Tidal lagoons are presented as an environmentally friendly alternative to tidal barrages. This does not mean that their environmental impacts can be overlooked. A UK government review recommended a pilot scheme lagoon go ahead, with careful environmental monitoring. Despite recent government rejection of a lagoon scheme, it is still more important than ever to consider environmental solution options for any future lagoon developments. There are no operating lagoons in the world and so their environmental impacts are not fully understood. However, there is a vast quantity of literature available from other industries addressing similar impacts in the coastal, ocean and river environments. This systematic review follows the PRISMA and CEE guidance. Using this methodology the available literature covering relevant solution options from other industries that could be applied to future lagoon developments was quantified. This presents an investigation into solution options only, giving a quantitative analysis of what resources are available, how this compares to industry understanding, where the expertise lies globally, what impacts are being addressed and how applicable the solutions are for lagoon application. This paper analyses the extent and relevance of this available research on solutions as a resource for the nascent lagoon industry. Over half of the solutions found in this review require only small shifts in development for them to be realistic solution options for the lagoon industry in the future. This review opens the door on a vast and valuable resource and justifies the need for further investigation into solutions for the lagoon industry.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
To date, most marine protected areas (MPAs) have been designated on an ad hoc basis. However, a comprehensive regional and global network should be designed to be representative of all aspects of biodiversity, including populations, species, and biogenic habitats. A good exemplar would be the Coral Triangle (CT) because it is the most species rich area in the ocean but only 2% of its area is in any kind of MPA. Our analysis consisted of five different groups of layers of biodiversity features: biogenic habitat, species richness, species of special conservation concern, restricted range species, and areas of importance for sea turtles. We utilized the systematic conservation planning software Zonation as a decision-support tool to ensure representation of biodiversity features while balancing selection of protected areas based on the likelihood of threats. Our results indicated that the average representation of biodiversity features within the existing MPA system is currently about 5%. By systematically increasing MPA coverage to 10% of the total area of the CT, the average representation of biodiversity features within the MPA system would increase to over 37%. Marine areas in the Halmahera Sea, the outer island arc of the Banda Sea, the Sulu Archipelago, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Malaita Islands were identified as priority areas for the designation of new MPAs. Moreover, we recommended that several existing MPAs be expanded to cover additional biodiversity features within their adjacent areas, including MPAs in Indonesia (e.g., in the Birds Head of Papua), the Philippines (e.g., in the northwestern part of the Sibuyan Sea), Malaysia (e.g., in the northern part of Sabah), Papua New Guinea (e.g., in the Milne Bay Province), and the Solomon Islands (e.g., around Santa Isabel Island). An MPA system that covered 30% of the CT would include 65% of the biodiversity features. That just two-thirds of biodiversity was represented by one-third of the study area supports calls for at least 30% of the ocean to be in no-fishing MPA. This assessment provides a blueprint for efficient gains in marine conservation through the extension of the current MPA system in the CT region. Moreover, similar data could be compiled for other regions, and globally, to design ecologically representative MPAs.
Illegal fishing is a serious problem that threatens the sustainability of fisheries around the world. Policy makers and fishery managers often rely on the imposition of strict sanctions and relatively intensive monitoring and enforcement programs to increase the costs of illegal behavior and thus deter it. However, while this can be successful in fisheries with sufficient resources to support high levels of surveillance and effective systems for imposing penalties, many fisheries lack the resources and requisite governance to successfully deter illegal fishing. Other types of governance systems, such as customary marine tenure and co-management, rely more on mechanisms such as norms, trust, and the perceived legitimacy of regulations for compliance. More generally, the absence of such social and psychological factors that encourage compliance in any fishery can undermine the efficacy of an otherwise effective and well-designed fishery management system. Here we describe insights from behavioral science that may be helpful in augmenting and securing the effectiveness of conventional deterrence strategies as well as in developing alternative means of deterring illegal fishing in fisheries in which high levels of surveillance and enforcement are not feasible. We draw on the behavioral science literature to describe a process for designing interventions for changing specific illegal fishing behaviors. The process begins with stakeholder characterization to capture existing norms, beliefs, and modes of thinking about illegal fishing as well as descriptions of specific illegal fishing behaviors. Potential interventions that may disrupt the beliefs, norms, and thought modes that give rise to these behaviors, along with those that encourage desirable behaviors, can be developed by applying principles gleaned from the behavioral science literature. These potential interventions can then be tested in artefactual experiments, piloted with small groups of actual stakeholders and, finally, implemented at scale.
