The governance frameworks for Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP) and Shark Bay Marine Park (SBMP) are explored, employing the MPA governance analysis framework. Both face similar conflicts typical of ecotourism, particularly related to the impacts of recreational fishing and marine wildlife tourism. A high diversity of incentives is found to be used, the combination of which promotes effectiveness in achieving conservation objectives and equity in governance. Highly evolved regulations have provided for depleted spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus) stocks in NMP to stabilise and begin recovery, and pink snapper (Pagrus auratus) stocks in SBMP to recover from past depletions, though there are still concerns about recreational fishing impacts. The governance frameworks for marine wildlife tourism are considered extremely good practice. Some incentives need strengthening in both cases, particularly capacity for enforcement, penalties for deterrence and cross-jurisdictional coordination. In NMP there was also a need to promote transparency in making research and monitoring results available, and to address tensions with the recreational fishing sector by building linkages to provide for their specific representation, as part of a strategy to build trust and cooperation with this sector. Both case studies represent world-leading good practice in addressing proximal impacts from local activities, but in the longer-term the foundation species of both marine parks are critically threatened by the distal impacts of climate change. A diversity of incentives has promoted resilience in the short-term, but global action to mitigate climate change is the only way to promote the long-term resilience of these iconic marine ecosystems.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
Climate change and dramatic change to ocean ecosystems are two of the leading indicators of the proposed ‘Anthropocene’ epoch. As knowledge of feedbacks between climate change and damage to ocean ecosystems has improved, the case for addressing these interrelated challenges concurrently has strengthened. This chapter begins by reviewing the relationship between climate change and the state of the ocean as explained in recent scientific publications. It proceeds from this to summarise how this ocean-climate nexus is addressed in current and developing international law, before focusing on three particular examples: first, regulation of international shipping emissions; second, management of coastal ecosystems (‘blue carbon’); and third, the current negotiation on a new treaty to protect the high seas. These three examples illustrate the diversity of regulation undertaken within a four-square matrix of processes under the Climate Convention, or under the Law of the Sea Convention, which are based on either mandatory commitments or non-binding facilitative measures. The chapter concludes that there are further opportunities to address ocean-climate feedbacks in a targeted and timely manner, including through additional linkages between UNFCCC- and UNCLOS-based processes.
States at the United Nations have begun negotiating a new treaty to strengthen the legal regime for marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Failure to ensure the full scope of fish biodiversity is covered could result in thousands of species continuing to slip through the cracks of a fragmented global ocean governance framework.
Over the past 70 years, commercial fisheries have expanded farther and deeper into the open ocean1,2,3,4, impacting many forms of marine biodiversity that exist in areas beyond national jurisdictions (ABNJ; generally, the area beyond 200 nautical miles from shore)5,6. The growth of other industries, such as shipping, has further expanded the presence of humans in the open ocean, while new activities, such as seabed mining, are on the horizon1. These impacts are compounded by the effects of a changing climate, deoxygenation and ocean acidification7,8,9.
In 2017, after more than a decade of informal discussions at the United Nations (UN) regarding gaps in the legal framework for the conservation and management of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (known as the BBNJ process), states agreed to convene an intergovernmental conference for the negotiation of an legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (an ‘implementing agreement’)10.
The agreement to launch the negotiations was partly achieved by the consensus that any new instrument “should not undermine existing legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies”10. This has generally been assumed to mean that the new instrument should complement and strengthen the existing framework and prevent the adoption of weaker or dissonant management measures. However, a small number of states wish to see commercial fisheries (including all forms of fish biodiversity, which they group as a commercial resource whether or not it is harvested) excluded from a new agreement and are concerned that any new provisions will inevitably undermine existing fisheries management bodies. However, there is a significant difference between the number of fish species subject to management and the number of fish species in ABNJ that may be impacted by commercial fishing activities. As fish are a major component of marine biodiversity in ABNJ and have a major role in marine ecosystem functioning, it is important to understand what regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) are in fact responsible for monitoring and managing. Here, we contrast fish biodiversity estimates in ABNJ with a comprehensive database of existing fish population assessments to help delineate the current competencies of RFMOs and identify areas of improvement that could be addressed both through the new agreement as well as by strengthening the mandates and actions taken by such bodies.
