Aquaculture is developing rapidly at a global scale and sustainable practices are an essential part of meeting the protein requirements of the ballooning human population. Locating aquaculture offshore is one strategy that may help address some issues related to nearshore development. However, offshore production is nascent and distinctions between the types of aquatic farming may not be fully understood by the public–important for collaboration, research, and development. Here we evaluate and report, to our knowledge, the first multinational quantification of the relative sentiments and opinions of the public around distinct forms of aquaculture. Using thousands of newspaper headlines (Ntotal = 1,596) from developed (no. countries = 26) and developing (42) nations, ranging over periods of 1984 to 2015, we found an expanding positive trend of general ‘aquaculture’ coverage, while ‘marine’ and ‘offshore’ appeared more negative. Overall, developing regions published proportionally more positive than negative headlines than developed countries. As case studies, government collected public comments (Ntotal = 1,585) from the United States of America (USA) and New Zealand mirrored the media sentiments; offshore perception being particularly negative in the USA. We also found public sentiment may be influenced by local environmental disasters not directly related to aquaculture (e.g., oil spills). Both countries voiced concern over environmental impacts, but the concerns tended to be more generalized, rather than targeted issues. Two factors that could be inhibiting informed discussion and decisions about offshore aquaculture are lack of applicable knowledge and actual local development issues. Better communication and investigation of the real versus perceived impacts of aquaculture could aid in clarifying the debate about aquaculture, and help support future sustainable growth.
Community Perceptions and Attitudes
Community acceptance of Marine Parks is widely acknowledged as being critical for success. Where community stewardship and voluntary compliance have been achieved, there are fewer issues with non-compliance of zoning regulations. Probability-based surveys that are representative of the wider community can improve understanding of community perceptions prior to and following establishment of Marine Parks. Understanding attitudes towards newly created Marine Parks among user groups provides valuable information for the design of education and engagement programs, while also creating a benchmark to compare changes over time. A survey of community perceptions and awareness regarding the recently created Ngari Capes Marine Park in south-west Western Australia was measured via a randomised telephone survey of local and non-local boat-based recreational fishers; and local residents (including non-fishers and shore/boat fishers). This survey also evaluated other recreational uses of the park and how these activities were valued, knowledge of Marine Park zones, and how information about Marine Parks was being accessed. Participation in recreational fishing within Ngari Capes was above average and a supportive attitude towards the park was apparent. Boat-based recreational fishers displayed a higher degree of concern about fishing restrictions compared to local residents, but overall were supportive of the Marine Park. Across all user groups there was low awareness of the Ngari Capes Marine Park and poor understanding of Marine Parks. A lack of clarity regarding the likely benefits of the Ngari Capes Marine Park was apparent, implying a need to improve public communication and community engagement.
In 2012, the State of Oregon designated five marine reserves in its waters (Otter Rock, Redfish Rocks, Cape Falcon, Cape Perpetua, Cascade Head) to advance scientific research, assess impacts of reserve implementation, and conserve habitats and biodiversity. Studies have examined biological issues and impacts associated with these reserves. Evaluations of social and economic impacts, however, mainly involved information from community evaluation teams consisting of small groups of stakeholders (e.g., commercial anglers, conservation groups, watershed councils, scientists). Additional data for evaluating social and economic impacts of these reserves were collected from town hall meetings with select residents, questionnaires given to specific industries or interest groups (e.g., commercial and recreational anglers), and other observational data. Taken together, these efforts involved economic stakeholders and vocal residents thought to be most directly affected by these reserves.
Thorough comprehension of the perceptions of offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by different local social actors is lacking, especially in developing countries. This study aims to analyze the perceptions and socioeconomic characteristics of divers and artisanal fishers of an offshore MPA, located in Brazilian waters. Data on the perceptions, conflicts, and management of the MPA were gathered through questionnaires and interviews with local actors. The results show that scuba divers and fishers consider the MPA to be very important for biodiversity. They also consider their collaboration in participative management to be of considerable importance, even though they do not form part of the administration. For local actors, the area helps foster the preservation of the marine environment and benefits recreational diving, tourism, and artisanal fishery in local communities. Divers and fishers use the resources and space of the offshore area differently, which results in diverging perceptions and conflicts. Divers propose restricted protection (No-Take Zones), while fishers propose that the MPA should be used exclusively by the poor local communities for artisanal fishing. Conflicts arising from inefficient public administration (lack of environmental zoning, management plans, and participative management) and illegal use of the MPA were also identified. Data stemming from the local actors themselves are central to reducing the conflicts and improving public policies on offshore marine conservation.
The European fisheries management is currently undergoing a fundamental change in the handling of catches of commercial fisheries with the implementation of the 2013 Common Fisheries Policy. One of the main objectives of the policy is to end the practice of discarding in the EU by 2019. However, for such changes to be successful, it is vital to ensure stakeholders acceptance, and it is prudent to consider possible means to verify compliance with the new regulation. Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) with Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) has been tested in a variety of fisheries worldwide for different purposes and is currently considered as one possible tool to ensure compliance with a European ban on discards.
This study focuses on Danish fishery inspectors and on fishers with REM experience, whose opinions are less well known. Their views on the landing obligation and on the use of REM were investigated using interviews and questionnaires, and contrasted to some fishers without REM experience. 80% of fishery inspectors and 58% of REM-experienced fishers expressed positive views on REM. 9 out of 10 interviewed fishers without REM experience were against REM. Participation in a REM trial has not led to antipathy towards REM. Fishery inspectors saw on-board observers, at-sea control and REM as the three best solutions to control the landing obligation but shared the general belief that the landing obligation cannot be enforced properly and will be difficult for fishers to comply with. The strengths and weaknesses of REM in this context are discussed.
