Multiple stressors caused by human-induced disturbances can affect the foraging opportunities of cetaceans, potentially depleting their energy stores, and ultimately impact survival and reproductive success. Currently, blubber thickness and lipid composition is used as measure of health and nutritional status in cetaceans. This assumes that blubber functions in the same manner as adipose tissue in terrestrial mammals. However, cetaceans have evolved to have thickened blubber which serves as thermoregulation, buoyancy and energy store. In addition, blubber is composed of several layers and regions that have different physiological functions. We currently lack a clear understanding of how blubber biology contributes to maintaining energy status in cetaceans and several studies show blubber thickness, and composition in some body regions, is an inappropriate measure of health. Before new markers of health can be identified, we need to understand how environmental stressors influence blubber biology and particularly unravel its complex signaling roles with other organs. Currently, we do not understand how changes in energy status drive changes in health in cetaceans, and eventually population dynamics. This review synthesizes recent developments in cetacean blubber biology to propose potential directions to develop novel cetacean health markers.
Management and Management Effectiveness
In order to understand the multiple values of landscape, this paper suggests an evaluative methodology that takes into account a quantitative approach, public opinion, and an economic estimation. This study analyzes the coastal scenery of 40 Italian beaches using a fuzzy logic and a Contingent Valuation (CV). Each site was classified into five categories: Class I beaches were littorals with high natural settings; Class II sites were natural and semiurban beaches having low influences by anthropic structures; Classes III, IV, and V had lower evaluations due to poor physical and human condition. A questionnaire survey analyzed beach users’ preferences, judgment, and Willingness to Pay (WTP). Results suggest that landscape judgment is directly correlated to scenery assessment; therefore, beaches of Class I and II were judged beautiful while beaches of Class IV and V had poor judgments. Similarly, the importance given to the landscape was highest in Class I and II than in the others. WTP for the conservation of the selected beaches was about €16 per season. Our findings suggest that people are disposed to pay more for a beach with the top-grade of scenery (Class I and II) and low grade of urbanization. Moreover, WTP would rise for females and for nonresident users with an academic degree, which appreciated the coastal landscape.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a multiple-use marine protected area with a history of tension between management entities and local stakeholders. At the root of the issues are differences in the definition of “successful management” between these two stakeholder groups and recent administrative vacancies within the Sanctuary’s management staff have made it difficult for the Sanctuary to update its management plan. This study surveyed two primary stakeholder groups in the Florida Keys in order to gain understanding of their perceptions of successful management. A comprehensive intercept survey detailing various management objectives was presented to participants in person using tablets and targeted emails over a period of five months. Results found that residency status was not the primary parameter influencing perception of management success, and that rather industry affiliation was strongly linked with views on management success. Significant differences between residents and visitors did exist when perception of threats to the Sanctuary was analyzed, indicating that those groups could benefit from targeted outreach and education ahead of changes to the management plan of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
The increasing public perception that marine megafauna is under threat is an outstanding incentive to investigate their essential habitats (EMH), their responses to human and climate change pressures, and to better understand their largely unexplained behaviors and physiology. Yet, this poses serious challenges such as the elusiveness and remoteness of marine megafauna, the growing scrutiny and legal impositions on their study, and difficulties in disentangling environmental drivers from human disturbance. We argue that advancing our knowledge and conservation on marine megafauna can and should be capitalized in regions where exceptional access to multiple species (i.e., megafauna ‘hotspots’) combines with the adequate legal framework, sustainable practices, and research capacity. The wider Azores region, hosting EMHs of all key groups of vulnerable or endangered vertebrate marine megafauna, is a singular EMH hotspot on a migratory crossroads, linking eastern and western Atlantic margins and productive boreal waters to tropical seas. It benefits from a sustainable development model based on artisanal fisheries with zero or minor megafauna bycatch, and one of the largest marine protected area networks in the Atlantic covering coastal, oceanic and deepsea habitats. Developing this model can largely ensure the future integrity of this EMH hotspot while fostering cutting-edge science and technological development on megafauna behavior, biologging and increased ocean observation, with potential major impacts on the Blue Growth agenda. An action plan is proposed.
In recent years, special attention has been paid to the issues of rational nature management and ecological state of the natural environment of the Arctic zone, given the important economic, social and environmental role of this region. The active industrial development of the Arctic zone unambiguously leads to a change in the living conditions of marine biological resources. The Arctic plays an important role in Russian fisheries. The paper considers the conceptual provisions of rational nature management in the conditions of industrial development of the Russian Arctic and identifies the problems and conditions for sustainable development of the Russian fisheries.
The question of how to efficiently and effectively manage ocean resources in a sustainable way has reached the forefront of discussion at an international level, but women's contributions to this process have been underestimated or unrecognized. Inclusive management plays a major role in the effective creation, use and adoption of environmental governance, necessitating efforts to measure, monitor and advance inclusivity. In many Pacific island states, there is a lack of disaggregated data collection and management to assist reliable and liable gender-responsive decision-making by national and regional authorities. This lack of information leads to unquantified female contributions and unexplored potential for women to actively contribute to sustainable ocean management as traditional leaders, researchers or science-based managers and in accordance with traditional customs, cultures and processes. This paper examines the contribution of gender-disaggregated data in both (1) effective management of natural resources and (2) measurement and monitoring of the active involvement of women in ocean management. We seek to shift the question from simply “(How) are oceans used by women?” to “How can we build a clear path towards inclusive oceans management using science?”, drawing data mainly from gender and ocean management practices in Pacific Small Island Developing States. This work also seeks to ground in reality the increasing national and international evocations about social equity and avoidance of gender discrimination. Given the existing relationships of Pacific peoples with the ocean and the emerging status of ocean science-based governance, wider integration of science and women in marine management can make an interesting and positive impact in this region.
