Artificial Reefs (AR) show a wide diversity and vary in their construction materials, shape and purpose, as illustrated by the present analysis of 127 scientific papers. AR have been deployed for different purposes, including fisheries improvement, ecological restoration of marine habitats, coastal protection or purely scientific research. Statistical analyses using 67 variables allow us to characterize the design, objectives and monitoring strategies used for AR. An effectiveness indicator comprised of three categories (low, moderate and high) was adapted from previous studies and applied to the present dataset in terms of the objectives defined in each scientific paper. The effectiveness of various monitoring approaches was investigated and recommendations were formulated regarding environmental parameters and the assessment of ecological processes as a function of AR type. These analyses showed that inert materials like concrete associated with biomimetic designs increase the benefits of reefs to the local environment. This study also compared effectiveness between the different economic, ecological or scientific objectives of AR projects and reveals that fisheries projects showed the highest efficiencies but points out the weakness of environmental assessments for this type of project. In conclusion, the analyses presented here highlight the need to use a panel of complementary monitoring techniques, independently of the initial purpose of the artificial structures, to properly assess the impact of such structures on the local environment. It is recommended to adopt approaches that associate structural and functional ecology. An improved characterization of the role of AR should be integrated into future assessments, taking into account the complex framework of ecosystem structure and trophic relationships.
Sea turtle scute abnormalities are observed in higher proportion in hatchlings compared to adults, suggesting that hatchlings with a non-modal scute pattern (NMSP) have a lower chance of surviving to adulthood. In this study, we collected 732 newly emerged hatchlings from Redang Island, Malaysia, and compared their scute classification, size, and mass to fitness correlates (self-righting ability, crawling speed, and swimming speed). We investigated the proportion of hatchlings from each nest with NMSP to determine if there was a correlation with incubation duration or clutch relocation. We found relocated clutches at Chagar Hutang Turtle Sanctuary had a significantly shorter incubation duration with a higher proportion of NMSP compared to in situ clutches. Hatchlings’ mass were significantly heavier from in situ clutches compared to relocated clutches, although there were no significant differences of hatchling speed based on scute classification or clutch type. The difference of hatchling mass between in situ and relocated clutches could affect predation and mortality rates on recently emerged hatchlings. These findings have important conservation implications, suggesting that relocation should only be implemented on clutches with a high potential to be disrupted or with a low chance of survival if left in situ. Our findings highlight the need for a standard procedure when clutch relocation is used as a conservation strategy. Relocation should replicate natural nest dimensions by duplicating both nest width and depth, and clutches should be relocated to similar shade conditions as the natural nest.
The human ingestion of mercury (Hg) from sea food is of big concern worldwide due to adverse health effects, and more specifically if shark consumption constitutes a regular part of the human diet. In this study, the total mercury (THg) concentration in muscle tissue were determined in six sympatric shark species found in a fishing vessel seized in the Galapagos Marine Reserve in 2017. The THg concentrations in shark muscle samples (n = 73) varied from 0.73 mg kg-1 in bigeye thresher sharks (Alopias superciliosus) to 8.29 mg kg-1 in silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis). A typical pattern of Hg bioaccumulation was observed for all shark species, with significant correlation between THg concentration and shark size for bigeye thresher sharks, pelagic thresher sharks (Alopias pelagicus) and silky sharks. Regarding human health concerns, the THg mean concentration exceeded the maximum weekly intake fish serving in all the studied species. Mass-Dependent Fractionation (MDF, δ202Hg values) and Mass-Independent Fractionation (MIF, Δ199Hg values) of Hg in whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus) and silky sharks, ranged from 0.70‰ to 1.08‰, and from 1.97‰ to 2.89‰, respectively. These high values suggest that both species are feeding in the epipelagic zone (i.e. upper 200 m of the water column). While, blue sharks (Prionace glauca), scalloped hammerhead sharks (Shyrna lewini) and thresher sharks were characterized by lower Δ199Hg and δ202Hg values, indicating that these species may focus their foraging behavior on prey of mesopelagic zone (i.e. between 200 and 1000 m depth). In conclusion, the determination of THg concentration provides straight-forward evidence of the human health risks associated with shark consumption, while mercury isotopic compositions constitute a powerful tool to trace the foraging strategies of these marine predators.
A double approach combining Hg concentrations with stable isotopes ratios allowed to assess ontogeny in common shark species in the area of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the human health risks concern associated to their consumption.
