Fall 2013 issue of The Coast Guard Journal of Safety and Security at Sea: Proceedings of the Marine Safety and Security Council

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Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

The Fall 2013 issue of the Coast Guard Journal of Safety & Security at Sea: Proceedings of the Marine Safety and Security Council is now available. You may download the full-text PDF of the more-newsletter-than-journal for free via the link below. It features over 15 articles such as, Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Planning: Protecting endangered marine life; Marine Planning Along the East Coast: A realistic approach; and, Spotlight on Ocean Uses: Tools help marine planners understand expanding ocean use.

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-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager

Table of Contents

Journal Articles

Cumulative human impacts on marine predators. Sara M. Maxwell, Elliott L. Hazen, Steven J. Bograd, Benjamin S. Halpern, Greg A. Breed, Barry Nickel, Nicole M. Teutschel, Larry B. Crowder, Scott Benson, Peter H. Dutton, Helen Bailey, Michelle A. Kappes, Carey E. Kuhn, Michael J. Weise, Bruce Mate, Scott A. Shaffer, Jason L. Hassrick, Robert W. Henry, Ladd Irvine, Birgitte I. McDonald, Patrick W. Robinson, Barbara A. Block & Daniel P. Costa. Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2688; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3688.

Multidisciplinary rapid assessment of coastal areas as a tool for the design and management of marine protected areas. Diego Álvarez-Berastegui, José Amengual, Josep Coll, Olga Reñones, Juan Moreno-Navas, Tundi Agardy. Journal for Nature Conservation, Available online 31 October 2013.

Long-term change in coral cover and the effectiveness of marine protected areas in the Philippines: a meta-analysis. Evangeline T. Magdaong, Masahiko Fujii, Hiroya Yamano, Wilfredo Y. Licuanan, Aileen Maypa, Wilfredo L. Campos, Angel C. Alcala, Alan T. White, Dean Apistar, Rafael Martinez. Hydrobiologia, October 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10750-013-1720-5.

Changing states of North Atlantic large marine ecosystems. K. Sherman, I. Belkin, K.D. Friedland, J. O'Reilly. Environmental Development, Volume 7, July 2013, Pages 46–58.

Sea-level rise vulnerability mapping for adaptation decisions using LiDAR DEMs. ​Hannah M. Cooper, Charles H. Fletcher, Qi Chen, Matthew M. Barbee. Progress in Physical Geography December 2013 vol. 37 no. 6 745-766 .

Free: Supporting Fisheries Management by Means of Complex Models: Can We Point out Isles of Robustness in a Sea of Uncertainty? Gasche L, Mahévas S, Marchal P (2013) PLoS ONE 8(10): e77566. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077566.

Mapping vulnerability and conservation adaptation strategies under climate change. James E. M. Watson, Takuya Iwamura & Nathalie Butt. Nature Climate Change 3, 989–994 (2013) DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2007.

Financing Marine Protected Areas Through Visitor Fees: Insights from Tourists Willingness to Pay in Chile. Stefan Gelcich, Francisca Amar, Abel Valdebenito, Juan Carlos Castilla, Miriam Fernandez, Cecilia Godoy, Duan Biggs. AMBIO, December 2013, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 975-984.

Conservation of the Critically Endangered Eastern Australian Population of the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus) Through Cross-Jurisdictional Management of a Network of Marine-Protected Areas. Tim P. Lynch, Robert Harcourt, Graham Edgar, Neville Barrett. Environmental Management, November 2013.

Adaptive Capacity of Fishing Communities at Marine Protected Areas: A Case Study from the Colombian Pacific. Rocío del Pilar Moreno-Sánchez, Jorge Higinio Maldonado. AMBIO, December 2013, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 985-996.

Transboundary Socio-Ecological Effects of a Marine Protected Area in the Southwest Atlantic. Priscila F. M. Lopes, Renato A. M. Silvano, Vinicius A. Nora, Alpina Begossi. AMBIO, December 2013, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 963-974 .

An innovation and agency perspective on the emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning. Andrew Merrie, Per Olsson. Marine Policy, Available online 5 November 2013.

Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFC): A pilot study on the applicability in the Mediterranean Sea. Alessandro Lucchetti, Corrado Piccinetti, Uriano Meconi, Cristina Frittelloni, Mara Marchesan, Silvia Palladino, Massimo Virgili. Marine Policy, Available online 11 November 2013.

