The fisheries sector significantly contributes to global food security, nutrition, and livelihood of people. Its importance for economic benefits, healthy diets, and nutrition, and achieving sustainable food systems is highlighted by several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), i.e., SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), and SDG 14 (Life Below Water). However, due to unprecedented population levels, the contribution of the fisheries sector to fulfills these roles is challenging, particularly given additional concerns regarding environmental well-being and sustainability. From this perspective, this study aims to identify the links and trade-offs between the development of this sector and the environmental sustainability in Thailand via a critical analysis of their trends, current ecological impacts, and more importantly, their contributions to several individual SDGs. A time-series of Thailand’s fisheries production from 1995 to 2015 indicates a recent reduction from around 3.0 million tons in 1995 to 1.5 million tons in 2015 of wild fish and shellfish from marine and freshwater habitats. The maximum sustainable yield of these species has been exceeded. Conversely, Thailand’s aquaculture production has continued to grow over the last decade, resulting in a reduction of mangrove forest area, wild fish stocks, and water quality. While capture fisheries and aquaculture production significantly contribute to several SDG targets, there are potential trade-offs between their development and the achievement of SDGs within the planet dimension, i.e., SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 14, and SDG 15 (Life on Land). On the one hand, the mitigation of overfishing will be beneficial for the targets of SDG 14, leading to more sustainable resource management. On the other hand, it might cause a decrease in the volume of marine catches and economic and social profits. We conclude that the SDGs can serve as a framework for both policymakers and industrial workers to monitor and compromise on regulations that will optimize productivity in the context of sustainable development.
A spatial-economic analysis, together with a social assessment, was used to understand the tradeoffs between different marine ecosystem services (recreation, harvestable fish, and fisheries-related cultural services) in marine protected areas (MPA), using the Brazilian MPA of Fernando de Noronha as a case study. In this MPA, tourism activities, including the profitable shark-diving activity, occur alongside small-scale fisheries that are operated by the local community in some areas, whereas in other areas tourism is the sole beneficiary of ecosystem services given that access by fishers and for fisheries is prohibited. The spatial-economic analyses suggest that tourism revenues are 10 times higher than those provided by fisheries, and would not be substantially affected were fisheries to be expanded to some parts of the MPA, even at the expense of shark-directed tourism. However, this purely economic analysis, which aims to determine how to compensate fishers for not accessing parts of the MPA, is incomplete as the study identified important cultural impacts associated with inability to easily access some parts of the MPA, resulting in the loss of place attachment, cultural heritage and identity. These losses are most felt by fishers who cannot easily switch to alternative economic activities. These findings highlight the need for an integrative approach to addressing marine ecosystem services that is capable of capturing potential types of losses brought about by competing uses of ecosystem services. Considering only the economic benefits of conflicting ecosystem services, while overlooking cultural values, may threaten the effectiveness of MPAs or of the ecosystem services themselves.
Although offshore wind energy development (OWED) offers a much-needed renewable energy alternative to fossil fuels, holistic and effective methods for evaluating environmental impacts on wildlife in both space and time have been lacking. The lengthy environmental compliance process, estimated to incur a 7–10 year permitting timeline , has been identified as a significant impediment to offshore energy development in U.S. waters. During operation, seabirds can collide and be displaced by turbines. During episodic pre-operation phases, cetaceans are most heavily impacted acoustically by pile driving (and similarly seismic air gun surveys for oil and gas exploration). The varying nature of impacts in space and time leads us to conclude that sites should be selected in space to minimize long-term operational impacts on seabirds, and timing of surveying and construction activities to be conducted in times of the year when sensitive migratory marine mammals are least present. We developed a novel spatiotemporal decision support framework that interactively visualizes tradeoffs between OWED industry profits and wildlife sensitivities, in both space and time. The framework highlights sites on a map that are the most profitable and least sensitive to seabirds. Within the U.S. Mid-Atlantic study area, the New York Call Areas are particularly well optimized for minimal impact on seabirds with maximal profits to OWED. For a given site, pre-operational activities (e.g. pile driving and seismic air gun surveying) are advised by cetacean sensitivity across months of the year that minimize impacts on migratory cetaceans, particularly those of highest conservation concern such as the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena Glacialis). For instance, within optimal sites for the New York Call Area the least impacting months are May and June. Other taxa are certainly affected by OWED and should be incorporated into this framework, but data on their distributions and/or sensitivities is currently less well known. Built with open-source software made publicly available, the authors hope this framework will be extended even more comprehensively into the future as our knowledge on species distributions and OWED sensitivities expands for streamlining environmental compliance.
Identifying critical aggregation sites and behavioral patterns of imperiled species contributes to filling knowledge gaps essential for their conservation. Manta rays present a prominent example of such species, the populations of which are declining globally due to directed fishery, by-catch, and other anthropogenic stressors. Our goal was to explore manta ray aggregation sites in the Philippines in order to determine the factors governing the mantas’ visits – a knowledge gap essential to understand manta ecology, facilitate ecosystem-based fishery management, and promote sustainable manta-based ecotourism. Diving surveys, environmental conditions assessment, and autonomous cameras were employed to study manta behavior and visit patterns to a cleaning station cluster on a commonly fished seamount, visited by both Mobula birostris and Mobula alfredi. Our findings reveal several environmental conditions (e.g., sea state, moon illumination, and flow) that serve as predictors of manta presence/absence at the site. We suggest that these conditions affect both the behavior of the manta’s food (i.e., the spatial distribution of plankton) and the cleaning effectiveness of the cleaner wrasse, which consequently influence manta activity. The findings suggest a trade-off between cleaning and foraging: i.e., mantas tend to visit the cleaning stations when environmental conditions are less favorable for foraging but suitable for effective cleaning; while being absent from the cleaning stations when environmental conditions form plankton aggregations, ideal for efficient feeding. This study sheds light on manta behavior and habitat use on dynamic, small spatio-temporal scales (i.e., hundreds of meters to a few kilometers, hours to days). The acquired data may be applied in the planning of marine protected areas and in fishery management (e.g., to reduce the chances of manta bycatch by limiting fishing activities to periods of manta absence) as well as contribute to enhancing sustainable exploitation, such as ecotourism, by increasing the chances of diving encounters with manta rays.
