In many coastal areas, high numbers of recreationists may exceed ecological capacities. Careful monitoring of visitor flows is a first prerequisite for coastal area management. We show how AIS ship data can be translated into interpretable information on recreational boats and investigate whether AIS can provide monitoring information when compared to nature conservation policy targets. In the Wadden Sea UNESCO World Heritage Site we used nearly 9 million data points to create spatiotemporal patterns for the 2018 recreation season. We combined this with shipping lanes and bathymetry data and compared the resulting patterns with nature protection regulations. Our results show that most of the traffic is concentrated around tidal channels. We also show that exceeding speed limits is not predominant behaviour, but the effect of speeding on birds and seals might be more severe than the data suggests. We mapped favourite tidal flat moor activities, and observed where this occurs in Marine Protected Areas. We conclude that AIS analysis can provide valuable recreational boating monitoring, relevant to sensitive coastal area management in the entire Dutch Wadden Sea for the full recreational season. Broader integration of AIS with radar data and ecological data can add to the power of using AIS.
This work aimed to study the effects of recreational diving and snorkeling on the distribution, diversity, and abundance of surgeonfishes in six northern islands, different in their diving and snorkeling load, at the Hurghada area in the Egyptian Red Sea waters. SCUBA diving survey was conducted in summer 2019 using transect technique in the reef flat and reef slope in the study sites to compare total and single surgeonfish species census among sites and microhabitats. A total of six species of surgeonfish belonging to three genera were recorded during the current survey, including Zebrasoma xanthurum, Zebrasoma desjardinii, Acanthurus gahhm, Acanthurus sohal, Naso lituratus, and Naso unicornis. Z. desjardinii was the most abundant species, recording 41.2% relative abundance, followed by Acanthurus sohal (19%). In all sites, surgeonfish species diversity and average/total abundance in reef flat was always higher than that recorded in the reef slope. Meanwhile, the recreational effect results showed that, in reef flat habitats, surgeonfishes total/average abundance was inversely related to the numbers of divers and snorkelers across survey sites. In contrast, deeper habitat at the opened reef edge exhibited inverse distribution pattern, whereas, the obtained results showed that surgeonfish preferred the reef edge when the diving activities load increased.
In partially protected marine areas, such as recreational fishing havens (RFHs), fishery‐independent surveys and recreational angler surveys represent two of the few available methods of collecting length‐frequency data to monitor population responses to protection from commercial fishing and the impacts of ongoing recreational fishing. Although length data plays an important role in facilitating stock assessment and monitoring within RFHs, little is known about the relative magnitude and direction of size‐selective biases introduced by fishery‐independent surveys and angler surveys. This study quantitatively compared length data derived from the two methods for three exploited species or taxa (bream species complex of Acanthopagrus spp. [hybrid complex of Black Bream A. butcheri × Yellowfin Bream A. australis], Dusky Flathead Platycephalus fuscus, and Sand Whiting Sillago ciliata) sampled from two estuarine RFHs in Australia. When all lengths sampled by each method were compared, the species‐specific length frequencies derived from angler surveys and fishery‐independent surveys differed significantly in all cases but for Dusky Flathead from one RFH. Following standardization for minimum‐legal‐length restrictions, the angler survey method captured a more representative spectrum of lengths for Acanthopagrus spp. For Dusky Flathead, angler surveys and fishery‐independent surveys performed equally in terms of the lengths captured. Although length frequencies for Sand Whiting above minimum legal length differed significantly between the methods in both RFHs, spatial inconsistencies precluded a clear conclusion for this species. The fact that neither method consistently outperformed the other across all species supports the idea that using both angler surveys and fishery‐independent surveys in a complimentary manner may enable a clearer understanding of size compositions across multiple species for monitoring and stock assessment purposes and thereby facilitate an ecosystem‐based approach to fishery assessment and management.
The present study aims to provide a conceptual framework to help practitioners to improve the quality of recreational waters near estuary, which may be affected by untreated wastewater from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). When CSOs are activated, the concentration of bacteria (e.g., Enterococci and E. coli) in estuary increases, thereby resulting in a potential health threat to swimmers. Here, the bacterial exposure is evaluated using physically-based stochastic model for contaminant transport, while human health risk is determined by Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA). Based on human health risk framework, we quantify the Carrying Capacity (CC) of the recreational water body. Such an indicator is defined as the number of swimming individuals that can be sustained in a beach resort with an acceptable risk threshold. The CC increases by dilution processes and by reduction of the source concentration, which in turn depends on the improvements in the sewage system. The presented approach can be a useful screening tool for policy-makers and other stakeholders, thereby providing a potential solution to the trade-off between economic development and the sustainable ecosystem in coastal areas.