Optimal Siting of Offshore Wind-Power Combined with Wave Energy Through a Marine Spatial Planning Approach. Arianna Azzellino, Vincenzo Ferrante, Jens Peter Kofoed, Caterina Lanfredi, Diego Vicinanza. International Journal of Marine Energy, Available online 10 November 2013.

The Large Marine Ecosystem Approach: Application of an Integrated, Modular Strategy in Projects Supported by the Global Environment Facility. Keith M. Carlisle. Environmental Development, Available online 7 November 2013.

Impacts of docks on seagrass and effects of management practices to ameliorate these impacts. William Gladstone, Glenn Courtenay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Available online 7 November 2013.

Free: Monitoring Herbivorous Fishes as Indicators of Coral Reef Resilience in American Samoa. Heenan A, Williams ID (2013) PLoS ONE 8(11): e79604. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079604.

Free: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Surveying Marine Fauna: A Dugong Case Study. Hodgson A, Kelly N, Peel D (2013) PLoS ONE 8(11): e79556. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079556.

Free: Incorporating Conservation Zone Effectiveness for Protecting Biodiversity in Marine Planning. Makino A, Klein CJ, Beger M, Jupiter SD, Possingham HP (2013) PLoS ONE 8(11): e78986. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078986.

Bringing integrated ecosystem assessments to real life: a scientific framework for ICES. Walther, Y., and Möllmann, C. 2013. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst161.

Cooperation between scientists, NGOs and industry in support of sustainable fisheries: the South African hake Merluccius spp. trawl fishery experience. J. G. Field, C. G. Attwood, A. Jarre, K. Sink, L. J. Atkinson, S. Petersen. Journal of Fish Biology, Special Issue: Selected Papers from the Sixth World Fisheries Congress, Volume 83, Issue 4, pages 1019–1034, October 2013; DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12118.


Free: National Standards for a Protected Species Observer and Data Management Program: A Model Using Geological and Geophysical Surveys. Baker, K., D. Epperson, G. Gitschlag, H. Goldstein, J. Lewandowski, K. Skrupky, B. Smith, and T. Turk. 2013. U.S. Department of Commerce. NOAA Technical Memorandum. NMFS-OPR-49. 73 p.

Free: The Shipping Industry and Marine Spatial Planning - A Professional Approach. David Patraiko and Paul Holthus. World Ocean Council, The Nautical Institute, and IALA AISM, November 2013.


Free: Fall 2013 issue of The Coast Guard Journal of Safety & Security at Sea: Proceedings of the Marine Safety and Security Council.

Cumulative human impacts on marine predators

Stressors associated with human activities interact in complex ways to affect marine ecosystems, yet we lack spatially explicit assessments of cumulative impacts on ecologically and economically key components such as marine predators. Here we develop a metric of cumulative utilization and impact (CUI) on marine predators by combining electronic tracking data of eight protected predator species (n=685 individuals) in the California Current Ecosystem with data on 24 anthropogenic stressors. We show significant variation in CUI with some of the highest impacts within US National Marine Sanctuaries. High variation in underlying species and cumulative impact distributions means that neither alone is sufficient for effective spatial management. Instead, comprehensive management approaches accounting for both cumulative human impacts and trade-offs among multiple stressors must be applied in planning the use of marine resources.

Multidisciplinary rapid assessment of coastal areas as a tool for the design and management of marine protected areas

A method is described for rapid multidisciplinary environmental assessment of coastal areas within the conceptual framework of comprehensive management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The aim is to provide tools for the selection, design and management of coastal MPAs when time, budget or potential human pressures, either alone or in combination, create an urgent need for prioritisation. Maximising results and minimising cost and time is the goal, using a methodology that re evaluates existing information on the area, allows use of physical, environmental and socio-economic indicators, and finally integrates information in a Geographic Information System capable of generating outputs in the form of thematic maps to support managers.

The final products obtained inform planners and managers about the study areas, across multiple aspects that all need to be considered in integrated coastal management. Although originally proposed for widespread use in the Mediterranean, this methodology can be flexibly adapted, with minor modifications in the selection of indicators, for its use in other regions. The results show its potential for merging and synthesising information not only as a tool in Rapid Assessment Programs but also as a tool for facing management of wide coastal areas as social-ecological ecosystems.

