Fisheries can have significant impacts on the structure and function of marine ecosystems, including impacts on habitats and non-target species. As a result, management agencies face growing calls to account for the ecosystem impacts of fishing, while navigating the political and economic interests of diverse stakeholders. This paper assesses the impacts of two specific factors on the attitudes and well-being of shrimp fishers in the context of a selective fisheries closure designed to protect crabs in the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: (1) the species portfolios of fishers; and (2) democratic rulemaking. The results of this analysis suggest that shrimp fishers were more likely to support selective closures for the shrimp fishery if they also fished for crab, and felt they had an influence on the management of the fishery. The results further indicate that species portfolio diversification had a positive and statistically significant impact on the subjective economic well-being of fishers. This study contributes to an emerging literature on the human dimensions of ecosystem-based fisheries management, highlighting opportunities to address trade-offs in fisheries through species diversification and by enhancing the role and influence of fishers in management processes.
Ecosystem-based Management (EBM)
Marine policy and management has to cope with a plethora of human activities that cause pressures leading to changes to the natural and human systems. Accordingly, it requires many policy and management responses to address traditional, cultural, social, ecological, technical, and economic policy objectives. Because of this, we advocate that a fully-structured approach using the IEC/ISO 31010 Bow-tie analysis will allow all elements to be integrated for a cost-effective system.
This industry-standard system, described here with examples for the marine environment, will fulfil many of the demands by the users and uses of the marine system and the regulators of those users and uses. It allows for bridging several aspects: the management and environmental sciences, the management complexity and governance demands, the natural and social sciences and socio-economics and outcomes. Most importantly, the use of the Bow-tie approach bridges systems analysis and ecosystem complexity. At a time when scientific decisions in policy making and implementation are under question, we conclude that it provides a rigorous, transparent and defendable system of decision-making.
A comparison of a Norwegian and two Canadian management plans reveals that most of the measures in the Norwegian plan were put into practice, whereas the Canadian plans did not result in the implementation of any new measures. This paper applies implementation theory to explain the different results. First, there is a striking difference in the leadership of the two governments and the way they organized for the planning. The Norwegian government led the process in a top-down manner and tried to apply a “whole-of-government” approach. The Canadian government delegated the entire task to the regional branches of one ministry alone. The different roles taken may be explained by different political and economic contexts that create different motivations for the governments to engage. Second, there were different ways of deciding when conflicts arose. The Norwegian coalition government negotiated internal compromises in the form of package deals. In Canada, the collaborative planning based on consensus concealed disagreements in high-level statements and pushed concrete solutions forward to later action planning that never occurred. These processes reflect different national policy styles and resulted in policy designs that created a very different impetus for implementation. The analysis demonstrate how theory-driven case-study methodology can lead to cumulative results.
Climate change, in combination with population growth, is placing increasing pressure on the world’s oceans and their resources. This is threatening sustainability and societal wellbeing. Responding to these complex and synergistic challenges requires holistic management arrangements. To this end, ecosystem-based management (EBM) promises much by recognising the need to manage the ecosystem in its entirety, including the human dimensions. However, operationalisation of EBM in the marine environment has been slow. One reason may be a lack of the inter-disciplinary science required to address complex social–ecological marine systems. In the present paper, we synthesise the collective experience of the authors to explore progress in integrating natural and social sciences in marine EBM research, illustrating actual and potential contributions. We identify informal barriers to and incentives for this type of research. We find that the integration of natural and social science has progressed at most stages of the marine EBM cycle; however, practitioners do not yet have the capacity to address all of the problems that have led to the call for inter-disciplinary research. In addition, we assess how we can support the next generation of researchers to undertake the effective inter-disciplinary research required to assist with operationalising marine EBM, particularly in a changing climate.
Growing awareness of the role of marine spatial planning (MSP) in promoting sustainable development and ecosystem-based management highlights the need to use decision-support tools, and specifically ecological modelling tools, to consider the future impact of planning and management on the marine environment. However, how these tools can be incorporated into planning and their expected contribution is not always clear. Here, an Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecospace food-web model was used in a hypothetical planning process to examine the integration of food-web tools in specific stages of MSP. The model was used to examine spatial alternatives and management strategies for Orot Rabin coastal infrastructure facility in the Israeli Mediterranean coast, in an attempt to assess how such facilities might promote marine conservation. The results revealed the effect of different management protocols on the ecosystem, and provide the maximum allowable catch for sustaining the biomass of vulnerable fish species in the area, which can be used in MSP to address specific marine conservation goals. The model led to counterintuitive understandings regarding the management of the area. It demonstrated that intensive development under specific management strategies may promote conservation goals better than some management strategies directed towards ecological and recreational purposes. This study confirms the potential usefulness of food-web models for MSP; it specifies the stages and means by which planners can use models. Furthermore, it is suggested that tool's development should be planning-oriented and should include more applications to serve planners who aim to promote ecosystem-based management and marine conservation goals.
With our growing global population, over-consumption of natural resources and concomitant depletion, demands are placed on the scientific community to provide information, including suitable management of coastal ecosystems. However, the nature-society relationship is highly dynamic and complex and requires a framework which can accommodate options. In coastal systems, poor resource management is among the main causes of its degradation. As such, impacts arising from climate change, including sea-level rise, has forced an increase in the demand for sustainable coastal ecosystem science to inform management decisions. The realization of current and future sustainability objectives depends on the development and implementation of coherent strategies on managing dynamic ecosystems for retaining their ability to undergo disturbance, while maintaining their services, functions and control mechanisms. This paper provides a review of the basic assumptions, typical frameworks and methodologies that are adopted for (i) sustainability and sustainable management, (ii) ecosystem services and ecosystem management and (iii) coastal ecosystem management applications in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Finally, limitations for sustainable coastal ecosystem management are discussed and recommendations are made which can inform research in sustainability science.
Ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) is often termed triple bottom line because it takes into account ecological, economic and social criteria. Effective implementation of EBFM requires development of appropriate governance structures for decision-making processes and management, so governance effectiveness and efficiency can be regarded as the fourth element in a ‘quadruple bottom line.’ Few fisheries have explicitly considered all four criteria within their resource assessments and harvest strategies. Furthermore, as some of these objectives may be in competition (e.g. employment levels, profit), a simultaneous evaluation of these criteria is required to identify the optimal level of fishing to deliver the best overall community outcome.
The western rock lobster, Panulirus cygnus, resource in Western Australia is used as an EBFM case study by evaluating: sustainability of target species and effects on ecosystem and protected species; economics of the fishery; effect on employment, coastal communities and quality of recreational fishing; and governance effectiveness including explicit sectoral catch allocations, and the efficiency of monitoring and compliance systems.
In 2010 the fishery moved from effort-controlled maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to a quota-controlled, maximum economic yield (MEY) system. This study explicitly examined how different levels of harvesting across the MSY to MEY range affected each of ten EBFM criteria. We confirmed that these individual objectives were maximised at different total allowable commercial catches. However an example is provided for weighting of objectives from a possible management perspective that identified the upper end of the MEY range as likely to generate the optimum outcome for this fishery.
The Hawaiian Islands are home to a complex and dynamic marine ecosystem that serves as a backbone to the state's economy and society's well-being. The marine ecosystem currently faces numerous threats that undermine ecosystem integrity and compromise socially valuable ecosystem services. The socio-economic and ecological complexity of the region invokes a clear need for ecosystem-based management (EBM) strategies. To support EBM development, participatory methods were used to gather expert and place-based knowledge from resource managers, scientists, and community members. Methods elicited local values, fostered diverse relationships, and increased community engagement in resource management. Using information collected, Conceptual ecosystemmodels were developed guided by the Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response framework that identify and quantify the strength of socio-economic and ecological interactions. The resulting models illustrate the complexity of system dynamics, highlighting connectivity between pressures and the ecosystem, with direct implications for ecosystem services. Importantly, many identified pressures occur at the local scale, presenting an opportunity for local resource management to directly affect ecosystem status. This study also found that many of the strongly impacted ecosystem services were cultural ecosystem services, which are critical to human well-being but lack integration into resource management. These models support an Integrated Ecosystem Assessment of the region by informing ecosystem-based strategies, facilitating the selection of ecosystem monitoring indicators, and emphasizing human dimensions.
Coral reefs provide food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people as well as harbour some of the highest regions of biodiversity in the ocean. However, overexploitation, land‐use change and other local anthropogenic threats to coral reefs have left many degraded. Additionally, coral reefs are faced with the dual emerging threats of ocean warming and acidification due to rising CO2 emissions, with dire predictions that they will not survive the century. This review evaluates the impacts of climate change on coral reef organisms, communities and ecosystems, focusing on the interactions between climate change factors and local anthropogenic stressors. It then explores the shortcomings of existing management and the move towards ecosystem‐based management and resilience thinking, before highlighting the need for climate change‐ready marine protected areas (MPAs), reduction in local anthropogenic stressors, novel approaches such as human‐assisted evolution and the importance of sustainable socialecological systems. It concludes that designation of climate change‐ready MPAs, integrated with other management strategies involving stakeholders and participation at multiple scales such as marine spatial planning, will be required to maximise coral reef resilience under climate change. However, efforts to reduce carbon emissions are critical if the long‐term efficacy of local management actions is to be maintained and coral reefs are to survive.
A holistic basis for achieving ecosystem‐based management is needed to counter the continuing degradation of coral reefs. The high variation in recovery rates of fish, corresponding to fisheries yields, and the ecological complexity of coral reefs have challenged efforts to estimate fisheries sustainability. Yet, estimating stable yields can be determined when biomass, recovery, changes in per area yields and ecological change are evaluated together. Long‐term rates of change in yields and fishable biomass‐yield ratios have been the key missing variables for most coral reef assessments. Calibrating a fishery yield model using independently collected fishable biomass and recovery data produced large confidence intervals driven by high variability in biomass recovery rates that precluded accurate or universal yields for coral reefs. To test the model's predictions, I present changes in Kenyan reef fisheries for >20 years. Here, exceeding yields above 6 tonnes km−2 year−1 when fishable biomass was ~20 tonnes/km2 (~20% of unfished biomass) resulted in a >2.4% annual decline. Therefore, rates of decline fit the mean settings well and model predictions may therefore be used as a benchmark in reefs with mean recovery rates (i.e. r = 0.20–0.25). The mean model settings indicate a maximum sustained yield (MSY) of ~6 tonnes km−2 year−1 when fishable biomass was ~50 tonnes/km2. Variable reported recovery rates indicate that high sustainable yields will depend greatly on maintaining these rates, which can be reduced if productivity declines and management of stocks and functional diversity are ineffective. A number of ecological state‐yield trade‐off occurs as abrupt ecological changes prior to biomass levels that produce MSY.