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Greetings OpenChannels Community Members,

Happy New Year from the OpenChannels Team! To celebrate, we're sending you a special Holiday Edition of the Weekly Literature Update. It's filled to the brim with all the literature we have included in the library over the holidays.

Happy reading!
-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager


Table of Contents

Social Sciences

Cultural dimensions of socioecological systems: key connections and guiding principles for conservation in coastal environments. Melissa R. Poe, Karma C. Norman, Phillip S. Levin. Conservation Letters; DOI: 10.1111/conl.12068.

Free: “That’s what opening day is for:” social and cultural dimensions of (not) fishing for salmon in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Philip A Loring and Hannah L Harrison. Maritime Studies 2013, 12:12; doi:10.1186/2212-9790-12-12.

Establishing an agenda for social studies research in marine renewable energy. Sandy Kerr, Laura Watts, John Colton, Flaxen Conway, Angela Hull, Kate Johnson, Simon Jude, Andreas Kannen, Shelley MacDougall, Carly McLachlan, Tavis Potts, Jo Vergunst. Energy Policy, Available online 21 December 2013.

Establishing attitudes and perceptions of recreational boat users based in the River Hamble Estuary, UK, towards Marine Conservation Zones. Sarah McAuliffe, Jonathan Potts, Rosaline Canessa, Brian Baily. Marine Policy, Volume 45, March 2014, Pages 98–107.

Users expectations and the need for differential beach management frameworks along the Costa Brava: Urban vs. natural protected beaches. Juan Pablo Lozoya, Rafael Sardá, José A. Jiménez. Land Use Policy, Volume 38, May 2014, Pages 397–414.

Are we all on the same boat? The challenge of adaptation facing Portuguese coastal communities: Risk perception, trust-building and genuine participation. Luísa Schmidt, Carla Gomes, Susana Guerreiro, Tim O’Riordan. Land Use Policy, Volume 38, May 2014, Pages 355–365.

Habitat

Strength and time lag of relationships between human pressures and fish-based metrics used to assess ecological quality of estuarine systems. Stéphanie Pasquaud, Anne Courrat, Vanessa F. Fonseca, Rita Gamito, Catarina I. Gonçalves, Jérémy Lobry, Mario Lepage, Maria José Costa, Henrique Cabral. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 134, 1 December 2013, Pages 119–127.

Object-based benthic habitat mapping in the Florida Keys from hyperspectral imagery. Caiyun Zhang, Donna Selch, Zhixiao Xie, Charles Roberts, Hannah Cooper, Ge Chen. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 134, 1 December 2013, Pages 88–97.

Free summary: Global warming enhances sulphide stress in a key seagrass species (NW Mediterranean). Rosa García, Marianne Holmer, Carlos M. Duarte, Núria Marbà. Global Change Biology; Volume 19, Issue 12, pages 3629–3639, December 2013.

Free summary: The destruction of the ‘animal forests’ in the oceans: Towards an over-simplification of the benthic ecosystems. Sergio Rossi. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 84, November 2013, Pages 77–85.

Free summary: Trawling-induced daily sediment resuspension in the flank of a Mediterranean submarine canyon. Jacobo Martín, Pere Puig, Albert Palanques, Marta Ribó. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Available online 30 May 2013.

Free summary: Assessing the sensitivity of habitats to fishing: from seabed maps to sensitivity maps. N. C. Eno, C. L. J. Frid, K. Hall, K. Ramsay, R. A. M. Sharp, D. P. Brazier, S. Hearn, K. M. Dernie, K. A. Robinson, O. A. L. Paramor, L. A. Robinson. Journal of Fish Biology; Special Issue: Selected Papers from the Sixth World Fisheries Congress; Volume 83, Issue 4, pages 826–846, October 2013.

Free summary: A process-driven sedimentary habitat modelling approach, explaining seafloor integrity and biodiversity assessment within the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Ibon Galparsoro, Ángel Borja, Vladimir E. Kostylev, J. Germán Rodríguez, Marta Pascual, Iñigo Muxika. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 131, 10 October 2013, Pages 194–205.

Free summary: Cumulative impacts on seabed habitats: An indicator for assessments of good environmental status. Samuli Korpinen, Manuel Meidinger, Maria Laamanen. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 74, Issue 1, 15 September 2013, Pages 311–319.

Free summary: A primer for the Environmental Impact Assessment of mining at seafloor massive sulfide deposits. Patrick Colman Collins, Peter Croot, Jens Carlsson, Ana Colaço, Anthony Grehan, Kiseong Hyeong, Robert Kennedy, Christian Mohn, Samantha Smith, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Ashley Rowden. Marine Policy, Volume 42, November 2013, Pages 198–209.

