Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for the maintenance of marine ecosystem functionality and health and ensuring the onward flow of beneficial ecosystem services that support human well-being. Social and economic factors influence whether and how stakeholders exploit resources or cooperate to conserve them. Environmental managers are now turning from designating MPAs to monitoring their effectiveness. Combining spatial analysis with quantitative and qualitative survey methods this research shows that an MPA (Lyme Bay, SW England) has had varying effects on the delivery of the beneficial ecosystem service of leisure and recreation. In the survey years 2008–2011 dive businesses have increased their frequency of activity inside and outside the MPA and report an increase in turnover; though they perceive little or no effect of the MPA on business. Charter boat operators have seen an overall decline in the frequency of activity outside the MPA and an increase inside the MPA. They perceive that the MPA has increasingly had a positive effect on their business. Sea angling activity has declined at sites outside the MPA and increased at sites within the MPA, suggesting a redistribution of spatial activity. Diving activity has increased both inside and outside the MPA. Divers report that the MPA has influenced where they choose to dive. This corresponds to a potential increase in value of the MPA resource (represented as the proportional expenditure and associated turnover by these groups) of £2.2 million. This research demonstrates that the use of the resource has changed following designation and that MPAs can attract a greater proportion of the leisure and recreation expenditure and associated turnover to sites within the MPA boundary. Moving forward it is important to assess effects both inside and outside MPAs. Integrating high quality social science at MPA sites to track effectiveness can help to adapt and refine management strategies to reflect the needs of the stakeholders and support effective conservation.
Recreational boating is an important economic activity that can also represent a powerful source of interference for biological communities. The monitoring of the recreational boating in all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Liguria region was conducted in the 2010 summer season and it allowed to obtain information not provided by any official institution. The collaboration of geographically different MPAs in Liguria has led to the implementation of a monitoring framework of recreational boating, and this has made it possible to develop uniform management strategies for all the Ligurian marine parks. This study identifies the optimal number of boats for each MPAs, the number of boats that can anchor in the various parks without creating any impact on the biocenosis of merit, providing a first characterization of recreational boating in Liguria during the high touristic season and providing management recommendation to each MPAs. Generally, the Ligurian MPAs do not present critical situations, the number of boats in each MPA being below the optimal number, with the exception of Portofino MPA, where in the 12.5 % of monitored days more than 220 boats were counted and the mean density for weekend is 1.19 no boats/ha (4 times higher than weekday). The results confirm the dependence of the boats peaking from the holidays and the months of the summer, but also it highlights other factors that can contribute in the choice of the boaters.
The beneficial effects of blue environments have been well documented; however, we do not know how marine litter might modify these effects. Three studies adopted a picture-rating task to examine the influence of litter on preference, perceived restorative quality, and psychological impacts. Photographs varied the presence of marine litter (Study 1) and the type of litter (Studies 2 and 3). The influence of tide and the role of connectedness were also explored. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, it was shown that litter can undermine the psychological benefits that the coast ordinarily provides, thus demonstrating that, in addition to environmental costs of marine litter, there are also costs to people. Litter stemming from the public had the most negative impact. This research extends our understanding of the psychological benefits from natural coastal environments and the threats to these benefits from abundant and increasing marine litter.
Jellyfish outbreaks in the Mediterranean Sea are part of an anthropogenic alteration of the marine ecosystem and have been documented as health hazards and threats to tourism. Their impacts on human welfare have, however, been poorly quantified. A socioeconomic survey, carried out in summer 2013, captures the impacts of an outbreak of Rhopilema nomadica on seaside recreation in Israel. Welfare losses are estimated based on per-visit value and expected change in visits patterns. We estimate that an outbreak reduces the number of seaside visits by 3–10.5%, with an annual monetary loss of €1.8–6.2 million. An additional 41% of the respondents state that their recreational activities on the beach are affected by the outbreak. Through a contingent valuation, we find that 56% of the respondents state a willingness to contribute to a national environmental protection program with an estimated annual benefit of €14.8 million. These figures signal an opportunity to invest in public information systems. A pilot study for adaptation was conducted in Barcelona, whose results confirm the importance of the welfare benefits of real-time public information systems. This study provides a benchmark against which the economic impacts of jellyfish outbreaks on coastal recreation and potential adaptation policies can be evaluated.
The Gold Coast beaches are among Australia’s most popular beaches and rank among the world’s best-known beaches. A good understanding of the characteristics of beach users and their recreational use values is of fundamental importance to formulate effective beach management policy. This paper, using the individual travel cost method, estimates the recreational use value of Gold Coast beaches. The value of a single beach visit is estimated to be $19.47 per person. Furthermore, the efficiency of the value transfer method is analysed in this study. To do this, the recreational value of Gold Coast beaches transferred from the relevant studies conducted for other Australian beaches is compared with this study.
Multi-use marine parks achieve conservation through spatial management of activities. Zoning of marine parks in New South Wales, Australia, includes high conservation areas and special purpose zones (SPZ) where maritime activities are concentrated. Although such measures geographically constrain anthropogenic impacts, we have limited understanding of potential ecological effects. We assessed sediment communities and contaminants adjacent to boating infrastructure (boat ramps, jetties and a marina) in a SPZ from the Clyde Estuary in Batemans Marine Park. Metal concentrations and fines content were elevated at boating structures compared to reference sites. Species richness was higher at sites with boating structures, where capitellid polychaetes and nematodes dominated the communities. Changes associated with boating structures were localised and did not extend beyond breakwalls or to reference sites outside the SPZ. The study highlights the benefits of appropriate zoning in a multi-use marine park and the potential to minimise stress on pristine areas through the application of spatial management.
