The report concludes that traditional marine management contributes to the attainment of international targets related to protected areas and marine conservation, and that its role in this regard should be fully recognised. Such recognition should include support for and reinforcement of pre-existing systems of traditional resource management, while allowing the incorporation of cooperative management strategies in adapting to contemporary circumstances. Recognition of community ownership and control of marine areas and resources, as well as the importance of local and traditional knowledge, are essential components of best management practice in the Pacific Islands.
The Fifteenth Session of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 26 to 28 March 2014. The meeting was kindly hosted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and officially opened by H.E. Anthony Carmona President and H.E. Devant Maharaj, Minister for Food Production of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Commission considered the review of the state of fisheries and aquaculture in the WECAFC region in document WECAFC/XV/2014/2. Members appreciated the report, described additional information available and offered to supply it to the Secretariat. The EU offered to make available to the Commission the data and information of all its members fishing in the WECAFC area, in order to contribute to the improvement of scientific advice. Members underlined the needs for: improved data and information collection; the reduction of uncertainty levels on the state of the fisheries resources; and incorporation of members’ management efforts in the review, especially for the main commercial species. It was acknowledged that declining catches could be an indication of management decisions rather than of overfishing. On the other hand inflated production data that is contrary to the known status of given stocks could trigger the misinterpretation of data and result in its erroneous use. Noting that the status report focuses on the countries that harvest the most fish, it was emphasized that the special needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) should be taken into account as well and that a separate reporting mechanism for SIDS should eventually be created.
- Most California Current System (CCS) predators are generalists, very few are krill specialists (e.g. blue whales). Owing to the variability inherent in the CCS, predators must engage in prey switching at both temporal (decadal to seasonal) and spatial (region to local) scales;
- There are foraging hotspots in the CCS, and while their general location may be similar from year to year (e.g., Northern Channel Islands to Point Conception, Gulf of the Farallones-Monterey Bay, Cape Blanco to Heceta Bank, Strait of Juan de Fuca), they are subject to temporal (decadal to seasonal) and spatial (meso- to micro-scale) variability in their relative importance, which contributes to the prey switching behavior of the predators;
- While the classic “forage species” are prevalent in predator diets of the CCS (e.g. anchovy, herring, sardine), juveniles of important federal FMP species (e.g., salmon, rockfish, hake) as well as several invertebrates (krill, market squid, octopus) are equally prevalent;
- Where human and “wild” predators coincide, based on experimental evidence, the human fishers are far more efficient in their prey harvesting activities, putting “wild” predators at a disadvantage;
- Current modeling to assess fish stocks generally takes a single-species approach, which fails to incorporate the importance of the temporal and spatial availability of key prey species; however, incorporating these prey species into stock assessment modeling (or other types) presents its own suite of challenges and cannot be based on reserving some portion of the exploited biomass alone, but rather must also address availability to predators (biomass does not equal availability);
- Undertaking further, complex modeling will require the expensive collection of additional data not currently available.
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) Program and Coastal Program are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s premier conservation delivery tools for voluntary, citizen and community‐based fish and wildlife habitat restoration activities across the matrix of public and privately owned land. The programs work directly with partners to implement vital on‐the‐ground habitat restoration projects across the nation and in U.S. territories.
The PFW and Coastal Programs channel government and private dollars to local communities where they create work to support new jobs and provide income to local contractors and other industries. Money spent in support of projects circulates through the economy, creating more jobs and generating economic activity. The impacts of PFW and Coastal Program funds are multiplied in two dimensions. First, the program expertise and funding is able to leverage additional resources from other partners that support projects. Second, spending creates work, generates tax revenues, and stimulates economic activity as wages and purchases flow through the economy. Together these impacts are known as the “multiplier effect.” This report focuses on the effects of PFW and Coastal program‐related spending on projects completed in fiscal year 2011 to provide an example of the economic impacts of the Programs. This report does not address many other aspects of the PFW and Coastal Programs that improve human welfare, such as ecological services, improved recreational opportunities, land acquisition, in‐kind contributions, or the effect of open space on land values.
This report features an overview of the Program’s continuing regional three-year field studies. Accompanying the details of the fieldwork are stunning video footage and still photos of this unique marine life in all regions of the U.S.
