- Understanding marine mammal distributions is essential for conservation, as it can help identify critical habitat where management action can be taken. The semi‐enclosed Gulf of Corinth, Greece, has been identified as an Important Marine Mammal Area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force, based on the regular occurrence of odontocete populations. A 7‐year (2011–17) dataset of boat‐based surveys was used to model and predict the distribution of striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba, common dolphins, Delphinus delphis, and common bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the entire Gulf (2400 km2).
- Multiple geographic, bathymetric, oceanographic, and anthropogenic variables were incorporated in a combined generalized additive model and generalized estimation equation (GAM‐GEE) framework to describe dolphin occurrence and produce distribution maps.
- Modelling indicated that striped and common dolphins prefer deep waters (>300 m) in the central and southern part of the Gulf, whereas bottlenose dolphins prefer shallow waters (<300 m) and areas close to fish farms along the northern–central shore.
- Model‐based maps of the predicted distribution identified a preferred habitat encompassing most of the Gulf, also revealing: (i) hot spots of dolphin distribution covering about 40% of the Gulf's surface; (ii) an almost complete overlap of striped and common dolphin distribution, consistent with the hypothesis that common dolphins modified their habitat preferences to live in mixed species groups with striped dolphins; (iii) a clear partitioning of striped/common and bottlenose dolphin habitat; and (iv) the important role played by fish farms for bottlenose dolphins, consistent with studies conducted elsewhere in Greece.
- Evidence provided by this study calls for area‐specific and species‐specific management measures to mitigate anthropogenic impacts.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Coasts are among our most valuable natural assets but are under intense pressure from human use and climate change. Despite this, coasts – as a coherent ecological unit – have been poorly included in conservation plans, largely because they are inadequately delineated. There are usually gaps and overlaps at the edges of the separate terrestrial-, estuarine- and marine-realm maps, and often no clarity on which specific coastal boundary (e.g., high-water mark) was used, other than vaguely, ‘the coastline’. This particularly compromises conservation and management of ecotonal, intertidal ecosystems along realm-map seams because they are poorly defined and mapped. Therefore, a key step in advancing coastal conservation, assessment, planning and management is to generate a fine-scale ecosystem-type map that is seamless across realms. We undertook this for South Africa, aiming to delineate the ecotone into ecologically meaningful zones comprising structurally and functionally appropriate ecosystem types. We defined and mapped (at <1:3000) the ‘seashore’ as the land-sea interface between the dune scrub-thicket break and the back of the surf zone. The seashore is divided at the dune base into a landward ‘backshore’ and seaward ‘shore’, with the inherent dynamic variability included in the boundary delineation and constituent ecosystem types. Estuaries were also embedded into the map. Finally, we created rules for including adjacent terrestrial and marine ecosystem types in an ecologically determined coastal zone. We describe what tools this seashore integration and coastal delineation has unlocked, and how this places South Africa in a strong position to manage and conserve its coast.
Fishing catch is often used as a cost in marine conservation planning to avoid areas of high fishing activity when identifying potential marine reserve locations. However, the theory of marine reserves indicates that reserves are more likely to benefit fisheries in areas of heavy fishing activity that would otherwise be overfished. Whether or not fishing catch is calculated as a cost depends on the balance of conservation and fisheries goals for a reserve, and thus is critical for policymakers to consider when designing marine reserve networks. This research shows the utility of running an inverted cost model of fishery catches during marine reserve spatial prioritization as a first step in a marine planning process oriented towards stabilizing local fisheries. This technique serves as a heuristic tool that may help conservation planners explore regions that would otherwise be overlooked if fisheries data were absent or integrated purely as a cost in the planning process. Drawing on data from Madagascar to illustrate our approach, this research demonstrates that the regions most frequently selected using the inverted cost model not only meet conservation targets, but are also those most accessible to community-based resource managers, the dominant management paradigm in Madagascar as well as in many developing countries.