Given the current natural and anthropogenic threats facing Qatar's marine environment and the consequential expected decline in ecosystem services, this paper examines the potential application of the Ecosystem Services-EBM framework developed by Granek et al. (2010) to sustainably manage Qatar's coral reef and seagrass bed ecosystems. Using interviews with stakeholders and field-collected data from sixteen coral reef sites and 6 seagrass meadows as well as secondary data, the paper presents new knowledge regarding the status of these ecosystems and the benefits they provide that are most valued by stakeholders. The research identifies existing and missing ecological and socio-economic data, as well as the processes and management strategies required to implement the five-step framework within a Qatari context. Key goals for implementing EBM identified by stakeholders include: adoption of scientific planning and valuation of marine environment, contextualizing and drafting legislation, regulations and policies in support of EBM; monitoring and enforcement of laws; and, promotion of public awareness and engagement. The article concludes with recommendations for filling remaining data gaps and highlights opportunities available to Qatar to become a leader in implementing EBM. These include maximizing the increasing role that stakeholders can play in mitigating further decline of the country's coastal ecosystems and leveraging mega events planned in Qatar, such as FIFA World Cup 2022.
We develop a methodology to derive a global medium resolution (250 m) land mask from several existing data sources. In particular, a number of improved land mask data sets have been developed from satellite measurements recently, though some artifacts and omissions still remain. We show how combining global land mask data from multiple independent data sources can decrease the frequency of artifacts, and improve the data consistency and quality. We use the ocean color product imagery derived from measurements of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) to evaluate and validate the new global land mask implemented in the Multi-Sensor Level-1 to Level-2 (MSL12) ocean color data processing system, and demonstrate the improvements in the derived global ocean color data coverage. Results show that when using the new proposed land mask the accuracy of global ocean color data coverage is significantly improved over coastal and inland waters. The new land mask more accurately represents the current global land coverage status, providing more complete and consistent global land/water coverage data set for ocean color remote sensing and for various other satellite Earth observing applications.
Humans have been exploiting marine resources along the Levantine coast for millennia. Advances in biomolecular archaeology present novel opportunities to understand the exploitation of these taxa in antiquity. We discuss the potential insights generated by applying collagen peptide fingerprinting, ancient DNA analysis, and stable isotope analysis to groupers (Serranidae) and sea turtles (Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta) in the Levant. When combined with traditional zooarchaeological techniques, biomolecular archaeology offers utility to further investigate human impacts on marine ecosystems.
Coastal zone management is a pressing matter, especially in developing countries, which are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Human systems are underrepresented in the vast array of indicators aimed at assisting coastal zone management decisions. Clearly, there is room to better capture natural and human system relationships and interactions in coastal area assessments. A case in point is the well-known Coastal Hazard Wheel (CHW). Hence three main objectives guide this paper: (i) Analysing the existing set of indicator themes and categories in coastal areas; (ii) Contrasting this set of indicators with the perceived needs of local coastal stakeholders from a developing country; and (iii) Proposing indicator categories to be included as part of a systemic coastal zone management framework. To this end, we undertook an automated content analysis of 1116 peer-reviewed articles on the subject matter. The analysis and a stringent set of criteria led to 40 articles that were reviewed to identify suitable indicators. In parallel, field research in Ghana allowed for a set of indicators from the quadruple helix stakeholders operating in coastal zones to be elicited. Contrasting the two sets of indicators resulted in three situations. The first involves 14 indicator categories that co-occur in the literature and the detected needs from local coastal stakeholders. In the second situation, the categories mentioned in the literature were those not mentioned at local level. A third situation appeared when the local coastal stakeholders mentioned categories of indicators that were not identified in the reviewed literature. After examining each case, we advocate for the indicators in the first situation to be incorporated into the current coastal indicator monitoring frameworks (for example by upgrading the CHW). The unique contribution of this paper is the combination of literature and stakeholder-based indicator sub-categories that should be added to the current set of coastal monitoring frameworks.
