It is acknowledged that an effective path to globally protect marine ecosystems is through the establishment of eco-regional scale networks of MPAs spanning across national frontiers. In this work we aimed to plan for regionally feasible networks of MPAs that can be ecologically linked with an existing one in a transboundary context. We illustrate our exercise in the Ensenadian eco-region, a shared marine ecosystem between the south of California, United States of America (USA), and the north of Baja California, Mexico; where conservation actions differ across the border. In the USA, California recently established a network of MPAs through the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), while in Mexico: Baja California lacks a network of MPAs or a marine spatial planning effort to establish it. We generated four different scenarios with Marxan by integrating different ecological, social, and management considerations (habitat representation, opportunity costs, habitat condition, and enforcement costs). To do so, we characterized and collected biophysical and socio-economic information for Baja California and developed novel approaches to quantify and incorporate some of these considerations. We were able to design feasible networks of MPAs in Baja California that are ecologically linked with California's network (met between 78.5 and 84.4% of the MLPA guidelines) and that would represent a low cost for fishers and aquaculture investors. We found that when multiple considerations are integrated more priority areas for conservation emerge. For our region, human distribution presents a strong gradient from north to south and resulted to be an important factor for the spatial arrangement of the priority areas. This work shows how, despite the constraints of a data-poor area, the available conservation principles, mapping, and planning tools can still be used to generate spatial conservation plans in a transboundary context.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
As increasingly large extents of the global oceans are being managed through spatial measures, it is important to identify area characteristics underlying network distributions. Studies discerning spatial patterns in marine management have disproportionately focused on global networks. This paper instead considers the single country context of Japan to illuminate within-country drivers of area-based conservation and fishery management. A dataset containing potentially relevant socioeconomic, environmental, and fisheries factors was assembled and used to model prefecture-level counts of marine protected areas (MPAs) and territorial use rights for fisheries (TURFs) throughout Japan's waters. Several factors were found to significantly influence the number of TURFs in a particular area, whereas MPA patterns of use remain largely unexplained. TURFs are frequently noted as more suitable for managing fisheries of low mobility species and our analysis finds greater use of TURFs in areas that rely heavily on benthic catch. The number of trading ports was also found to be positively related to TURF distributions, suggesting economic infrastructure may influence the use of this fisheries management tool. In-line with global analyses, MPA patterns of use were not found to be significantly related to any of the potential explanatory variables after correcting for the number of statistical comparisons that were carried out. Differences in our ability to model the use of TURFs and MPAs may arise due to the narrower objectives associated with the former (e.g., income, employment) in comparison to the often broad and varied goals that motivate use of the latter.
The Horizon 2020 COLUMBUS project aims to identify and transfer unexploited knowledge, generated by EU funded science and technology research, to actors with the potential to capitalise on it resulting in measurable value creation. Marine knowledge is generated, to a large extent, through analyses and application of the data and information obtained through monitoring and observation of seas and oceans. The COLUMBUS project is structured around nine areas of competency, or nodes. The Monitoring and Observation node has been focusing on identifying some of the bottlenecks and challenges to greater uptake and application of marine data and information by users, in particular by industry. Building on the knowledge of the partners involved, significant work has been carried out to engage with actors from the private sector, establishing their general and specific needs and to what extent observatories and marine data-sharing initiatives can or should adapt to meet them. This document is based on desk-top research resulting in COLUMBUS Deliverable D4.1, attendance at trade fairs and workshops, one-on-one meetings with representatives from the private sector, a COLUMBUS brokerage event in the context of SeaTech Week (2016) and contributions from partners’ own experience.
