Sociospatial information is critical to marine and coastal ecosystem management. The Hawaii Coastal Uses Mapping Project used a participatory geographic information systems (PGIS) methodology to gather local knowledge regarding the location and intensity of coastal human activities in Hawaii's priority sites for coral reef management. PGIS provided an efficient and effective means of obtaining information in a data-poor context, particularly at a scale and location where considerable local knowledge is held by community members and resource users. We detail the PGIS methods developed to collect sociospatial data on human uses in the project regions and discuss important considerations regarding the practice of PGIS that emerged from the mapping process, as well as implications for the production and documentation of spatial knowledge. Key themes include: issues of scale and appropriateness in using PGIS as a method for mapping human coastal and marine activities; data validity, authority, and the nature of local knowledge; community trust, engagement, and collaboration; and utility for coral reef management. While several factors limit local agencies' ability to use this spatial information to date, natural resource managers found the participatory mapping process to be highly valuable for stakeholder identification and engagement, and the maps provide a resource to state and federal managers to better understand the human implications of future management scenarios.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
Agencies in the US with oversight for marine renewable energy development idealistically have sought space where this new use might proceed unhindered by other uses. Despite experiential evidence of spatial overlap among existing ocean uses, a lack of documentation made the identification of potential space-use conflicts, communication between existing and potential ocean users, and the design of mitigation exceedingly challenging.
We conducted a study along the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts to gather and document available spatial information on existing use through a compilation and organization of geographic information system (GIS) data. Stakeholder group meetings were used to vet the collected spatial data, and ethnographic interviews were conducted to gather knowledge and cultural perspectives. Results show extensive coverage and overlap of existing ocean space uses and provide a visualization of the social and cultural landscape of the ocean that managers can use to determine which stakeholders to engage.
Marine resource managers are encouraged to recognize that marine space use is dynamic and multi-dimensional and as such research thereof requires a balance between the efficiency of GIS and the stories captured and told by ethnographic research. There are important linkages within and across fisheries and other uses, communities and interests, and across the land–sea interface. Therefore, it is important to use techniques demonstrated in this research that (1) integrate ethnographic and geospatial data collection and analysis; (2) engage stakeholders throughout the process; and (3) recognize the unique qualities of each geographic location and user group to support sound decision-making.
This paper integrates institutional theories of the commons with insights from geography and human behavioral ecology to explore the spatial and temporal dynamics of artisanal fishing in Ecuador's coastal mangrove swamps. The focus is on the cockle fishery commons characterized by a mixture of formal institutional arrangements and an informal division of fishing space that partially influences fisher decisions about where and when to fish. Individual decisions are further explained to a certain degree by the patch choice model since fishers often move on to new grounds when their catch rates fall below average. These optimizing strategies requiring rotation within a socially produced fishing space may contribute to resource renewal, perceived reliable returns for individuals, and a relative stability in fishing effort, potentially mitigating against resource depletion in open-access areas not managed as a common property regime. This study of the interaction between shellfish harvesters, cultural institutions, and the environment contributes to a spatially explicit theory of the commons and points to the crucial role of resource user mobility and dynamic cultural institutions for the ecological sustainability of shellfish fisheries. A better understanding of feedback between individual decision-making and the self-organization of a social-ecological system has critical implications for policy design and fisheries management at similar scales.
No-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are increasingly being established to conserve or restore biodiversity and to enhance the sustainability of fisheries. Although effectively designed and protected NTMR networks can yield conservation and fishery benefits, reserve effects often fail to manifest in systems where there are high levels of non-compliance by fishers (poaching). Obtaining reliable estimates of NTMR non-compliance can be expensive and logistically challenging, particularly in areas with limited or non-existent resources for conducting surveillance and enforcement. Here we assess the utility of density estimates and re-accumulation rates of derelict (lost and abandoned) fishing line as a proxy for fishing effort and NTMR non-compliance on fringing coral reefs in three island groups of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), Australia. Densities of derelict fishing line were consistently lower on reefs within old (>20 year) NTMRs than on non-NTMR reefs (significantly in the Palm and Whitsunday Islands), whereas line densities did not differ significantly between reefs in new NTMRs (5 years of protection) and non-NTMR reefs. A manipulative experiment in which derelict fishing lines were removed from a subset of the monitoring sites demonstrated that lines re-accumulated on NTMR reefs at approximately one third (32.4%) of the rate observed on non-NTMR reefs over a thirty-two month period. Although these inshore NTMRs have long been considered some of the best protected within the GBRMP, evidence presented here suggests that the level of non-compliance with NTMR regulations is higher than previously assumed.