Marine heatwaves (MHWs) are prolonged extreme oceanic warm water events. Globally, the frequency and intensity of MHWs have been increasing in recent years, and it is expected that this trend is reflected in the Kerguelen Plateau region. MHWs can negatively impact the structure of marine biodiversity, marine ecosystems, and commercial fisheries. Considering that the KP is a hot-spot for marine biodiversity, characterizing MHWs and their drivers for this region is important, but has not been performed. Here, we characterize MHWs in the KP region between January 1994 and December 2016 using a combination of remotely sensed observations and output from a publicly available model hindcast simulation. We describe a strong MHW event that starts during the 2011/2012 austral summer and persists through winter, dissipating in late 2012. During the winter months, the anomalous temperature signal deepens from the surface to a depth of at least 150 m. We show that downwelling-favorable winds occur in the region during these months. At the end of 2012, as the MHW dissipates, upwelling-favorable winds prevail. We also show that the ocean temperature on the KP is significantly correlated with key modes of climate variability. Over the KP, temperature at both the ocean surface and at a depth of 150 m correlates significantly with the Indian Ocean Dipole. To the south of the KP, temperature variations are significantly correlated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation, and to both the north and south of the KP, with the Southern Annular Mode. These results suggest there may be potential predictability in ocean temperatures, and their extremes, in the KP region. Strong MHWs, like the event in 2012, may be detrimental to the unique ecosystem of this region, including economically relevant species, such as the Patagonian Toothfish.
Chile is the second largest global producer of farmed salmon. The growth of salmon production has not been free of environmental challenges, such as the increasing use of pesticides to control the parasitic load of the sea lice Caligus rogercresseyi. The lack of the specificity of pesticides can potentially affect non-target organisms, as well as the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems. The aim of this study, was to understand the effect of pesticides on natural microbial communities to the addition of the anti-lice pesticide azamethiphos, deltamethrin and emamectin benzoate, and their potential impact in ammonium uptake rates in the coast off central-southern Chile and Northern Patagonia. The addition of pesticides on natural microbial communities resulted in a rapid response in ammonium uptake, which was significant for the single use of pesticide, azamethiphos and emamectin benzoate, as well as the combination, azamethiphos, deltamethrin and emamectin benzoate. In northern Patagonia, azamethiphos addition produced a 53% decrease in photoautotrophic uptake. However, an increase, although variable, was observed in chemoautotrophic uptake. Emamectin benzoate produced a 36 to 77% decrease in chemo and photoautotrophic ammonium uptake, respectively. The combined use of pesticides, also produced up to 42% decrease in both photo and chemoautotrophic assimilation. We conclude that the use of pesticides in salmon farming produces diverse responses at the microbial level, stimulating and/or inhibiting microbial communities with subsequent impact on nitrogen budgets. Further studies are necessary to understand the impact of pesticides in the ecology of central-southern and northern Patagonia, Chile.
The recent establishment of the “landing obligation” under the reformed EU Common Fishery Policy has the twofold objective of reducing the excessive practice of discarding unwanted catch at sea and encouraging more selective and sustainable fisheries. Within this context, the awareness of the spatial distribution of potential unwanted catches is important for devising management measures aimed to decrease discards. This study analyzed the distribution of Hot Spot density areas of demersal fish and crustaceans below the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) in four different southern European seas: continental Portuguese coast, Catalan Sea, South of Sicily, Liguria and northern Tyrrhenian Seas using both bottom trawl survey data and information on the spatial distribution of commercial fisheries. Critical areas for discarding were identified as zones where the highest densities of individuals below MCRS were consistently recorded throughout a series of years. Results clearly showed a patchy distribution of undersized individuals in each investigated area, highlighting the overlap between high density patches of both discards and fishing effort. The present findings provide a relevant knowledge for supporting the application of spatial-based management actions, such as the designation of Fisheries Restricted Areas (FRAs), in order to minimize the by-catch of undersized specimens and improve the sustainability of demersal fisheries.
Although research into the ecology and impacts of invasive species is prevalent, there are knowledge gaps relating to the role of invasive species in parasite transmission. This work synthesises invasive host–parasite interactions and impacts, using marine bivalves as a model group, to consider how global movement of shellfish consignments for aquaculture purposes facilitates the unintentional transfer of invasives. We discuss how invasive species can act as both hosts or parasitic organisms themselves, and introductions may lead to diseases within the bivalve aquaculture sector. This review highlights the importance of interdisciplinary research, with particular regard to the fields of parasitology and invasion ecology. We suggest that further integrating these fields will enhance critical knowledge of marine diseases, parasite-invasive-bivalve interplay dynamics, and potential mitigation strategies, including temperature-based disease surveillance models. We also address how climate change might impact invasive species, again with a focus on marine bivalves, and the potential outcomes for parasite transmission, including changes in host/parasite distribution, life-history and virulence. We acknowledge the importance of horizon scanning for future invasive host–parasite introductions and note that increased screening of invasive species, both in their native and invaded ranges, will provide clarity on invasion dynamics and potential impacts.
