Do fishers know best when it comes to identifying areas with rare and depleted fish species? The global conservation crisis demands that managers marshal all available datasets to inform conservation management plans for depleted species, yet the level of trust placed in local knowledge remains uncertain. This study compares four methods for inferring species distributions of an internationally traded, rare and depleted genus of marine fishes (Hippocampus spp.): the use of (i) fisher interviews; (ii) government research trawls, (iii) scientific diving surveys, and (iv) citizen science contributions. We analyzed these four datasets at the genus and individual species levels to evaluate our conclusions about seahorse spatial occurrence, diversity of species present and the cost effectiveness of sampling effort. We found that fisher knowledge provided more information on our data-poor fish genus at larger spatial scales, with less effort, and for a cheaper price than all other datasets. One drawback was that fishers were unable to provide data down to the species level. People embarking on conservation endeavors for data-poor species may wish to begin with fisher interviews and use these to inform the application of government research, scientific diving, or citizen science programs.
Tools and Data
The continuous development of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) provides a favourable context for environmental management and planning. However, it appears that the actual contribution of SDIs should also depend on the correlation between users’ expectations and the services delivered to them. Several studies have addressed some organizational, methodological and technological aspects of the development of SDIs. However, only a few studies have, to the best of our knowledge, studied SDI use at large. This article introduces a methodological approach oriented towards the study of the relationship between SDIs and the users interacting with them as part of their professional practices. Our study is applied to coastal zone management and planning in France. This approach combines structural and data flow modelling. The former is based on Social Network Analysis (SNA) and the latter on Data Flow Diagrams (DFD). This modelling approach has been applied to an online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The results identify the SDIs, geographical data flows and institutional levels implied in French coastal zone management and planning.
We have developed a set of tools that operate within an aquatic geographic information system to improve the accessibility, and usability of remote-sensed satellite and computer-modeled oceanographic data for marine science and ecosystem-based management. The tools form the Pelagic Habitat Analysis Module (PHAM), which can be applied as a modeling platform, an investigative aid in scientific research, or utilized as a decision support system for marine ecological management. Applications include fisheries, marine biology, physical and biological oceanography, and marine spatial management. The GIS provides a home for diverse data types and automated tools for downloading remote sensed and global circulation model data. Within the GIS environment, PHAM provides a framework for seamless interactive four-dimensional visualization, for matching between disparate data types, for flexible statistic or mechanistic model development, and for dynamic application of user developed models for habitat, density, and probability predictions. Here we describe PHAM in the context of ecosystem-based fisheries management, and present results from case study projects which guided development. In the first, an analysis of the purse seine fishery for tropical tuna in the eastern Pacific Ocean revealed oceanographic drivers of the catch distribution and the influence of climate-driven circulation patterns on the location of fishing grounds. To support management of the Common Thresher Shark (Alopias vulpinus) in the California Current Ecosystem, a simple empirical habitat utilization model was developed and used to dynamically predict the seasonal range expansion of common thresher shark based on oceanographic conditions.
This paper describes an open source suite of libraries and tools to support research activities on marine and coastal environment. The suite was initially implemented for the ADRIPLAN portal, an integrated web platform aimed at supporting Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) activities and other activities concerning the managing of marine environment for the Adriatic-Ionian region. The main elements of the implemented solutions are: i) a GeoNode implementation for sharing geospatial datasets and maps; ii) a new python library (RectifiedGrid) that facilitates the work with geographical grid data; iii) a new python library (Tools4MSP) to perform spatial analysis and assessment of human uses, pressures and the potential impact of maritime and coastal activities on the environment; iv) a new GeoNode plugin (called GeoNode-Tools4MSP) that provides interactive widgets to set up the analyses and to visualize and explore the results. The Tools4MSP and the developed software have been released as FOSS under the GPL3 license and are currently under further development.
Geoinformatics for Marine and Coastal Management provides a timely and valuable assessment of the current state of the art geoinformatics tools and methods for the management of marine systems. This book focuses on the cutting-edge coverage of a wide spectrum of activities and topics such as GIS-based application of drainage basin analysis, contribution of ontology to marine management, geoinformatics in relation to fisheries management, hydrography, indigenous knowledge systems, and marine law enforcement. The authors present a comprehensive overview of the field of Geoinformatic Applications in Marine Management covering key issues and debates with specific case studies illustrating real-world applications of the GIS technology. This "box of tools" serves as a long-term resource for coastal zone managers, professionals, practitioners, and students alike on the management of oceans and the coastal fringe, promoting the approach of allowing sustainable and integrated use of oceans to maximize opportunities while keeping risks and hazards to a minimum.
One of the challenges facing coastal zone managers and municipal planners is the development of an objective, quantitative assessment of the risk to structures, infrastructure, and public safety that coastal communities face from storm surge in the presence of changing climatic conditions, particularly sea level rise and coastal erosion. Here we use state of the art modeling tool (ADCIRC and STWAVE) to predict storm surge and wave, combined with shoreline change maps (erosion), and damage functions to construct a Coastal Environmental Risk Index (CERI). Access to the state emergency data base (E-911) provides information on structure characteristics and the ability to perform analyses for individual structures. CERI has been designed as an on line Geographic Information System (GIS) based tool, and hence is fully compatible with current flooding maps, including those from FEMA. The basic framework and associated GIS methods can be readily applied to any coastal area. The approach can be used by local and state planners to objectively evaluate different policy options for effectiveness and cost/benefit. In this study, CERI is applied to RI two communities; Charlestown representing a typical coastal barrier system directly exposed to ocean waves and high erosion rates, with predominantly low density single family residences and Warwick located within Narragansett Bay, with more limited wave exposure, lower erosion rates, and higher residential housing density. Results of these applications are highlighted herein.
