Governance and Legal Frameworks

Testing the Effectiveness of an International Conservation Agreement: Marketplace Forensics and CITES Caviar Trade Regulation

Citation Information: Doukakis P, Pikitch EK, Rothschild A, DeSalle R, Amato G, et al. (2012) Testing the Effectiveness of an International Conservation Agreement: Marketplace Forensics and CITES Caviar Trade Regulation. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40907. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040907



The international wildlife trade is a key threat to biodiversity. Temporal genetic marketplace monitoring can determine if wildlife trade regulation efforts such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are succeeding. Protected under CITES effective 1997, sturgeons and paddlefishes, the producers of black caviar, are flagship CITES species.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We test whether CITES has limited the amount of fraudulent black caviar reaching the marketplace. Using mitochondrial DNA-based methods, we compare mislabeling in caviar and meat purchased in the New York City area pre and post CITES listing. Our recent sampling of this market reveals a decrease in mislabeled caviar (2006–2008; 10%; n = 90) compared to pre-CITES implementation (1995–1996; 19%; n = 95). Mislabeled caviar was found only in online purchase (n = 49 online/41 retail).


Stricter controls on importing and exporting as per CITES policies may be having a positive conservation effect by limiting the amount of fraudulent caviar reaching the marketplace. Sturgeons and paddlefishes remain a conservation priority, however, due to continued overfishing and habitat degradation. Other marine and aquatic species stand to benefit from the international trade regulation that can result from CITES listing.

Making Robust Policy Decisions Using Global Biodiversity Indicators

Citation Information: Nicholson E, Collen B, Barausse A, Blanchard JL, Costelloe BT, et al. (2012) Making Robust Policy Decisions Using Global Biodiversity Indicators. PLoS ONE 7(7): e41128. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041128

Abstract: In order to influence global policy effectively, conservation scientists need to be able to provide robust predictions of the impact of alternative policies on biodiversity and measure progress towards goals using reliable indicators. We present a framework for using biodiversity indicators predictively to inform policy choices at a global level. The approach is illustrated with two case studies in which we project forwards the impacts of feasible policies on trends in biodiversity and in relevant indicators. The policies are based on targets agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya in October 2010. The first case study compares protected area policies for African mammals, assessed using the Red List Index; the second example uses the Living Planet Index to assess the impact of a complete halt, versus a reduction, in bottom trawling. In the protected areas example, we find that the indicator can aid in decision-making because it is able to differentiate between the impacts of the different policies. In the bottom trawling example, the indicator exhibits some counter-intuitive behaviour, due to over-representation of some taxonomic and functional groups in the indicator, and contrasting impacts of the policies on different groups caused by trophic interactions. Our results support the need for further research on how to use predictive models and indicators to credibly track trends and inform policy. To be useful and relevant, scientists must make testable predictions about the impact of global policy on biodiversity to ensure that targets such as those set at Nagoya catalyse effective and measurable change.

Benefits of Rebuilding Global Marine Fisheries Outweigh Costs

Citation Information: Sumaila UR, Cheung W, Dyck A, Gueye K, Huang L, et al. (2012) Benefits of Rebuilding Global Marine Fisheries Outweigh Costs. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40542. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040542

Abstract: Global marine fisheries are currently underperforming, largely due to overfishing. An analysis of global databases finds that resource rent net of subsidies from rebuilt world fisheries could increase from the current negative US$13 billion to positive US$54 billion per year, resulting in a net gain of US$600 to US$1,400 billion in present value over fifty years after rebuilding. To realize this gain, governments need to implement a rebuilding program at a cost of about US$203 (US$130–US$292) billion in present value. We estimate that it would take just 12 years after rebuilding begins for the benefits to surpass the cost. Even without accounting for the potential boost to recreational fisheries, and ignoring ancillary and non-market values that would likely increase, the potential benefits of rebuilding global fisheries far outweigh the costs.