Spatial planning is an extremely powerful tool, which can be used for shaping the development of the largest spaces, including maritime space. In order to improve maritime management, the European Union decided to establish a framework in the form of a Directive to support planning processes in these areas. The result of the EU legislation will be land use plans, which will organize human activities in maritime areas in such a way as to meet environmental, economic and social objectives. The EU law applies to the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic. However, since the internal regulations of individual EU countries differ from one another, the Polish part of the Baltic Sea was selected as an example. The conducted considerations include an analysis of the legal provisions that are to lead to the preparation of the above-mentioned plans. The research material includes both the provisions of the international and of the national laws. For the evaluation of the maritime spatial planning system, which is based on the above-mentioned research material, the SWOT/TOWS analysis has been used. This technique has been aimed at determining the directions of development of maritime spatial planning in Poland based on the current conditions of the spatial planning procedure for these areas as well as the future phenomena related to the implemented procedure for creating maritime area land use plans. It has been pointed out that maritime spatial planning should be carried out using the strengths of the current procedure and the external opportunities that would increase the importance of Polish maritime areas.
Integrating stakeholder knowledge, views and needs in marine or maritime spatial planning (MSP) processes is important from a governance and social sustainabilityperspective both for MSP practitioners and for the evolving field of MSP research. Transboundary MSP appears particularly challenging for participation, which is why it is important to identify opportunities and address obstacles for stakeholder integration in this specific context. This article examines how stakeholder integration is currently practiced in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), an enclosed sea where policy coherence and addressing conflicting interests across borders are especially relevant. It synthesises a range of challenges and enablers for stakeholder participation and mobilisation that have emerged from two transboundary MSP research and development projects, BaltSpace and Baltic SCOPE. The article finds that with the exception of statutory authorities, stakeholder engagement in the BSR is mostly limited to self-motivated stakeholders and consultation rather than more inclusive forms of participation. This can reduce the quality and legitimacy of MSP processes and risks to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of actors. For transboundary stakeholder integration to become more interactive and effective, five types of challenges need attention, regarding a) timing, b) governance systems, c) capacity and processes, d) stakeholder characteristics and e) knowledge and language. These obstacles can be addressed by (1) a dedicated research and development agenda that critically reflects on integrative tools and processes, and (2) by encouraging transnational institutions in the BSR to devote more resources to transboundary stakeholder integration and adopt flexible and adaptive strategiesand tools that can facilitate stakeholder involvement throughout the MSP policy cycle.
Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is an effective tool for conciliating human activities and environmental values, building on spatial data and geoinformation technologies. However, socio-economic information is distinctly underrepresented in the rapidly growing supply of spatial information. The spatial distribution of current and future activities and opinions has traditionally been the silent information of scientists, local actors and the public. Moreover, future projections and policies exist in qualitative, non-spatial formats, incompatible with quantitative biophysical spatial data layers. This article aims at promoting the generation and application of spatial socio-economic information for the purposes of MSP. We examine one workflow of converting the socio-economic knowledge of individual experts to spatial data, and further to refined spatial knowledge. We illustrate how participatory mapping, data interpretation and core geocomputing methods may be used to generate data, and discuss the main issues related to their generation and use. The results suggest that participatory mapping can provide valuable data for the MSP process, helping in filling the gap of missing socio-economic information. The process is highly subjective: the presentation of background information, the framing of the questions and the interpretation of the spatial data may have notable influence on the generated information. Furthermore, both the technology of the data collection and applied analysis methods have distinct effects on spatial information and its validity.
- Marine spatial planning (MSP) has increasingly been applied around the world to better manage the pressures and conflicts arising from human use of the sea. More recently it has been conceived as an approach to implement an ecosystem‐based management approach to the marine environment.
- New Zealand was a late adopter of MSP, commencing its first MSP process in 2013 for the Hauraki Gulf (Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari), and completing the plan in late 2016.
- The planning process drew on international experience in MSP and collaborative processes but was adapted considerably to take account of the local context. Most particularly, the plan reflected concerns about the ecological decline of the Hauraki Gulf as well the strong and growing role of Māori in natural resource management in New Zealand.
- The Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari project was experimental and represents an innovation in MSP practice in a number of respects including: establishing a co‐governance structure for the project; tasking a group of Māori tribal and stakeholder representatives with producing the plan on a collaborative basis; addressing both catchment and marine issues and sectors in an integrated manner; and integrating indigenous knowledge with science.
- A number of valuable lessons from marine planning can be drawn from this project, including: MSP can support ecosystem‐based management; collaborative processes can be powerful in achieving shared outcomes for the community and can create a rich learning environment for scientists; indigenous knowledge can strengthen planning processes by providing more holistic knowledge; and scientists within a MSP project can help frame the planning process and act as a conduit between the scientific and layperson communities.
