses of the communities present in the bottom waters of the Kermadec and Mariana trenches. Estimates of microbial protein production indicate active populations under in situ hydrostatic pressures and increasing adaptation to pressure with depth. Depth, trench of collection, and size fraction are important drivers of microbial community structure. Many putative hadal bathytypes, such as members related to the Marinimicrobia, Rhodobacteraceae, Rhodospirilliceae, and Aquibacter, are similar to members identified in other trenches. Most of the differences between the two trench microbiomes consists of taxa belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria whose distributions extend throughout the water column. Growth and survival estimates of representative isolates of these taxa under deep-sea conditions suggest that some members may descend from shallower depths and exist as a potentially inactive fraction of the hadal zone. We conclude that the distinct pelagic communities residing in these two trenches, and perhaps by extension other trenches, reflect both cosmopolitan hadal bathytypes and ubiquitous genera found throughout the water column.
The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2017. WoRMS is a unique database: there is no comparable global database for marine species, which is driven by a large, global expert community, is supported by a Data Management Team and can rely on a permanent host institute, dedicated to keeping WoRMS online. Over the past ten years, the content of WoRMS has grown steadily, and the system currently contains more than 242,000 accepted marine species. WoRMS has not yet reached completeness: approximately 2,000 newly described species per year are added, and editors also enter the remaining missing older names–both accepted and unaccepted–an effort amounting to approximately 20,000 taxon name additions per year. WoRMS is used extensively, through different channels, indicating that it is recognized as a high-quality database on marine species information. It is updated on a daily basis by its Editorial Board, which currently consists of 490 taxonomic and thematic experts located around the world. Owing to its unique qualities, WoRMS has become a partner in many large-scale initiatives including OBIS, LifeWatch and the Catalogue of Life, where it is recognized as a high-quality and reliable source of information for marine taxonomy.
Social media has revolutionized how people communicate with one another. This has important implications for science, environmental advocacy, and natural resource management, with numerous documented professional benefits for people in each of these fields. Some fisheries management professionals have been wary of social media use, in no small part due to unfamiliarity. The goal of this paper is to summarize the professional benefits of social media usage that are applicable for fisheries science and management professionals and to provide a detailed guide for those who wish to get started. Though many Web 2.0 tools exist, this paper will focus on the use of Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
The ubiquitous occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in the marine environment is raising concern for interactions with marine organisms. These particles efficiently adsorb persistent organic pollutants from surrounding environment and, due to the small size, they are easily available for ingestion at all trophic levels. Once ingested, MPs can induce mechanical damage, sub-lethal effects, and various cellular responses, further modulated by possible release of adsorbed chemicals or additives. In this study, ecotoxicological effects of MPs and their interactions with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), chosen as a model compound for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in Mediterranean mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis. Organisms were exposed for 4 weeks to 10 mg/L of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microparticles (2.34 * 107 particles/L, size range 20–25 μm), both virgin and pre-contaminated with BaP (15 μg/g). Organisms were also exposed for comparison to BaP dosed alone at 150 ng/L, corresponding to the amount adsorbed on microplastics. Tissue localization of microplastics was histologically evaluated; chemical analyses and a wide battery of biomarkers covering molecular, biochemical and cellular levels allowed to evaluate BaP bioaccumulation, alterations of immune system, antioxidant defenses, onset of oxidative stress, peroxisomal proliferation, genotoxicity, and neurotoxicity. Obtained data were elaborated within a quantitative weight of evidence (WOE) model which, using weighted criteria, provided synthetic hazard indices, for both chemical and cellular results, before their integration in a combined index. Microplastics were localized in hemolymph, gills, and especially digestive tissues where a potential transfer of BaP from MPs was also observed. Significant alterations were measured on the immune system, while more limited effects occurred on the oxidative status, neurotoxicity, and genotoxicity, with a different susceptibility of analyzed pathways, depending on tissue, time, and typology of exposure. Molecular analyses confirmed the general lack of significant transcriptional variations of antioxidant and stress genes. The overall results suggest that microplastics induce a slight cellular toxicity under short-term (28 days) exposure conditions. However, modulation of immune responses, along with bioaccumulation of BaP, pose the still unexplored risk that these particles, under conditions of more chronic exposure (months to years) or interacting with other stressors, may provoke long-term, subtle effects on organisms' health status.