Development of guidance for environmental management of the deep-sea mining industry is important as contractors plan to move from exploration to exploitation activities. Two priorities for environmental management are monitoring and mitigating the impacts and effects of activities. International regulation of deep-sea mining activities stipulates the creation of two types of zones for local monitoring within a claim, impact reference zones (IRZ) and preservation reference zones (PRZ). The approach used for allocating and assessing these zones will affect what impacts can be measured, and hence taken into account and managed. This paper recommends key considerations for establishing these reference zones for polymetallic nodule mining. We recommend that zones should be suitably large (Recommendation 1) and have sufficient separation (R2) to allow for repeat monitoring of representative impacted and control sites. Zones should be objectively defined following best-practice and statistically robust approaches (R3). This will include the designation of multiple PRZ and IRZ (R4) for each claim. PRZs should be representative of the mined area, and thus should contain high -quality resource (R5) but PRZs in other habitats could also be valuable (R6). Sediment plumes will influence design of PRZ and may need additional IRZ to monitor their effects (R7), which may extend beyond the boundaries of a claim (R8). The impacts of other expected changes should be taken into account (R9). Sharing PRZ design, placement, and monitoring could be considered amongst adjacent claims (R10). Monitoring should be independently verified to enhance public trust and stakeholder support (R11).
Reactions of singing behavior of individual humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to a specific shipping noise were examined. Two autonomous recorders separated by 3.0 km were used for the acoustic monitoring of each individual song sequence. A passenger-cargo liner was operated once per day, and other large ship noise was excluded given the remote location of the Ogasawara Islands, 1000 km south of Tokyo. In total, locations of between 26 and 27 singers were measured acoustically using time arrival difference at both stereo recorders on the ship presence and absence days, respectively. Source level of the ship (157 dB rms re 1μPa) was measured separately in deep water. Fewer whales sang nearby, within 500 m, of the shipping lane. Humpback whales reduced sound production after the ship passed, when the minimum distance to the whale from the ship trajectory was 1200 m. In the Ogasawara water, humpback whales seemed to stop singing temporarily rather than modifying sound characteristics of their song such as through frequency shifting or source level elevation. This could be a cost effective adaptation because the propagation loss at 500 m from the sound source is as high as 54 dB. The focal ship was 500 m away within several minutes. Responses may differ where ship traffic is heavy, because avoiding an approaching ship may be difficult when many sound sources exist.
Unprecedented and rapid changes are ongoing in northern high latitude, marine ecosystems, due to climate warming. Species distributions and abundances are changing, altering both ecosystem structure and dynamics. At the same time, human impacts are increasing. Less sea ice opens for the opportunity of more petroleum-related activities, shipping and tourism. Fisheries are moving into previously unfished habitats, targeting more species across more trophic levels. There is a need for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) and ecosystem-based management (EBM) to take the rapid, climate driven changes into account. Recently, there has been much development in qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative scientific approaches to support EBFM and EBM. Here, we present some of these approaches, and discuss how they provide opportunities for advancing EBFM and EBM in one high-latitude system, namely the Barents Sea. We propose that advancing EBFM and EBM is more about adding tools to the toolbox than replacing tools, and to use the tools in coordinated efforts to tackle the increasing complexities in scientific support to management. Collaborative and participatory processes among stakeholders and scientists are pivotal for both scoping and prioritizing, and for efficient knowledge exchange. Finally, we argue that increasing uncertainty with increasing complexity is fundamental to decision making in EBFM and EBM and needs to be handled, rather than being a reason for inaction or irrelevance.