Coastal resources are coming under increasing pressure from competition between recreational, commercial and conservation uses. This is particularly so in coastal areas adjacent to major population centres. Given high recreational and conservation values in such areas, economic activities need to be highly efficient in order to persist. Management of these industries must therefore also encourage efficient production and full utilisation of the areas available. In order to achieve this, managers must first understand the level and drivers of productivity, and how these can be influenced. In this study, by way of illustration, the focus was on the Sydney rock oyster industry within Queensland's Moreton Bay, a multiple use marine park with high recreational and conservation value adjacent to Australia’s third largest city. Productivity of the oyster industry in Moreton Bay is currently low compared to historic levels, and management has an objective of reversing this trend. It is unclear whether this difference is due to oyster farmers’ business choices and personal characteristics or whether varying environmental conditions in the Moreton Bay limit the capacity of the oyster industry. These require different management responses in order to enhance productivity. The study examined different productivity measures of the oyster industry using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to determine where productivity gains can be made and by how much. The findings suggest that the industry is operating at a high level of capacity utilisation, but a low level of efficiency. The results also suggest that both demographic and environmental conditions affect technical efficiency in the Bay, with water characteristics improvements and appropriate training potentially providing the greatest benefits to the industry. Methods used in this study are transferable to other industries and provide a means by which coastal aquaculture may be managed to ensure it remains competitive with other uses of coastal resources.
Identification of critical life-stage habitats is key to successful conservation efforts. Juveniles of some species show great flexibility in habitat use while other species rely heavily on a restricted number of juvenile habitats for protection and food. Considering the rapid degradation of coastal marine habitats worldwide, it is important to evaluate which species are more susceptible to loss of juvenile nursery habitats and how this differs across large biogeographic regions. Here we used a meta-analysis approach to investigate habitat use by juvenile reef fish species in tropical coastal ecosystems across the globe. Densities of juvenile fish species were compared among mangrove, seagrass and coral reef habitats. In the Caribbean, the majority of species showed significantly higher juvenile densities in mangroves as compared to seagrass beds and coral reefs, while for the Indo-Pacific region seagrass beds harbored the highest overall densities. Further analysis indicated that differences in tidal amplitude, irrespective of biogeographic region, appeared to be the major driver for this phenomenon. In addition, juvenile reef fish use of mangroves increased with increasing water salinity. In the Caribbean, species of specific families (e.g. Lutjanidae, Haemulidae) showed a higher reliance on mangroves or seagrass beds as juvenile habitats than other species, whereas in the Indo-Pacific family-specific trends of juvenile habitat utilization were less apparent. The findings of this study highlight the importance of incorporating region-specific tidal inundation regimes into marine spatial conservation planning and ecosystem based management. Furthermore, the significant role of water salinity and tidal access as drivers of mangrove fish habitat use implies that changes in seawater level and rainfall due to climate change may have important effects on how juvenile reef fish use nearshore seascapes in the future.