Paleoclimate research define the baselines for the natural climate change and is imperative to help us to set the recent observed changes in the long-term natural climate context. Fossil marine diatoms have proved to be an excellent tools for the paleoclimatic reconstructions, e.g. for the reconstruction of sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice. A number of studies have been conducted from the northern high latitude region using diatoms as potential proxy. Nevertheless, these studies are scattered and thus there is a need to expand diatom research in the Arctic regions. Due to the possibilities offered by an emerging trend of diatom-based research, it is important to identify both the research themes and geographical areas of highest importance in order to obtain the best possible scientific outcome in the research. Here we review some of up-to-date diatom-based reconstruction methods applicable for paleoceanographic research for the northern North Atlantic and Arctic regions, and discuss the knowledge gaps in the Arctic research, which potentially can be solved by diatom applications. The modern diatom research has progressively concentrated on quantitative reconstruction based on diatoms and statistical transfer function providing the most useful data for the climate research. However, also qualitative reconstruction methods are still needed; the recent studies show that although the quantitative reconstruction method for SST appears to be statistically robust, there are uncertainties in quantitative reconstructions for sea-ice, and thus it is still recommended to use the Marginal Ice Zone diatom taxa as a qualitative reconstruction method for the Arctic sea ice. Diatom applications offer highly potential tools for filling the knowledge gaps in the Arctic research.
A general northward shift in marine species distributions has been observed in the western North Atlantic Ocean, which may have significant ecological consequences. Large coastal sharks can have wide migratory distributions but show fidelity to specific nursery habitats. Here we show evidence for nursery range expansion into Pamlico Sound, North Carolina by a marine apex predator, the Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas). Previous assessments have shown little to no use of estuarine North Carolina waters as nursery habitat by Bull Sharks from 1965–2011. Juvenile sharks were rarely captured in a fishery-independent gillnet survey conducted by the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) from 2003–2011, but were present every year from 2011–2016. Juvenile Bull Shark presence in the Sound was strongly related to early summer temperatures and late summer salinities, which have increased in the estuary over the 13 survey years, and further evidence for increasing water temperatures in Pamlico Sound was found in a 45-year data set for the NCDMF estuarine trawl survey. These results suggest that increasing water temperature and salinity have allowed Bull Sharks to expand their nursery habitat. This shift will have unknown, but potentially strong, impacts on both the local ecosystem and interactions with humans.
Sustained observations of marine biodiversity and ecosystems focused on specific conservation and management problems are needed around the world to effectively mitigate or manage changes resulting from anthropogenic pressures. These observations, while complex and expensive, are required by the international scientific, governance and policy communities to provide baselines against which the effects of human pressures and climate change may be measured and reported, and resources allocated to implement solutions. To identify biological and ecological essential ocean variables (EOVs) for implementation within a global ocean observing system that is relevant for science, informs society, and technologically feasible, we used a driver‐pressure‐state‐impact‐response (DPSIR) model. We (1) examined relevant international agreements to identify societal drivers and pressures on marine resources and ecosystems, (2) evaluated the temporal and spatial scales of variables measured by 100+ observing programs, and (3) analysed the impact and scalability of these variables and how they contribute to address societal and scientific issues. EOVs were related to the status of ecosystem components (phytoplankton and zooplankton biomass and diversity, and abundance and distribution of fish, marine turtles, birds and mammals), and to the extent and health of ecosystems (cover and composition of hard coral, seagrass, mangrove and macroalgal canopy). Benthic invertebrate abundance and distribution and microbe diversity and biomass were identified as emerging EOVs to be developed based on emerging requirements and new technologies. The temporal scale at which any shifts in biological systems will be detected will vary across the EOVs, the properties being monitored and the length of the existing time‐series. Global implementation to deliver useful products will require collaboration of the scientific and policy sectors and a significant commitment to improve human and infrastructure capacity across the globe, including the development of new, more automated observing technologies, and encouraging the application of international standards and best practices.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program in Russia is now well established and, in addition to fishery clients and stakeholders, involves environmental NGOs and experts familiar with the local management system. The present study aims to analyze the current status of the program and constitutes the first study covering all Russian MSC certifications. Based on certification reports and twenty semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, it was shown that problems with certification vary among fisheries. The most advanced in terms of management are the Barents Sea codfish fisheries, which are co-managed by Russia and Norway. The main concern of these fisheries is the use of bottom trawls, which may seriously affect bottom communities. The Alaska pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk experienced serious pressure from rival fisheries during the certification process. In the Far East, interviewees dealing with the salmon fisheries note a high level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and insufficient scientific data for comprehensive stock assessment. For small-scale inland perch fisheries from the central part of the country, recreational and illegal fishing are important problems that are difficult to quantify. Many interviewees repeatedly mentioned communication issues, difficulties with access to scientific and management information, and the overall complexity of the MSC certification process. The study shows that important preconditions to expanding certification are making the process manageable for export-oriented companies and developing a national market for sustainable seafood.