The appetite for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) approaches has grown, but the perception persists that implementation is slow. Here, we synthesize progress toward implementing EBFM in the United States through one potential avenue: expanding fish stock assessments to include ecosystem considerations and interactions between species, fleets, and sectors. We reviewed over 200 stock assessments and assessed how the stock assessment reports included information about system influences on the assessed stock. Our goals were to quantify whether and how assessments incorporated broader system-level considerations, and to explore factors that might contribute to the use of system-level information. Interactions among fishing fleets (technical interactions) were more commonly included than biophysical interactions (species, habitat, climate). Interactions within the physical environment (habitat, climate) were included twice as often as interactions among species (predation). Many assessment reports included ecological interactions only as background or qualitative considerations, rather than incorporating them in the assessment model. Our analyses suggested that ecosystem characteristics are more likely to be included when the species was overfished (stock status), the assessment is conducted at a science centre with a longstanding stomach contents analysis program, and/or the species life history characteristics suggest it is likely to be influenced by the physical environment, habitat, or predation mortality (short-lived species, sessile benthic species, or low trophic-level species). Regional differences in stomach contents analysis programs may limit the inclusion of predation mortality in stock assessments, and more guidance is needed on best practices for the prioritization of when and how biophysical information should be considered. However, our results demonstrate that significant progress has been made to use best available science and data to expand single-species stock assessments, particularly when a broad definition of EBFM is applied.
Aquatic ecosystems are under severe pressure. Human activities introduce an array of pressures that impact ecosystems and their components. In this study we focus on the aquatic domains of fresh, coastal and marine waters, including rivers, lakes and riparian habitats to transitional, coastal as well as shelf and oceanic habitats. In an environmental risk assessment approach, we identified impact chains that link 45 human activities through 31 pressures to 82 ecosystem components. In this linkage framework >22,000 activity-pressure-ecosystem component interactions were found across seven European case studies. We identified the environmental impact risk posed by each impact chain by first categorically weighting the interactions according to five criteria: spatial extent, dispersal potential, frequency of interaction, persistence of pressure and severity of the interaction, where extent, dispersal, frequency and persistence account for the exposure to risk (spatial and temporal), and the severity accounts for the consequence of the risk. After assigning a numerical score to each risk criterion, we came up with an overall environmental impact risk score for each impact chain. This risk score was analysed in terms of (1) the activities and pressures that introduce the greatest risk to European aquatic domains, and (2) the aquatic ecosystem components and realms that are at greatest risk from human activities. Activities related to energy production were relevant across the aquatic domains. Fishing was highly relevant in marine and environmental engineering in fresh waters. Chemical and physical pressures introduced the greatest risk to the aquatic realms. Ecosystem components that can be seen as ecotones between different ecosystems had high impact risk. We show how this information can be used in informing management on trade-offs in freshwater, coastal and marine resource use and aid decision-making.
The Baixo Vouga Lagunar (BVL) is part of Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon in Portugal, which is classified as a Special Protection Area under the European Habitats and Birds Directives. This part of the system, corresponding to the confluence of the Vouga River with the lagoon, is very important culturally and socioeconomically for the local communities, taking place several human activities, especially agriculture. To prevent salt water intrusion from the Ria de Aveiro into agriculture fields, a floodbank was initiated in the 90's. In frame of ongoing changes in Ria de Aveiro hydrodynamics, the existing floodbank will be now extended, introducing further changes in the ecological dynamics of the BVL and its adjacent area. As a consequence, the water level in the floodbank downstream side is expected to rise, increasing the submersion period in tidal wetlands, and leading to coastal squeeze. The aim of this study is to apply an ecosystem based-management approach to mitigate the impacts on biodiversity resulting from the management plan. To do so, we have modelled the implications of the changes in several hydrological and environmental variables on four saltmarsh species and habitats distribution, as well as on their associated ecosystem services, both upstream and downstream of the floodbank. The ecosystem services of interest were prioritized by stakeholders' elicitation, which were then used as an input to a spatial multi-criteria analysis aimed to find the best management actions to compensate for the unintended loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the BVL. According to our results, the main areas to be preserved in the BVL were the traditional agricultural mosaic fields; the freshwater courses and the subtidal estuarine channels. By combining ecology with the analysis of social preferences, this study shows how co-developed solutions can support adaptive management and the conservation of coastal ecosystems.