As the growth of the whale-watching activity increases rapidly around the world, the challenge of responsible management and sustainability also rises. Without suitable management, operators may try to maximize their own profits by breaking the rules, which may negatively affect cetaceans. In this paper, the applicability of conditions for sustainability governance in humpback whale-watching was evaluated. To achieve this purpose, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Uramba Bahía Málaga National Natural Park, Colombia. Results of this study showed that humpback whale-watching is characterized by unevenness in connections with markets, income inequality and the distribution of operators across several villages and cities. The combination of which restricts cooperation between operators. Nevertheless, there are informal agreements among the operators, and some operators are motivated to form associations. Besides, environmental entities have been responsible of regulation in lack of community-based management. However, this still does not achieve effective enforcement of the rules. Stakeholders (communities and government authorities) must mediate trust and reciprocity among operators to improve the situation. It is important to involve all operators to fill gaps in the limited government monitoring capacity and absence of sanctions. This is relevant to continue monitoring the evolution of the whale-watching in this and other Marine Protected Areas, so that the sustainability of the activity is not affected in the future.
Direct interactions with fisheries are broadly recognized as the leading conservation threat to small cetaceans. In open-ocean environments, one of the primary gear types implicated in these interactions is the pelagic longline. Unlike accidental entanglement in driftnets or deliberate entrapment by purse-seines, interactions between cetaceans and longlines are often driven by attraction of the animals to feed on bait or fish secured on the gear, a behavior known as depredation. Many small and medium-sized delphinid species have learned to exploit such opportunities, leading to economic costs to fisheries and a risk of mortality to the animals from either retaliation by fishermen or hooking or entanglement in fishing gear. Two pelagic longline fisheries in the United States experience depredation and bycatch by odontocete depredators: the Hawai‘i deep-set longline fishery, which is depredated primarily by false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), and the Atlantic pelagic longline fishery depredated primarily by short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). These fisheries are among the most intensively documented and managed pelagic longline fisheries in the world, with high levels of observer coverage, and bycatch mitigation measures required to reduce the mortality of seabirds, sea turtles and cetaceans. Both fisheries have active, multi-stakeholder “Take Reduction Teams,” enacted under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), that are tasked to develop measures to reduce the bycatch of cetaceans below statutory reference points. Consequently, these two Teams represent model processes within which to address depredation and bycatch, having access to detailed, high-quality data on the nature and frequency of interactions with cetaceans, meaningful stakeholder involvement, resources to test potential solutions, and the institutional will to improve outcomes. We review how mitigation strategies have been considered, developed, and implemented by both Teams and provide a critical analysis of their effectiveness in addressing these problems. Notably, in the absence of straightforward avoidance or deterrence strategies, both Teams have developed gear and handling strategies that depend critically on comprehensive observer coverage. Lessons offered from these Teams, which have implemented consensus-driven management measures under a statutory framework, provide important insights to managers and scientists addressing other depredation problems.
Cetacean tourism in Aotearoa New Zealand is now over 30 years old and has experienced substantial growth in visitor numbers and operations. The industry is remarkably diverse, targeting several dolphin and whale species, and encompassing varied habitats in coastal waters, fiords and submarine canyons. The knowledge and experience collected over these past 30 years has both advanced the global understanding of cetacean tourism, and influenced scientific practices for its study and management. Here we review the approaches taken in quantifying the impact of cetacean tourism in New Zealand, and critically assess the efficacy of the research and management strategies adopted. We place particular focus on the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Kaikoura, Akaroa and Fiordland, areas that include the oldest, and longest studied industries nationally. We propose a set of best research practices, expose the most notable knowledge gaps and identify emerging research questions. Drawing on perspectives from the natural and social sciences, we outline the key determinants of failure and success in protecting cetacean populations from the detrimental impact of tourism. We suggest four golden rules for future management efforts: (1) acknowledge cetacean tourism as a sub-lethal anthropogenic stressor to be managed with precaution, (2) apply integrated and adaptive site- and species-specific approaches, (3) fully conceptualize tourism within its broader social and ecological contexts, and (4) establish authentic collaborations and engagement with the local community. Lastly, we forecast upcoming challenges and opportunities for research and management of this industry in the context of global climate change. Despite New Zealand's early establishment of precautionary legislation and advanced tourism research and management approaches, we detected flaws in current schemes, and emphasize the need for more adaptive and comprehensive strategies. Cetacean tourism remains an ongoing challenge in New Zealand and globally.