This paper considers fisheries bycatch reduction within the least-cost biodiversity impact mitigation hierarchy. It introduces conservatory offsets that are implemented earlier in the biodiversity impact mitigation hierarchy than conventional compensatory offsets used as instruments of last resort. The paper illustrates implementation in an on-going sea turtle conservation programme by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right”—the sad case of Vaquita, the Trump administration and the removal of protections for whales and dolphins
Designated large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs, 100,000 or more square kilometers) constitute over two-thirds of the approximately 6.6% of the ocean and approximately 14.5% of the exclusive economic zones within marine protected areas. Although LSMPAs have received support among scientists and conservation bodies for wilderness protection, regional ecological connectivity, and improving resilience to climate change, there are also concerns. We identified 10 common criticisms of LSMPAs along three themes: (1) placement, governance, and management; (2) political expediency; and (3) social–ecological value and cost. Through critical evaluation of scientific evidence, we discuss the value, achievements, challenges, and potential of LSMPAs in these arenas. We conclude that although some criticisms are valid and need addressing, none pertain exclusively to LSMPAs, and many involve challenges ubiquitous in management. We argue that LSMPAs are an important component of a diversified management portfolio that tempers potential losses, hedges against uncertainty, and enhances the probability of achieving sustainably managed oceans.
Deep-sea fish species are targeted globally by bottom trawling. The species captured are often characterized by longevity, low fecundity and slow growth making them vulnerable to overfishing. In addition, bottom trawling is known to remove vast amounts of non-target species, including habitat forming deep-sea corals and sponges. Therefore, bottom trawling poses a serious risk to deep-sea ecosystems, but the true extent of deep-sea fishery catches through history remains unknown. Here, we present catches for global bottom trawling fisheries between years 1950–2015. This study gives new insight into the history of bottom trawled deep-sea fisheries through its use of FAO capture data combined with reconstructed catch data provided by the Sea Around Us- project, which are the only records containing bycatches, discards and unreported landings for deep-sea species. We illustrate the trends and shifts of the fishing nations and discuss the life-history and catch patterns of the most prominent target species over this time period. Our results show that the landings from deep-sea fisheries are miniscule, contributing less than 0.5% to global fisheries landings. The fisheries were found to be overall under-reported by as much as 42%, leading to the removal of an estimated 25 million tons of deep-sea fish. The highest catches were of Greenland halibut in the NE Atlantic, Longfin codling from the NW Pacific and Grenadiers and Orange roughy from the SW Pacific. The results also show a diversification through the years in the species caught and reported. This historical perspective reveals that the extent and amount of deep-sea fish removed from the deep ocean exceeds previous estimates. This has significant implications for management, conservation and policy, as the economic importance of global bottom trawling is trivial, but the environmental damage imposed by this practice, is not.
The many values that humans place on biodiversity are widely acknowledged but difficult to measure in practice. We address this problem by quantifying the contribution of marine‐related environmental stewardship, in the form of donations and volunteer hours, to the economy of coastal Massachusetts. Our conservative evaluation suggests that marine stewardship activities contributed at least $179 million to the state economy in 2014, a figure that exceeded revenues derived in that same year from commercial finfish operations ($105 million) and whale watching ($111 million), two acknowledged cornerstones of the regional economy. Almost imperceptibly, the coastal economy has been transformed from one dependent on commercial exchange to a diverse economy that includes, to a large measure, marine stewardship. Donations and volunteer efforts are useful indicators of environmental values that can be hard to quantify, and represent one measure of human determination to protect the planet.