A generic framework (FW) for the monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed areas (here defined as marine areas subject to a planning and management regime) was developed and tested in nine marine areas of 13 European countries under the EU funded project MESMA (Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas). This paper describes the lessons learned in the use of the FW and draws conclusions for its future use and development. The selected case studies represented diverse spatial scales, management status and complexity, ranging from sub-national areas to entire national coastlines, and large offshore regions. The application of the FW consisted of seven steps: starting with (i) context setting and (ii) gathering of relevant ecosystem information, human activities and management goals; it continues with (iii) indicator selection and (iv) risk assessment; and the final steps considers the (v) analysis of findings and (vi) the evaluation of management effectiveness, to end up with (vii) the revision and proposal of adaptation to current management. The lessons learnt through the application of the FW in the case studies have proved the value of the FW. However, difficulties rose due to the diversity of the nature and the different stages of development in planning and management in the case study areas; as well as, limited knowledge on ecosystem functioning needed for its implementation. As a conclusion the FW allowed for a flexible and creative application and provided important gap analyses.
The Convention on Biological Diversity aspires to designate 10% of the global oceans as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), but so far, few MPAs protect pelagic species in the high seas. Transparent scientific approaches are needed to ensure that these encompass areas with high biodiversity value. Here we used the distribution of all globally threatened seabirds breeding in a centrally located archipelago (Tristan da Cunha) to provide guidance on where MPAs could be established in the South Atlantic Ocean. We combined year-round tracking data from six species, and used the systematic conservation-planning tool, ‘Zonation’, to delineate areas that would protect the largest proportion of each population. The areas used most intensively varied among species and seasons. Combining the sites used by all six species suggested that the most important areas of the South Atlantic are located south of South Africa, around the central South Atlantic between 30°S and 55°S, and near South America. We estimated that the longline fishing effort in these intensively used areas is around 11 million hooks on average each year, highlighting the need for improved monitoring of seabird bycatch rates and the enforcement of compliance with bird bycatch mitigation requirements by fisheries. There was no overlap between the identified areas and any of the existing MPAs in the South Atlantic. The conservation of these highly mobile, pelagic species cannot be achieved by single countries, but requires a multi-national approach at an ocean-basin scale, such as an agreement for the conservation of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction under the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Tun Mustapha Park, in Sabah, Malaysia, was gazetted in May 2016 and is the first multiple-use park in Malaysia where conservation, sustainable resource use and development co-occur within one management framework. We applied a systematic conservation planning tool, Marxan with Zones, and stakeholder consultation to design and revise the draft zoning plan. This process was facilitated by Sabah Parks, a government agency, and WWF-Malaysia, under the guidance of the Tun Mustapha Park steering committee and with support from the University of Queensland. Four conservation and fishing zones, including no-take areas, were developed, each with representation and replication targets for key marine habitats, and a range of socio-economic and community objectives. Here we report on how decision-support tools informed the reserve design process in three planning stages: prioritization, government review, and community consultation. Using marine habitat and species representation as a reporting metric, we describe how the zoning plan changed at each stage of the design process. We found that the changes made to the zoning plan by the government and stakeholders resulted in plans that compromised the achievement of conservation targets because no-take areas were moved away from villages and the coastline, where unique habitats are located. The design process highlights a number of lessons learned for future conservation zoning, which we believe will be useful as many other places embark on similar zoning processes on land and in the sea.
Increasing demands for coastal and marine natural resources have led to an excessive degradation of marine habitats, nursery grounds, coastal erosion, and resources depletion, which threaten the marine environment. Currently, the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is attracting attention in coastal states worldwide; it is considered a management tool for conservation and rational utilization of marine resources. MSP generally refers to the Marine Functional Zoning (MFZ) in China, which is regarded as a strong management strategy to protect, conserve, manage, and maintain sustainable coastal and marine natural resources. This study analyzes the connotation, development, law enforcement, and management strategies of MFZ in China and guiding principles for Pakistan. Pakistan has a long coastline but still facing several problems due to a lack of strategic planning management. According to findings of this study, the guiding principles of the China's MFZ for Pakistan mainly include dividing the ocean into different functional units; involvement of the State and local agencies in the decision-making process; marine resource allocation based on natural carrying capacity; establishment of MFZ laws and legislation; promotion of marine science and technology development; and stakeholder participation in MFZ scheme. A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis was carried out based on 3D MSP approach to ascertain Pakistan's current and future coastal and marine management practices and issues. This study will provide a baseline to coastal planners and developers in Pakistan for the allocation of coastal and marine resources on the basis of their natural carrying capacity and sustainable utilization.