We first describe the overarching legal framework for high-seas fisheries, then enumerate how many fish species are either targeted, affected or simply unstudied and potentially at risk of slipping through the cracks of the current management arrangements. The final section analyses how these gaps are relevant to ongoing negotiations at the UN for a new treaty and concludes with specific recommendations.
This research presents a governance analysis of an Indonesian marine protected area (MPA) during the early phases of its implementation – Nusa Penida District Marine Conservation Area. Attention is drawn to the importance of participatory and communication incentives in the design and implementation stages of the MPA, which were largely facilitated through the actions of overseas and domestic non-governmental organisations. Following the official designation of the MPA, management responsibility transferred to district government and state institutions, leading to a considerable reduction in the strength of incentives and uncertainty over leadership amongst local stakeholders. The implications of this situation are discussed and recommendations for future management are identified.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) seeks to integrate traditionally disconnected oceans activities, management arrangements, and practices through a rational and comprehensive governance system. This article explores the emerging critical literature on MSP, focusing on key elements of MSP engaged by scholars: (1) planning discourse and narrative; (2) ocean economies and equity; (3) online ocean data and new digital ontologies; and (4) new and broad networks of ocean actors. The implications of these elements are then illustrated through a discussion of MSP in the United States. Critical scholars are beginning to go beyond applied or operational critiques of MSP projects to engage the underlying assumptions, practices, and relationships involved in planning. Interrogating MSP with interdisciplinary ideas drawn from critical social science disciplines, such as emerging applications of relational theory at sea, can provide insights into how MSP and other megaprojects both close and open new opportunities for social and environmental well-being.
This paper presents an analysis of key elements contributing towards current and future prospects for governance in two MPAs in the Pacific Region of Guatemala. The paper follows the Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) empirical framework through the use of economic, interpretative, knowledge, legal and participative incentives that assess the effectiveness of governance. The first MPA is the Multiple Use Area of Monterrico that is governed through a co-management approach by the Centre of Conservation Studies of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (CECON-USAC), whilst the second is Guatemala's only privately-owned marine protected area, La Chorrera-Manchón Guamuchal Reserve. The results highlight that the differences in the way they are governed have significantly shaped the effectiveness of governance. In the case of Monterrico, the limited state capacity and cross-jurisdictional coordination among stakeholders has resulted in weak economic and legal incentives, where efforts have failed to develop the necessary participatory approach to management. As a result, environmental degradation and increasing urban development is apparent, which have proven difficult to manage by the park management authority. Conversely, La Chorrera-Manchón Guamuchal has developed a governance approach based on local community involvement, which has proven successful for conservation and management initiatives for the reserve. Management is characterized by strong leadership, which has proven to be the underlying difference in both MPAs. However, the fate of the reserve is uncertain, as there is no long-term planning for success. Future prospects for effective governance are recommended, where efforts should primarily foster state involvement and political will.
The Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR) has faced major governance challenges since its designation in 1998, largely due to the driving forces of immigration from the mainland; a heterogeneous population that has a mainland rather than an island identity; increasing demand for marine resources from global seafood markets; and the rapid growth of tourism. Until recently, the pressures related to these driving forces had challenged measures to promote the effectiveness of the GMR. Decisions taken through the participatory management structure were often undermined by a combination of civil unrest, illegal activities and lack of enforcement. A recent period of relative political stability, coupled with several new measures to address these driving forces, has improved the potential effectiveness of the governance framework. These measures include controls on immigration, the use of remote surveillance technologies to enforce fishing restrictions and a system for the improved management of tourism vessels. Whilst participative and economic incentives will continue to be important, increasing political will to promote long-term sustainability and related improvements in the use of legal incentives, including enforcement technologies and effective prosecutions for those who breach restrictions, are likely to be key elements of the governance framework. It is argued that these measures, coupled with the emergence of a more marine-aware generation of Galápagos citizens, should pave the way for major improvements in the effectiveness of the GMR, hopefully sufficiently strengthening the governance framework to withstand the major driving forces that could otherwise perturb it.
