Territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) paired with marine reserves (henceforth called "TURF-reserves") have been proposed as a viable management strategy to combat overfishing in many small-scale fisheries by combining the TURF benefits of exclusive access with the conservation, spillover, and resilience benefits of reserves. When appropriately designed and implemented, TURF- reserves can encourage stewardship and empower fishers to better manage their resources. While tools that assist spatial design in marine nearshore contexts exist, they are data intensive, require expertise in software operation, and often need Internet connection. We developed the TURF-Reserve Design Tool to assist spatial design in settings where these elements are not present by providing an easy-to-use decision support tool for small-scale fisheries contexts. This tool consists of a spatial bioeconomic model that allows managers to analyze the relative performance of TURF-reserve designs for a specific setting by assessing the relative ecological and economic outcomes of each design.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Because seas and coastlines are shared between states, the formulation and implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP) should be transboundary by nature. The main argument of this paper is that MSP should be organized as a transboundary policy-making process, but this is hampered by the conceptual and institutional fragmentation MSP is facing. Based on an analysis of four transboundary planning processes in different European seas, the paper gives insight into the possibilities to develop and implement transboundary marine spatial planning (TMSP). To overcome the conceptual and institutional challenges, TMSP should be developed as a reflexive governance arrangement, in which the actors involved are able to change the rules of the game and to challenge the existing (national-oriented) MSP discourses. The paper develops four forms of reflexivity (unreflectiveness; performative reflectiveness; structural reflectiveness; and reflexivity) to assess TMSP processes and to formulate conditions which are crucial to develop TMSP as a reflexive marine governance arrangement.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is increasingly utilized to sustainably manage ocean uses. Marine protected areas (MPAs), a form of spatial management in which parts of the ocean are regulated to fishing, are now a common tool in MSP for conserving marine biodiversity and managing fisheries. However, the use of MPAs in MSP often neglects, or simplifies, the redistribution of fishing and non-fishing activities inside and outside of MPAs following their implementation. This redistribution of effort can have important implications for effective MSP. Using long-term (14 yr) aerial surveys of boats at the California Channel Islands, we examined the spatial redistribution of fishing and non-fishing activities and their drivers following MPA establishment. Our data represent 6 yr of information before the implementation of an MPA network and 8 yr after implementation. Different types of boats responded in different ways to the closures, ranging from behaviors by commercial dive boats that support the hypothesis of fishing-the-line, to behaviors by urchin, sport fishing, and recreational boats that support the theory of ideal free distribution. Additionally, we found that boats engaged in recreational activities targeted areas that are sheltered from large waves and located near their home ports, while boats engaged in fishing activities also avoided high wave areas but were not constrained by the distance to their home ports. We did not observe the expected pattern of effort concentration near MPA borders for some boat types; this can be explained by the habitat preference of certain activities (for some activities, the desired habitat attributes are not inside the MPAs), species' biology (species such as urchins where the MPA benefit would likely come from larval export rather than adult spillover), or policy-infraction avoidance. The diversity of boat responses reveals variance from the usual simplified assumption that all extractive boats respond similarly to MPA establishment. Our work is the first empirical study to analyze the response of both commercial and recreational boats to closure. Our results will inform MSP in better accounting for effort redistribution by ocean users in response to the implementation of MPAs and other closures.
Human impacts (e.g., fishing, pollution, and shipping) on pelagic ecosystems are increasing, causing concerns about stresses on marine food webs. Maintaining predator-prey relationships through protection of pelagic hotspots is crucial for conservation and management of living marine resources. Biotic components of pelagic, plankton-based, ecosystems exhibit high variability in abundance in time and space (i.e., extreme patchiness), requiring investigation of persistence of abundance across trophic levels to resolve trophic hotspots. Using a 26-yr record of indicators for primary production, secondary (zooplankton and larval fish), and tertiary (seabirds) consumers, we show distributions of trophic hotspots in the southern California Current Ecosystem result from interactions between a strong upwelling center and a productive retention zone with enhanced nutrients, which concentrate prey and predators across multiple trophic levels. Trophic hotspots also overlap with human impacts, including fisheries extraction of coastal pelagic and groundfish species, as well as intense commercial shipping traffic. Spatial overlap of trophic hotspots with fisheries and shipping increases vulnerability of the ecosystem to localized depletion of forage fish, ship strikes on marine mammals, and pollution. This study represents a critical step toward resolving pelagic areas of high conservation interest for planktonic ecosystems and may serve as a model for other ocean regions where ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning of pelagic ecosystems is warranted.