The participation of local communities in marine resource management can contribute to the sustainability and longevity of marine resources across diverse coastal settings. In contexts where there are low levels of formal education and high levels of illiteracy, and where marine resource management is governed predominantly by customary management systems, the introduction of formal marine resource management can be challenging. Maps are often required as the basis for spatial marine management measures, effective spatially-explicit fisheries monitoring, and for formal support from fisheries authorities. Our research with local women reef gleaners of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique, pilots the potential uses of smartphones and digital mapping as a tool to allow fishers to map these understudied intertidal fishing grounds, and to understand the ecological dynamics as well as social uses of the intertidal resources. Even though women are key food and income providers through intertidal resource gleaning in this area of Mozambique, they have limited roles in fisheries management decision making. Therefore, we developed a participatory approach to mapping that could act as an entry point for their involvement in the design of a spatial fisheries management plan and associated community monitoring. Fisherwomen were trained to use smartphones with CyberTracker software for mapping intertidal fishing grounds in their village, and the locations of intertidal resources most important to their livelihoods, including octopus, pen shells and oysters. Interviews and focus groups were conducted throughout the mapping process to ascertain women's use and interest in the technology. We conclude that community-based mapping through simple tools as developed in this research can help connect local community groups, bridge traditional and formal governance systems and provide a positive example of co-management in practice.
The world’s oceans are a critical part of the Earth system. Sound knowledge and understanding of the oceans is essential for mitigating human impacts on the global environment and for promoting sustainable economic use of the marine environment, including: the safe and sustainable use of natural resources; the assessment of and adaptation to climate change; deep knowledge about complex and interconnected ecosystems; our understanding of the entire Earth system;
and health and public safety. Knowledge and understanding, in turn, depends on access to accurate, rich, available, and integrated ocean data, much of which is generated by regional Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) operating in our ocean and coastal zones. Such data is also increasingly relevant to stakeholders outside the oceans community, with a recent report suggesting that the industry sector engaged with ocean observation had revenues of over $7 billion in the U.S. alone, driven in part by their national OOS (NOAA, 2016). A careful re- examination of our data management practices, including how we share, access, and use data, is necessary to ensure we are leveraging Canada’s ocean data to best support scientific excellence, foster collaboration and innovation, and harness ocean data to inform decision-makers and other stakeholders.
The Expert Forum on Ocean Data Management (November 18-19, 2015 in Montreal, Canada) brought together national and international experts and stakeholders to present and evaluate international best practices in managing data from ocean observations, the current state of ocean data collected and managed in Canada, and goals and visions for the future of ocean data management (ODM) in Canada. Planned based on input from the Community of Practice on Ocean Data Management (CoP ODM), and organized and sponsored by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network, this forum built on previous events including a national Data Management Workshop (March, 2014) and a joint DFO-MEOPAR Workshop on Ocean Data Management in the Atlantic Canada Region (July, 2015). Over fifty participants from government, academia, and the private sector attended.
An abundance of approaches, strategies, and instruments – in short: tools – have been developed that intend to stimulate or facilitate the integration of a variety of environmental objectives into development planning, national or regional sectoral policies, international agreements, business strategies, etc. These tools include legally mandatory procedures, such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment; more voluntary tools such as environmental indicators developed by scientists and planning tools; green budgeting, etc. A relatively underexplored question is what integration tool fits what particular purposes and contexts, in short: “what works where?”. This paper intends to contribute to answering this question, by first providing conceptual clarity about what integration entails, by suggesting and illustrating a classification of integration tools, and finally by summarising some of the lessons learned about how and why integration tools are (not) used and with what outcomes, particularly in terms of promoting the integration of environmental objectives.
Stakeholders are presumed to represent different interests for marine and coastal areas with the potential to influence marine protected area planning and management. We implemented a public participation GIS (PPGIS) system in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and preferences for marine and coastal areas. We assessed similarities and differences in PPGIS participants (N = 578) using three operational definitions for “stakeholder” based on: (1) self-identified group, (2) self-identified future interests in the region, and (3) participant value orientation that reflects a preferred trade-off between environmental and economic outcomes. We found moderate levels of association between alternative stakeholder classifications that were logically related to general and place-specific participatory mapping behavior in the study region. We then analyzed how stakeholder classifications influence specific management preferences for proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) in the study region. Conservation-related values and preferences dominated the mapped results in all proposed marine reserves, the likely result of volunteer sampling bias by conservation stakeholder interests participating in the study. However, we suggest these results may also reflect the highly politicized process of marine conservation planning in the Kimberley where conservation efforts have recently emerged and galvanized to oppose a major offshore gas development and associated land-based infrastructure. Consistent with other participatory mapping studies, our results indicate that the chosen operational definition for stakeholder group such as group identity versus interests can influence participatory mapping outcomes, with implications for MPA designation and management. Future research is needed to better understand the strengths and limitations of participatory mapping that is framed in stakeholder perspectives, especially when sampling relies heavily on volunteer recruitment and participation methods that appear predisposed to participatory bias. In parallel, practical efforts to ensure that social research efforts such as this are included in MPA planning must remain of the highest priority for scientists and managers alike.