Long-term change in coral cover and the effectiveness of marine protected areas in the Philippines: a meta-analysis

Although coral declines have been reported from major reefs of the world, region-specific trends still remain unclear, particularly in areas with high diversity such as the Philippines. We assessed the temporal patterns of the magnitude and trajectory of coral cover change in the Philippines using survey data collected from 317 sites. We examined the rate of change in coral cover in relation to time, effects of bleaching and protection against fishing and assessed the efficacy of marine protected areas (MPAs) using meta-analysis. Results showed an overall increase in coral cover in the Philippines from 1981 to 2010. Protection from fishing contributed to the overall increase in the mean annual rate of change as the coral cover significantly increased within MPAs than outside. The significant differences in the rate of coral cover change through time were influenced by chronic anthropogenic stresses, coinciding with the timing of thermal stress and the establishment of MPAs. The rate of change in coral cover was independent of the level of protection and the age and size of MPA.

Changing states of North Atlantic large marine ecosystems

Effects of climate forcing are examined for 15 large marine ecosystems bordering the North Atlantic basin. Trends in multi-decadal time-series data of temperature, chlorophyll, primary productivity, nutrients, and fisheries yields, differed among the LMEs. Responses to climate warming varied between northwestern and northeastern Atlantic LMEs, with warming rates influencing changes in northeast Atlantic LME plankton production and fisheries yields more directly than in LMEs of the northwest Atlantic, where warming rates are lower. In contrast, negative effects of nutrient over-enrichment in relation to harmful algal blooms and hypoxic conditions were greater in the northwest Atlantic LMEs. Forecasts suggest significant increases in nutrient over-enrichment of North Atlantic LMEs by 2050. Fishery time-series analyses suggest increases in fishery yields for sub-arctic LMEs, and declines in LMEs of more southerly latitudes.

Sea-level rise vulnerability mapping for adaptation decisions using LiDAR DEMs

Global sea-level rise (SLR) is projected to accelerate over the next century, with research indicating that global mean sea level may rise 18–48 cm by 2050, and 50–140 cm by 2100. Decision-makers, faced with the problem of adapting to SLR, utilize elevation data to identify assets that are vulnerable to inundation. This paper reviews techniques and challenges stemming from the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) digital elevation models (DEMs) in support of SLR decision-making. A significant shortcoming in the methodology is the lack of comprehensive standards for estimating LiDAR error, which causes inconsistent and sometimes misleading calculations of uncertainty. Workers typically aim to reduce uncertainty by analyzing the difference between LiDAR error and the target SLR chosen for decision-making. The practice of mapping vulnerability to SLR is based on the assumption that LiDAR errors follow a normal distribution with zero bias, which is intermittently violated. Approaches to correcting discrepancies between vertical reference systems for land and tidal datums may incorporate tidal benchmarks and a vertical datum transformation tool provided by the National Ocean Service (VDatum). Mapping a minimum statistically significant SLR increment of 32 cm is difficult to achieve based on current LiDAR and VDatum errors. LiDAR DEMs derived from ‘ground’ returns are essential, yet LiDAR providers may not remove returns over vegetated areas successfully. LiDAR DEMs integrated into a GIS can be used to identify areas that are vulnerable to direct marine inundation and groundwater inundation (reduced drainage coupled with higher water tables). Spatial analysis can identify potentially vulnerable ecosystems as well as developed assets. A standardized mapping uncertainty needs to be developed given that SLR vulnerability mapping requires absolute precision for use as a decision-making tool.

Supporting Fisheries Management by Means of Complex Models: Can We Point out Isles of Robustness in a Sea of Uncertainty?

Ecosystems are usually complex, nonlinear and strongly influenced by poorly known environmental variables. Among these systems, marine ecosystems have high uncertainties: marine populations in general are known to exhibit large levels of natural variability and the intensity of fishing efforts can change rapidly. These uncertainties are a source of risks that threaten the sustainability of both fish populations and fishing fleets targeting them. Appropriate management measures have to be found in order to reduce these risks and decrease sensitivity to uncertainties. Methods have been developed within decision theory that aim at allowing decision making under severe uncertainty. One of these methods is the information-gap decision theory. The info-gap method has started to permeate ecological modelling, with recent applications to conservation. However, these practical applications have so far been restricted to simple models with analytical solutions. Here we implement a deterministic approach based on decision theory in a complex model of the Eastern English Channel. Using the ISIS-Fish modelling platform, we model populations of sole and plaice in this area. We test a wide range of values for ecosystem, fleet and management parameters. From these simulations, we identify management rules controlling fish harvesting that allow reaching management goals recommended by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) working groups while providing the highest robustness to uncertainties on ecosystem parameters.