Marine Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Governance of the Oceans

Citation Information: Diversity 2012, 4(2), 224-238; doi:10.3390/d4020224

Author: Robin Kundis Craigemail

Abstract: Governance of marine biodiversity has long suffered from lack of adequate information about the ocean’s many species and ecosystems. Nevertheless, even as we are learning much more about the ocean’s biodiversity and the impacts to it from stressors such as overfishing, habitat destruction, and marine pollution, climate change is imposing new threats and exacerbating existing threats to marine species and ecosystems. Coastal nations could vastly improve their fragmented approaches to ocean governance in order to increase the protections for marine biodiversity in the climate change era. Specifically, three key governance improvements would include: (1) incorporation of marine spatial planning as a key organizing principle of marine governance; (2) working to increase the resilience of marine ecosystems be reducing or eliminating existing stressors on those ecosystems; and (3) anticipation of climate change’s future impacts on marine biodiversity through the use of anticipatory zoning and more precautionary regulation.

Governance of marine protected areas in the least-developed countries: Case studies from West Africa

Citation Information: Weigel, J.Y.; Féral, F. & Cazalet, B., eds. Governance of marine protected areas in least-developed countries. Case studies from West Africa.. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 548. Rome, FAO. 2011. 78 pp.

Abstract: The need for effective governance of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in leastdeveloped countries (LDCs) is commensurate with the significant territorial stakes raised by their extensive maritime domain. Another significant challenge is the conservation of biodiversity and of ecosystems whose level of productivity is similar to that of coral reefs (e.g. in East Africa and Madagascar, the Red Sea, Maldives, Cambodia, and South Pacific islands), upwelling systems (e.g. in West Africa and Angola) and estuarine and delta ecosystems (e.g. in West and East Africa, Bangladesh and Myanmar). However, the overriding issue is to reconcile conservation and human presence as, in LDCs, human activities are tolerated in almost all MPAs covered by International Union for Conservation of Nature categories II–VI. Finally, issues related to identity claims and to the process of establishment of property and other legal entitlements on nature are gaining importance.

A review of the literature on fisheries and MPAs governance showed how polysemous and vague the notion of governance was until very recently and how few or oversimplified were the analyses of MPA governance in the LDCs. However, only detailed analyses would allow the characterization of governance systems and identification of their weaknesses with the view to suggesting new governance arrangements and appropriate public policy options. Such analytical deficiencies may be explained by the lack of analytical frameworks capable of taking into account the plurality and intricacy of socio-economic organizations and institutions, the sociocultural features and the role of new mediators and “development brokers” that shape MPA governance in the LDCs. The deficiencies may also be explained by the fact that the dominating hierarchical governance systems tend to underestimate the complexity of MPA governance systems.

Marine protected areas: Country case studies on policy, governance and institutional issues

Citation Information: Sanders, J.S.; Gréboval, D.; Hjort, A. (comp.) Marine protected areas: country case studies on policy, governance and institutional issues FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 556/1, Rome. FAO. 2011. 118p.

ISBN: 978-92-5-106857-1

Abstract: This document presents case studies of the policy, governance and institutional issues of marine protected areas (MPAs) in Brazil, India, Palau and Senegal. It is the first of four in a global series of case studies on MPAs. An initial volume provides a synthesis and analysis of all the studies. The set of global MPA case studies was designed to close a deficit in information on the governance of MPAs and spatial management tools, within both fisheries management and biodiversity conservation contexts. The studies examine governance opportunities in and constraints on the use of spatial management measures at the national level. They were also designed to inform implementation of the FAO Technical Guidelines on marine protected areas (MPAs) and fisheries, which were developed to provide information and guidance on the use of MPAs in the context of fisheries.

Is Canada on track to create 12 new marine protected areas by December 2012?

Citation Information: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), Dare to be Deep Progress Report

Date: May 14, 2012

Executive Summary: With the longest coastline of any country in the world, but less than one percent of our oceans under any form of meaningful protection, Canada’s rich marine ecosystems are at growing peril. The biggest threats to marine biodiversity are overfishing, industrial development, pollution and climate change.

Recognizing that Canada is not going to achieve its international commitment to completing a full network of marine protected areas by 2012, one year ago CPAWS challenged the federal government, working with the provinces and Indigenous peoples, to demonstrate real progress towards this commitment by significantly advancing protection of 12 special marine sites by December 2012. These 12 sites are extraordinary places that nurture fish stocks and shelter endangered species like Right and Blue whales, Atlantic wolffish and Leatherback turtles. They are also amazing destinations for nature lovers to marvel at the wonders above and below the ocean’s surface.