Ecosystem services (ESs) may be both non-market and market based. Both may provide important input to societal welfare. Using natural resources, or converting nature in the development of market based ES may impact the access to non-market or more conservationist ES, and vice versa. How does the general public trade-off between these two types of ES? We use two valuation studies in Northern Norway to identify the public’s preferences for marine industries versus other marine use and non-use values. One study assesses willingness to pay to protect cold-water corals, a relatively abundant, and to some degree, protected resource off the coast of Norway. The other study elicits people’s willingness to pay for stricter regulations of industrial activity in the coastal zone, providing more coastal area for recreational activities. Both studies show strong conservation preferences, and willingness to forego blue industrial growth. However, these preferences are heterogeneous across socio-economic characteristics, and, interestingly, educational level is the characteristic that most distinctly separates the population into various preference groups.
Ecosystem service (ES) trade-offs have been broadly recognized and studied over the past decade. However, how to coordinate the relationships among ES trade-offs to achieve win–win outcomes remains a considerable challenge for decision makers. Here, we summarize the current approaches applied to minimize ES trade-offs for win–wins and analyze the trade-offs among different ESs and their drivers. Based on a systematic review of the literature from 2005 to 2018, we identified 170 potentially relevant articles, 47 of which were selected for the review, recording 70 actual or potential trade-offs. Analysis of these case studies showed that trade-off pairs between provisioning services and regulating services/biodiversity accounted for 80% of total pairs. Furthermore, more than half of the ES trade-offs were driven by land use/land cover changes. Harvest and resource demand, natural resource management, and policy instruments were also among the main drivers. Four approaches to coordinate ES trade-offs were identified, including ecosystem, landscape-scale, multi-objective optimization, and policy intervention (and other) approaches. Based on the above, we recommend a rigorous understanding of the roles of different stakeholders, spatial scales of management, trade-off dynamics, and integrated implementation of diverse approaches to coordinate ES trade-offs in order to better achieve win–win outcomes.
South Pacific albacore is a species of primary importance in the longline fishery of a number of Small Island Developing States in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Despite the fact that the stock is assessed as not being subject to overfishing and not overfished, economic returns have declined significantly over the past decade. This has led to calls for management intervention. Given stated biological and economic objectives for the fishery, members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency proposed an interim stock target reference point to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that would imply a larger stock size, higher catch rates and a more profitable fishery (FFA Members, 2015). The purpose of this study is to examine the biological and economic consequences along the trajectories of two distinct longline effort reduction regimes that achieve the proposed target reference point within 20 years and review the trade-offs in terms of forgone catch or effort and forgone revenue. The two effort regimes examined are a one-off reduction implemented immediately, and a phased reduction under which effort is reduced by a fixed percent each year. The results are discussed in the light of wider Pacific Island objectives for fishery production and fleet profitability and highlights the importance of moving beyond a purely biological stock-based focus when providing management advice.
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.
Large marine protected areas (LMPAs) are increasingly being established and have a high profile in marine conservation. LMPAs are expected to achieve multiple objectives, and because of their size are postulated to avoid trade-offs that are common in smaller MPAs. However, evaluations across multiple outcomes are lacking. We used a systematic approach to code several social and ecological outcomes of 12 LMPAs. We found evidence of three types of trade-offs: trade-offs between different ecological resources (supply trade-offs); trade-offs between ecological resource conditions and the well-being of resource users (supply-demand trade-offs); and trade-offs between the well-being outcomes of different resource users (demand trade-offs). We also found several divergent outcomes that were attributed to influences beyond the scope of the LMPA. We suggest that despite their size, trade-offs can develop in LMPAs and should be considered in planning and design. LMPAs may improve their performance across multiple social and ecological objectives if integrated with larger-scale conservation efforts.
Here we provide empirical evidence of the presence of an energetic pathway between jellyfsh and a commercially important invertebrate species. Evidence of scavenging on jellyfsh carcasses by the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) was captured during two deployments of an underwater camera system to 250–287m depth in Sogneforden, western Norway. The camera system was baited with two Periphylla periphylla (Scyphozoa) carcasses to simulate the transport of jellyfsh detritus to the seafoor, hereby known as jelly-falls. N. norveigus rapidly located and consumed a large proportion (>50%) of the bait. We estimate that the energy input from jelly-falls may represent a signifcant contribution to N. norvegicus energy demand (0.21 to 10.7 times the energy required for the population of N. norvegicus in Sogneforden). This potentially high energetic contribution from jelly-falls highlights a possible role of gelatinous material in the support of commercial fsheries. Such an energetic pathway between jellyfalls and N. norvegicus could become more important with increases in jellyfsh blooms in some regions