The life history of the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), including its reproductive ecology, still remains largely unknown. Here, we present results from the first whale shark population study around Darwin Island, Galapagos Marine Reserve. Following a diversified approach we characterized seasonal occurrence, population structure and size, and described habitat use of whale sharks based on fine scale movements around the island. Whale shark presence at Darwin Island was negatively correlated with Sea Surface Temperature (SST), with highest abundance corresponding to a cool season between July and December over six years of monitoring. From 2011 to 2013 we photo-identified 82 whale sharks ranging from 4 to 13.1 m Total Length (TL). Size distribution was bimodal, with a great majority (91.5%) of adult female individuals averaging 11.35 m±0.12 m (TL±SE), all but one showing signs of a potential pregnancy. Population dynamics models for apparently pregnant sharks estimated the presence of 3.76±0.90 (mean ± SE) sharks in the study area per day with an individual residence time of 2.09±0.51 (mean ± SE) days. Movement patterns analysis of four apparently pregnant individuals tracked with acoustic tags at Darwin Island revealed an intense use of Darwin's Arch, where no feeding or specific behavior has been recorded, together with periodic excursions around the island's vicinity. Sharks showed a preference for intermediate depths (20–30 m) with occasional dives mostly to mid-water, remaining the majority of their time at water temperatures between 24–25°C. All of our results point to Darwin Island as an important stopover in a migration, possibly with reproductive purposes, rather than an aggregation site. Current studies carried out in this area to investigate regional scale movement patterns may provide essential information about possible pupping grounds for this enigmatic species.
Nearshore bathymetry is likely to be the coastal variable that most limits the investigation of coastal processes and the accuracy of numerical models in coastal areas, as acquiring medium spatial resolution data in the nearshore is highly demanding and costly. As such, the ability to derive bathymetry using remote sensing techniques is a topic of increasing interest in coastal monitoring and research. This contribution focuses on the application of the linear transform algorithm to obtain satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB) maps of the nearshore, at medium resolution (30 m), from freely available and easily accessible Landsat 8 imagery. The algorithm was tuned with available bathymetric Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data for a 60-km-long nearshore stretch of a highly complex coastal system that includes barrier islands, exposed sandy beaches, and tidal inlets (Ria Formosa, Portugal). A comparison of the retrieved depths is presented, enabling the configuration of nearshore profiles and extracted isobaths to be explored and compared with traditional topographic/bathymetric techniques (e.g., high- and medium-resolution LiDAR data and survey-grade echo-sounding combined with high-precision positioning systems). The results demonstrate that the linear algorithm is efficient for retrieving bathymetry from multi-spectral satellite data for shallow water depths (0 to 12 m), showing a mean bias of − 0.2 m, a median difference of − 0.1 m, and a root mean square error of 0.89 m. Accuracy is shown to be depth dependent, an inherent limitation of passive optical detection systems. Accuracy further decreases in areas where turbidity is likely to be higher, such as locations adjacent to tidal inlets. The SDB maps provide reliable estimations of the shoreline position and of nearshore isobaths for different cases along the complex coastline analysed. The use of freely available satellite imagery proved to be a quick and reliable method for acquiring updated medium-resolution, high-frequency (days and weeks), low-cost bathymetric information for large areas and depths of up to 12 m in clear waters without wave breaking, allowing almost constant monitoring of the submerged beach and the shoreface.
While ocean acidification (OA) poses a significant threat to ocean-related ecosystems and communities reliant on marine fisheries, aquaculture, and coral reef systems, limited public understanding and awareness can prevent coastal regions from being able to adequately assess the need for OA adaptation or mitigation. This study assessed public understanding of OA and how social and demographic factors influence the public’s concern for OA. The analysis was based on 311 questionnaires from full-time Alaska residents. The results showed that most Alaskans self-reported to have a basic awareness of OA, and subsequently were able to recognize that CO2 emissions related to human activity are the dominant driver of changing ocean conditions. However, there was a low recognition of how natural variability in the marine environment affects OA, and most respondents were not very confident in their understanding of OA-related science. Moreover, even though many communities in Alaska are reliant on commercial and subsistence fishing activities, the respondents had a low awareness of fisheries-related OA risk. Given the ongoing debate associated with climate change research, evaluating CO2 mitigation efforts through the perspective of OA could give individuals an unbiased way to assess the pros and cons of more intensive efforts to curb CO2 emissions. Furthermore, using OA communication to enhance the understanding of how natural variability influences OA around the state and the potential economic implications for Alaska fisheries would help residents and stakeholders make informed decisions when considering fisheries management plans, food security, and job diversity as OA intensifies. Solidifying the understanding that any reduction in pH and intensification of OA can have implications for marine species that are irreversible on human timescales will reinforce not only that OA is an immediate concern, but also the importance of taking action now.
