Conservation Targets & Planning

The “resort effect”: Can tourist islands act as refuges for coral reef species?

Moritz C, Ducarme F, Sweet MJ, Fox MD, Zgliczynski B, Ibrahim N, Basheer A, Furby KA, Caldwell ZR, Pisapia C, et al. The “resort effect”: Can tourist islands act as refuges for coral reef species? Beger M. Diversity and Distributions [Internet]. 2017 ;23(11):1301 - 1312. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ddi.12627/abstract
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article

Aim

There is global consensus that marine protected areas offer a plethora of benefits to the biodiversity within and around them. Nevertheless, many organisms threatened by human impacts also find shelter in unexpected or informally protected places. For coral reef organisms, refuges can be tourist resorts implementing local environment-friendly bottom-up management strategies. We used the coral reef ecosystem as a model to test whether such practices have positive effects on the biodiversity associated with de facto protected areas.

Location

North Ari Atoll, Maldives.

Methods

We modelled the effects of the environment and three human management regimes (tourist resorts, uninhabited and local community islands) on the abundance and diversity of echinoderms and commercially important fish species, the per cent cover of reef benthic organisms (corals, calcareous coralline algae, turf and macroalgae) and the proportion of coral disease. We used multivariate techniques to assess the differences between reef components among the management regimes.

Results

Reefs varied between the management regimes. A positive “resort effect” was found on sessile benthic organisms, with good coral cover and significantly less algae at resort islands. Corals were larger and had fewer diseases in uninhabited islands. Minor “resort effect” was detected on motile species represented by commercial fish and echinoderms.

Main conclusions

In countries where natural biodiversity strongly sustains the tourist sector and where local populations rely on natural resources, a balance between tourism development, local extraction practices and biodiversity conservation is necessary. The presence of eco-friendly managed resorts, which practices would need to be certified on the long term, is beneficial to protect certain organisms. House reefs around resorts could therefore provide areas adding to existing marine protected areas, while marine protection efforts in local community islands should focus on improving fishing management.

Cetacean rapid assessment: An approach to fill knowledge gaps and target conservation across large data deficient areas

Braulik GT, Kasuga M, Wittich A, Kiszka JJ, MacCaulay J, Gillespie D, Gordon J, Said SShaib, Hammond PS. Cetacean rapid assessment: An approach to fill knowledge gaps and target conservation across large data deficient areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.2833/full
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article
  1. Many species and populations of marine megafauna are undergoing substantial declines, while many are also very poorly understood. Even basic information on species presence is unknown for tens of thousands of kilometres of coastline, particularly in the developing world, which is a major hurdle to their conservation.
  2. Rapid ecological assessment is a valuable tool used to identify and prioritize areas for conservation; however, this approach has never been clearly applied to marine cetaceans. Here a rapid assessment protocol is outlined that will generate broad-scale, quantitative, baseline data on cetacean communities and potential threats, that can be conducted rapidly and cost-effectively across whole countries, or regions.
  3. The rapid assessment was conducted in Tanzania, East Africa, and integrated collection of data on cetaceans from visual, acoustic, and interview surveys with existing information from multiple sources, to provide low resolution data on cetacean community relative abundance, diversity, and threats. Four principal threats were evaluated and compared spatially using a qualitative scale: cetacean mortality in fishing gear (particularly gillnets); cetacean hunting, consumption or use by humans; shipping related collision risk and noise disturbance; and dynamite fishing.
  4. Ninety-one groups of 11 species of marine mammal were detected during field surveys. Potentially the most important area for cetaceans was the Pemba Channel, a deep, high-current waterway between Pemba Island and mainland Africa, where by far the highest relative cetacean diversity and high relative abundance were recorded, but which is also subject to threats from fishing.
  5. A rapid assessment approach can be applied in data deficient areas to quickly provide information on cetaceans that can be used by governments and managers for marine spatial planning, management of developments, and to target research activities into the most important locations.

