Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
Designation of large expanses of the ocean as Marine Protected Area (MPA) is increasingly advocated and realised. The effectiveness of such MPAs, however, requires improvements to vessel monitoring and enforcement capability. In 2014 commercial fishing was excluded from the Ascension Island Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In 2015, through updated regulations, a licenced fishery re-opened in the northern half of the EEZ while the southern half remained closed. To assess compliance with these closures and regulations, several promising satellite technologies (Satellite Automatic Identification System (S-AIS), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) of two vessels), were trialled alongside at-sea patrols. Use of SAR enabled assessment of ‘dark’ (non-AIS transmitting) vessels, the scope of whose activities are hardest to gauge. The high level of compliance with regulations observed, suggests the MPA may prove effective, yet a need for vigilance remains. Vessels aggregate near the EEZ border and a quarter of vessels tracked across three years exhibited S-AIS transmission gaps and present a heightened compliance risk. Use of remote, rather than local, expertise and infrastructure provide a blue-print and economies of scalefor replicating monitoring across similarly sized MPAs; particularly for large (>~ 25 m) vessels with metallic superstructures conducive to SAR detection. Funding ongoing monitoring in Ascension is challenged by current levels of license uptake, which provides insufficient offsetting revenue. Satellite-derived intelligence, can be used to set risk thresholds and trigger detailed investigations. Planning long-term monitoring must, however, incorporate adequate resources for follow-up, through patrols and correspondence with flag-states and fisheries management organisations.
Bangladesh is host to a major cetacean habitat. The country declared its first marine protected area, namely, the Swatch-of-No-Ground Marine Protected Area, for conservation of some species of dolphins, porpoises, whales and sharks. However, this declaration has not been supported with an effective and robust legal, policy and institutional framework. Against this backdrop, this article critically examines the existing legal and institutional framework for management of this marine protected area. A study on the existing legal framework shows the absence of a robust national legal system for prevention of marine pollution and protection of marine biodiversity. This lack of national legal framework will have a significant impact on the future success of the Marine Protected Area. Moreover, an analysis of the relevant national institutions shows that they are not fully capable of enforcing the law and policy in the marine protected area. Through this analysis, this paper proposes that preparation of a management plan, provision of adequate resources to the relevant agencies, ensuring interagency cooperation, engagement of stakeholders and implementation of international marine environmental law are crucial for the future success of this marine protected area.
No-take marine reserves (NTRs), i.e. areas with total fishing restrictions, have been established worldwide aiming to promote biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. Brazil has 3.3% of its exclusive economic zone protected by 73 different NTRs, however, most of them currently lack scientific knowledge and understanding of their ecological role, particularly regarding rocky reefs in subtropical regions. In this context, this study aimed to contrast a network of NTRs with comparable fished sites across a coastal biogeographic gradient to investigate the effect of fishing and habitat variability on the abundance and body size of rocky reef fish. We used Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video (stereo-BRUVs) and Diver Operated stereo-Video (stereo-DOVs) systems to simultaneously sample reef fish and habitat. Model selection and results identified habitat and biogeographic variables, such as distance from shore, as important predictor variables, explaining several aspects of the fish assemblage. The effect of protection was important in determining the abundance and body size of targeted species, in particular for epinephelids and carangids. Conversely, species richness was correlated with habitat complexity but not with protection status. This is the first study using these survey methods in the Southwestern Atlantic, demonstrating how a network of NTRs can provide benchmarks for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management.
Scientists have advocated for local interventions, such as creating marine protected areas and implementing fishery restrictions, as ways to mitigate local stressors to limit the effects of climate change on reef-building corals. However, in a literature review, we find little empirical support for the notion of managed resilience. We outline some reasons for why marine protected areas and the protection of herbivorous fish (especially parrotfish) have had little effect on coral resilience. One key explanation is that the impacts of local stressors (e.g., pollution and fishing) are often swamped by the much greater effect of ocean warming on corals. Another is the sheer complexity (including numerous context dependencies) of the five cascading links assumed by the managed-resilience hypothesis. If reefs cannot be saved by local actions alone, then it is time to face reef degradation head-on, by directly addressing anthropogenic climate change—the root cause of global coral decline.