Satellite data show a steady increase, in the last decades, of the surface temperature (upper few millimetres of the water surface) of the Mediterranean Sea. Reports of mass mortalities of benthic marine invertebrates increased in the same period. Some local studies interpreted the two phenomena in a cause-effect fashion. However, a basin-wide picture of temperature changes combined with a systematic assessment on invertebrate mass mortalities was still lacking. Both the thermal structure of the water column in the Mediterranean Sea over the period 1945–2011 and all documented invertebrate mass mortality events in the basin are analysed to ascertain if: 1- documented mass mortalities occurred under conditions of positive temperature trends at basin scale, and 2- atypical thermal conditions were registered at the smaller spatial and temporal scale of mass mortality events. The thermal structure of the shallow water column over the last 67 years was reconstructed using data from three public sources: MEDAR-MEDATLAS, World Ocean Database, MFS-VOS programme. A review of the mass mortality events of benthic invertebrates at Mediterranean scale was also carried out. The analysis of in situ temperature profiles shows that the Mediterranean Sea changed in a non-homogeneous fashion. The frequency of mass mortalities is increasing. The areas subjected to these events correspond to positive thermal anomalies. Statistically significant temperature trends in the upper layers of the Mediterranean Sea show an increase of up to 0.07°C/yr for a large fraction of the basin. Mass mortalities are consistent with both the temperature increase at basin scale and the thermal changes at local scale, up to 5.2°C. Our research supports the existence of a causal link between positive thermal anomalies and observed invertebrate mass mortalities in the Mediterranean Sea, invoking focused mitigation initiatives in sensitive areas.
New coastal and marine management strategies have recently been developed in many countries and regions. From an ecosystem approach perspective, the aim of such strategies is the maintenance of ecosystem integrity while enabling the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services. There is, however, a need for harmonized definitions and standardized processes to deal not only with the interjurisdictional and multidisciplinary complexities that are associated with such strategies but also with the extensive timelines and resources implicated in the planning and implementation of these strategies. The ecosystem-based management system proposed here is based on three pillars that facilitate the integration of an ecosystem approach to coastal and oceans policy development, regardless of the ecosystem or administrative scales. The managerial pillar is based on classical risk-management systems that incorporate environmental considerations and objectives within a continuous improvement cycle of adaptive management. The managerial pillar is supported by governance structures that provide oversight and thereby ensure that planning and implementation activities adhere to modern environmental principles. The information pillar ensures that data and scientific advice are based on current knowledge, and the participation pillar brings together communication and consultation requirements as indicated by the principles of the ecosystem approach.
Stakeholder social network analysis can be used to help planning efforts identify the net-work that presently exist, as well as stakeholders whose preferences and knowledge are missing from the policy process thereby assisting in the identification of constituencies for change that can propel planning efforts forward and increase the likelihood of compliance or implementation. Throughout the last century, people have begun to understand the importance of coastal zone management and have seen the necessity to assess and address the needs of stakeholders within specific areas as part of the policy formulation and implementation process.
After the success of the Rhode Island (RI) Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP), Rhode Island set out to complete a Beach SAMP that will revise statewide policies for shore management, as well as a Shellfish Management Plan (SMP) that updates state regulations on the harvesting and management of shellfish with strong stakeholder involvement. Academic institutions are currently working with federal, state and local governments to understand the needs of the shellfish and aquaculture industries. The goal of the SMP is to create a sustainable way to manage our shellfish resource while not impairing harvester livelihoods. Institutions such as the Coastal Resources Center (CRC) are working to identify stakeholders and find a unified way to drive this planning effort forward. This SMP effort must demonstrate the involvement of the stakeholders throughout the process to date and insure that decisions were made with stakeholder input. This study conducted a stakeholder network analysis of the SMP process, showing the peak attendance events, attendance numbers, and “betweenness” of members at individual events, a measure of the centrality of each participant within the process. The resulting network diagrams provide a visual representation of the successful stakeholder engagement in the SMP, and constitute a potential metric for helping managers to identify trends and utilize an understanding of the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement for meetings going forward. This meth-od has the ability to be generalized and utilized in many management fields involving stakeholder engagement.