The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with Point 97 and the state of Washington, recently completed the Washington Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study and today released the final report. The study collected economic and spatial data on “non-consumptive” recreational uses such as beach going, kayaking, wildlife viewing, hiking and biking, and surfing. These recreational uses are widely practiced along the extent of Washington’s coast (Pacific Coast & Strait of Juan de Fuca). Information from the study will be used as part of the state’s marine spatial planning process, which is a collaborative endeavor to analyze and allocate the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine environments to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives.
This study is a part of a larger baseline marine protected areas monitoring effort, entitled the South Coast MPA Baseline Program, tasked with characterizing the ecological and socioeconomic conditions and changes within the South Coast region since MPA implementation. To investigate coastal recreation patterns in the South Coast region, we utilized a standing internet panel hosted by Knowledge Networks (KN) designed to be demographically representative and surveyed 4,492 individuals in select South Coast region counties. The data collected established a baseline characterization of coastal visitation and recreation statistics and a spatial baseline of coastal recreation use patterns in the region.
In-situ signage is a cost effective environmental education tool used in marine protected area (MPA) management, and the design and location of signage is crucial to attract the attention of targeted audiences. The implementation of multiple-use MPAs increases the challenges of communicating awareness of MPA boundaries and permitted activities. Currently, little is known about how effective signage in multiple-use MPAs is in communicating information to stakeholders that will promote supportive attitudes and behaviours towards MPAs. This study evaluated the usefulness of in-situ signage in an existing multiple-use MPA, to determine if signs pertaining to the MPA captured the attention of recreational users, and provided adequate information. Structured interviews with recreational fishers, divers, and other users, were used to determine users׳ awareness of being in an MPA, their awareness of management objectives and associated zoning scheme, together with levels of agreement or disagreement on whether or not current in-situ signage adequately communicates information about the MPA. It was evident that the types and accessibility of in-situ signs in the MPA may not be effective at capturing the attention of intended audiences and providing relevant information, with the exception of signs located at the dive site, due to their design, size, and placement. Awareness differed among the three user groups, together with their views on the effectiveness of signage. Many recreational fishers believed existing signage was inadequate and unclear, and expressed frustrations with the complexity of zoning rules and location of their boundaries. Based on this study, recommendations about the presentation, content, and placement of signage relative to access points, and information required by MPA users, is provided.
Coastal and ocean recreation provides significant economic and social benefits to coastal communities of the Mid-Atlantic, encompassing New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It is important to understand how and where people use the coast and ocean as a first step towards better management of the natural resources integral to coastal and ocean recreation.
To address this need, and to inform regional ocean planning efforts for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB), the Surfrider Foundation (Surfrider), in partnership with Point 97 (a company of Ecotrust), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Monmouth University's Urban Coast Institute (Monmouth) (jointly, the Team), in collaboration with MARCO, engaged 'non-consumptive&' recreational users such as divers, surfers, kayakers, beach goers, and wildlife viewers to carry out the Mid-Atlantic Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study (Study) in 2013-2014.
The Team used a web-based survey to collect data from respondents on recreational use patterns, trip expenditures, and demographics. The survey included a series of questions and an easy-to-use interactive mapping tool. Respondents marked places on maps where they recreated over the last 12 months. The Team then analyzed the resulting spatial data to develop maps indicating intensity of use for 16 recreational activities in the region.
To promote participation in the Study, the Team engaged coastal and ocean recreational stakeholders and regional planning partners like MARCO to collaboratively develop the survey instrument, deploy targeted outreach strategies, and review the resulting spatial data on coastal and ocean recreation use patterns.
The Team implemented a variety of outreach strategies designed to promote stakeholder engagement in all phases of the Study. Outreach efforts targeted non-consumptive coastal and ocean users and leveraged the collaboration of a broad set of recreational businesses, groups, and associations, as well as environmental organizations in the region. The Team's outreach also incorporated information about the regional ocean planning process and opportunities for public engagement.
In total, Mid-Atlantic respondents completed nearly 1,500 surveys resulting in over 22,000 unique data points. The data show that coastal and ocean recreation encompasses a popular and diverse group of activities in the Mid-Atlantic, resulting in major economic and social benefits to coastal communities. The average respondent who visited the Mid-Atlantic coast spent an average of $71.06 per trip.
The Team, in coordination with other relevant recreational use studies in the region, has made the data and information from the Study available on the MARCO Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/portal) and to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (http://www.boem.gov/Mid-Atlantic-Regional-Planning-Body), as it develops a Regional Ocean Action Plan for coastal and ocean uses in the Mid-Atlantic.
For the first time, regional scale maps showing coastal and ocean recreational use patterns are available to help planners and managers make better-informed decisions in consideration of maintaining and improving recreational uses and values. The Team expects this new baseline to serve as a credible first iteration, a foundation to be updated and improved as new information on coastal and ocean recreation becomes available.