Throughout the country, the Councils are increasingly engaged in developing methods to manage potential impacts of fisheries to deep-sea coral areas, recognizing these habitats’ role in the ecosystem. And yet, the geographic distribution of deep-sea corals and the full extent of their function as fish habitats have not been adequately studied, thus limiting some Councils’ ability to design management measures. In 2012 and 2013, the Program made considerable progress in filling these knowledge gaps by locating and characterizing deep-sea coral sites and submitting the findings to the Councils.
At $2.46 million in fiscal year 2012 and $2.37 million in fiscal year 2013, NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program is cost-effective in generating information of immediate use to Regional Fishery Management Councils and other resource managers in conserving structurally complex habitats formed by deep-sea corals.
While demand for sustainable seafood has increased over the past decade, much of the emphasis has been on seafood buyers and retailers to rethink their seafood supply chain and has generally focused on third party certification schemes or sustainability ranking programs. There has been less emphasis on bringing existing supply to the market and fishermen have tended to be left out of the picture, despite their role as primary resource harvesters.
This report summarizes the findings and record of discussion from a workshop entitled “Creating a Sustainable Value Chain For Atlantic Canada’s Small-scale Fisheries “ held in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 16th and 17th, 2013. The workshop brought together 43 fishermen, representatives from fishing associations and unions, buyers, distributors and processors of sustainable seafood under the common goal of creating a seafood value chain that ultimately benefits all players in the seafood system, from the ocean, to fishermen to end consumers. The motivation for the workshop was to explore ways that small-scale fisheries and fishermen who are actively engaged in conservation, specifically the Atlantic Canadian owner-operator fleet, could better access markets that value high quality, social and economic sustainability and genuine connections with food producers, with the end goal of achieving improved livelihoods for fishermen and fishing communities, as well as access to sustainably harvested seafood for local and regional consumers.
The Scotian Shelf is a rich ecosystem characterized by a diversity of marine life, communities and habitats. There are a variety of human activities that occur on the shelf, some year-round and others on a seasonal basis.
The State of the Scotian Shelf Report provides information on priority issues for environmental management, decision-making and education. The report is a modular document made up of a context document and a series of theme papers. The context document provides an introduction to the natural and socio-economic environment, providing an overview of the Scotian Shelf. The theme papers provide a more in-depth look at important issues. The themes were selected based on priorities identified through the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Initiative. Theme papers will be updated on a regular basis. This technical report is a compilation of the context document and the theme papers completed to date.
This project, initiated in 2004, resulted in a substantial advance on the biology of major species of groupers and snappers, which are the largest reef fish exploited by fisheries in the Abrolhos Shelf. This follow-up initiative aimed to provide support for the expansion and adaptive co-management of the Abrolhos Bank Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network, Brazil. Results from the initial award supported proposals for an additional MPA (first one in mangroves) and buffer zones for the two existing coral reef MPAs. As new MPAs are still required and management is needed for those that are already in place, sound scientific knowledge and broad community engagement are imperative, therefore we gathered and disseminated information from fish landing surveys, habitat mapping, and underwater assessments and incorporated local support. These major targets were achieved with a strong participation of community members in all phases of the project, from research to policy-making. The data collected also provided the basis for capacity-building activities carried out with our partners. The beneficiaries of this effort since 2005 include four undergraduate Biology students, three Masters students in Zoology and Ecology, and one Ph.D. candidate, whose projects included aspects of the ecology of several species of snappers and groupers in Abrolhos.
Planning Scotland's Seas: Possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas was published for consultation in July 2013 setting out proposals for a number of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The consultation ran from 25th July 2013 until 13th November 2013; respondents were invited to submit their opinions and views about the development of the MPA network and on the specific planned MPAs.
Overview of respondents
The consultation attracted 14,703 responses. This included 332 standard consultation responses (216 from individuals and 116 from organisations) and 14,371 submissions from the 11 campaign texts promoted by various organisations, briefly:
- Three relating to protection for seabirds attracting 1,626 responses.
- Three relating to protection for whales and dolphins attracting 6,627 responses.
- Three in support of the MPA network attracting 4,803 responses.
- Two supporting the South Arran possible MPA attracting 1,315 responses.