Free summary: Impacts of dredged material disposal on macrobenthic invertebrate communities: A comparison of structural and functional (secondary production) changes at disposal sites around England and Wales. Stefan G. Bolam. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 64, Issue 10, October 2012, Pages 2199–2210.

Spatial Management

Free summary: Defining fishing grounds with vessel monitoring system data. Jennings, S., and Lee, J. 2012. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 51–63.

Free summary: Designating networks of chemosynthetic ecosystem reserves in the deep sea. C.L. Van Dover, C.R. Smith, J. Ardron, D. Dunn, K. Gjerde, L. Levin, S. Smith, The Dinard Workshop Contributors. Marine Policy, Volume 36, Issue 2, March 2012, Pages 378–381.

Free summary: Mobile demersal megafauna at artificial structures in the German Bight – Likely effects of offshore wind farm development. R. Krone, L. Gutow, T. Brey, J. Dannheim, A. Schröder. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 125, 1 July 2013, Pages 1–9.

Resolving coastal conflicts using marine spatial planning. Arthur O. Tuda, Tim F. Stevens, Lynda D. Rodwell. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 133, 15 January 2014, Pages 59–68.

Free: Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification. Lester SE, Costello C, Rassweiler A, Gaines SD, Deacon R (2013) PLoS Biol 11(12): e1001730. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001730.

The “mapping out” approach: effectiveness of marine spatial management options in European coastal waters. Soma, K., Ramos, J., Bergh, Ø., Schulze, T., van Oostenbrugge, H., van Duijn, A. P., Kopke, K., Stelzenmüller, V., Grati, F., Mäkinen, T., Stenberg, C., and Buisman, E. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst193.

Competing values on the Antarctic high seas: CCAMLR and the challenge of marine-protected areas. Cassandra M. Brooks. The Polar Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, 201; DOI:10.1080/2154896X.2013.854597.

Better integration of sectoral planning and management approaches for the interlinked ecology of the open oceans. Natalie C. Ban, Sara M. Maxwell, Daniel C. Dunn, Alistair J. Hobday, Nicholas J. Bax, Jeff Ardron, Kristina M. Gjerde, Edward T. Game, Rodolphe Devillers, David M. Kaplan, Piers K. Dunstan, Patrick N. Halpin, Robert L. Pressey. Marine Policy, Available online 27 December 2013.

Implications of Macroalgal Isolation by Distance for Networks of Marine Protected Areas. HALLEY M. S. DURRANT, CHRISTOPHER P. BURRIDGE, BRENDAN P. KELAHER, NEVILLE S. BARRETT, GRAHAM J. EDGAR, MELINDA A. COLEMAN. Conservation Biology, Article first published online: 26 DEC 2013; DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12203.

Anthropogenic activities on mangrove areas (São Francisco River Estuary, Brazil Northeast): A GIS-based analysis of CBERS and SPOT images to aid in local management. Luciana Cavalcanti Maia Santos, Humberto Reis Matos, Yara Schaeffer-Novelli, Marília Cunha-Lignon, Marisa Dantas Bitencourt, Nico Koedam, Farid Dahdouh-Guebas. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 89, March 2014, Pages 39–50.

A systematic approach towards the identification and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems. Jeff A. Ardron, Malcolm R. Clark, Andrew J. Penney, Thomas F. Hourigan, Ashley A. Rowden, Piers K. Dunstan, Les Watling, Timothy M. Shank, Di M. Tracey, Mathew R. Dunn, Steven J. Parker. Marine Policy, Available online 18 December 2013.

Corals

Free: Octocoral gardens in the Gulf of Maine (NW Atlantic). Peter J. Auster, Morgan Kilgour, David Packer, Rhian Waller, Steven Auscavitch & Les Watling. Biodiversity, Volume 14, Issue 4, 2013; DOI: 10.1080/14888386.2013.850446.

Free: Supplementary comment: conservation of deep-sea corals off the northeast United States. Peter J. Auster, David Packer, Morgan Kilgour & Les Watling. Biodiversity, Volume 14, Issue 4, 2013; DOI: 10.1080/14888386.2013.850885.

Rebuilding coral reefs: does active reef restoration lead to sustainable reefs? Baruch Rinkevich. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 7, April 2014, Pages 28–36.

Accurate catches and the sustainability of coral reef fisheries. Daniel Pauly, Dirk Zeller. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 7, April 2014, Pages 44–51.