As a national conservation organization with chapters in nearly every province and territory, CPAWS staff and volunteers are directly engaged in marine conservation efforts in the 12 areas reviewed in this report. One year after we launched our challenge to create 12 new marine protected areas by 2012 we have reviewed the action by governments to move these 12 sites closer to final protection. We have assessed how much progress has been made towards establishing these marine protected areas, as well as the strength of conservation measures being proposed for each site.

Mission Report: Reactive Monitoring Mission to Great Barrier Reef (Australia) 6th to 14th March 2012

Citation Information: UNESCO World Heritage Centre - IUCN

Date: June 2012

Authors: Fanny Douvere and Tim Badman

Description: This report contains the results of a reactive monitoring mission requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (UNESCO, Paris) and undertaken jointly by the World Heritage Centre and IUCN. The mission was undertaken jointly according to the roles established by the World Heritage Convention and its operational guidelines. The reactive monitoring mission was undertaken from 6-14 March 2012 with the objective to assess the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property and to contribute to the strategic assessment process, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session (Decision 35 COM 7B10).

The World Heritage Committee, at its forthcoming 36th session (St. Petersburg, 2012) will consider the findings of the mission and the draft decision prepared by World Heritage Centre and IUCN as part of the State of Conservation report. A final decision about the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the measures required to secure its long-term conservation is due at the 36th World Heritage Committee session that will take place in St. Petersburg from 24 June to 6 July 2012.

North Adriatic Sea Marine Protected Areas, assessment of current situation, potential pressures and synergies in an ICZM context

Citation Information: Morisseau, F. (2011). North Adriatic Sea Marine Protected Areas, assessment of current situation, potential pressures and synergies in an ICZM context. MSc Thesis. Autonomous University of Barcelona: Barcelona. 58 pp.

Abstract: MPAs are a key tool for protecting marine ecosystems and increasingly used as means of fisheries management. However, managed in isolation of broader management of the coast and the sea, they are like islands of protection threatened by pollution and surrounded by areas where habitat destruction and overfishing is permitted. Identifying characteristics of these areas (institutional, size, connectivity, etc.) in the context of pressures on them and their provenance allows the highlighting of key elements to better integrate them into programs such as management Integrated coastal zones (ICZM). The project PEGASO (People for Ecosystem-based Governance in Assessing Sustainable development of Ocean and coast) aims to assist countries of the Mediterranean and Black Sea to implement the protocol of integrated coastal zone resulting from the Barcelona Convention. This work is part of this framework by responding more to a request by the Committee of the Adriatic to understand the integration of marine protected areas as part of a border management strategy. The Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea where significant coastal development especially in the North was involved in a serious degradation of the marine ecosystem. Marine protected areas are generally small, close to the coast and therefore more influenced by pressure mainly from the artificial and coastal urbanization and intensive agriculture, the development of mariculture and maritime traffic. The lack of plan and management structure adequately funded in most of these areas has been identified as a major barrier to their integration into the ICZM process. However the impetus of the ICZM Protocol and the development of national strategies in each country represents a unique opportunity for the construction and integration of a network of marine protected areas in a cross-border management of coastal and marine environment .

Marine Space: Manoeuvring Towards a Relational Understanding

Citation Information: Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning; Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012; Special Issue: Marine Spatial Planning: A New Frontier?

DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2012.662383

Author: Stephen Jay

Abstract: Drawing on developments in conceptualizing space within human geography, planning thought has begun to consider the possibilities of relational and socially constructed, as opposed to physically deterministic, understandings of space. This article considers the relevance of this debate to the emerging field of marine planning, as experience of the sea suggests that a relational interpretation of space may be pertinent to planning efforts in the marine environment. This hypothesis is explored by means of an empirical study of the views of representatives of the commercial shipping sector in the Netherlands faced with the prospect of a major expansion of offshore wind energy. Their responses revealed complex spatial dynamics at work, illustrating the production of relational space, that were being poorly served by planning measures. A dominant influence in the understanding of space was the interplay with the complexities of the natural environment, which points in the direction of a closer incorporation of ecological insights in the development of a relational approach to planning for the sea.


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