Coral reef managers currently face the challenge of mitigating global stressors by enhancing local ecological resilience in a changing climate. Effective herbivore management is one tool that managers can use in order to maintain resilience in the midst of severe and frequent bleaching events. One recommended approach is to establish networks of herbivore management areas (HMAs), which prohibit the take of herbivorous reef fishes. However, there is a need to develop design principles to guide planning and implementation of these HMAs as a resilience-building tool. We refine available guidance from fully protected marine protected area (MPA) networks and developed a set of 11 biophysical design principles specifically for HMAs. We then provide a case study of how to apply these principles using the main Hawaiian Islands. We address site-specific considerations in terms of protecting habitats, including ecologically critical areas, incorporating connectivity, and addressing climate and local threats. This synthesis integrates core marine spatial planning concepts with resilience-based management and provides actionable guidance on the design of HMAs. When combined with social considerations, these principles will support spatial planning in Hawai‘i and could guide the future design of HMA networks globally.
The transformation of coral reefs has profound implications for millions of people. However, the interactive effects of changing reefs and fishing remain poorly resolved. We combine underwater surveys (271 000 fishes), catch data (18 000 fishes), and household surveys (351 households) to evaluate how reef fishes and fishers in Moorea, French Polynesia responded to a landscape-scale loss of coral caused by sequential disturbances (a crown-of-thorns sea star outbreak followed by a category 4 cyclone). Although local communities were aware of the disturbances, less than 20% of households reported altering what fishes they caught or ate. This contrasts with substantial changes in the taxonomic composition in the catch data that mirrored changes in fish communities observed on the reef. Our findings highlight that resource users and scientists may have very different interpretations of what constitutes ‘change’ in these highly dynamic social–ecological systems, with broad implications for successful co-management of coral reef fisheries.
Ecological theory predicts that ecosystems with multiple basins of attraction can get locked in an undesired state, which has profound ecological and management implications. Despite their significance, alternative attractors have proven to be challenging to detect and characterize in natural communities. On coral reefs, it has been hypothesized that persistent coral-to-macroalgae “phase shifts” that can result from overfishing of herbivores and/or nutrient enrichment may reflect a regime shift to an alternate attractor, but, to date, the evidence has been equivocal. Our field experiments in Moorea, French Polynesia, revealed the following: (i) hysteresis existed in the herbivory–macroalgae relationship, creating the potential for coral–macroalgae bistability at some levels of herbivory, and (ii) macroalgae were an alternative attractor under prevailing conditions in the lagoon but not on the fore reef, where ambient herbivory fell outside the experimentally delineated region of hysteresis. These findings help explain the different community responses to disturbances between lagoon and fore reef habitats of Moorea over the past several decades and reinforce the idea that reversing an undesired shift on coral reefs can be difficult. Our experimental framework represents a powerful diagnostic tool to probe for multiple attractors in ecological systems and, as such, can inform management strategies needed to maintain critical ecosystem functions in the face of escalating stresses.
Ecological trade-offs due to different perturbations are here quantified by comparing direct impacts and net effects using fishing pressures on marine ecosystems as controlled perturbations. Results highlight that trade-offs emerge in majority of cases when evaluated through multispecies models and are independent from model complexity. Trade-offs showed a dome-shaped relationship with direct impact thus supporting the theory of positive effects of intermediate levels of disturbance. Moreover, trade-off intensity resulted to be related to the capability of the system to react to perturbation, i.e., to ecosystem resilience. Overall the work shows the benefit of complex system analysis that permits the emerging ecological trade-offs which are neglected in simpler single species analyses.
Resilience underpins the sustainability of both ecological and social systems. Extensive loss of reef corals following recent mass bleaching events have challenged the notion that support of system resilience is a viable reef management strategy. While resilience-based management (RBM) cannot prevent the damaging effects of major disturbances, such as mass bleaching events, it can support natural processes that promote resistance and recovery. Here, we review the potential of RBM to help sustain coral reefs in the 21st century. We explore the scope for supporting resilience through existing management approaches and emerging technologies and discuss their opportunities and limitations in a changing climate. We argue that for RBM to be effective in a changing world, reef management strategies need to involve both existing and new interventions that together reduce stress, support the fitness of populations and species, and help people and economies to adapt to a highly altered ecosystem.