Given the great overfishing of the demersal resources in the Northern Adriatic Sea (geographical sub-area [GSA] 17), along with the fishing pressure in marine habitats, evidence strongly supports the need to evaluate appropriate management approaches. Several fishing activities operate simultaneously in the area, and the need to minimize conflicts among them is also a social concern. We applied a spatially and temporally explicit fish and fisheries model to assess the impact of a suite of spatial plans suggested by practitioners that could reduce the pressure on the four demersal stocks of high commercial interest in the GSA 17 and that could promote space sharing between mutually exclusive activities. We found that excluding trawlers from some areas has lowered the effective fishing effort, resulting in some economic losses but providing benefit to the set netters. Not every simulated fishing vessel is impacted in the same way because some fishing communities experienced different economic opportunities, particularly when a 6-nautical mile buffer zone from the coast was implemented in the vicinity of important fishing grounds. Along this buffer zone, the four stocks were only slightly benefiting from the protection of the area and from fewer discards. In contrast, assuming a change in the ability of the population to disperse led to a large effect: Some fish became accessible in the coastal waters, therefore increasing the landings for range-limited fishers, but the discard rate of fish also increased, greatly impairing the long-term biomass levels. Our evaluation, however, confirmed that no effort is displaced onto vulnerable benthic habitats and to grounds not suitable for the continued operation of fishing. We conclude that the tested spatial management is helpful, but not sufficient to ensure sustainable fishing in the area, and therefore, additional management measures should be taken. Our test platform investigates the interaction between fish and fisheries at a fine geographical scale and simulates data for varying fishing methods and from different harbor communities in a unified framework. We contribute to the development of effective science-based inputs to facilitate policy improvement and better governance while evaluating trade-offs in fisheries management and marine spatial planning.
The purpose of this article is to present the Mexican experience related to the US-Mexico joint Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem-Based Assessment and Management Project, particularly the community involvement and mangrove wetland restoration, and the challenges for its replication and up-scaling. Results focus on community engagement, environmental education and social participation, strategies for hydrological restoration of mangrove, and difficulties and recommendations for the implementation of the Strategic Action Program. The main conclusions are that the community-based hydrologic restoration approach, is a good way to ensure long-term restoration of wetlands. Changing from mangrove plantations to the hydrological restoration of wetlands, and construction of human capacities resulted in a more efficient strategy for ecosystem restoration and had influenced the forest environmental policy. The involvement of government and education institutions as execution agencies will contribute to a more efficient appropriation of the project and LME approach. The development of economic alternatives and the ecological monitoring are some of the identified challenges within the implementation phase of the Strategic Action Program.
The long-term strategic goal of the IODE ICAN (International Coastal Atlas Network) project is to encourage and help facilitate the development of digital atlases of the global coast based on the principle of distributed, high-quality data and information. These atlases can be local, regional, national and international in scale. ICAN aims to achieve this by sharing knowledge and experience among atlas developers in order to find common solutions for coastal web atlas development whilst ensuring maximum relevance and added value for the users.
User interactions between CWA developers and hosts and their target audiences have been explored since the beginning of the ICAN project, through workshops, and practically through the development of the various atlases by the membership of ICAN. We believe that the wealth of experience gained within ICAN should be made available to new and existing atlas developers in order to provide practical guidance on how best to interact with atlas audiences.