Mapping vulnerability and conservation adaptation strategies under climate change

Identification of spatial gradients in ecosystem vulnerability to global climate change and local stressors is an important step in the formulation and implementation of appropriate countermeasures. Here we build on recent work to map ecoregional exposure to future climate, using an envelope-based gauge of future climate stability—defined as a measure of how similar the future climate of a region will be to the present climate. We incorporate an assessment of each ecoregion’s adaptive capacity, based on spatial analysis of its natural integrity—the proportion of intact natural vegetation—to present a measure of global ecosystem vulnerability. The relationship between intactness (adaptive capacity) and stability (exposure) varies widely across ecoregions, with some of the most vulnerable, according to this measure, located in southern and southeastern Asia, western and central Europe, eastern South America and southern Australia. To ensure the applicability of these findings to conservation, we provide a matrix that highlights the potential implications of this vulnerability assessment for adaptation planning and offers a spatially explicit management guide.

Financing Marine Protected Areas Through Visitor Fees: Insights from Tourists Willingness to Pay in Chile

Tourism is a financing mechanism considered by many donor-funded marine conservation initiatives. Here we assess the potential role of visitor entry fees, in generating the necessary revenue to manage a marine protected area (MPA), established through a Global Environmental Facility Grant, in a temperate region of Chile. We assess tourists’ willingness to pay (WTP) for an entry fee associated to management and protection of the MPA. Results show 97 % of respondents were willing to pay an entrance fee. WTP predictors included the type of tourist, tourists’ sensitivity to crowding, education, and understanding of ecological benefits of the MPA. Nature-based tourists state median WTP values of US4.38 and Sun−sea−sand tourists US 3.77. Overall, entry fees could account for 10–13 % of MPA running costs. In Chile, where funding for conservation runs among the weakest in the world, visitor entry fees are no panacea in the short term and other mechanisms, including direct state/government support, should be considered.

Conservation of the Critically Endangered Eastern Australian Population of the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus) Through Cross-Jurisdictional Management of a Network of Marine-Protected Areas

Between 2001 and 2009, 26 marine-protected areas (MPA) were established on the east Australian seaboard, at least in part, to manage human interactions with a critically endangered population of grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus. This network is spread across six MPA systems and includes all 19 sites outlined in the National Recovery Plan for C. taurus, though five sites remain open to some forms of fishing. The reserve network has complex cross-jurisdictional management, as the sharks occur in waters controlled by the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, as well as by the Commonwealth (Federal) government. Jurisdiction is further complicated by fisheries and conservation departments both engaging in management activities within each state. This has resulted in protected area types that include IUCN category II equivalent zones in NSW, Queensland, and Commonwealth marine parks that either overlay or complement another large scaled network of protected sites called critical habitats. Across the network, seven and eight rule permutations for diving and fishing, respectively, are applied to this population of sharks. Besides sites identified by the recovery plan, additional sites have been protected as part of the general development of MPA networks. A case study at one of these sites, which historically was known to be occupied by C. taurus but had been abandoned, appears to shows re-establishment of an aggregation of juvenile and sub-adult sharks. Concurrent with the re-establishment of the aggregation, a local dive operator increased seasonal dive visitation rates at the site fourfold. As a precautionary measure, protection of abandoned sites, which includes nursery and gestating female habitats are options that may assist recovery of the east coast population of C. taurus.

Adaptive Capacity of Fishing Communities at Marine Protected Areas: A Case Study from the Colombian Pacific

Departing from a theoretical methodology, we estimate empirically an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of a fishing community to the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). We carried out household surveys, designed to obtain information for indicators and sub-indicators, and calculated the IAC. Moreover, we performed a sensitivity analysis to check for robustness of the results. Our findings show that, despite being located between two MPAs, the fishing community of Bazán in the Colombian Pacific is highly vulnerable and that the socioeconomic dimension of the IAC constitutes the most binding dimension for building adaptive capacity. Bazán is characterized by extreme poverty, high dependence on resources, and lack of basic public infrastructure. Notwithstanding, social capital and local awareness about ecological conditions may act as enhancers of adaptive capacity. The establishment of MPAs should consider the development of strategies to confer adaptive capacity to local communities highly dependent on resource extraction.