Overview of analysis
The consultation posed a series of questions on the network as a whole, the Sustainability Appraisal and the individual possible Marine Protected Areas (pMPAs).
The standard consultation responses were examined and key themes, which are similar issues raised in a number of responses, were identified at each question. Sub-themes; including reasons for opinions, supporting arguments, alternative suggestions or other related comments; were also noted. The key themes were then examined to identify whether any particular theme was specific to any particular respondent group or groups; for example was the theme more prominent in responses from individuals or from any organisational sub-group.
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide important benefits and services to coastal communities across the globe, but assessing the diversity of social relationships with oceans can prove difficult for conservation scientists and practitioners. This presents barriers to incorporating social dimensions of marine ecosystems into ecosystem-based planning processes, which can in turn affect the success of planning and management initiatives. Following a global assessment of social research and related planning practices in ocean environments, we present a step-by-step approach for natural resource planning practitioners to more systematically incorporate social data into ecosystem-based ocean planning. Our approach includes three sequential steps: (1) develop a typology of ocean-specific human uses that occur within the planning region of interest; (2) characterize the complexity of these uses, including the spatiotemporal variability, intensity, and diversity thereof, as well as associated conflicts and compatibility; and (3) integrate social and ecological information to assess trade-offs necessary for successful implementation of ecosystem-based ocean planning. We conclude by showing how systematic engagement of social data – together with ecological information – can create advantages for practitioners to improve planning and management outcomes.
There has been a significant investment in research to define exposures and potential hazards of pharmaceuticals in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. A substantial number of integrated environmental risk assessments have been developed in Europe, North America and many other regions for these situations. In contrast, comparatively few empirical studies have been conducted for human and veterinary pharmaceuticals that are likely to enter coastal and marine ecosystems. This is a critical knowledge gap given the significant increase in coastal human populations around the globe and the growth of coastal megacities, together with the increasing importance of coastal aquaculture around the world. There is increasing evidence that pharmaceuticals are present and are impacting on marine and coastal environments. This paper reviews the sources, impacts and concentrations of pharmaceuticals in marine and coastal environments to identify knowledge gaps and suggests focused case studies as a priority for future research.
Reduction in body size has been proposed as a universal response of organisms, both to warming and to decreased salinity. However, it is still controversial if size reduction is caused by temperature or salinity on their own, or if other factors interfere as well. We used natural benthic diatom communities to explore how “body size” (cells and colonies) and motility change along temperature (2–26°C) and salinity (0.5–7.8) gradients in the brackish Baltic Sea. Fourth-corner analysis confirmed that small cell and colony sizes were associated with high temperature in summer. Average community cell volume decreased linearly with 2.2% per °C. However, cells were larger with artificial warming when nutrient concentrations were high in the cold season. Average community cell volume increased by 5.2% per °C of artificial warming from 0 to 8.5°C and simultaneously there was a selection for motility, which probably helped to optimize growth rates by trade-offs between nutrient supply and irradiation. Along the Baltic Sea salinity gradient cell size decreased with decreasing salinity, apparently mediated by nutrient stoichiometry. Altogether, our results suggest that climate change in this century may polarize seasonality by creating two new niches, with elevated temperature at high nutrient concentrations in the cold season (increasing cell size) and elevated temperature at low nutrient concentrations in the warm season (decreasing cell size). Higher temperature in summer and lower salinity by increased land-runoff are expected to decrease the average cell size of primary producers, which is likely to affect the transfer of energy to higher trophic levels.