This hand book was compiled by gathering information from ten atlas developers as well as extracting relevant information from ICAN workshop reports. This information is summarised and analysed here leading to two sets of recommendations, one focused on the development of new atlases and the other focused on how to maintain interactions with audiences of already developed atlases. The handbook will therefore allow both new and established CWA developers and hosts to benefit from best practice examples as well as learn from mistakes made in the past, in order to increase capacity to successfully interact with user communities and target audiences, while managing coastal and marine data and information in a user friendly way. The final product is a resource that hopes to complement and link to a variety of OceanTeacher activities, support IODE training in courses, and it will be made available within the OceanTeacher Digital Library, thereby being of value to all who manage and present marine data and information.
Marine Spatial Planning is usually based on benthic georeferenced information or GPS tracked human activities, whereas the pelagic ecosystem is often ignored because of scarce and limited surface information. However, the 3-D pelagic ecosystem plays a key role connecting all the other ecosystems by physical (currents) and biological (migration) processes. According to remote sensing the Garrucha Canyon is oligotrophic, but 3-D sampling reveals subsurface upwelling, and converts it into the richest area around the Cape of Gata. Vertical connectivity by means of zooplankton migration, measured at two sampling stations, is 40 and 220 times faster than microphytoplankton settling and vertical water velocities respectively. Thus coupled physical-biological connectivity models are necessary to estimate the ecosystem connection and the fate of carbon, but also other substances (e.g. radioactivity), that might accumulate throughout the food-web. This is especially important in the Garrucha Canyon and the Coastal Areas Management Programme Levante de Almería where natural heritage and extractive fishery are important for the local economy.
The immense energy potential of the oceans is being increasingly recognized the world over, at the same time the integrity of marine ecosystems is challenged by pressure from multiple human activities. For good reasons environmental licensing procedures are precautionary and new industries must declare their detrimental impacts and provide mitigation measures. New ocean energy industries target renewable energy sources thus, on a grand scale, partly mitigating climate change. However, on-site environmental impacts are yet to be established. In this review we compare ocean energy industries with a wide range of conventional, better understood, human activities and outline environmental risks and research priorities. Results show that ocean energy systems are thought to incur many pressures, some familiar and others with yet unknown effects. Particular uncertainties regard ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and large fast-moving turbines. Ocean energy industries should not be considered in isolation because the significance of environmental impacts depend on the full spectra of human activities in each area. Marine spatial planning provides a platform for holistic assessments and may facilitate the establishment of ocean energy industries, as long as risk-related uncertainties are reduced.
The growing number of artificial structures in estuarine, coastal and marine environments is causing “ocean sprawl”. Artificial structures do not only modify marine and coastal ecosystems at the sites of their placement, but may also produce larger-scale impacts through their alteration of ecological connectivity - the movement of organisms, materials and energy between habitat units within seascapes. Despite the growing awareness of the capacity of ocean sprawl to influence ecological connectivity, we lack a comprehensive understanding of how artificial structures modify ecological connectivity in near- and off-shore environments, and when and where their effects on connectivity are greatest. We review the mechanisms by which ocean sprawl may modify ecological connectivity, including trophic connectivity associated with the flow of nutrients and resources. We also review demonstrated, inferred and likely ecological impacts of such changes to connectivity, at scales from genes to ecosystems, and potential strategies of management for mitigating these effects. Ocean sprawl may alter connectivity by: (1) creating barriers to the movement of some organisms and resources - by adding physical barriers or by modifying and fragmenting habitats; (2) introducing new structural material that acts as a conduit for the movement of other organisms or resources across the landscape; and (3) altering trophic connectivity. Changes to connectivity may, in turn, influence the genetic structure and size of populations, the distribution of species, and community structure and ecological functioning. Two main approaches to the assessment of ecological connectivity have been taken: (1) measurement of structural connectivity - the configuration of the landscape and habitat patches and their dynamics; and (2) measurement of functional connectivity - the response of organisms or particles to the landscape. Our review reveals the paucity of studies directly addressing the effects of artificial structures on ecological connectivity in the marine environment, particularly at large spatial and temporal scales. With the ongoing development of estuarine and marine environments, there is a pressing need for additional studies that quantify the effects of ocean sprawl on ecological connectivity. Understanding the mechanisms by which structures modify connectivity is essential if marine spatial planning and ecoengineering are to be effectively utilised to minimise impacts.