Transboundary Socio-Ecological Effects of a Marine Protected Area in the Southwest Atlantic

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been regarded as an alternative to protect natural resources and to improve fisheries. However, MPAs may also have negative socio-economic consequences on fishing communities. We aimed to check the effectiveness of a socially conflicting MPA in Brazil by assessing target reef fish biomass in islands inside (n = 6) and outside (n = 6) the MPA, fisheries’ productivity (biomass), catch per unit of effort (CPUE), and fishers’ socio-economic status (mainly fishers’ income) in three fishing communities subjected to different degrees of influence (close, average, and long distance) of the MPA. The CPUE was higher in the fishing community that was further away from the MPA, fish biomass was higher in the islands located inside the MPA in the southern region and in the islands located outside the MPA in the northern region, while fishers were making the most money closest to the MPA, where conflicts are the highest, probably from practicing very intensive fisheries. This integrated approach showed that the studied MPA has not delivered ecological benefits, such as higher CPUE or more fish, while higher income closer to the MPA could not be clearly attributed to its effects.

An innovation and agency perspective on the emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning

The roles of governance and technological innovation have been widely recognized as important parts of sustainability transitions. However, less attention has been paid to understanding the mechanisms of the emergence and spread of innovative ideas for stewardship of social–ecological systems. This study considers how theories of innovation and agency are able to provide explanatory power regarding the spread and impact of such ideas. This includes how innovations may contribute to resolving the mismatches between the scale of ecological processes and the scale of governance of ecosystems. The emergence and spread of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is used as an illustrative case study. The study shows that individuals embedded in informal networks have played a key role in driving the emergence of MSP across scales and in constantly re-framing the tool in order to overcome obstacles to adoption and implementation. In a number of cases, MSP has been decoupled from the ecosystem despite being framed as a tool for ecosystem-based management. Finally, this study is important to understand the process of emergence of new integrated tools for ecosystem stewardship at the global level.

Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFC): A pilot study on the applicability in the Mediterranean Sea

Fisheries management systems based on Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFC) and similar rights-based systems have been developed during the last decades in some European countries. However, at present there is not a clear view on the possible effects caused by the application of this management systems in the Mediterranean Sea. The current study, involving nine Geographical Sub-Areas (GSAs) of the Mediterranean Sea, focuses on the appropriateness, transferability and modes of applicability of a TFC system in the Mediterranean area. Three different scenarios of quota allocation have been analyzed by taking into account biological, ecological, environmental, economic and social aspects: quota in terms of resource quantity, quota as a portion of the total fishing time, quota as a portion of the total fishing capacity. Results show that the transferability of a TFC-based system to the Mediterranean context appears to be low due to the characteristics of the Mediterranean fisheries (multispecificity of resources, fishing grounds shared among different countries, multigear, importance of small-scale fisheries) and to the general lack of sound and reliable individual historical data. The study also highlights rights-based systems such as Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURF) might only be applied for the exploitation of sedentary resources, such as clams. A management system based on TFC could be theoretically reasonable for anchovy fishing, where a few species are caught, even if all countries and stakeholders should be involved in the decision making process.

Optimal Siting of Offshore Wind-Power Combined with Wave Energy Through a Marine Spatial Planning Approach

Recently has been suggested by some authors that resource diversity may be used to manage the variability of renewable power and lower the system integration costs of renewables. The key benefit, deriving from the diversification of the mix of renewable technologies, lies in the possibility of reducing the variability of the produced power. As MREIs develop, it is likely to result in further transformation of coastal seas, already affected by significant pressure from human activities. In this perspective, both the potential for combining different renewable technologies, and the impact associated to such development should be considered in the context of the existing pressures. The spatial conflicts of sea uses and the demand for sea space are in fact increasingly growing and quantitative MSP criteria may help to evaluate the sustainability of conflicting human activities in the perspective of the minimization of the overall environmental impacts. In this study the opportunity of co-locating offshore wind turbines and wave energy converters is analyzed through a MSP approach.

The Large Marine Ecosystem Approach: Application of an Integrated, Modular Strategy in Projects Supported by the Global Environment Facility

This paper describes the utility and application of a methodology for monitoring, assessing and managing Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) that has been applied in projects receiving financial assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) over the last two decades. In particular, the paper focuses on practical integration of the methodology, known as the Large Marine Ecosystem approach (or simply LME approach), into diagnostic and strategic planning documents required by the GEF on collaborative projects to restore and manage LMEs. Examples from several successful LME projects are provided to highlight how this methodology has been adapted and integrated by countries into LME strategic programmes and project operation. This paper demonstrates that the LME approach not only provides a useful framework for holistic, ecosystem-based assessment and management of transboundary marine ecosystems but also complements GEF guidance and requirements for monitoring and evaluation on projects in its International Waters focal area.