To cope with fisheries unsustainability, the Mexican government has recently promoted strategies of public participation to support decision making. This type of strategy is important in the Huave Lagunar System (HLS) in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, where fishers have historically maintained close ethnobiological interactions with their natural resources. This chapter describes the pre-Hispanic fishery system of San Francisco del Mar Pueblo Viejo under the premise that self-government practices in HLS favor the pursuit of social resilience, the ability of a self-organizing system to return to its original state after being disturbed by extreme events. The design of a Fisheries and Climate Planning Agenda that includes strategies considering key aspects of social diversity presents itself as an opportunity to facilitate the reach of social support for decision making, an essential step toward supporting a realistic panorama of sustainability for the sector.
This chapter synthesizes more than two decades of interdisciplinary scholarship by the coauthors related to fishing families and coastal communities. Amid the contemporary narrative of increasing coastal storms, erosion, and other physical hazards associated with climate and related coastal hazards facing coastal communities, we find myriad ways that Oregon fishing families and communities adapt to changes and continually demonstrate cultural and community resilience. Fishing families have exhibited their resilience through transformations in family roles, changes in the makeup of the fleet (graying), and never-ending management and resource shifts. This process of adapting to change has been a thread in our research, from one of our first collaborative projects, Adapting to Change: Fishing Businesses, Families, Communities, and Regions (1995) to our current project, The Old(er) Men of the Sea: Graying of the Fishing Industry and Its Impact on Local Community Resiliency. Our work illustrates an ever-present culture of adaptation that serves as the anchor of resilience in coastal Oregon.
Resilience has become a key concept for addressing the vulnerability of small-scale fishing households in developing countries. While effort has gone into defining the concept of resilience in relation to fishing households; very little application of the concept exists in practice. An economic resiliency strategy was developed that builds resilience through improved household assets to reduce risks and vulnerabilities. A foundational conclusion of the strategy is the importance of linking household livelihood interventions to sustainable fishing behaviors. The conservation enterprise approach facilitated a mutually beneficial relationship between biodiversity conservation and livelihoods.
The existence and dilemmas of metropolitan fisheries have been overlooked in research on the resilience of coastal marine socio-ecological systems. Yet, they could produce a model of sustainable fisheries with significant global impact. To fill that research gap, this study investigates an inshore fishery population that has sustained itself within Hong Kong's rapid urban development, seeking to understand the reasons for its survival. The results indicate that the values of self-reliance and entrepreneurialism exacted by fishing enabled the fishers to make necessary adaptations and reposition themselves in mariculture and service industries. These new ventures, while retaining marine-based livelihoods, draw the fishers away from fishing activities. The paradox of this value-based resilience of a metropolitan fishery is discussed for its potential to generate policies to strengthen linkages among the fishers’ business activities and to create a sustainable fishery model useful in other contexts.
Between 2010 and 2016, the Orkney Islands Council, Highland Council and Marine Scotland have collaborated to develop a pilot Marine Spatial Plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters in Scotland. This paper explores the challenges of marine spatial planning processes by looking at the possibilities for fisheries communities to mobilize their social capital – in the form of bonding, bridging or linking – in order to re-position and to empower themselves in these processes. This paper aims to uncover the resilience of local communities that deploy social capital in order to influence MSP processes and safeguard their own interests. For this article ten weeks of qualitative fieldwork in the form of in-depth interviews and participant observation with stakeholders of the pilot marine spatial plan were conducted on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The strong bonding social capital among fishermen in Orkney has resulted in a resilient community identity which allows for collaboration and self-organization, but also creates a defensive mentality which does not favor linking. Furthermore, a lack of trust in governmental authorities inhibits the mobilization of linking social capital among fishermen, obstructing the ability to access power through cross-scale connections. In response the fisheries community uses bridging social capital outside governance arenas to access networks and mobilize resources to strengthen its socio-economic and political position in support of future linking social capital. Researching this complex interrelation and functioning of social capital uncovers some of the social dimensions and socio-institutional constraints for fisheries engagement with and power in marine spatial planning.