Subsistence harvesting by a small community does not substantially compromise coral reef fish assemblages

Martin TSH, Connolly RM, Olds AD, Ceccarelli DM, Fenner DE, Schlacher TA, Beger M. Subsistence harvesting by a small community does not substantially compromise coral reef fish assemblages. ICES Journal of Marine Science [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/74/8/2191/3091776/Subsistence-harvesting-by-a-small-community-does
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $42.00
Type: Journal Article

Fisheries usually first remove large predators before switching to smaller species, causing lasting changes to fish community structure. Reef fish provide essential protein and income for many people, and the impacts of commercial and high-intensity subsistence fishing on reef fish are well documented. However, how fish communities respond to low levels of subsistence fishing using traditional techniques (fishing for food, few fishers) is less well understood. We use three atolls in the Marshall Islands as a model system to quantify effects of commercial and subsistence fishing on reef fish communities, compared to a near-pristine baseline. Unexpectedly, fish biomass was highest on the commercially-fished atoll where the assemblage was dominated by herbivores (50% higher than other atolls) and contained few top predators (70% lower than other atolls). By contrast, fish biomass and trophic composition did not differ between pristine and subsistence-fished atolls – top predators were abundant on both. We show that in some cases, reefs can support fishing by small communities to provide food but still retain intact fish assemblages. Low-intensity subsistence fishing may not always harm marine food webs, and we suggest that its effects depend on the style and intensity of fishing practised and the type of organisms targeted.

Conclusions: The Future of Shark Management and Conservation in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

Lowry D. Conclusions: The Future of Shark Management and Conservation in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Elsevier; 2017. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0065288117300263
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $31.50
Type: Book

Human interactions with sharks in the Northeast Pacific Ocean (NEP) have occurred for millennia but were largely limited to nearshore encounters as target and nontarget catch in fisheries. The arrival of Spanish explorers in the mid-1500s, followed by subsequent waves of explorers and colonizers from Europe and Russia, did little to change this relationship, until the mid-1800s. As technological advances conferred the ability to exploit marine fish further offshore and in deeper water, substantial fisheries developed and many of these encountered, and sometimes directly targeted, sharks. As these fisheries rose and fell with market demands and fluctuations in the abundance of target species, the collective consciousness of the nations fishing this region came to realize that adequate management plans with clear policy guidance rooted in conservation were crucial to sustaining both biodiversity and abundance of marine resources. With explicitly defined management regions governed by scientifically informed bodies that consider both societal and ecological needs, systems have been in place to manage and conserve marine species, including sharks, for over four decades now in the NEP. While policy evolution has largely limited directed fishing pressure as a threat for most shark species, bycatch is still a concern. Additionally, habitat degradation and destruction, ocean acidification, and global climate change are anticipated to fundamentally alter the ecosystems sharks are an integral part of in coming decades and centuries. Adequate conservation and management of sharks in the NEP, and around the world, moving into this period of uncertainty will rely upon comprehensive, integrated management of the ecosystem rooted in international coordination and cooperation. Far from being an unattainable goal, steps are being made each day to ‘move the needle’ in this direction—for the benefit of all.

Decision support framework for the prioritization of coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Pittman SJ, Poti M, Jeffrey CFG, Kracker LM, Mabrouk A. Decision support framework for the prioritization of coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ecological Informatics [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1574954117300614
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $39.95
Type: Journal Article

The coral reef ecosystems of the U.S. Virgin Islands are some of the most intensively surveyed and threatened tropical ecosystems on earth. These coral reefs vary widely in terms of biophysical structure, seascape context, socio-economic value and exposure to threats presenting a complex challenge for resilience-based management. How and where should managers prioritize actions to maximize conservation outcomes? To meet multiple conservation objectives, a novel map-based decision-support tool was designed which synthesized large amounts of data to help managers identify and rank coral reefs according to multiple ecological qualities, ecosystem services and threats. The spatial framework integrates local expert knowledge from SCUBA divers, scientific field data and spatial models to characterize and rank priority coral reefs. With user-defined flexibility, the tool provides information to guide management processes such as risk assessments of coastal development, management of protected areas, site selection in science and monitoring design, broader marine spatial planning and community education and outreach.

