The oceans and fisheries are strongly impacted by climate change and acidification, and will increasingly be so. Four multilateral funds have been created under the climate change regime in order to support developing countries’ adaptation. These funds finance a number of projects mostly or partly related to marine and coastal fisheries. They include measures of a structural nature meant to modify laws, policies or strategies and to improve one’s understanding of climate change impacts on fisheries; measures to improve fish stocks’ resilience to climate change, by reducing harvesting and ecosystem-related stressors; and measures to improve fishing communities’ resilience in terms of food security and livelihoods. A majority of the marine fisheries projects focuses on the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries. However, many vulnerable countries still do not receive financial support for adaptation in the marine fisheries sector. The four multilateral funds operate with insufficient and unequal levels of transparency regarding several stages of projects’ cycles; this raises issues of efficiency and accountability. The four funds also do not provide a harmonized and searchable marker dedicated to fisheries; this lack of transparency makes it impossible for the international community to comprehensively monitor progress in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 14. In any case, the existence of adaptation projects focused on coastal and marine fisheries may serve to promote the mainstreaming of ocean-related questions into the climate change regime.
Despite the attention given to genetic biodiversity in international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Strategic Plan and the Aichi Targets, previous research points at a “conservation genetics gap,” indicating that scientific insights into genetic biodiversity are poorly integrated into practical management. Both researchers and managers call for platforms for knowledge exchange between science and practice. However, few scientific studies on the potential effects of such knowledge transfer have been conducted. The present study is a follow-up to Lundmark et al. (2017), which identified significant effects of two forms of knowledge communication on conservation managers’ concerns and beliefs in regard to Baltic Sea genetic biodiversity. This study departs from Lundmark et al. (2017) and explores (a) whether the identified alterations in knowledge and beliefs persist over time, and (b) whether potential stability differs between different types of policy beliefs as well as between two types of knowledge communication (lecture and group deliberation). The results of this follow-up study show that the positive impacts on managers’ self-assessed knowledge remained, while the effects on policy beliefs largely had vanished a few months after the knowledge communication. Thus, changes in beliefs seem perishable, suggesting that continuity is more important than the form of educational efforts.
Small‐scale coastal fisheries (SSCF) in the Western region of Ghana are affected by a combination of climate and non‐climate stressors. Coastal communities are particularly vulnerable to these stressors because of their proximity to the sea and high dependence on small‐scale fisheries for their livelihoods. A better understanding of how fishing communities, particularly SSCF, respond to climate and non‐climate stressors is paramount to improve planning and implementation of effective adaptation action. Drawing on the capitals framework, this study examines the adaptive capacity of SSCF to the combined effects of climate‐related (increasing coastal erosion, and wave and storm frequency) and non‐climate‐related stressors (declining catches; scarcity and prohibitive cost of fuel; inconsiderate implementation of fisheries laws and policies; competition from the oil and gas industry; sand mining; and algal blooms). The findings show how fishers mobilise and use adaptive capacity through exploitation of various forms of capital, including cultural capital (e.g., local innovation); political capital (e.g., lobbying government and local authorities); social capital (e.g., collective action); human capital (e.g., local leadership); and natural capital (e.g., utilising beach sand) to respond to multiple stressors. Nevertheless, in many cases, fishers’ responses were reactive and led to negative (maladaptive) outcomes. Furthermore, this study underscores the importance of critically considering the interactive nature of capitals and how they collectively influence adaptive capacity in the planning and implementation of adaptation research, policy and practice.