The 21st Century Catch Toolkit is a product of the INTERREG IVa 2 Seas project GIFS (Geography of Inshore Fishing and Sustainability). Work on the GIFS project was completed between January 2012 and September 2014 and was undertaken by a collaboration of six partners from four European countries bordering the Southern North Sea and English Channel. GIFS aimed to understand and capture the social, economic and cultural importance of inshore fishing to better inform fisheries policy, coastal regeneration strategies and sustainable community development. The project has involved a range of research projects, regeneration activities and case studies across southern England, northern France, Flanders and the southern Netherlands (Figure 1). GIFS partners have worked with local stakeholders and communities to explore the geographical diversity and similarities of fishing ports, harbours and people along the Channel and Southern North Sea.
Today scores of coastal communities are seeing more frequent flooding during high tides. As sea level rises higher over the next 15 to 30 years, tidal flooding is expected to occur more often, cause more disruption, and even render some areas unusable — all within the time frame of a typical home mortgage.
An analysis of 52 tide gauges in communities stretching from Portland, Maine to Freeport, Texas shows that most of these communities will experience a steep increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding events over the coming decades, with significant implications for property, infrastructure, and daily life in affected areas.
Given the substantial and nearly ubiquitous rise in the frequency of floods at these 52 locations, many other communities along the East and Gulf Coasts will need to brace for similar changes.
In this report, we conclude that a fundamental overhaul of the regulation of aquaculture in Nova Scotia is called for. We conclude that this overhaul should be guided by the idea that aquaculture that integrates economic prosperity, social well-being and environmental sustainability is one that is low impact and high value. By this, we mean aquaculture that combines two fundamental attributes: it has a low level of adverse environmental and social impact, which decreases over time; and from the use of coastal resources it produces a positive economic and social value, which is high and increases over time.
The collective impact of humans on biodiversity rivals mass extinction events defining Earth’s history, but does our large population also present opportunities to document and contend with this crisis? We provide the first quantitative review of biodiversity-related citizen science to determine whether data collected by these projects can be, and are currently being, effectively used in biodiversity research. We find strong evidence of the potential of citizen science: within projects we sampled (n = 388), ∼1.3 million volunteers participate, contributing up to $2.5 billion in-kind annually. These projects exceed most federally-funded studies in spatial and temporal extent, and collectively they sample a breadth of taxonomic diversity. However, only 12% of the 388 projects surveyed obviously provide data to peer-reviewed scientific articles, despite the fact that a third of these projects have verifiable, standardized data that are accessible online. Factors influencing publication included project spatial scale and longevity and having publically available data, as well as one measure of scientific rigor (taxonomic identification training). Because of the low rate at which citizen science data reach publication, the large and growing citizen science movement is likely only realizing a small portion of its potential impact on the scientific research community. Strengthening connections between professional and non-professional participants in the scientific process will enable this large data resource to be better harnessed to understand and address global change impacts on biodiversity.
Well-designed and effectively managed networks of marine reserves can be effective tools for both fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. Connectivity, the demographic linking of local populations through the dispersal of individuals as larvae, juveniles or adults, is a key ecological factor to consider in marine reserve design, since it has important implications for the persistence of metapopulations and their recovery from disturbance. For marine reserves to protect biodiversity and enhance populations of species in fished areas, they must be able to sustain focal species (particularly fishery species) within their boundaries, and be spaced such that they can function as mutually replenishing networks whilst providing recruitment subsidies to fished areas. Thus the configuration (size, spacing and location) of individual reserves within a network should be informed by larval dispersal and movement patterns of the species for which protection is required. In the past, empirical data regarding larval dispersal and movement patterns of adults and juveniles of many tropical marine species have been unavailable or inaccessible to practitioners responsible for marine reserve design. Recent empirical studies using new technologies have also provided fresh insights into movement patterns of many species and redefined our understanding of connectivity among populations through larval dispersal. Our review of movement patterns of 34 families (210 species) of coral reef fishes demonstrates that movement patterns (home ranges, ontogenetic shifts and spawning migrations) vary among and within species, and are influenced by a range of factors (e.g. size, sex, behaviour, density, habitat characteristics, season, tide and time of day). Some species move <0.1–0.5 km (e.g. damselfishes, butterflyfishes and angelfishes), <0.5–3 km (e.g. most parrotfishes, goatfishes and surgeonfishes) or 3–10 km (e.g. large parrotfishes and wrasses), while others move tens to hundreds (e.g. some groupers, emperors, snappers and jacks) or thousands of kilometres (e.g. some sharks and tuna). Larval dispersal distances tend to be <5–15 km, and self-recruitment is common. Synthesising this information allows us, for the first time, to provide species, specific advice on the size, spacing and location of marine reserves in tropical marine ecosystems to maximise benefits for conservation and fisheries management for a range of taxa. We recommend that: (i) marine reserves should be more than twice the size of the home range of focal species (in all directions), thus marine reserves of various sizes will be required depending on which species require protection, how far they move, and if other effective protection is in place outside reserves; (ii) reserve spacing should be <15 km, with smaller reserves spaced more closely; and (iii) marine reserves should include habitats that are critical to the life history of focal species (e.g. home ranges, nursery grounds, migration corridors and spawning aggregations), and be located to accommodate movement patterns among these. We also provide practical advice for practitioners on how to use this information to design, evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of marine reserve networks within broader ecological, socioeconomic and management contexts.