Incorporating ecosystem changes from non-indigenous species (NIS) is an important task of maritime spatial planning. Maritime spatial planning requires a framework that emphasises ecological functioning in a state of dynamic change, including changes to ecosystem services from functions introduced by new NIS. Adaptable modelling toolsets should be developed that can readily incorporate knowledge of new NIS. In the Baltic Sea, recent NIS examples are the North American mud crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii and the Ponto-Caspian round goby Neogobius melanostomus. We performed environmental niche modelling that predicted N. melanostomus will spread across large areas of the Baltic Sea coast while R. harrisii will be limited to regions with high temperature and low salinity conditions. We then performed a meta-analysis on literature showing effects in the Baltic Sea from these NIS and calculated the standardised effect-sizes on relevant ecosystem services. Half the impacts identified for N. melanostomus were considered to increase ecosystem service outcomes, while all R. harrisii impacts caused apparent decreases. Effect coefficients were incorporated into an online impact assessment tool developed by the Estonian Marine Institute. Users with or without science training can use the portal to estimate areas impacted and changes to natural assets (km2) caused by these NIS and cumulative effects from other pressure-types. Impact estimates are based on best available knowledge from manipulative and correlative experiments and thus form a link between science and management. Dynamic modelling techniques informed from varied ecological and methodological perspectives will effectively advise spatial planners about rapid maritime changes and mitigationactions to reduce NIS impacts especially in the focus areas.
The growth of marine aquaculture over the 21st century is a promising venture for food security because of its potential to fulfill the seafood deficit in the future. However, to maximize the use of marine space and its resources, the spatial planning of marine aquaculture needs to consider the regimes of climate variability in the oceanic environment, which are characterized by large-amplitude interannual to decadal fluctuations. It is common to see aquaculture spatial planning schemes that do not take variability into consideration. This assumption may be critical for management and for the expansion of marine aquaculture, because projects require investments of capital and need to be profitable to establish and thrive. We analyze the effect of climate variability on the profitability of hypothetical mussel aquaculture systems in the Southern California Bight. Using historical environmental data from 1981 to 2008, we combine mussel production and economics models at different sites along the coast to estimate the Net Present Value as an economic indicator of profitability. We find that productivity of the farms exhibits a strong coherent behavior with marketed decadal fluctuations that are connected to climate of the North Pacific Basin, in particular linked to the phases of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO). This decadal variability has a strong impact on profitability both temporally and spatially, and emerges because of the mussels’ dependence on multiple oceanic environmental variables. Depending on the trend of the decadal regimes in mussel productivity and the location of the farms, these climate fluctuations will affect cost recovery horizon and profitability for a given farm. These results suggest that climate variability should be taken into consideration by managers and investors on decision making to maximize profitability.
A novel blue planning discourse has been elevated through marine spatial planning (MSP) discussions in Brazil since 2011, following the evolution of international ocean governance policy innovation in the past decades. This paper investigates the early evolution stages of a socio-political arena around MSP in Brazil using as reference the IOC-UNESCO's step-by-step approach. It also employs the interactive governance theory to describe and analyze the challenges and opportunities in four phases in the evolution of a MSP policy arena at the Brazil's Blue Amazon level; and discuss it in terms of five major functional governability narratives this trajectory evoke to actors in this new interactive governance playing field. The evolution of Brazilian MSP arena was triggered by discussions at the international level (Phase I – 2011 to 2012), which encountered some resistance until it was reframed under a new formal intra-governmental institutional building process (Phase II – 2012 to 2013). Following a rapid surge and apparent early advances in MSP discussions (Phase III - 2014), the final (current) Phase IV can be characterized by the quiescence of the innovation process led by federal government, and the rise in numbers and diversity of agents in the MSP policy arena. It is noted with this analysis that Brazil is behind the international schedule on MSP, as it is still struggling in the ‘articulation and framing phase’. The analysis of thirty-four challenges and opportunities identified in this trajectory shows that improving functional capacities to govern (governability) the ocean in Brazil will require all actors to: (1) streamline cross-network knowledge-exchange to improve the nascent MSP arena; (2) further understand institutional dynamics impeding policy integration; (3) foster a more symmetrically responsive ocean governance arena; (4) promote coordinated scaling through principle-based policy-building and; (5) strengthening critical but proactive civil society participation at multiple, interrelated area-based ocean governance innovation frontlines. The accumulated capacities shared by existing knowledge-to-action networks in Brazil may render the emerging arena a dynamic, creative, and regional ocean learning experiment.