Impacts of docks on seagrass and effects of management practices to ameliorate these impacts

Seagrasses have high conservation and human-use values, but around the world they are being damaged by human activities. Compared to the larger spatial scale at which some human activities affect estuaries and their seagrasses (e.g. catchment disturbance, dredging, pollution, trawling), recreational boating and infrastructure of moorings and docks act at smaller scales. However, the cumulative effects contribute to stresses acting on seagrass beds. This study assessed the effects of docks on the native seagrass Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni in an estuary in south-east Australia and of current management practices designed to reduce dock impacts on this seagrass. A field survey found that seagrass biomass was significantly reduced below docks, and the effects were not influenced by dock orientation. Management practices requiring the use of a mesh decking to provide greater light penetration reduced, but did not eliminate, the reduction in seagrass biomass caused by docks. A modified beyond BACI experiment provided evidence for a causal link between the installation of wooden or mesh docks and reductions in biomass of seagrass. The reduction in biomass was apparent 6 mo after dock installation, and by 26 mo seagrass biomass had declined by at least 90%. Faced with increasing coastal populations, increases in recreational use, and continued pressures from other human activities, alternative management practices that further minimize the effects of docks are needed.

Monitoring Herbivorous Fishes as Indicators of Coral Reef Resilience in American Samoa

Resilience-based management aims to promote or protect processes and species that underpin an ecosystem's capacity to withstand and recover from disturbance. The management of ecological processes is a developing field that requires reliable indicators that can be monitored over time. Herbivory is a key ecological process on coral reefs, and pooling herbivorous fishes into functional groups based on their feeding mode is increasingly used as it may quantify herbivory in ways that indicate resilience. Here we evaluate whether the biomass estimates of these herbivore functional groups are good predictors of reef benthic assemblages, using data from 240 sites from five island groups in American Samoa. Using an information theoretic approach, we assembled a candidate set of linear and nonlinear models to identify the relations between benthic cover and total herbivore and non-herbivore biomass and the biomass of the aforementioned functional groups. For each benthic substrate type considered (encrusting algae, fleshy macroalgae, hard coral and turf algae), the biomass of herbivorous fishes were important explanatory variables in predicting benthic cover, whereas biomass of all fishes combined generally was not. Also, in all four cases, variation in cover was best explained by the biomass of specific functional groups rather than by all herbivores combined. Specifically: 1) macroalgal and turf algal cover decreased with increasing biomass of ‘grazers/detritivores’; and 2) cover of encrusting algae increased with increasing biomass of ‘grazers/detritivores’ and browsers. Furthermore, hard coral cover increased with the biomass of large excavators/bio-eroders (made up of large-bodied parrotfishes). Collectively, these findings emphasize the link between herbivorous fishes and the benthic community and demonstrate support for the use of functional groups of herbivores as indicators for resilience-based monitoring.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Surveying Marine Fauna: A Dugong Case Study

Aerial surveys of marine mammals are routinely conducted to assess and monitor species’ habitat use and population status. In Australia, dugongs (Dugong dugon) are regularly surveyed and long-term datasets have formed the basis for defining habitat of high conservation value and risk assessments of human impacts. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) may facilitate more accurate, human-risk free, and cheaper aerial surveys. We undertook the first Australian UAV survey trial in Shark Bay, western Australia. We conducted seven flights of the ScanEagle UAV, mounted with a digital SLR camera payload. During each flight, ten transects covering a 1.3 km2 area frequently used by dugongs, were flown at 500, 750 and 1000 ft. Image (photograph) capture was controlled via the Ground Control Station and the capture rate was scheduled to achieve a prescribed 10% overlap between images along transect lines. Images were manually reviewed post hoc for animals and scored according to sun glitter, Beaufort Sea state and turbidity. We captured 6243 images, 627 containing dugongs. We also identified whales, dolphins, turtles and a range of other fauna. Of all possible dugong sightings, 95% (CI = 90%, 98%) were subjectively classed as ‘certain’ (unmistakably dugongs). Neither our dugong sighting rate, nor our ability to identify dugongs with certainty, were affected by UAV altitude. Turbidity was the only environmental variable significantly affecting the dugong sighting rate. Our results suggest that UAV systems may not be limited by sea state conditions in the same manner as sightings from manned surveys. The overlap between images proved valuable for detecting animals that were masked by sun glitter in the corners of images, and identifying animals initially captured at awkward body angles. This initial trial of a basic camera system has successfully demonstrated that the ScanEagle UAV has great potential as a tool for marine mammal aerial surveys.