The report has been commissioned by the Nordic Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) network under the auspices of the Nordic Marine Group (HAV). It presents a step in an ongoing process of Nordic capacity development and collaboration on sustainable management of the marine environment. The report summarises the results of a workshop conducted in 2013 on Iceland with the aims to connect experts and to develop common principles and a collaboration platform for Nordic MSP. It also takes a step beyond and can be both red as a knowledge update and as an input to an on-going discussion in Nordic MSP.
The difficulty of ensuring adequate statistical coverage of whole fleets is a challenge for the implementation of observer programmes and may reduce the usefulness of the data they obtain for management purposes. This makes it necessary to find cost-effective alternatives. Electronic monitoring (EM) systems are being used in some fisheries as an alternative or a complement to human observers. The objective of this study was to test the use and reliability of EM on the tropical tuna purse-seine fishery. To achieve this objective, seven trips of tuna purse seiners operating in the three Oceans were closely monitored to compare the information provided by EM and on-board observers to determine if EM can reliably document fishing effort, set type, tuna catch, and bycatch. Total tuna catch per set was not significantly different between EM and observer datasets; however, regarding species composition, only main species matched between EM and observers. Success on set-type identification using EM varied between 98.3 and 56.3%, depending on the camera placement. Overall, bycatch species were underestimated by EM, but large bodied species, such as billfishes, were well documented. The analyses in this study showed that EM can be used to determine the fishing effort (number of sets) and total tuna catch as reliably as observers can. Set-type identification also had very promising results, but indicated that refinement of the methods is still needed. To be fully comparable with observer data, improvements for accurately estimating the bycatch will need to be developed in the application and use of the EM system. Operational aspects that need to be improved for an EM programme to be implemented include standardizing installation and on-board catch handling methodology as well as improvements in video technology deployment.
We report global long-term trends in surface ocean pH using a new pH data set computed by combining fCO2 observations from the Surface Ocean CO2 Atlas (SOCAT) version 2 with surface alkalinity estimates based on temperature and salinity. Trends were determined over the periods 1981–2011 and 1991–2011 for a set of 17 biomes using a weighted linear least squares method. We observe significant decreases in surface ocean pH in ~70% of all biomes and a global mean rate of decrease of –0.0018 ± 0.0004 yr-1 for 1991–2011. We are not able to calculate a global trend for 1981–2011 because too few biomes have enough data for this. In two-thirds of the biomes, the rate of change is commensurate with the trends expected based on the assumption that the surface ocean pH change is only driven by the surface ocean carbon chemistry remaining in a transient equilibrium with the increase in atmospheric CO2. In the remaining biomes deviations from such equilibrium may reflect changes in the trend of surface ocean fCO2, most notably in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, or changes in the oceanic buffer (Revelle) factor. We conclude that well-planned and long-term sustained observational networks are key to reliably document the ongoing and future changes in ocean carbon chemistry due to anthropogenic forcing.