The Baltic species live on the edge of their tolerance limits. They face environmental challenges, such as temperature and salinity gradients, large hypoxic/anoxic regions, and also human induced eutrophication and high fishing pressure. In my PhD project I want to understand the predator-prey interactions between cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and how they are framed by a combination of processes: fishing ex- ploitation, climate variability and density dependence. I will address this question with the help of multi-species modelling. Knowledge of study species and system is required to build a good model. This essay covers information on biology of cod, herring and sprat, interaction between them and environment challenges they face. Previous approaches used in studying predator-prey interactions in Baltic are re- viewed and analysed.
Ecosystem-based Management (EBM)
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) represents a comprehensive approach to better govern the environment that also illustrates the collaborative trend in policy and public administration. The need for stakeholder involvement and collaboration is strongly articulated, yet how and for what purposes collaboration would be effective remains largely untested. We address this gap by developing and evaluating a set of hypotheses specifying how certain patterns of collaborations among actors affect their joint ability to accomplish EBM. Content analyses of management plans drawn from five EBM planning processes in Sweden are combined with analyses of the collaborative networks through which these plans have been developed. Our results indicate that system thinking and the ability to integrate across different management phases are favored by collaborations between different kinds of actors, and by project leaders being centrally located in the networks. We also find that dense substructures of collaboration increase the level of specificity in the plans in regards to explicating constraints on human activities. Having many collaborative ties does however not enhance the overall level of specificity. Our results also show that different network characteristics can give rise to similar EBM outcomes. This observed equifinality suggests there is no single blueprint for well-performing collaborative networks.
Ecosystem management (EM) suffers from linguistic uncertainty surrounding the definition of “EM” and how it can be operationalized. Using fisheries management as an example, we clarify how EM exists in different paradigms along a continuum, starting with a single-species focus and building towards a more systemic and multi-sector perspective. Focusing on the specification of biological and other systemic reference points (SRPs) used in each paradigm and its related regulatory and governance structures, we compare and contrast similarities among these paradigms. We find that although EM is a hierarchical continuum, similar SRPs can be used throughout the continuum, but the scope of these reference points are broader at higher levels of management. This work interprets the current state of the conversation, and may help to clarify the levels of how EM is applied now and how it can be applied in the future, further advancing its implementation.
Balanced harvesting has been proposed as a way for fisheries management to achieve the requirements of both the Law of the Sea Convention (LOSC)—to maintain stocks at the level at which they could produce MSY—and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)—to maintain ecosystem structure and functioning. This paper examines these requirements and briefly presents four system-level relationships (spectra), representing ecosystem structures that might guide management decision-making aiming to meet both requirements. These spectra would fit in the widely accepted frameworks of the Ecosystem Approach enshrined in the CBD and adopted by FAO for Fisheries. A size spectrum, relating biomass to body length, is used as an example to illustrate its potential to support management decision-making—much like present stock-based harvest control rules—in more ecosystem-compliant fishing strategies at a sector or ecosystem level, as a complement to those currently used at a stock/population level.
Despite the importance of coral reef ecosystems to the social and economic welfare of coastal communities, the condition of these marine ecosystems have generally degraded over the past decades. With an increased knowledge of coral reef ecosystem processes and a rise in computer power, dynamic models are useful tools in assessing the synergistic effects of local and global stressors on ecosystem functions. We review representative approaches for dynamically modeling coral reef ecosystems and categorize them as minimal, intermediate and complex models. The categorization was based on the leading principle for model development and their level of realism and process detail. This review aims to improve the knowledge of concurrent approaches in coral reef ecosystem modeling and highlights the importance of choosing an appropriate approach based on the type of question(s) to be answered. We contend that minimal and intermediate models are generally valuable tools to assess the response of key states to main stressors and, hence, contribute to understanding ecological surprises. As has been shown in freshwater resources management, insight into these conceptual relations profoundly influences how natural resource managers perceive their systems and how they manage ecosystem recovery. We argue that adaptive resource management requires integrated thinking and decision support, which demands a diversity of modeling approaches. Integration can be achieved through complimentary use of models or through integrated models that systemically combine all relevant aspects in one model. Such whole-of-system models can be useful tools for quantitatively evaluating scenarios. These models allow an assessment of the interactive effects of multiple stressors on various, potentially conflicting, management objectives. All models simplify reality and, as such, have their weaknesses. While minimal models lack multidimensionality, system models are likely difficult to interpret as they require many efforts to decipher the numerous interactions and feedback loops. Given the breadth of questions to be tackled when dealing with coral reefs, the best practice approach uses multiple model types and thus benefits from the strength of different models types.
Multispecies fisheries pose a considerable management difficulty with respect to quota allocation between species. The distribution of total allowable catches (TACs) between species without considering fish community structure is altering the trophic interactions in the ecosystem and consequently impacts the natural productivity and the profitability of fishing. This paper aims to develop a methodological framework for assessing the composition and distribution of TACs within a heterogeneous fleet in a multispecies interaction system. The advantage of the presented approach combining a multispecies biological model with an economic model of individual vessel decisions is a possibility to analyze the harvest choice in the context of dynamic and changing conditions, where each action has a consequence for the future.