Incorporating Conservation Zone Effectiveness for Protecting Biodiversity in Marine Planning

Establishing different types of conservation zones is becoming commonplace. However, spatial prioritization methods that can accommodate multiple zones are poorly understood in theory and application. It is typically assumed that management regulations across zones have differential levels of effectiveness (“zone effectiveness”) for biodiversity protection, but the influence of zone effectiveness on achieving conservation targets has not yet been explored. Here, we consider the zone effectiveness of three zones: permanent closure, partial protection, and open, for planning for the protection of five different marine habitats in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, Fiji. We explore the impact of differential zone effectiveness on the location and costs of conservation priorities. We assume that permanent closure zones are fully effective at protecting all habitats, open zones do not contribute towards the conservation targets and partial protection zones lie between these two extremes. We use four different estimates for zone effectiveness and three different estimates for zone cost of the partial protection zone. To enhance the practical utility of the approach, we also explore how much of each traditional fishing ground can remain open for fishing while still achieving conservation targets. Our results show that all of the high priority areas for permanent closure zones would not be a high priority when the zone effectiveness of the partial protection zone is equal to that of permanent closure zones. When differential zone effectiveness and costs are considered, the resulting marine protected area network consequently increases in size, with more area allocated to permanent closure zones to meet conservation targets. By distributing the loss of fishing opportunity equitably among local communities, we find that 84–88% of each traditional fishing ground can be left open while still meeting conservation targets. Finally, we summarize the steps for developing marine zoning that accounts for zone effectiveness.

Bringing integrated ecosystem assessments to real life: a scientific framework for ICES

An ecosystem approach to management (EAM) aims to secure a healthy ecosystem along with sustainable use of its goods and services. Although the main principles of EAM are agreed upon and desirable, wider implementation of EAM is still a challenge. The difficulties stem from unclear definition and communication of the EAM, lack of routines or protocols to develop ecosystem-based advice, inappropriate institutional structures, and communication issues between scientists, advisers, and managers. Integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) is an instrument that has proven to help in the implementation of EAM. For successful implementation of EAM and IEA in the European regional seas context, an international forum is required that develops tailor-made EAM tools specific to the different regional ecosystems to overcome fragmented national strategies. We describe a multinational peer network of working groups developed within the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) under the auspice of Science Steering Group on Regional Sea Programmes. Available is a wealth of data, expertise, scientific methods, and models for each regional sea. This network can be instrumental in advancing IEA for the implementation of EAM in the North Atlantic seas.

Cooperation between scientists, NGOs and industry in support of sustainable fisheries: the South African hake Merluccius spp. trawl fishery experience

This paper examines the increasingly close interaction between natural and social scientists, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and industry, in pursuit of responsible ecosystem-based management of fisheries. South Africa has committed to implementing an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. Management advice stems from multi-stakeholder representation on government-led scientific and management working groups. In the hake Merluccius capensis and Merluccius paradoxus fishery, the primary management measure is an annual total allowable catch (TAC), the level of which is calculated using a management procedure (MP) that is revised approximately every 4 years. Revision of the MP is a consultative process involving most stakeholders, and is based on simulation modelling of projected probable scenarios of resource and fishery dynamics under various management options. NGOs, such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA), have played an important role in influencing consumers, the fishing industry and government to develop responsible fishing practices that minimize damage to marine ecosystems. Cooperation between industry, government and scientists has helped to improve sustainability and facilitated the meeting of market-based incentives for more responsible fisheries. Research includes ecosystem modelling, spatial analysis and ecosystem risk assessment with increasing research focus on social and economic aspects of the fishery. A four-year cooperative experiment to quantify the effect of trawling on benthic community structure is being planned. The food requirements of top predators still need to be included in the TAC-setting formulae and more social and economic research is needed. This paper also demonstrates how NGO initiatives such as Marine Stewardship Council certification and the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative, a traffic light system of classifying seafood for consumers, have contributed to responsible fishing practices, increased ecosystem research and public awareness. This fishery appears to have a good future, provided that the monitoring, control and surveillance systems continue to function, TACs remain within ecologically sustainable limits and the effective collaboration between government, industry, scientists and NGOs continues to drive positive change.