As marine predators experience increasing anthropogenic pressures, there is an urgent need to understand their distribution and their drivers to inform spatial conservation planning. We used an ensemble modelling approach to investigate the spatio-temporal distribution of southern Australian bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops cf. australis) in relation to a variety of ecogeographical and anthropogenic variables in Coffin Bay, Thorny Passage Marine Park, South Australia. Further, we evaluated the overlap between current spatial management measures and important dolphin habitat. Dolphins showed no distinct seasonal shifts in distribution patterns. Models of the entire study area indicate that zones of high probability of dolphin occurrence were located mainly within the inner area of Coffin Bay. In the inner area, zones with high probability of dolphin occurrence were associated with shallow waters (2–4 m and 7–10 m) and located within 1,000 m from land and 2,500 m from oyster farms. The multi-modal response curve of depth in the models likely shows how the different dolphin communities in Coffin Bay occupy different embayments characterized by distinct depth patterns. The majority of areas of high (>0.6) probability of dolphin occurrence are outside sanctuary zones where multiple human activities are allowed. The inner area of Coffin Bay is an important area of year-round habitat suitability for dolphins. Our results can inform future spatial conservation decisions and improve protection of important dolphin habitat.
A simple hypothesis-driven model of how floating marine plastic litter is blown onto a beach, and then moved on and off the beach by winds and rising and falling water levels is implemented in a computer simulation. The simulation applied to Aberdeen beach, Scotland, suggests that the interaction between varying winds and water levels alone, coupled to an assumed constant offshore floating litter density, can account for 1) the order of magnitude of the long term average (2000−2010) beach plastic litter loading (observed = 127 np/100 m, simulated = 114 np/100 m); 2) the observed frequency spectrum of low water beach plastic litter loadings; 3) the magnitude of the ratio between offshore floating plastic litter densities and onshore beach plastic litter loadings; 4) zero overall net beach plastic litter accumulation. Results are relevant to beach survey design, designing methods to estimate litter accumulation rates and the setting of MSFD beach litter targets.
Activities involving observation of wild organisms (e.g. wildlife watching, tidepooling) can provide recreational and learning opportunities, with biologically diverse animal assemblages expected to be more stimulating to humans. In turn, more diverse communities may enhance human interest and facilitate provisioning of cultural services. However, no experimental tests of this biodiversity-interest hypothesis exist to date. We therefore investigated the effects of different dimensions of animal biodiversity (species richness, phyletic richness and functional diversity) on self-reported interest using tide pools as a model system. We performed two experiments by manipulating: (1) the richness of lower (species) and higher taxonomic levels (phyla) in an image based, online survey, and (2) the richness of the higher taxonomic level (phyla) in live public exhibits. In both experiments, we further quantified functional diversity, which varied freely, and within the online experiment we also included the hue diversity and colourfulness arising from the combination of organisms and the background scenes. Interest was increased by phyletic richness (both studies), animal species richness (online study) and functional diversity (online study). A structural equation model revealed that functional diversity and colourfulness (of the whole scene) also partially mediated the effects of phyletic richness on interest in the online study. In both studies, the presence of three of four phyla additively increased interest, supporting the importance of multiple, diverse phyla rather than a single particularly interesting phylum. These results provide novel experimental evidence that multiple dimensions of biodiversity enhance human interest and suggest that conservation initiatives that maintain or restore biodiversity will help stimulate interest in ecosystems, facilitating educational and recreational benefits.
Protected areas (PAs) are a prominent approach to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services. A critical question for safeguarding these resources is how PA governance processes and management structures influence their effectiveness. We conduct an impact evaluation of 12 PAs in three Central American countries to assess how processes in management restrictions, management capacity, and decentralization affect the annual change in the satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI varies with greenness that relates to plant production, biomass, and important ecosystem functions related to biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water quality and carbon storage. Any loss of vegetation cover in the form of deforestation or degradation would show up as a decrease in NDVI values over time and gains in vegetation cover and regeneration as an increase in NDVI values. Management restriction categories are based on international classifications of strict versus multiple-use PAs, and capacity and decentralization categories are based on key informant interviews of PA managers. We use matching to create a counterfactual of non-protected observations and a matching estimator and regression to estimate treatment effects of each sub-sample. On average, strict and multiple-use PAs have a significant and positive effect on NDVI compared to non-protected land uses. Both high and low decentralized PAs also positively affect NDVI. High capacity PAs have a positive and significant effect on NDVI, while low capacity PAs have a negative effect on NDVI. Our findings advance knowledge on how governance and management influence PA effectiveness and suggest that capacity may be more important than governance type or management restrictions in maintaining and enhancing NDVI. This paper also provides a guide for future studies to incorporate measures of PA governance and management into impact evaluations.