The number of fixed oil and gas platforms are declining in the Gulf of Mexico, there were ∼3674 platforms installed the since 1942 and today there are ∼1320. Eventually, ∼30,000 jobs will be lost in related industries because of platform removals. Retired oil and gas platforms could be redeployed for alternate uses such as CO2 capture and storage, renewable wind energy, and sustainable fisheries and employ citizens in coastal areas. Elsewhere around the world, offshore platforms are used for purposes other than producing oil and gas. U.S. Federal legislation (Energy Policy Act 2005 Section 388 of Public Law [PL] 109-58); 30 CFR 285.1000 Subpart J) authorizes the use of retired oil and gas platforms for alternate uses. If the retired oil and gas structures are preserved, the infrastructure could also be used to recover stranded petroleum using CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). We examined the socio-economic incentives, environmental impacts, and regulatory issues associated with the alternate uses. We suggest that CO2-EOR is the most economically efficient way to store CO2 offshore and that offshore wind turbines may assist with the energy requirements for oil and gas production and CO2-EOR. Data suggest that in our study area offshore platforms are more successful at producing fish and invertebrates if they are left standing instead of toppled over. The greatest regulatory issue facing the use of retired platforms is the transfer of liability. If the structures are redeployed, the previous oil and gas owner/operators are still responsible for eventual removal and catastrophic events. A variety of future economic activity in the Gulf of Mexico could take advantage of this infrastructure, if it remains in place.
The presence of scientific uncertainty in relation to the ecological impacts of deep seabed mining has led to increased interest in the use of adaptive management as part of the environmental regulatory structure for the deep seabed mineral exploitation regime. This paper assesses the prospects for using adaptive management as part of the deep seabed mining regulatory framework with a specific focus on the legal and institutional dimensions of the regime. In this regard, this paper argues that adaptive management is likely to play a crucial role in the deep seabed mining regime owing to the current uncertain state of knowledge respecting the deep seabed environmental well as the ambiguity surrounding the standards respecting the acceptable levels of harm associated with deep seabed mining. However, despite the high demand for adaptive management, institutional arrangements, such as the need for the ISA to meet its due diligence obligations and strong security of tenure protections, may constrain the ISA in implementing adaptive management approaches. More broadly, this paper seeks to contribute to our understanding of the unique legal nature of the ISA as a front line resource regulator operating within the system of international law.
Tropical coral reef ecosystems in the Pacific region are degrading rapidly as ocean temperatures rise and local anthropogenic stressors increase. In this context of rapid change, effective site-based management of coral reef fisheries necessitates flexible environmental governance that is closely attuned to the needs of multiple stakeholders who depend on the fishery for income, food, and cultural identity. As such, many practitioners and scholars call for adaptive co-management of coral reef fisheries where local resource users play a primary role in environmental governance with the support of flexible institutions that operate across organizational scales. This article describes the history and evaluates the current status of marine governance in Moorea, French Polynesia. Established in 2004, the management framework is under revision because it has failed to meet its ecological objectives and has generated discontent among many stakeholders. Drawing on household surveys, interviews, and archival information, the challenges to as well as the factors that may enable a more successful transition of the current governance arrangement towards co-management are detailed. It is argued that recent social mobilization, subsistence and cultural links to the fishery, the presence of geographically and socially relevant traditional governance boundaries, and the implementation of co-management in other parts of French Polynesia are positive factors. However, lack of trust between stakeholders, social heterogeneity, disruption of traditional cultural institutions and practices, minimal institutional support, and an uncertain legal framework suggest that there are significant headwinds for maneuvering towards successful co-management in Moorea.
The study of recent past trajectories of vulnerability to climate-related hazards allows for highlighting the prevailing environmental and anthropogenic drivers that operated over the last fifty to sixty years and given latency phenomena in social systems, therefore have the potential to continue driving a system’s vulnerability in the coming decades. Stop or even reverse these trends represents as much unavoidable solutions for enhancing concrete long-term adaptation to climate change, whatever the end-century warming scenario.
Using the case study of Reunion Island (Indian Ocean), we emphasize four major drivers of the recent coastal trajectory of vulnerability, i.e. changes in human-built assets, shoreline position, natural buffers’ characteristics, and the extent of coastal protection structures. Together, these drivers highlight the need for controlling the urbanisation process to reduce the anthropogenic pressures exerted on morphological-ecological systems, restoring the buffering function of the latter, and moving towards a less hard structure-dependent coastal defence strategy. Such a shift in coastal management however supposes some radical changes in the way coastal development strategies consider environmental issues (hazards, resources and services). Here we bring empirical material showing that neither Reunion Island decision-makers are keen to drive such radical changes, nor the population is ready to accept potentially constraining policies that will have benefits only in the future. We conclude on the need for further advancing the design of adaptation pathways that build on the implementation of context-specific unavoidable solutions, and thus that seriously consider limiting the risk of maladaptation as a baseline strategy.