National Standards for a Protected Species Observer and Data Management Program: A Model Using Geological and Geophysical Surveys

This report provides recommendations for the Protected Species Observer and Data Management Program (PSO program) for marine geological and geophysical (G&G) surveys, and recommended actions on key issues for the establishment and management of such a program. The contents of this report are the combined results of discussions held between staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Improvement of the PSO program for G&G surveys was the topic of a BOEM and workshop on March 26, 2008, in New Orleans, Louisiana, with BOEM, BSEE, NMFS, PSOs, and G&G industry representatives. This workshop identified existing issues with the G&G PSO program, and potential solutions were discussed. As a result of identified federal actions at this workshop, NMFS formed an ad hoc Protected Species Observer Working Group (Working Group) comprised of personnel from NMFS, BOEM, and BSEE, and convened a workshop at the NMFS Southeast Regional Office on June 19, 2008, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to discuss PSO program issues on a national level, resulting in the preparation of this report.

Since this report was drafted, BOEM has proposed leasing areas in the Northwest Atlantic that include G&G surveying activities along the U.S. East Coast, as well as G&G activities associated with sand and gravel mining in federal waters. PSOs are expected to play a similar role in the Atlantic, as modeled after the Gulf of Mexico program, once G&G permitting begins. Improvements to PSO programs for G&G surveys would have benefits for stakeholders (NMFS, BOEM, BSEE, industry, and PSOs), enhance the effectiveness of mitigation and monitoring requirements, and increase the integrity of data collected and reported.

This report provides recommendations of the Working Group for the development of a national PSO program. The core issues for the development of national standards and the foundation necessary for the successful development and management of a PSO program for G&G surveys are identified. When possible, prudent solutions to existing issues in PSO programs are recommended, and actions requiring further consideration are noted.

The Shipping Industry and Marine Spatial Planning - A Professional Approach

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) will become an increasingly important issue for the shipping sector over the next few years. Maritime professionals need to engage with other users of waterways space, from both a sea and shore perspective, and to take part in international, regional, national and local MSP debates, to ensure that the needs of the shipping sector are taken into full consideration and that the sector understands the needs of other marine users and resources.

The Nautical Institute, together with the World Ocean Council, has put together this operational guide to the risks and benefits connected with the shipping industry that should be considered during the MSP process. This guidance seeks to outline just some of the many opportunities for engagement and issues to consider. It should be noted that this guidance only summarises some of the main issues, but does however provide reference to other industry documents for further technical and procedural details.

This guide has been specifically produced to aid maritime professionals to participate in MSP developments. For the purpose of brevity the guide assumes a certain level of maritime expertise and has not sought to clarify a number of maritime terms and definitions. Should this guide be used by non mariners (and we hope it is) it may be useful to seek further explanation of some issues by those familiar with maritime operations.

Fall 2013 issue of The Coast Guard Journal of Safety & Security at Sea: Proceedings of the Marine Safety and Security Council

Table of Contents:

  • National Ocean Policy
    • The National Ocean Policy: Advances in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes stewardship.
    • Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Planning: Protecting endangered marine life.
    • The Marine Planning Implementation Subgroup: Managing the challenges to make marine planning a reality.
    • Protecting a Nation of the Seas: Resources, trade, and sea power.
  • Protecting the Marine Environment
    • Marine Planning Benefits the Environment.
    • A Slippery Fish: Effective, integrated marine resources management.
  • Promoting Economic Development
    • I Can’t Believe We Mapped the Whole Thing: The Coast Guard Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study.
    • Using Science to Inform Marine Planning
    • Marine Planning Along the East Coast: A realistic approach.
  • Regional Empowerment
    • Northeast Regional Ocean Planning: Commitment to collaboration.
    • Federal Relations with Native Americans: Marine planning offers a seat at the table.
    • Building Social Capital through Collaboration.
  • Tools and the Future
    • Ocean.data.gov: A portal to regional marine planning data.
    • GeoDesign: Optimizing stakeholder-driven marine spatial planning.
    • Spotlight on Ocean Uses: Tools help marine planners understand expanding ocean use.
  • And more!