Coral disease is one of the major causes of reef degradation. Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) was described in the early 1990's as brown or purple amorphous areas of tissue on a coral and has since become one of the most prevalent diseases reported on Caribbean reefs. It has been identified in a number of coral species, but there is debate as to whether it is in fact the same disease in different corals. Further, it is questioned whether these macroscopic signs are in fact diagnostic of an infectious disease at all. The most commonly affected species in the Caribbean is the massive starlet coral Siderastrea siderea. We sampled this species in two locations, Dry Tortugas National Park and Virgin Islands National Park. Tissue biopsies were collected from both healthy colonies and those with dark spot lesions. Microbial-community DNA was extracted from coral samples (mucus, tissue, and skeleton), amplified using bacterial-specific primers, and applied to PhyloChip G3 microarrays to examine the bacterial diversity associated with this coral. Samples were also screened for the presence of a fungal ribotype that has recently been implicated as a causative agent of DSS in another coral species, but the amplifications were unsuccessful. S. siderea samples did not cluster consistently based on health state (i.e., normal versus dark spot). Various bacteria, including Cyanobacteria and Vibrios, were observed to have increased relative abundance in the discolored tissue, but the patterns were not consistent across all DSS samples. Overall, our findings do not support the hypothesis that DSS in S. siderea is linked to a bacterial pathogen or pathogens. This dataset provides the most comprehensive overview to date of the bacterial community associated with the scleractinian coral S. siderea.
The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/105, concerning sustainable fisheries in the marine ecosystem, calls for the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME) from destructive fishing practices. Subsequently, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) produced guidelines for identification of VME indicator species/taxa to assist in the implementation of the resolution, but recommended the development of case-specific operational definitions for their application. We applied kernel density estimation (KDE) to research vessel trawl survey data from inside the fishing footprint of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area in the high seas of the northwest Atlantic to create biomass density surfaces for four VME indicator taxa: large-sized sponges, sea pens, small and large gorgonian corals. These VME indicator taxa were identified previously by NAFO using the fragility, life history characteristics and structural complexity criteria presented by FAO, along with an evaluation of their recovery trajectories. KDE, a non-parametric neighbour-based smoothing function, has been used previously in ecology to identify hotspots, that is, areas of relatively high biomass/abundance. We present a novel approach of examining relative changes in area under polygons created from encircling successive biomass categories on the KDE surface to identify “significant concentrations” of biomass, which we equate to VMEs. This allows identification of the VMEs from the broader distribution of the species in the study area. We provide independent assessments of the VMEs so identified using underwater images, benthic sampling with other gear types (dredges, cores), and/or published species distribution models of probability of occurrence, as available. For each VME indicator taxon we provide a brief review of their ecological function which will be important in future assessments of significant adverse impact on these habitats here and elsewhere.
While increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration alters global water chemistry (Ocean Acidification; OA), the degree of changes vary on local and regional spatial scales. Inshore fringing coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are subjected to a variety of local pressures, and some sites may already be marginal habitats for corals. The spatial and temporal variation in directly measured parameters: Total Alkalinity (TA) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) concentration, and derived parameters: partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2); pH and aragonite saturation state (Ωar) were measured at 14 inshore reefs over a two year period in the GBR region. Total Alkalinity varied between 2069 and 2364 µmol kg−1 and DIC concentrations ranged from 1846 to 2099 µmol kg−1. This resulted in pCO2 concentrations from 340 to 554 µatm, with higher values during the wet seasons and pCO2 on inshore reefs distinctly above atmospheric values. However, due to temperature effects, Ωar was not further reduced in the wet season. Aragonite saturation on inshore reefs was consistently lower and pCO2 higher than on GBR reefs further offshore. Thermodynamic effects contribute to this, and anthropogenic runoff may also contribute by altering productivity (P), respiration (R) and P/R ratios. Compared to surveys 18 and 30 years ago, pCO2 on GBR mid- and outer-shelf reefs has risen at the same rate as atmospheric values (~1.7 µatm yr−1) over 30 years. By contrast, values on inshore reefs have increased at 2.5 to 3 times higher rates. Thus, pCO2 levels on inshore reefs have disproportionately increased compared to atmospheric levels. Our study suggests that inshore GBR reefs are more vulnerable to OA and have less buffering capacity compared to offshore reefs. This may be caused by anthropogenically induced trophic changes in the water column and benthos of inshore reefs subjected to land runoff.
Bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) are globally distributed top predators that play an important ecological role within coastal marine communities. However, little is known about the spatial and temporal scales of their habitat use and associated ecological role. In this study, we employed passive acoustic telemetry to investigate the residency patterns and migration dynamics of 18 adult bull sharks (195–283 cm total length) tagged in southern Mozambique for a period of between 10 and 22 months. The majority of sharks (n = 16) exhibited temporally and spatially variable residency patterns interspersed with migration events. Ten individuals undertook coastal migrations that ranged between 433 and 709 km (mean = 533 km) with eight of these sharks returning to the study site. During migration, individuals exhibited rates of movement between 2 and 59 km.d−1 (mean = 17.58 km.d−1) and were recorded travelling annual distances of between 450 and 3760 km (mean = 1163 km). Migration towards lower latitudes primarily took place in austral spring and winter and there was a significant negative correlation between residency and mean monthly sea temperature at the study site. This suggested that seasonal change is the primary driver behind migration events but further investigation is required to assess how foraging and reproductive activity may influence residency patterns and migration. Results from this study highlight the need for further understanding of bull shark migration dynamics and suggest that effective conservation strategies for this vulnerable species necessitate the incorporation of congruent trans-boundary policies over large spatial scales.
Trophy fishing occurs when anglers target the largest members of a species with the goal of obtaining an award with perceived prestige. The largest members of many species are also the most fecund, raising alarms about the disproportionate impact of removing the largest individuals of species of conservation concern. Presented here is the first systematic analysis of the conservation status of fishes targeted for world records by the International Game Fishing Association. Eighty-five species for which IGFA records have been issued are listed as Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. If the IGFA stopped issuing records that implicitly require killing the fish for IUCN Red List Threatened species, it would immediately reduce fishing pressure on the largest individuals of species of conservation concern while still allowing anglers to target more than 93% of species that records have been issued for.
In recreational fisheries with large angler populations, monitoring catch overages is a challenge faced by fisheries managers. A possible solution to this issue is sector separation, which would split the recreational fishery into two angler groups: for-hire (made up of charter boats and headboats) and private. This division would allow the two sectors to have individual Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and tailored management. This paper uses the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery as a case study to examine the impacts of sector separation. Because for-hire anglers can already be regulated and catch limits for private anglers remain hard to enforce, sector separation will have minimal effects on the biology of the red snapper fishery. Economic changes under sector separation are driven by management decisions regarding allocation and by the reality of overage liability. Depending on the ACL allocations and which sector is landing the overages, the for-hire sector can see economic gains with the implementation of sector separation.
In recent years, cooperative management systems have received attention as a means towards sustainable fisheries. Since its inception and for the past 20 years, the gooseneck barnacle fishery in the coast of Asturias has been co-managed by assigning Territorial User Rights to fishers׳ associations, allowing fishers to participate actively in the management and data gathering processes. Here, 20 years of landings, in-depth interviews and focus groups were used to characterize the emergence and social-ecological properties of the system. The system consists of 7 management areas each one some tens of kilometers long. The incorporation of fishers׳ knowledge has successfully led to within-area fragmentation of the management units down to single rocks as small as 3 m long, which are managed according to different protection levels. The system has empowered resource users and provided an opportunity for the use of both scientific information and fishers׳ knowledge to be integrated in management guidelines. Results suggest the adaptive capacity provided by the co-management framework has been essential to manage this heterogeneous fishery. The gooseneck barnacle fishery and its historical developments illustrate the potential for establishing co-management systems for small-scale fisheries in Europe.
Multi-scale governance has been widely recommended for effective marine resource management. This approach suggests collective decision-making, the devolution of some rights and responsibilities to various entities, co-production of knowledge, coupling governance and ecological scales, among other elements. Here, the elements of multi-scale governance of Mexican small-scale fisheries (SSF) and the contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to this approach are described. Three management processes were selected for the analysis: (1) the development of the Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for the swimming crab fishery; (2) the establishment of fishing refugia in the Punta San Cosme to Punta Coyote Corridor; and (3) the implementation of catch shares in the Gulf corvina fishery. The results suggest that NGOs are contributing to most of the key attributes for multi-scale fisheries governance. Given the NGOs׳ agenda shift in the Gulf of California region, from advocacy for environmental conservation to participation in sustainable management, there has been a wider promotion and acceptance of NGOs within governance related processes in fisheries management. In order to clarify alignments with other stakeholder agendas, as well as to continue building trust, NGOs need to make their governance agenda explicit. This work provides insights on how NGOs can contribute to multi-scale governance and a framework for the evaluation of management processes and the contribution of different stakeholders to multi-scale governance, which can be applied to any management process.