An empirical application is provided for the Polish Baltic Sea fleet, where the most valuable target species is cod. The regulatory body sets the annual quota based on the target fishing mortality varying between scenarios. The net present value of the fishery in each scenario is compared by simulating stock changes over time and paired with stock collapse probability estimates.
Since 1996, the watershed approach (i.e., the inclusive use of watershed information) has been a hallmark concept in ecosystem restoration site location. In 2008, federal regulators required use of the watershed approach in siting compensatory mitigation for aquatic impacts regulated under the U.S. Clean Water Act. However, regulations fell short of requiring full watershed plans, which could have required stakeholder involvement and inter-institutional coordination. Little work has evaluated how the watershed approach or planning position mitigation sites in the landscape. Has the watershed approach or watershed planning been successful in targeting restoration sites where they are needed? The North Carolina Division of Mitigation Services (DMS; formerly the NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program), a state agency, has implemented the watershed approach and extensive watershed planning to focus restoration investments. Through a multi-step planning program, the DMS employs a watershed approach to gauge the need of 12-digit watersheds for restoration. In some cases, an intensive local watershed planning process follows this targeting effort. We tested the effect of the program’s watershed targeting approach (n = 710) and local watershed planning efforts (n = 147) on increasing the frequency of wetland and stream mitigation projects (n = 480) in each of the state’s 1741 12-digit watersheds (1998–2012). We find that while the watershed approach is successful at guiding restoration to targeted watersheds over space and time, the impacts of watershed planning are more nebulous, with important but weaker panel-effects. Our findings highlight the importance of plan quality and data management in using a watershed approach to target restoration sites effectively.
We explore how marine ecosystem–based management (EBM) is translated from theory to practice at six sites with varying ecological and institutional contexts. Based on these case studies, we report on the goals, strategies, and outcomes of each project and what we can learn from these efforts to guide future implementation and assessment. In particular, we focus on how projects dealt with the challenges of working across geographic scales and diverse governance arrangements. While we hypothesized that EBM in the United States would be distinct from EBM in developing countries due to differences in social and political factors, we found that sites faced similar challenges. Variation among sites appeared to be more closely related to the preexisting management context and the scale at which the projects began rather than to clear differences between the United States and developing country contexts. EBM project implementers were able to overcome many of these challenges by focusing on a limited number of specific objectives, starting at a small scale, pursuing adaptive management, and monitoring a diverse set of indicators. These findings are directly relevant to current and future EBM efforts in these and other places.
The careful preparations were rewarded yesterday and an important goal reached upon finalization of the Guideline for the implementation of ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea area. The HELCOM-VASAB MSP Working Group agreed on the procedurally oriented guideline which will help applying the ecosystem-based approach in MSP in practice, being also in accordance with spatial planning legislation in force in the Baltic Sea countries.
This guideline fulfils, on schedule, the commitment made in the Regional Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Roadmap (2013-2020), adopted at the HELCOM 2013 Ministerial Meeting and the VASAB 2014 Ministerial Conference. The ecosystem approach has been agreed as an overall principle for MSP.
The Guideline takes into account the relevant legal and policy context for the ecosystem-based approach, such as Helsinki Convention, HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the Joint HELCOM-VASAB MSP Principles, applicable to all Baltic coastal states and the EU, as well key EU requirements applicable to its members. Furthermore, it lists the key elements to consider when applying the approach, such as deploying best available knowledge and practice; precaution; developing alternatives; identification of ecosystem services; and so forth.
The definition of the ecosystem-based approach used in the Guideline is as follows, as adopted jointly by HELCOM-OSPAR in 2003: "the comprehensive integrated management of human activities based on the best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to identify and take action on influences which are critical to the health of marine ecosystems, thereby achieving sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.
While there are as yet no wind energy facilities in New England coastal waters, a number of wind turbine projects are now operating on land adjacent to the coast. In the Gulf of Maine region (from Maine to Massachusetts), at least two such projects, one in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and another on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, began operation with public backing only to face subsequent opposition from some who were initially project supporters. I investigate the reasons for this dynamic using content analysis of documents related to wind energy facility development in three case study communities. For comparison and contrast with the Vinalhaven and Falmouth case studies, I examine materials from Hull, Massachusetts, where wind turbine construction and operation has received steady public support and acceptance. My research addresses the central question: What does case study analysis of the siting and initial operation of three wind energy projects in the Gulf of Maine region reveal that can inform future governance of wind energy in Massachusetts state coastal waters? I consider the question with specific attention to governance of wind energy in Massachusetts, then explore ways in which the research results may be broadly transferable in the U.S. coastal context. I determine that the change in local response noted in Vinalhaven and Falmouth may have arisen from a failure of consistent inclusion of stakeholders throughout the entire scoping-to-siting process, especially around the reporting of environmental impact studies. I find that, consistent with the principles of ecosystem-based and adaptive management, design of governance systems may require on-going cycles of review and adjustment before the implementation of such systems as intended is achieved in practice. I conclude that evolving collaborative processes must underlie science and policy in our approach to complex environmental and wind energy projects; indeed, collaborative process is fundamental to the successful governance of such projects, including any that may involve development of wind energy in the Massachusetts coastal zone or beyond. Three supplemental files of coded data accompany this dissertation.