Sea-level Rise

Free: Cost-Effective Methods for Accurate Determination of Sea Level Rise Vulnerability: A Solomon Islands Example. Albert, Simon, Kirsten Abernethy, Badin Gibbes, Alistair Grinham, Nixon Tooler, Shankar Aswani, 2013: Wea. Climate Soc., 5, 285–292.

Free: Costs of Adapting Coastal Defences to Sea-Level Rise: New Estimates and Their Implications. Sebastiaan N. Jonkman, Marten M. Hillen, Robert J. Nicholls, Wim Kanning, and Mathijs van Ledden (2013) Journal of Coastal Research: Volume 29, Issue 5: pp. 1212 – 1226.

Free: Potential impact of sea level rise on French islands worldwide. Bellard C, Leclerc C, Courchamp F (2013) Nature Conservation 5: 75–86.

Ocean Acidification

Free: Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Early Life-History Stages and Settlement of the Coral-Eating Sea Star, Acanthaster planci. Uthicke S, Pecorino D, Albright R, Negri AP, Cantin N, et al. (2013) PLoS ONE 8(12): e82938. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082938.

Law

Sustaining marine life beyond boundaries: Options for an implementing agreement for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Elisabeth Druel, Kristina M. Gjerde. Marine Policy, Available online 18 December 2013.

The EU shark finning ban at the beginning of the new millennium: the legal framework. Passantino, A. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi.10.1093/icesjms/fst190.

Other

BOFFFFs: on the importance of conserving old-growth age structure in fishery populations. Hixon, M. A., Johnson, D. W., and Sogard, S. M. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst200.

Free: Estimates of Marine Debris Accumulation on Beaches Are Strongly Affected by the Temporal Scale of Sampling. Smith SDA, Markic A (2013) PLoS ONE 8(12): e83694. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083694.

Free: Evaluation of New Zealand’s High-Seas Bottom Trawl Closures Using Predictive Habitat Models and Quantitative Risk Assessment. Penney AJ, Guinotte JM (2013) PLoS ONE 8(12): e82273. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082273.

Reports

Free: Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning. Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, December 2013.

Free: Balancing the future of Europe's coasts — knowledge base for integrated management. European Environment Agency, 2013; DOI:10.2800/99116.

Free: Managed Coastal Retreat: A legal handbook on shifting development away from vulnerable areas. Columbia Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School; October 2013.


Cultural dimensions of socioecological systems: key connections and guiding principles for conservation in coastal environments

Environments are complex socioecological systems demanding interdisciplinary research and conservation. Despite significant progress in characterizing socioecological complexity, including important inroads for measuring human wellbeing through ecosystem services approaches, cultural interactions with ecosystems remain poorly understood. Inadequate knowledge of cultural dimensions of ecosystems challenges the ability of conservation professionals to include these considerations in their programs. Ecosystem-based conservation without cultural considerations is not only insufficient, it risks producing unaccounted negative impacts to communities and misses an opportunity to build culturally meaningful alternatives. This mini review of relevant social science identifies five key cultural dimensions of ecosystems, highlighting examples from coastal North America. These key dimensions are: meanings, values, and identities; knowledge and practice; governance and access; livelihoods; and interactions with biophysical environments. We outline guiding principles for addressing these connections in integrated conservation research and application. Finally, we discuss potential methodologies to help improve interdisciplinary assessment and monitoring of cultural dimensions of conservation.


Strength and time lag of relationships between human pressures and fish-based metrics used to assess ecological quality of estuarine systems

Fish-based multi-metric indices have been widely developed in ecological quality assessments of estuaries in the past few years, but the ability of these indices and their respective metrics to respond to human pressures may be quite different. Based on a group consensus approach eliciting information from multiple experts integrating published literature, this work evaluated the strength and time-lag of the response of eight fish-based indices (AFI, EFAI, ELFI, Z-EBI, TFCI, EBI, EFCI, IBI), and their respective metrics, in relation to several human pressures (chemical pollution, eutrophication, loss of habitat, water turbidity, habitat fragmentation, fishing mortalities, invasive species, water temperature changes and flow changes). Results pointed out that most of the metrics detect several human pressures, being difficult to identify a particular pressure effect and its source. The majority of the metrics analysed presented a weak relationship with pressures and/or respond in a long time period. The metrics responding to chemical pollution and loss of habitat were generally the ones with stronger relationships, but their responses were often in a long time period. Consequently, the fish-based indices analysed did not detect all the pressures with the same sensitivity in terms of strength and time lag. This clearly collides with the needs for water ecological quality assessments, management and rehabilitation of estuarine ecosystems, and highlighted the value of metrics, especially the ones that are specific of certain pressures.


