Subtropical reefs are biogeographic transition zones, providing critical habitat for a range of tropical, subtropical and temperate biota, including many endemic species. To date, limited research has been conducted on assessing the level of SCUBA diving risks to subtropical benthic habitats. This study surveyed 407 SCUBA divers to determine the types and rates of contact presenting the greatest risk to benthic taxa. Data were aggregated to give the total number of severe contacts for each diver. Site-level analysis based on 95% confidence level showed that severe impacts were more probable as reef complexity increased vertically. A general linear regression model was used to assess the level of risk to habitat based on the contact type and benthic percentage cover. SCUBA tank, camera, diver's knee and untethered equipment created the greatest proportion of severe impacts to benthic taxa. As benthic percentage cover increased for Scleractinia, Echinodermata, Ascidiacea, Porifera, susceptibility and vulnerability to severe impacts also increased. Abrasions, breaks, compression and mucus release were common forms of impact. Risk assessment findings suggest that subtropical benthic taxa are highly susceptible to SCUBA diver impacts. Targeted risk reduction is required in future management strategies.
Health and economic benefits may accrue from marine and coastal recreation. In England, few national-level descriptive analyses exist which examine predictors of recreation in these environments. Data from seven waves (2009–2016) of a representative survey of the English population (n = 326,756) were analysed to investigate how many recreational visits were made annually to coastal environments in England, which activities were undertaken on these visits, and which demographic, motivational, temporal, and regional factors predict them. Inland environments are presented for comparison. Approximately 271 million recreational visits were made to coastal environments in England annually, the majority involving land-based activities such as walking. Separately, there were around 59 million instances of water-based recreation undertaken on recreational visits (e.g. swimming, water sports). Visits to the coast involving walking were undertaken by a wide spectrum of the population: compared to woodland walks, for instance, coastal walks were more likely to be made by females, older adults, and individuals from lower socioeconomic classifications, suggesting the coast may support reducing activity inequalities. Motivational and temporal variables showed distinct patterns between visits to coastal and inland comparator environments. Regional variations existed too with more visits to coastal environments made by people living in the south-west and north-east compared to London, where more visits were made to urban open spaces. The results provide a reference for current patterns of coastal recreation in England, and could be considered when making policy-level decisions with regard to coastal accessibility and marine plans. Implications for future public health and marine plans are discussed.
The aim of this study was to determine the recreational value of the three major coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific: Cabo Pulmo, Islas Marietas and Huatulco. 488 and 455 domestic and international tourists respectively were interviewed, and their socioeconomic profile and perception of the coral reef they visited were determined. Using the dichotomous choice contingent valuation method, a willingness to pay of US$ 5.79 for conservation activities was determined, as well as a net annual benefit from the reef of US$1.4 million. The results of the study show that the tourists are willing to pay a higher entrance fee than that established by the federal government. Therefore, if a new entrance fee policy is implemented for entering to marine national parks, the federal government could increase its limited budget for monitoring and research activities in these ecosystems.
The coastal zone in the Arctic is being extensively used for recreational activities. Simultaneously, there is an increasing pressure from commercial activities. We present results from a discrete choice experiment implemented in Arctic Norway, revealing how households in this region make trade-offs between recreational activities and commercial developments in the coastal zone. Our results show that, although people prefer stricter regulation of commercial activities, they welcome expansion in marine industries like aquaculture and marine fishing tourism. We also find evidence of high willingness-to-pay for new jobs; and this may partly explain the preferences for the commercial facilities in spite of the visual intrusion they create. On the other hand people expressed a clear dislike for littering of the beaches. Hence, the message to policy makers is to allow for commercial development in the coastal zone, but only under strict regulations, especially related to measures reducing the amount of marine debris.
Recreational beaches are strategic ecosystems for tourism and should be used in a sustainable manner. We studied three beaches in the municipality of Guaymas (NW Mexico), in order to assess their beach quality and identify key management issues. The evaluation was based on the perceptions of users concerning: (1) the user profile; (2) the recreational habits of users; and (3) the biophysical characteristics, infrastructure, services, and cleanliness of each beach. The results showed that the beaches were of different quality. The key management issues identified were the need to design and apply specific management programs for each beach, specifically in regards to improving infrastructure and services, and obtaining certification as a sustainable beach. The evaluation of the beaches as perceived by users suggests that it would be useful to assess beach quality in order to support management goals and be applicable to other beaches, both nationally and internationally.
Recreational diving damages coral reefs despite heightened environmental awareness. However, divers prefer preserved coral reefs and therefore reef degradation presents an economic loss. Artificial reefs were suggested among a range of tools to mitigate and reduce divers' negative impact on coral reefs.