3D Spatial Conservation Prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments

Venegas-Li R, Levin N, Possingham H, Kark S. 3D Spatial Conservation Prioritisation: Accounting for depth in marine environments. Methods in Ecology and Evolution [Internet]. 2017 . Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/2041-210X.12896/
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $38.00
Type: Journal Article
  1. While marine environments are three-dimensional (3D) in nature, current approaches and tools for planning and prioritising actions in the ocean are predominantly two-dimensional. Here, we develop a novel 3D marine spatial conservation prioritisation approach, which explicitly accounts for the inherent vertical heterogeneity of the ocean. This enables both vertical and horizontal spatial prioritisation to be performed simultaneously. To our knowledge, this is the first endeavour to develop prioritisation of conservation actions in 3D.
  2. We applied the 3D spatial conservation prioritisation approach to the Mediterranean Sea as a case study. We first subdivided the Mediterranean Sea into 3D planning units by assigning them a z coordinate (representing depth). We further partitioned these 3D planning units vertically into three depth layers; this allowed us to quantify biodiversity (1,011 species and 19 geomorphic features) and the cost of conservation actions at different depths. We adapted the prioritisation software Marxan to identify 3D networks of sites where biodiversity conservation targets are achieved for the minimum cost.
  3. Using the 3D approach presented here, we identified networks of sites where conservation targets for all biodiversity features were achieved. Importantly, these networks included areas of the ocean where only particular depth layers along the water column were identified as priorities for conservation. The 3D approach also proved to be more cost efficient than the traditional 2D approach. Spatial priorities within the networks of sites selected were considerably different when comparing the 2D and 3D approaches.
  4. Prioritising in 3D allows conservation and marine spatial planners to target specific threats to specific conservation features, at specific depths in the ocean. This provides a platform to further integrate systematic conservation planning into the wider ongoing and future marine spatial planning and ocean zoning processes.

Impact of biology knowledge on the conservation and management of large pelagic sharks

Yokoi H, Ijima H, Ohshimo S, Yokawa K. Impact of biology knowledge on the conservation and management of large pelagic sharks. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2017 ;7(1). Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09427-3?WT.feed_name=subjects_conservation
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

Population growth rate, which depends on several biological parameters, is valuable information for the conservation and management of pelagic sharks, such as blue and shortfin mako sharks. However, reported biological parameters for estimating the population growth rates of these sharks differ by sex and display large variability. To estimate the appropriate population growth rate and clarify relationships between growth rate and relevant biological parameters, we developed a two-sex age-structured matrix population model and estimated the population growth rate using combinations of biological parameters. We addressed elasticity analysis and clarified the population growth rate sensitivity. For the blue shark, the estimated median population growth rate was 0.384 with a range of minimum and maximum values of 0.195–0.533, whereas those values of the shortfin mako shark were 0.102 and 0.007–0.318, respectively. The maturity age of male sharks had the largest impact for blue sharks, whereas that of female sharks had the largest impact for shortfin mako sharks. Hypotheses for the survival process of sharks also had a large impact on the population growth rate estimation. Both shark maturity age and survival rate were based on ageing validation data, indicating the importance of validating the quality of these data for the conservation and management of large pelagic sharks.

Global sea turtle conservation successes

Mazaris AD, Schofield G, Gkazinou C, Almpanidou V, Hays GC. Global sea turtle conservation successes. Science Advances [Internet]. 2017 ;3(9):e1600730. Available from: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/9/e1600730
Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No
Type: Journal Article

We document a tendency for published estimates of population size in sea turtles to be increasing rather than decreasing across the globe. To examine the population status of the seven species of sea turtle globally, we obtained 299 time series of annual nesting abundance with a total of 4417 annual estimates. The time series ranged in length from 6 to 47 years (mean, 16.2 years). When levels of abundance were summed within regional management units (RMUs) for each species, there were upward trends in 12 RMUs versus downward trends in 5 RMUs. This prevalence of more upward than downward trends was also evident in the individual time series, where we found 95 significant increases in abundance and 35 significant decreases. Adding to this encouraging news for sea turtle conservation, we show that even small sea turtle populations have the capacity to recover, that is, Allee effects appear unimportant. Positive trends in abundance are likely linked to the effective protection of eggs and nesting females, as well as reduced bycatch. However, conservation concerns remain, such as the decline in leatherback turtles in the Eastern and Western Pacific. Furthermore, we also show that, often, time series are too short to identify trends in abundance. Our findings highlight the importance of continued conservation and monitoring efforts that underpin this global conservation success story. 