Concerns about the social consequences of conservation have spurred increased attention the monitoring and evaluation of the social impacts of conservation projects. This has resulted in a growing body of research that demonstrates how conservation can produce both positive and negative social, economic, cultural, health, and governance consequences for local communities. Yet, the results of social monitoring efforts are seldom applied to adaptively manage conservation projects. Greater attention is needed to incorporating the results of social impact assessments in long‐term conservation management to minimize negative social consequences and maximize social benefits. We bring together insights from social impact assessment, adaptive management, social learning, knowledge coproduction, cross‐scale governance, and environmental planning to propose a definition and framework for adaptive social impact management (ASIM). We define ASIM as the cyclical process of monitoring and adaptively managing social impacts over the life‐span of an initiative through the 4 stages of profiling, learning, planning, and implementing. We outline 14 steps associated with the 4 stages of the ASIM cycle and provide guidance and potential methods for social‐indicator development, predictive assessments of social impacts, monitoring and evaluation, communication of results, and identification and prioritization of management responses. Successful ASIM will be aided by engaging with best practices – including local engagement and collaboration in the process, transparent communication of results to stakeholders, collective deliberation on and choice of interventions, documentation of shared learning at the site level, and the scaling up of insights to inform higher‐level conservation policies‐to increase accountability, trust, and perceived legitimacy among stakeholders. The ASIM process is broadly applicable to conservation, environmental management, and development initiatives at various scales and in different contexts.
Highly connected networks generally improve resilience in complex systems. We present a novel application of this paradigm and investigated the potential for anthropogenic structures in the ocean to enhance connectivity of a protected species threatened by human pressures and climate change. Biophysical dispersal models of a protected coral species simulated potential connectivity between oil and gas installations across the North Sea but also metapopulation outcomes for naturally occurring corals downstream. Network analyses illustrated how just a single generation of virtual larvae released from these installations could create a highly connected anthropogenic system, with larvae becoming competent to settle over a range of natural deep-sea, shelf and fjord coral ecosystems including a marine protected area. These results provide the first study showing that a system of anthropogenic structures can have international conservation significance by creating ecologically connected networks and by acting as stepping stones for cross-border interconnection to natural populations.
Marine macrophytes are the foundation of algal forests and seagrass meadows–some of the most productive and diverse coastal marine ecosystems on the planet. These ecosystems provide nursery grounds and food for fish and invertebrates, coastline protection from erosion, carbon sequestration, and nutrient fixation. For marine macrophytes, temperature is generally the most important range limiting factor, and ocean warming is considered the most severe threat among global climate change factors. Ocean warming induced losses of dominant macrophytes along their equatorial range edges, as well as range extensions into polar regions, are predicted and already documented. While adaptive evolution based on genetic change is considered too slow to keep pace with the increasing rate of anthropogenic environmental changes, rapid adaptation may come about through a set of non-genetic mechanisms involving the functional composition of the associated microbiome, as well as epigenetic modification of the genome and its regulatory effect on gene expression and the activity of transposable elements. While research in terrestrial plants demonstrates that the integration of non-genetic mechanisms provide a more holistic picture of a species' evolutionary potential, research in marine systems is lagging behind. Here, we aim to review the potential of marine macrophytes to acclimatize and adapt to major climate change effects via intraspecific variation at the genetic, epigenetic, and microbiome levels. All three levels create phenotypic variation that may either enhance fitness within individuals (plasticity) or be subject to selection and ultimately, adaptation. We review three of the most important phenotypic variations in a climate change context, including physiological variation, variation in propagation success, and in herbivore resistance. Integrating different levels of plasticity, and adaptability into ecological models will allow to obtain a more holistic understanding of trait variation and a realistic assessment of the future performance and distribution of marine macrophytes. Such multi-disciplinary approach that integrates various levels of intraspecific variation, and their effect on phenotypic and physiological variation, is of crucial importance for the effective management and conservation of seagrasses and macroalgae under climate change.