Construction-related loss of habitat, degradation of existing habitat, noise pollution, and vessel activity are growing issues for Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) that occur in the shallow, near-shore, highly industrialized waters off Lantau Island, Hong Kong. We studied the occurrence of dolphins in discrete locations, fine-scale movement patterns, and dolphin behavioral activity states. Potential explanatory variables varied and included year, season, time of day, dolphin group size and behavioral activity state, proximity to construction activity, and vessel type and number. Land-based observations and theodolite tracking of dolphins and vessels were conducted from seven locations to the north of Lantau Island, Hong Kong, and marine construction activities near survey sites were identified. A total of 636 groups of dolphins were recorded, totaling 150.91 h of tracking, from 405 days of observation effort. Hurdle models were used to analyze dolphin occurrence, multivariate generalized additive models were used to analyze fine-scale movement patterns, and log-likelihood ratio and binomial z score post hoc tests were used to analyze behavioral activity states. Dolphin occurrence was lower in historically important areas near long-term, low-intensity construction activity, and dolphin swimming speed was higher in response to vessel presence. Overall, foraging and traveling were the most frequently observed behavioral activity states and resting behavior was observed off only one location that was not in proximity to construction activities. Temporal overlap in adjacent marine construction areas may displace animals for extended periods and nearby ecologically similar habitats should be identified and designated as marine protected areas to mitigate effects of such disturbance.
Bottlenose dolphins’ whistles are key in social communication, conveying information about conspecifics and the environment. Therefore, their study can help to infer habitat use and identify areas of concern due to human activities. Here we studied the whistles of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in two sites of the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama, that contrast in boat traffic. Almirante Bay is a site dominated by taxi-boats and Dolphin Bay is a major location for boat-based dolphin watching. Recordings were made using bottom-mounted hydrophones and from the research boat using an over-the-side hydrophone and a broadband recording system. A total recording effort time of 1,726 h was analyzed. Our results show significant differences in boat detection between sites, and a higher number of whistles detected per minute in the site with tour-boat traffic. Furthermore, whistle modulation accounted for most of the differences between sites, boat presence, and whistle types. Dolphin whistle modulation is thought to be a potential indicator of emotional states including danger, alertness, and stress. In this study, dolphin signature whistle modulation increased significantly with boat presence in both sites but changes in modulation were greater in Dolphin Bay where tour-boats directly and sometimes aggressively interact with the animals. These results support a potential association between whistle modulation and stress (or alertness). These findings indicate that if tour-boat captains behave more like taxi-boat captains by e.g., reducing the distance of approach and contact time during dolphin interactions, dolphin communication, and emotional state would be less disrupted. These measures are implemented in the national guidelines for whale-watching and are known to tour-boat operators. The key to protecting these dolphins is in finding ways to effectively enforce these operator guidelines.
The Chilean fjord region includes many remote and poorly known areas where management plans for the marine living resources and conservation strategies are urgently needed. Few data are available about the spatial distribution of its marine invertebrate fauna, prevalently influenced by complex interactions between biotic and abiotic factors, animal behavior and human activities. Patagonian fjords are a hotspot for finfish aquaculture, elevating Chile to the world’s second producer of farmed salmon, after Norway, a condition that emphasizes the necessity to develop strategies for a sustainable aquaculture management. The present study focuses on the emblematic cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus, dwelling the Comau Fjord from shallow to deep waters, with the aim to illustrate population structure, demography and adaptation of the species and its potential use for the development of a sustainable conservation and management plan for human activities. The analyses of microsatellite loci of D. dianthus individuals from four sampling localities along horizontal and vertical gradients of Comau Fjord, lead to identify them as a panmictic population. The results also contributed to consider a careful examination of the synchrony between the temporal and spatial variations of environmental factors and the biological cycle of the species as key role player in the inference of autecology of the species. The discussion stresses the importance of molecular analyses as extremely helpful tools for studies focusing on remote areas and non-model organisms, where logistic difficulties and limited scientific knowledge hamper a better management and conservation of marine resources, and in particular the relevance of multidisciplinary approaches to reduce the extensive knowledge gap on the remote fjord ecosystems of Patagonia. This study also highlights the importance of oceanographic information in the entire process of the analyses and interpretation of genetic results.