Responding to calls for a more theoretically driven, post-positivist and radical marine spatial planning research that approaches the policy as a political project, this paper develops a post-structuralist discourse theory approach to critical marine spatial planning. Elaborating radical contingency as an ontological condition of social life, which points to the ineradicability of power and conflict in marine spatial planning social relations, the paper problematizes marine spatial planning as constituting politics, or key practices that attempt to organize human coexistence and thus, conceal this radical contingency. These practices (e.g. ecosystem-based management, participation, planning regulation and the organization of socio-natural spaces), whose outcomes are far from adaptive, consensual or neutral are discussed as sites of ‘politics’ that effectively marginalize particular groups of people and ‘herd’ their participation and ways of knowing toward achieving limited policy outcomes. Drawing on the EU Marine Spatial Planning Directive, the paper further teases out how specific narratives and rhetorical signifiers around ‘integrating’ and ‘balancing’ potentially irreconcilable sustainable development objectives may interpellate particular stakeholders in ways that render them ideologically complicitous in sustaining, rather than challenging, neoliberal logics of managerialism and economic maximization of marine resources. But in tune with the ontological condition of the social as radically contingent, the paper discusses how and why participatory spaces may constitute a potential space of contestation for marginalized voices and thus, reveal the political moment of marine spatial planning. Calls are made for future empirically grounded research that explores how these marine spatial planning practices are lived in both planning and extra-planning settings, and with what implications for marine protection and extant social relations of power in different marine spatial planning contexts.
Niche requirements and habitat resource partitioning by conspecific fishes of different sizes are significant knowledge gaps in the species distribution modelling domain. Management actions and operations are typically concentrated on static habitats, or specific areas of interest, without considering movement patterns of species associated with ontogenetic shifts in habitat usage. Generalized Additive Models were used to model the body length-habitat relationships of six fish species. These models were used to identify subsets of environmental parameters that drive and explain the continuous length-habitat relationships for each of the study species, which vary in their degree of ecological and/or commercial importance. Continuous predictive maps of the length distributions for each of the six study species across approx. 200 km2 of the study area were created from these models. The spatial patterns in habitat partitioning by individuals of different body lengths for all six study species provide strong evidence for ontogenetic shifts. This highlights the importance of considering ontogenetic processes for marine spatial management. Importantly, predictive hotspot maps were created that identify potential areas that accumulate individuals of similar life stages of multiple species (e.g. multispecies nursery areas). In circumstances where limited resources are available for monitoring and management of fish resources, predictive modelling is a valuable tool for studying previously overlooked processes such as ontogenetic habitat shifts. Predictive modelling provides crucial information that elucidates spatial patterns in community composition across mosaics of benthic habitats. This novel technique can contribute to the spatial management of coastal fish and fisheries by identifying areas that are important for different life history stages of multiple fish species.
Planning for coastal and marine environments is often characterized by conflict over current and proposed uses. Marine spatial planning has been proposed as a way forward, however, social data are often missing impeding decision-making. Participatory mapping, a technique useful for providing social data and predict conflict potential, is being used in an increasing number of terrestrial applications to inform planning, but has been little used in the marine realm. This study collected social data for an extensive coastline in northwestern Australia via 167 in-depth face-to-face interviews including participant mapping of place values. From the transcribed interviews and digitized maps, we inductively identified 17 values, with biodiversity, the physical landscape, and Aboriginal culture being most valued. To spatially identify conflict potential, values were classified in matrices as consumptive or non-consumptive with the former assumed to be less compatible with other values. Pairwise comparisons of value compatibilities informed a spatial GIS determination of conflict potential. The results were overlaid with the boundaries of nine marine protected areas in the region to illustrate the application of this method for marine spatial planning. The three near shore marine protected areas had at least one third of their area exhibiting conflict potential. Participatory mapping accompanied by conflict potential mapping provides important insights for spatial planning in these often-highly contested marine environments.