Challenges and Priorities in Shark and Ray Conservation

Dulvy NK, Simpfendorfer CA, Davidson LNK, Fordham SV, Bräutigam A, Sant G, Welch DJ. Challenges and Priorities in Shark and Ray Conservation. Current Biology [Internet]. 2017 ;27(11):R565 - R572. Available from: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)30482-7
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $31.50
Type: Journal Article

Sharks, rays, and chimaeras (Class Chondrichthyes; herein 'sharks') are the earliest extant jawed vertebrates and exhibit some of the greatest functional diversity of all vertebrates. Ecologically, they influence energy transfer vertically through trophic levels and sometimes trophic cascades via direct consumption and predation risk. Through movements and migrations, they connect horizontally and temporally across habitats and ecosystems, integrating energy flows at large spatial scales and across time. This connectivity flows from ontogenetic growth in size and spatial movements, which in turn underpins their relatively low reproductive rates compared with other exploited ocean fishes. Sharks are also ecologically and demographically diverse and are taken in a wide variety of fisheries for multiple products (e.g. meat, fins, teeth, and gills). Consequently, a range of fisheries management measures are generally preferable to 'silver bullet' and 'one size fits all' conservation actions. Some species with extremely low annual reproductive output can easily become endangered and hence require strict protections to minimize mortality. Other, more prolific species can withstand fishing over the long term if catches are subject to effective catch limits throughout the species' range. We identify, based on the IUCN Red List status, 64 endangered species in particular need of new or stricter protections and 514 species in need of improvements to fisheries management. We designate priority countries for such actions, recognizing the widely differing fishing pressures and conservation capacity. We hope that this analysis assists efforts to ensure this group of ecologically important and evolutionarily distinct animals can support both ocean ecosystems and human activities in the future.

Management and conservation at the International Whaling Commission: A dichotomy sandwiched within a shifting baseline

B. Vernazzani G, Burkhardt-Holm P, Cabrera E, I??guez M, Luna F, Parsons ECM, Ritter F, Rodr?guez-Fonseca J, Sironi M, Stachowitsch M. Management and conservation at the International Whaling Commission: A dichotomy sandwiched within a shifting baseline. Marine Policy [Internet]. 2017 ;83:164 - 171. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308597X17302464
Freely available?: 
No
Summary available?: 
No
Approximate cost to purchase or rent this item from the publisher: 
US $35.95
Type: Journal Article

The International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Scientific Committee provides important advice to the IWC on a large variety of cetacean species, sub-species and populations and the issues affecting them. Cetaceans are facing increasing, non-whaling-related threats, and the Scientific Committee (SC), in accordance with the Commission's requests, has strengthened its conservation-oriented research work. A selection of the reports of the Scientific Committee from between 1986 and 2012 was assessed for its: (i) fundamental research; (ii) management; (iii) conservation; and (iv) administrative content, and to identify potential trends over time. Recommendations and their urgency were also examined, as implied from the language used by the SC in its reports. The analysis showed that the work of the Scientific Committee has increasingly been oriented towards conservation issues over the period reviewed, but at the same time this conservation work has received little funding. Increased support for conservation-related research projects is warranted to promote the long-term survival of cetaceans. Based on this review of the content and focus of the Committee reports, the analysis suggested that its issued advice be made clearer, whenever possible, and governments are urged to give due consideration to this science-based advice particularly when urgent conservation actions are needed. In addition, more consistent funding of the IWC's conservation-related research should be pursued to improve international conservation outputs regarding cetacean populations.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Conservation Targets & Planning