Climate driven range shifts are driving the redistribution of marine species and threatening the functioning and stability of marine ecosystems. For species that are the structural basis of marine ecosystems, such effects can be magnified into drastic loss of ecosystem functioning and resilience. Rhodoliths are unattached calcareous red algae that provide key complex three-dimensional habitats for highly diverse biological communities. These globally distributed biodiversity hotspots are increasingly threatened by ongoing environmental changes, mainly ocean acidification and warming, with wide negative impacts anticipated in the years to come. These are superimposed upon major local stressors caused by direct destructive impacts, such as bottom trawling, which act synergistically in the deterioration of the rhodolith ecosystem health and function. Anticipating the potential impacts of future environmental changes on the rhodolith biome may inform timely mitigation strategies integrating local effects of bottom trawling over vulnerable areas at global scales. This study aimed to identify future climate refugia, as regions where persistence is predicted under contrasting climate scenarios, and to analyze their trawling threat levels. This was approached by developing species distribution models with ecologically relevant environmental predictors, combined with the development of a global bottom trawling intensity index to identify heavily fished regions overlaying rhodoliths. Our results revealed the importance of light, thermal stress and pH driving the global distribution of rhodoliths. Future projections showed poleward expansions and contractions of suitable habitats at lower latitudes, structuring cryptic depth refugia, particularly evident under the more severe warming scenario RCP 8.5. Our results suggest that if management and conservation measures are not taken, bottom trawling may directly threaten the persistence of key rhodolith refugia. Since rhodoliths have slow growth rates, high sensitivity and ecological importance, understanding how their current and future distribution might be susceptible to bottom trawling pressure, may contribute to determine the fate of both the species and their associated communities.
SocMon studies in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep have been carried out at Agatti Island in 2001-2002 (Hoon, V. et al. 2002) and 2010-2011 (Hoon, V. and Babu 2011), and at Minicoy Island in 2003-2004 (Hoon et al. 2004). Being representative of all other islands in Lakshadweep, Minicoy was selected for an assessment update in 2019-2020 in order to add results to the existing information. A detailed socioeconomic study of Minicoy provides insights into the resource dependency and the issues that are facing them. Residents of Minicoy Island are isolated and have to be self-reliant, especially during the monsoon period when the sea becomes very rough for boat transportation. The islanders depend on the goods and services from local resources of the island, lagoon, reef and the open sea for survival.
This was a repeat monitoring effort to look at trends and changes in the socioeconomic status of the islanders, that have taken place since the first study that was published in 2004.
The program was initiated with the premise that long-term sustainability of coral reef management and monitoring programs can be ensured if the local community partici- pates and feels a sense of ownership.
An additional benefit is that it serves as both a capacity and awareness building pro- gram for the local communities who are directly involved in using the ecosystem goods and services, as well as those who are involved in monitoring them.
Recent studies have shown that the global mean sea level (GMSL) is accelerating. For improved process understanding and sea level projections, it is crucial to precisely estimate the GMSL acceleration due to externally-forced global climate change. For that purpose, the internal climate variability-related signal of the GMSL needs to be removed from the GMSL record. In the present study, we estimate how the observed GMSL rate has evolved with time over the altimetry era (1993-present), with the objective of determining how it is influenced by the interannual variability. We find that the GMSL rate computed over 5-year moving windows, displays significant interannual variability around 6–7 years and 12–13 years, preventing from robust acceleration estimation. To remove from the observed GMSL time series, the interannual variability, possibly related to internal climate modes, like ENSO, PDO, IOD, NAO or AMO, we use two methods previously widely applied in the literature: (1) multiple linear regression of the GMSL against some climate indices, and (2) Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) decomposition of the gridded sea level data to isolate the interannual signal. Although the interannual signal of the corrected GMSL time series is reduced, a cycle around 6–7 years still remains in the GMSL rate. We discuss possible sources of the remaining 6-7-year cycle, including the limitation of the methods used to remove the interannual variability.