This paper examines governance effectiveness of the Wildlife Refuge of Punta de Manabique (RVSPM), the first recognized marine protected area in Guatemala. The analysis follows the Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) empirical framework through the use of incentives (economic, interpretative, knowledge, legal and participative) that evaluate the effectiveness of governance. Our results highlight that strategic alliances between some local communities and NGOs have successfully provided economic and participatory incentives for better management. However, efforts to develop an integrated or collaborative management system that promotes sustainable resource use across all stakeholder groups have failed. As a result, environmental degradation is increasing at an alarming rate, set against a backdrop of declining management effectiveness. Under this scenario, future prospects for governance should revise participatory incentives and strengthen legal incentives, which should be backed by strong political will. In addition, efforts should continue to foster opportunities for regional collaborations as an essential element for improved governance of the RVSPM and as a foundation to effectively manage natural and cultural resources in the wider Mesoamerican Reef region.
Fisheries co-management is an increasingly globalized concept, and a cornerstone of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication, adopted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization member states in 2014. Timor-Leste is a politically young country in the relatively rare position of having underexploited fisheries in some areas that can be leveraged to improve coastal livelihood outcomes and food and nutrition security. The collaborative and decentralized characteristics of co-management appeal to policymakers in Timor-Leste with provisions for co-management and customary laws applied to resource use were incorporated into state law in 2004 and again reinforced in 2012 revisions. The first fisheries co-management pilots have commenced where management arrangements have been codified through tara bandu, a process of setting local laws built around ritual practice that prohibits nominated activities under threat of spiritual and material sanctions. To date, however, there has been little critical evaluation of the suitability or potential effectiveness of co-management or tara bandu in the Timor-Leste fisheries context. To address this gap, we adapted the interactive governance framework to review the ecological, social and governance characteristics of Timor-Leste’s fisheries to explore whether co-management offers a valid and viable resource governance model. We present two co-management case studies and examine how they were established, who was involved, the local institutional structures, and the fisheries governance challenges they sought to address. Despite their relative proximity, the two sites contrasted in local ecology and fishery type; community institutions were starkly different but equally strong; and one site had tangible economic benefits to justify compliance, where the other had marginal and anecdotal fishery gains. In our review of the broader governance landscape in Timor-Leste, we see co-management as a useful mechanism to govern small-scale fisheries, but there is a need to connect legitimized local institutions with hierarchical governance of higher and external influences. Initial successes with implementing tara banduincorporating a small marine closure have stimulated other communities to implement no-take zones – one universally popular but very limited interpretation of co-management. However, we highlight the need for a set of guiding principles to ensure legitimate community engagement, and avoid external appropriation that may reinforce marginalization of certain user groups or customary power hierarchies.
The management and conservation of marine resources in Seychelles, a small island developing state (SIDS) in the western Indian Ocean, is fundamental to maintaining the flow of international visitors which forms the mainstay of the nation's economy. There is an increasing trend towards empowering non-governmental organisations and parastatal entities with protected area management responsibilities, which partly reflects the chronic underfunding of the state protected area management institution. This paper explores these and related issues through a governance analysis of Curieuse Marine National Park, which is the most popular state-owned marine national park in terms of recorded visitor numbers. This demonstrates that the inability to implement economic incentives through not fully capitalising on the use and non-use values of the park has deleterious consequences for managing the combined impacts of tourism and fisheries on the ecological assets of the park. Furthermore, the capacity of the state management institution is being eroded through a focus on the development of an extensive network of new marine protected areas under the direction of an international non-governmental organisation. Suggestions are made that could strengthen economic, participative and interpretative incentives to provide a more sustainable basis for marine national park management.