Combating illegal and destructive resource exploitation in the Coral Triangle is central to ensuring the long-term effective management of fisheries, marine protected areas, and climate change adaptation efforts. This article presents results of an investigation of the perceived level of local compliance and enforcement with marine resource rules and regulations and evaluates the effectiveness or potential for community-supported enforcement efforts in the Coral Triangle region. The findings are consistent with those of the literature on compliance and enforcement that any compliance and enforcement system must not only use deterrence, but also be perceived by fishers as being legitimate, fair, accountable and equitable and the need for developing a personal morality and a social environment that supports compliance. There is an opportunity to strategically build on shared value and cultural norms that can promote collaborative fisheries management as a mechanism to increase compliance through non-coercive efforts. Strengthening the long-term capacity for consistent delivery of local support to marine management and enforcement will increase local compliance rates through time.
There is a growing need to identify shark products in trade, in part due to the recent listing of five commercially important species on the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES; porbeagle, Lamna nasus, oceanic whitetip, Carcharhinus longimanus scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, smooth hammerhead, S. zygaena and great hammerhead S. mokarran) in addition to three species listed in the early part of this century (whale, Rhincodon typus, basking, Cetorhinus maximus, and white, Carcharodon carcharias). Shark fins are traded internationally to supply the Asian dried seafood market, in which they are used to make the luxury dish shark fin soup. Shark fins usually enter international trade with their skin still intact and can be identified using morphological characters or standard DNA-barcoding approaches. Once they reach Asia and are traded in this region the skin is removed and they are treated with chemicals that eliminate many key diagnostic characters and degrade their DNA (“processed fins”). Here, we present a validated mini-barcode assay based on partial sequences of the cytochrome oxidase I gene that can reliably identify the processed fins of seven of the eight CITES listed shark species. We also demonstrate that the assay can even frequently identify the species or genus of origin of shark fin soup (31 out of 50 samples).
No-take marine reserves (NTMRs) are increasingly being established to conserve or restore biodiversity and to enhance the sustainability of fisheries. Although effectively designed and protected NTMR networks can yield conservation and fishery benefits, reserve effects often fail to manifest in systems where there are high levels of non-compliance by fishers (poaching). Obtaining reliable estimates of NTMR non-compliance can be expensive and logistically challenging, particularly in areas with limited or non-existent resources for conducting surveillance and enforcement. Here we assess the utility of density estimates and re-accumulation rates of derelict (lost and abandoned) fishing line as a proxy for fishing effort and NTMR non-compliance on fringing coral reefs in three island groups of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), Australia. Densities of derelict fishing line were consistently lower on reefs within old (>20 year) NTMRs than on non-NTMR reefs (significantly in the Palm and Whitsunday Islands), whereas line densities did not differ significantly between reefs in new NTMRs (5 years of protection) and non-NTMR reefs. A manipulative experiment in which derelict fishing lines were removed from a subset of the monitoring sites demonstrated that lines re-accumulated on NTMR reefs at approximately one third (32.4%) of the rate observed on non-NTMR reefs over a thirty-two month period. Although these inshore NTMRs have long been considered some of the best protected within the GBRMP, evidence presented here suggests that the level of non-compliance with NTMR regulations is higher than previously assumed.
MPAs and stakeholder education are marine conservation cornerstones, but data to assess adherence to regulations and the success of educational methods are missing. Local MPAs have been established to protect inter-tidal mudflats and shore users from bait collection which is a contentious worldwide issue. Video cameras monitored activity and confirmed if collectors adhered to the rules at three UK sites with different MPA systems. An educational approach (a voluntary code leaflet) was also assessed through stakeholder discussion and observation. Fareham Creek and Dell Quay supported a considerable number of collectors with none observed at Pagham Harbour. At Fareham Creek bait dug areas were evident in discrete patches in unprotected and protected areas, but observed collectors mainly used the latter. The failure to exclude collectors is due to the lack of enforcement. At Dell Quay virtually all dug areas were outside protected areas and was confirmed by the camera footage. Success is attributed to regular on-the-ground ‘unofficial’ enforcement by the managing NGO. Of the retailers, 75% had heard of the code and the majority stated they followed it. However, none of the 26 collectors observed followed a key rule (e.g. backfilling holes). Local marine conservation is relatively cheap and can be effective, but only if: management matches the actual pressure; scientific evaluation for all components (including education) is integrated from the beginning; adequate site enforcement is included; education methods are active, two-way and sustained.