Although evidence suggests the ubiquity of microplastics in the marine environment, our knowledge of its occurrence within remote habitats, such as the deep sea, is scarce. Furthermore, long term investigations of microplastic abundances are even more limited. Here we present a long-term study of the ingestion of microplastics by two deep-sea benthic invertebrates (Ophiomusium lymani and Hymenaster pellucidus) sampled over four decades. Specimens were collected between the years 1976–2015 from a repeat monitoring site >2000 m deep in the Rockall Trough, North East Atlantic. Microplastics were identified at a relatively consistent level throughout and therefore may have been present at this locality prior to 1976. Considering the mass production of plastics began in the 1940s - 50s our data suggest the relatively rapid occurrence of microplastics within the deep sea. Of the individuals examined (n = 153), 45% had ingested microplastics, of which fibres were most prevalent (95%). A total of eight different polymer types were isolated; polyamide and polyester were found in the highest concentrations and in the majority of years, while low-density polystyrene was only identified in 2015. This study provides an assessment of the historic occurrence of microplastics on the deep seafloor and presents a detailed quantification and characterisation of microplastics ingested by benthic species. Furthermore these data advance our knowledge on the long-term fate of microplastic in marine systems.
Successfully managing current threats to marine resources and ecosystems is largely dependent on our ability to understand and manage human behavior. In recent times we have seen increased growth in research to understand the human dimension of marine resource use, and the associated implications for management. However, despite progress to date, marine research and management have until recently largely neglected the critically important role of “sense of place,” and its role in influencing the success and efficacy of management interventions. To help address this gap we review the existing literature from various disciplines, e.g., environmental psychology, and sectors, both marine and nonmarine sectors, to understand the ways is which sense of place has been conceptualized and measured. Doing so we draw on three key aspects of sense of place, person, place, and process, to establish a framework to help construct a more organized and consistent approach for considering and representing sense of place in marine environmental studies. Based on this we present indicators to guide how sense of place is monitored and evaluated in relation to marine resource management, and identify practical ways in which this framework can be incorporated into existing decision-support tools. This manuscript is a first step toward increasing the extent to which sense of place is incorporated into modeling, monitoring, and management decisions in the marine realm.
Climate change research aims to understand global environmental change and how it will impact nature and society. The broad scope of climate change impacts means that successful adaptation and mitigation efforts will require an unprecedented collaboration effort that unites diverse disciplines and is able to rapidly respond to evolving climate issues (IPCC, 2014). However, to achieve this aim, climate change research practices need updating: key research findings remain behind journal paywalls, and scientific progress can be impeded by low levels of reproducibility and transparency (Ellison, 2010; Morueta-Holme et al., 2018), individual data ownership (Hampton et al., 2015), and inefficient research workflows (Lowndes et al., 2017). Furthermore, the level of public interest and policy engagement on climate change issues relies on fast communication of academic research to public institutions, with the result that the societal impact of climate change studies will differ according to their public availability and exposure. Here, we argue that by adopting open science (OS) principles, scientists can advance climate change research and accelerate efforts to mitigate impacts; especially for highly vulnerable developing regions of the world where research capacity is limited. We underscore the specific benefits of OS in raising the academic and societal impact of climate change research using citation and media metrics.