What happens on the coast, does not stay on the coast. Stakeholder power to shape decisions, agendas, and interests have a wide array of global consequences. Coastal management literature, however, pays relatively little attention to discussions of how power is used among stakeholders, limiting the inquiry to elitist and pluralist perspectives — who has the power and makes decisions. Consequently, power on the coast remains understudied. In political science, power has generated a considerable amount of debate. By contrast, research in environmental politics has tended to drift away from political theories. In turn, we use two power theories to fill the gap — non-decisions and consent to domination. We employed semi-structured interviews (thirty-one in total), archival histories, and participant observations to collect rich, thick data and to compare two case studies — Eilat (Israel) and Aqaba (Jordan). Our findings suggest that questioning coastal agendas through non-decisions can be a meaningful coastal planning tool. Further, we find that building consent to domination with regards to coastal interests is very difficult, if not impossible in Eilat. Yet, in Aqaba, sustainable development rhetoric conceals contested stakeholder interests about the greater good, coral reef loss, and other development impacts. Finally, we show that stakeholders in both cities indicate mainly tangible challenges on the coast. That is, power was not seen as a threat to future coastal management efforts. In sum, we expand the explanatory limits of the chosen theories and indicate the need to research intangible challenges on the coast. In particular, how agendas and interests are shaped through non-decisions and consent to domination?
Globally, conflicts between marine nature conservation and fishery interests are common and increasing, and there is often a glaring lack of dialogue between stakeholders representing these two interests. There is a need for a stronger and enforced coordination between fishing and conservation authorities when establishing marine protected areas for conservation purposes. We propose that an appropriate instrument for such coordination is a broad ecosystem-based marine spatial planning procedure, representing neither nature conservation nor fishery. Strategic environmental assessment for plans and programmes and environmental impact assessment for projects are commonly used tools for assessing the environmental impacts of different human activities, but are seldom used for evaluating the environmental effects of capture fisheries. The diversity of fisheries and the drastic effects of some fisheries on the environment are strong arguments for introducing these procedures as valuable supplements to existing fisheries assessment and management tools and able to provide relevant environmental information for an overall marine spatial planning process. Marine protected areas for nature conservation and for protection of fisheries have different objectives. Therefore, the legal procedure when establishing marine protected areas should depend on whether they are established for nature conservation purposes or as a fisheries resource management tool. Fishing in a marine protected area for conservation purpose should be regulated according to conservation law. Also, we argue that marine protected areas for conservation purposes, in the highest protection category, should primarily be established as fully protected marine national parks and marine reserves.
Mass mortality events (MMEs) are a key concern for the management of marine ecosystems. Specific stages and species are at risk and the causes may be single or cumulative pressure from a range of sources including pollutants, anthropogenic climate change or natural variability. Identifying risk and quantifying effects of plausible scenarios including MMEs are key to stakeholders and a quest for scientists. MMEs affect the whole ecosystem, but are traditionally only studied in relation to specific species, disregarding ecological feedbacks. Here we use an end-to-end ecosystem model adapted to the Nordic and Barents seas to evaluate the species-specific and ecological impacts for 50 years following an MME. MMEs were modeled as 10, 50, or 90% reduced recruitment for cod, herring and haddock, individually or in combination. The MME scenarios were compared to a base case model run that includes the current fishing mortality. All species showed declines in population biomass following an MME, increasing in duration and severity with increasing mortality. Cod biomass rebounded to the base case level within 3–13 years post the MME independent of scenario, while neither haddock nor herring fully rebounded to base case levels within the considered time horizon. Haddock responded much more variably to the mortality scenarios than cod or herring, with some scenarios yielding much higher levels of biomass than the base case. Herring responded negatively to all scenarios, leading to lower herring biomass and a steeper decline of the species than seen in the base case due to persistent harvest pressure. Corresponding responses showed that the demersal guild biomass increased substantially, while the pelagic guild biomass declined. Few effects were observed on the other guilds, including the top predators. Ecosystem effects as measured by ecological indicators were greatest after 5 years, but persisted through the entire model run. Fishery indicators showed the same features, but the responses were stronger than for the ecosystem indicators. Taken together this indicates long-term, ecological response to MMEs that can be described as regime shifts, highlighting the importance of using ecosystem models when evaluating effects of MMEs.
The outputs that result from the formal procedures of public policies are objective indicators that drive their progress. In this paper we have used four indicators of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) that reflect the institutional capacity of each country: Policy, Regulations, Institutions and Instruments. The results are mostly heterogeneous in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Some countries have been working towards ICZM for several decades whereas others are lagging behind. In this article the 26 LAC countries have been grouped into four different levels of ICZM progress over the previous two decades: Pre-Initial, Initial, Transition and Development. The results from this classification exercise allow us to state that the majority of countries are in the two lowest levels, with only nine countries in a better situation.
The 2019 results have been compared with those obtained in a similar exercise done almost two decades ago. This comparison allows us to observe the progress, setbacks or stagnation of certain countries. Precisely because the situation detected is heterogeneous, the possibility of cooperation between more advanced and less advanced countries in LAC for ICZM can be considered. South-South cooperation also facilitates taking advantage of the regional fact that they are countries with a shared history, culture and language.