This study primarily attempts to understand people's beliefs toward marine protected areas considering as a case study the National Marine Park of Alonissos, Northern Sporades in Greece in order to achieve its sustainability. Specifically, it aims to identify people's opinion about the utility of the park investigating also their beliefs in relation to socioeconomic characteristics. For this reason, a face‐to‐face survey of 200 randomly selected residents and visitors of the area was carried out. The research was structured according to the principles of the contingent valuation method. According to the empirical findings, the majority of respondents recognized the contribution of the park to preserve the monk seal and the natural environment. Moreover, they want the maintenance of the park and more specialized protection measures in the area.
In the early 2000s, Senegal set up several Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along its coastal zone with the purpose of biodiversity conservation and to support sustainable management of fisheries. However, the impact of MPAs may vary according to the type of fisheries. In Senegal, the sardinella fishery accounts for 70% of total catches. This fishery is of crucial importance for national food security and employment. Given this importance, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of MPAs, often being considered as a tool for fisheries management. An analytical, dynamic and spatial bio-economic model of sardinella fishery, considering fish and fisher migration, has been developed and scenarios over forty years have been analyzed. The results show that the fishery is economically overexploited and that Senegal could lose about 11.6 billion CFA over forty years of exploitation, i.e. 290 million CFA per year. To achieve an optimal level of exploitation, it would be necessary to halve the current fishing capacity. Implementing MPAs for 10, 20 and 30% of the Senegalese exclusive economic zone lead to slight increases in biomass (1%) and rent (5–11%). In addition, spatio-temporal closures can lead to increased exploitation in unclosed areas, due to the absence of enforcement. Achieving target 11 of the Aichi Convention, i.e., 10% of coastal and marine areas protected per country, will have a reserve effect on the resource but also only lead to weak improvements in economic indicators for the Senegalese fishery. Finally, because the sardinella resource is shared among many countries of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), a sub-regional cooperation is necessary for a sustainable management.
In recent years, there has been a health decrease in marine ecosystems. Due to this accelerated degradation, there is a more pressing need to investigate the effectiveness of MPAs in these degraded zones. In this work, we evaluate the effect of MPAs over species richness, biomass and size of reef fishes. The sampling was conducted in 31 sites in the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica in 2013 and 2014. We found a positive effect of MPAs on biomass and community structure, as almost all commercially important species were more abundant in MPAs. Apex predators, carnivores and herbivores showed higher biomasses in protected areas, while planktivorous were similar among sites. As well, target species of artisanal fisheries and dive-ornamental fisheries were larger in MPAs. Areas closed to fishing can contribute to keeping biomass high, improve species richness in the region, and help to recover ecosystem services in coral reefs, even in anthropogenic impacted areas. The improving of regulations in and out of MPAs will assure the ecosystem services and life quality of coastal populations.
This article takes the opportunity of the recent establishment of two large and remote marine protected areas (MPAs) in Brazilian jurisdictional waters to discuss the role played by large-scale MPAs and their impacts to achieve international goals. After the launching of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in 2010, especially Target 11, which concerns marine areas, some coastal states have created large-scale MPAs as a way of attaining a numerical target, though not necessarily fulfilling other ecosystem commitments. Brazil is the most recent example of this strategy through the establishment of MPAs that seem primarily concerned with international goals rather than effective biodiversity protection. Since the management of these protected areas will be shared between a technical body (Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation) and the Navy, and only a small portion of which will have similar status to “no-take” zone, the new MPAs can hardly be identified as being strongly committed to the marine environment protection. The article ends with some suggestions for improving biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian large-scale MPAs.
Matrix approaches are useful for linking ecosystem services to habitats that underpin their delivery. Matrix applications in marine ecosystem services research have been primarily qualitative, focusing on 'habitat presence' without including other attributes that effect service potential. We developed an evidence-based matrix approach of Ecosystem Service Potential (ESP) for New Zealand benthic marine habitats, and used two marine reserves to demonstrate that integrating information on the spatial extent and quality of habitats improved ESP evaluation. The two case studies identified substantial spatio-temporal variability in ESP: within one reserve, specific ESP showed an approximately 1.5-fold increase in the 29 years following protection. A comparison of two reserves found that the spatial extent of habitats contributing to the medicinal resources and waste-water treatment were 5 and 53 times greater respectively in one relative to the other. Integrating habitat area and quality with the ESP matrix improves on previous marine matrix-based approaches, providing a better indication of service potential. The matrix approach helps to communicate the non-market value of supporting and regulating services and can be used by resource managers to identify and track the potential for benefits derived from benthic marine habitats within existing, or new, marine protected areas.