Marine managers routinely use spatial data to make decisions about their marine environment. Uncertainty associated with this spatial data can have profound impacts on these management decisions and their projected outcomes. Recent advances in modeling techniques, including species distribution models (SDMs), make it easier to generate continuous maps showing the uncertainty associated with spatial predictions and maps. However, SDM predictions and maps can be complex and nuanced. This complexity makes their use challenging for non-technical managers, preventing them from having the best available information to make decisions. To help bridge these communication and information gaps, we developed maps to illustrate how SDMs and associated uncertainty can be translated into readily usable products for managers. We also explicitly described the potential impacts of uncertainty on marine zoning decisions. This approach was applied to a case study in Saipan Lagoon, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Managers in Saipan are interested in minimizing the potential impacts of personal watercraft (e.g., jet skis) on staghorn Acropora (i.e., Acropora aspera, A. formosa, and A. pulchra), which is an important coral assemblage in the lagoon. We used a recently completed SDM for staghorn Acropora to develop maps showing the sensitivity of zoning options to three different prediction and three different uncertainty thresholds (nine combinations total). Our analysis showed that the amount of area and geographic location of predicted staghorn Acropora presence changed based on these nine combinations. These dramatically different spatial patterns would have significant zoning implications when considering where to exclude and/or allow jet skis operations inside the lagoon. They also show that different uncertainty thresholds may lead managers to markedly different conclusions and courses of action. Defining acceptable levels of uncertainty upfront is critical for ensuring that managers can make more informed decisions, meet their marine resource goals and generate favorable outcomes for their stakeholders.
Management of and planning for the Canadian marine environment can be disrupted by conflict, but conflict is inevitable given the plurality of actors, interests, values, and uses of marine space. Unresolved conflict may impede governance objectives and threaten the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Innovative institutional arrangements such as adaptive comanagement theoretically reduce conflict and support sustainable management. The southwest New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Marine Advisory Committee (MAC) was assembled in 2004 to address conflict between marine users and to further marine planning. As an innovative planning institution influenced by comanagement theory, the MAC experience served as a case study to develop governance measures for the Canadian Fisheries Research Network Comprehensive Fisheries Sustainability Framework, which includes a consideration of ecological, social, economic, and governance dimensions of sustainability. One of the most important but neglected aspects of sustainability measurements involves the assessment of governance and planning effectiveness. An assessment of the MAC experience through a comprehensive sustainability evaluation framework offers significant lessons for advancing the theoretical and empirical literature on adaptive comanagement through deeper consideration of challenges in creating institutions of “good governance.” In doing so, the case study also contributes to the Comprehensive Fisheries Sustainability Framework by testing some measures of governance effectiveness, including co-operation, resources, transparency, accountability, and inclusivity.
Coastal tourism is a growing industry sector in the Mediterranean Basin. This and the other human activities occurring along the coastline share space and resources, leading to conflicts for divergent uses. Moreover, the overexploitation of natural resources degrades and depletes coastal habitats, with negative feedback effects for all human activities. Hence, both tourism and the other human activities have to consider their dependence on coastal ecosystem services, and act at technical and policy level to reach a compromise that preserves natural resources in the long term. Here we provide a conceptual framework illustrating the complex relationships and trade-offs among threats from coastal tourism and from other human activities and coastal ecosystem services, with a focus on cultural ones. We discuss the negative feedbacks on tourism development and provide examples of geospatial analysis on cumulative threats generated by other human activities and affecting tourism itself. The proposed conceptual framework and the threat analysis aim at highlighting the negative feedback effects of human driven threats on the development of Mediterranean coastal tourism, through an ecosystem service perspective. Both tools provide valuable insight for supporting decision makers and planners in achieving integrated coastal management, with a focus on sustainable tourism.
Broad-scale surveys for the economically valuable gastropod queen conch in historically important fishing grounds of the Bahamian archipelago provide opportunity to explore the impact of variable fishing intensity on population structures. Visual surveys spanning two decades showed that densities of mature individuals had a significant negative relationship with an index of fishing pressure (FP). Average shell length in a population was not related to FP, but shell lip thickness (an index of conch age) declined significantly with FP. Repeated surveys in three fishing grounds revealed that densities of mature conch have declined in all of those locations and the populations have become younger with time. Densities have also declined significantly in three repeated surveys (over 22 years) conducted in a large no-take fishery reserve. Unlike fished populations, the protected population has aged and appears to be declining for lack of recruitment. In all fishing grounds except those most lightly fished, densities of adult conch are now below that needed for successful mating and reproduction. It is clear that queen conch populations in The Bahamas have undergone serial depletion, nearing fishery collapse, and a wide range of recommendations aimed at stock recovery are offered including a broader network of no-take reserves.