Here we test an application, based on the analysis of the metadata of geotagged photographs, to investigate the provision of recreational services by the network of wetland ecosystems in the state of Kerala, India. We estimate visitation to individual wetlands state-wide and extend, for the first time to a developing region, the emerging application of recreational ecosystem services (ES) modelling using data from social media and environmental quality data. The impacts of restoration of wetland areal extension and water quality improvement are explored as a means to inform sustainable management strategies. Findings show that improving water quality to a level suitable for the preservation of wildlife and fisheries could increase annual recreational visits by 13% (350,000) to wetlands state-wide. Results support the notion that passive crowdsourced data from social media has the potential to improve current ecosystem service analyses and environmental management practices also in the context of developing countries.
Recreational boating increases globally and associated moorings are often placed in vegetated habitats important for fish recruitment. Meanwhile, assessments of the effects of boating on vegetation, and potential effects on associated fish assemblages are rare. Here, we analysed (i) the effect of small-boat marinas on vegetation structure, and (ii) juvenile fish abundance in relation to vegetation cover in shallow wave-sheltered coastal inlets. We found marinas to have lower vegetation cover and height, and a different species composition, compared to control inlets. This effect became stronger with increasing berth density. Moreover, there was a clear positive relationship between vegetation cover and fish abundance. We conclude that recreational boating and related moorings are associated with reduced cover of aquatic vegetation constituting important habitats for juvenile fish. We therefore recommend that coastal constructions and associated boating should be allocated to more disturbance tolerant environments (e.g. naturally wave-exposed shores), thereby minimizing negative environmental impacts.
Because of demographic and tourism increase, coastal areas are facing higher numbers of recreational users. Together with other factors (environmental quality, protection status), the level of use affects the spatial distribution of users. This level also affects the quality of user experience, because beyond a certain level, the number of users results in decreased user satisfaction; this is the social carrying capacity (SCC), which depends on user and site characteristics. This study assessed the SCC in a popular coastal area and examined how it influences the spatial distribution of users. Boat and visitor counts as well as data from a questionnaire-based survey were analyzed to assess i) crowding perception, ii) factors affecting the disturbance associated with use level, and iii) user's coping strategies when managing high use levels. The results demonstrated that crowding perception and disturbances associated with use level depend on-site characteristics, use level, and user characteristics. Boat type was the main factor affecting user's coping strategy. SCC significantly differed between sites and according to the use level anticipated by users. The SCC was fulfilled at every site within the marine protected areas, except for the sites experiencing the lowest use level. This study provides novel and valuable information for the field of recreational use management, when attempting to achieve either sustainable use goals through SCC assessment or biodiversity conservation goals through the effect of SCC on the spatial distribution of pressures related to recreational uses.
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities that are highly valued by society. For the purposes of conducting a meta-analysis we build an extensive global dataset of marine recreational ecosystem service values from the literature. Using this database we developed a number of meta-regression specifications with the objective of evaluating the study specific effects of location, ecosystem, valuation methodology and statistical estimation methods on the reported value estimates. Furthermore, the paper investigates if cultural differences between studies are an important determinant that should be considered in international (meta-analytical) value transfer. This was achieved by including a number of cultural parameters from previous societal studies and surveys into our meta-regression models. We found that accounting for differences in cultural dimensions across recreation valuation studies had a significant influence on value estimates. While a multi-level modelling approach that controls for study effects, proved to be a better fit than a standard one level specification, we found that the absolute in-sample transfer errors associated with the standard OLS model were slightly less on average based on the differences between the actual and predicted values in our meta-database.
Shoreline recession due to the combined effect of waves, tides and sea level rise is increasingly becoming a major threat to beaches, one of the main assets of seaside tourist destinations. Given such an uncertain future climate and the climate-sensitive nature of many decisions that affect the long term, there is a growing need to shift current approaches towards probabilistic frameworks able to take uncertainty into account. This study contributes to climate change research by exploring the effects of erosion on the recreation value of beaches as a key indicator in the tourism sector. The new paradigm relates eroded sand to geographic and socioeconomic aspects and other physical settings, including beach type, quality and accesses, yielding monetary estimates of risk in probabilistic terms. Additionally, we look into policy implications regarding tourism management, adaptation and risk reduction. The methodology was implemented in 57 beaches in Asturias (north of Spain).
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.