In recent years, negative impacts of jellyfish blooms (JB) on marine human activities have been increasingly reported. Aquaculture has been affected by jellyfish outbreaks, mostly documented through repeated episodes of farmed salmon mortalities in Northern Europe; however, the valuation of JB consequences on the aquaculture sector still remains poorly quantified. This study aims to provide the first quantitative evaluation effects of JB on finfish aquaculture in the Mediterranean Sea and to investigate the general awareness of JB impacts among Mediterranean aquaculture professional workers. The aquaculture workers' perception about JB was assessed through a structured interview-based survey administered across 21 aquaculture facilities in central and western Mediterranean. The workers' awareness about JB impacts on aquaculture differed among countries. Italian and Spanish fish farmers were better informed about jellyfish proliferations and, together with Tunisian farmers, they all recognized the wide potential consequences of JB on sea bream and sea bass aquaculture. On the contrary, the majority of Maltese respondents considered JB as a non-significant threat to their activity, mostly based on off-shore tuna farming. This study for the first time shows that JB may negatively affect different Mediterranean aquaculture facilities from Tunisia (Sicily Channel) and Spain (Alboran Sea), by increasing farmed fish gill disorders and mortality, clogging net cages, or inflicting painful stings to field operators, with severe economic consequences. Available knowledge calls for the development of coordinated preventive plans, adaptation policies, and mitigation countermeasures across European countries in order to address the JB phenomenon and its impacts on coastal water activities.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are useful tool for conserving biodiversity and managing fisheries. The government of Malaysia has established several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to enable overexploited marine resources to recover and to conserve coral reef ecosystems.
The paper investigates the effect of governance approach on the effective management of two MPAs, Perhentian and Kapas marine parks in Terengganu State of Peninsular Malaysia. The data for this study was obtained from face-to-face interviews with local people from two MPAs using a structured questionnaire. The results of the analysis show that local participation in MPA management and fisheries regulations are significant factors for the effective MPA management in the study areas. The regression results show that users' participation has contributed significantly to the MPA governance, which indicate that local peoples' participation play an important role for effective management of MPAs in Malaysia. The MPA management activities should be coordinated with other relevant agencies and local users to achieve successful management of MPAs in Malaysia. There is a need to give priority to encourage local fishers' participation in decision making for MPAs management in the future marine resource conservation policy in Malaysia.
Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) warming accompanied by a decline in recruitment has slowly reduced surfclam abundance. Simulations examined fishery dynamics during an extended period of low recruitment followed by stock recovery after a high-recruitment event. The model assigned performance characteristics to each vessel and gave captains defined behavioral proclivities including a tendency to search, to communicate with other captains, to use survey data, and to integrate variable lengths of past-history performance in targeting fishing trips. During the simulated excursion in abundance, LPUE (landings per unit effort) declined as lower abundance required an extended time at sea to catch a full load. Captains expanded their geographic range of interest steaming farther from port in an effort to maintain their performance. Net revenue declined. Use of survey data significantly improved performance. About equal in positive effect was moderate searching. Other behaviors incurred penalties. Communication failed to improve performance because both poor and good information was transferred. Reliance on a long period of catch history failed to improve performance because information was out of date during a time of rapidly changing conditions. In these simulations, no captains' behaviors prevented a collapse in vessel economics at low abundance, but certain behaviors limited the degree and duration of economic dislocation.
From nano-plastics to large sunken vessels, marine debris presents a threat to humans and ecosystems worldwide. Fishermen's knowledge of the sources of, and risks posed by medium to large debris derived from fishing, aquaculture, and other marine industries provides important context for debris mitigation. Public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) can address these risks by integrating subjective and objective spatial data on human and environmental impacts and risks. We integrated fishermen's perceptions and experiences with marine debris with spatial data using PPGIS. We developed a georeferenced database of fishermen's experiences with marine debris, collected during focus groups and at various other meetings in Southwest New Brunswick. This layer was used to integrate baseline data with subjective perceptions of the ecological, economic, and navigational risks associated with marine debris in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. We also documented the physical, technical, political, and regulatory challenges to marine debris mitigation. These challenges highlight the social and environmental processes that complicate any projects that attempt to develop uncontested spatial representations of marine debris. Finally, we discuss the potential of PPGIS to address these challenges by fostering communication, coordinating various marine activities, helping stakeholders set priorities for clean-up, and implementing collaborative clean-up projects.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have historically been implemented and managed in a top-down way, excluding resource-dependent users from planning and management. In response to conflict and non-compliance, the governance of marine resources is increasingly embracing community-based approaches, assuming that by putting communities at the forefront of planning and management, participation will increase, causing positive social and ecological impacts. Given the relative newness of community-based MPAs, this study explores how resource users perceive their impacts on ecosystem services (ES) and human well-being (HWB). This study explores two community-based MPAs called tengefus in Kenya using mixed qualitative methods, including a participatory photography method called photovoice. Participation in and donor support for tengefus influences how resource users perceived tengefus and their impacts on ES and HWB. Individuals who were engaged in the tengefu from the inception or held official positions perceived more positive impacts on ES and HWB compared to those not as involved. Tengefus were often viewed by communities as attractors for external support and funding, positively influencing attitudes and feelings towards conservation. One site, the first tengefu in Kenya, had more external support and was surrounded by positive perceptions, while the other site had little external support and was surrounded by more conflict and mixed perceptions. This study exemplifies the complex social-political dynamics that MPAs create and are embedded within. Community-based MPA initiatives could benefit from ensuring widespread engagement throughout the inception, implementation and management, recognizing and managing expectations around donor support, and not assuming that benefits spillover throughout the community.