Coral reefs in Eilat (northern tip of the Red Sea) are among the most densely dived reefs in the world, with an estimated number of dives of up to 350,000 dives a year. At least 7 artificial reefs were deployed in the coastal waters of Eilat, however the divers' visitation on these reefs is not tracked regularly.
We found that more than one third of the total dives take place on artificial reefs in Eilat. The divers prefer to vary their diving sites and possess a desire to diversify and expand their diving experience. Thus, the divers are also willing to dive a on artificial reefs, and this is true for both novice and experienced divers. This indicates that artificial reefs can draw divers from natural reefs, thus reducing diving pressure and allowing more sustainable levels of diving on natural coral reefs. This leads us to a conclusion that artificial reefs may be useful in modern reef conservation approaches.
Coastal populations and tourism are growing worldwide. Consequently outdoor recreational activity is increasing and diversifying. While Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are valuable for mitigating anthropogenic impacts, recreational uses are rarely monitored and studied, resulting in a lack of knowledge on users' practices, motivation and impacts. Based on boat counts and interview data collected in New Caledonia, we i) explored factors affecting user practices and motivations, ii) constructed fine-scale pressure indices covering activities and associated behaviors, and iii) assessed the relationships between user practices and site selection. User practices were found to depend on protection status, boat type and user characteristics. Pressure indices were higher within no-take MPAs, except for fishing. We found significant relationships between user practices and settings characteristics. In the context of increasing recreational uses, these results highlight options for managing such uses through settings management without jeopardizing the social acceptance of MPAs or the attainment of conservation goals.
Industrial harbours are a complex interface between environmental, economic and social systems. Trying to manage the social and economic needs of the community while maintaining the integrity of environmental ecosystems is complicated, as is the identification and evaluation of the various factors that underpin the drivers of economic, community and resource condition. An increasingly popular strategy to deal with the identification and evaluation challenges in complex human-environmental systems is to use a report card system which can be used as a summary assessment tool to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystems. To date though these have largely focused on environmental factors, and it is only very recently that attempts are being made to include social, cultural and economic indicators. There has been limited consensus in the selection of social and economic indicators applied in different aquatic report cards but as recreation is such an important activity, typically some measure of recreation benefit is included. However, there has been no commonality in the measures applied to assess its performance as an economic indicator.
This paper is focused on the assessment of recreational benefits as an indicator of economic value in the report card for Gladstone Harbour in Queensland, Australia. It is the first aquatic health report card to include an assessment of the nonmarket value of recreation which makes it a more comprehensive indicator of economic value compared to other report cards based on measures of employment, participation or expenditure. There have now been three consecutive years of reporting (2014–2016) of the Gladstone Harbour report card, and the results indicate that the recreation index appears to be effective in monitoring changes over time.
Although more that 86% of Australia’s population live less than 100kms from the coast and spend or invest a lot of money to gain access to the beaches, little is known about the intensity of their use and the economic value of beach recreation. Very few studies estimate recreational use value of beaches particularly for those living close (less than 10 km) to the beach (locals). They typically have dissimilar visit patterns and low or zero travel costs because of their proximity to the recreation site. This study uses the latent class framework to extend the standard count data models to estimates the economic value of beaches for locals in the Capricorn Coast region of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Results indicate that values for beach use among the locals differ depending on their visit patterns. This information is essential when evaluating policy options associated with beach protection and management.
The ecosystem services approach has increasingly emerged as a core requirement of ecosystem-based management of the marine space. In this context, explicit quantification and mapping of ecosystem services is considered key. This research proposes a methodological framework that combines Geographic Information Systems and participatory techniques to map the ecosystem service of recreation opportunities, provided by coastal and marine ecosystems. Attributes selected to represent the ecosystem service were scenic beauty, unique natural resources, accessibility, cultural sites and tourism use aptitude. High values of the indicator concentrated on areas that combined the presence of unique marine fauna (e.g. Southern Elephant Seal, Mirounga leonina), terrestrial and marine routs, and areas of high scenic beauty, associated to the presence of glaciers. These areas corresponded to the southern part of Almirantazgo Sound, the northern part of Navarino Island on the coast of the Beagle Channel, and to areas surrounding Wulaia fishermen's cove. Zones showing highest values of the indicator 81–100) comprised 0.89% of the study area and a small proportion of them coincided with areas of aptitude for aquaculture, which represents potential use conflicts, as long as aquaculture concessions remain operative. In turn, the areas of lowest values 0–20) were located offshore in open sea, and comprised 0.49% of the study area. Overall, the methodology demonstrated the capacity to identify potential recreation areas to inform regional decision making regarding marine use planning.