Object-based benthic habitat mapping in the Florida Keys from hyperspectral imagery

Accurate mapping of benthic habitats in the Florida Keys is essential in developing effective management strategies for this unique coastal ecosystem. In this study, we evaluated the applicability of hyperspectral imagery collected from Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) for benthic habitat mapping in the Florida Keys. An overall accuracy of 84.3% and 86.7% was achieved respectively for a group-level (3-class) and code-level (12-class) classification by integrating object-based image analysis (OBIA), hyperspectral image processing methods, and machine learning algorithms. Accurate and informative object-based benthic habitat maps were produced. Three commonly used image correction procedures (atmospheric, sun-glint, and water-column corrections) were proved unnecessary for small area mapping in the Florida Keys. Inclusion of bathymetry data in the mapping procedure did not increase the classification accuracy. This study indicates that hyperspectral systems are promising in accurate benthic habitat mapping at a fine detail level.


Global warming enhances sulphide stress in a key seagrass species (NW Mediterranean)

The build-up of sulphide concentrations in sediments, resulting from high inputs of organic matter and the mineralization through sulphate reduction, can be lethal to the benthos. Sulphate reduction is temperature dependent, thus global warming may contribute to even higher sulphide concentrations and benthos mortality. The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is very sensitive to sulphide stress. Hence, if concentrations build up with global warming, this key Mediterranean species could be seriously endangered. An 8-year monitoring of daily seawater temperature, the sulphur isotopic signatures of water (δ34Swater), sediment (δ34SCRS) and P. oceanica leaf tissue (δ34Sleaves), along with total sulphur in leaves (TSleaves) and annual net population growth along the coast of the Balearic archipelago (Western Mediterranean) allowed us to determine if warming triggers P. oceanica sulphide stress and constrains seagrass survival. From the isotopic S signatures, we estimated sulphide intrusion into the leaves (Fsulphide) and sulphur incorporation into the leaves from sedimentary sulphides (SSleaves). We observed lower δ34Sleaves, higher Fsulphide and SSleaves coinciding with a 6-year period when two heat waves were recorded. Warming triggered sulphide stress as evidenced by the negative temperature dependence of δ34Sleaves and the positive one of Fsulphide, TSleaves and SSleaves. Lower P. oceanica net population growth rates were directly related to higher contents of TSleaves. At equivalent annual maximum sea surface water temperature (SSTmax), deep meadows were less affected by sulphide intrusion than shallow ones. Thus, water depth acts as a protecting mechanism against sulphide intrusion. However, water depth would be insufficient to buffer seagrass sulphide stress triggered by Mediterranean seawater summer temperatures projected for the end of the 21st century even under scenarios of moderate greenhouse gas emissions, A1B. Mediterranean warming, therefore, is expected to enhance P. oceanica sulphide stress, and thus compromise the survival of this key habitat along its entire depth distribution range.


The destruction of the ‘animal forests’ in the oceans: Towards an over-simplification of the benthic ecosystems

The world's oceans are the clearest example of how the common use of resources has led to an intense and unknown degradation of large areas. The lack of a clear responsibility for some practices in coastal and offshore benthic systems, and the difficulty in seeing directly what the direct and indirect impacts are, has profound repercussions for one of the most fragile, biodiverse and biomass generating group of ecosystems: the ‘animal forest’. Soft and hard corals, sponges, bryozoans and other animals which are considered eco-engineering species, make up what is known as the animal forests, which are present in shallow and deep waters all over the planet. These sessile three-dimensional living structures are currently under threat from bottom trawling, direct harvesting, pollution and mining, in terms of the direct effects of human intervention. The lack of clear legal rules in the management of coastal, continental platform and deep coral communities is one of the principal problems for these complex communities. The possibility of over-simplifying processes in benthic areas due to a common use of the resources is analysed in this paper, with special emphasis on certain direct impacts all over the world. The real consequences of this over-simplification of the animal forest due to the destruction of these complex, long-lived structures and the potential solutions for a sustainable management are discussed.


Trawling-induced daily sediment resuspension in the flank of a Mediterranean submarine canyon

Commercial bottom trawling is one of the anthropogenic activities causing the biggest impact on the seafloor due to its recurrence and global distribution. In particular, trawling has been proposed as a major driver of sediment dynamics at depths below the reach of storm waves, but the issue is at present poorly documented with direct observations. This paper analyses changes in water turbidity in a tributary valley of the La Fonera (=Palamós) submarine canyon, whose flanks are routinely exploited by a local trawling fleet down to depths of 800 m. A string of turbidimeters was deployed at 980 m water depth inside the tributary for two consecutive years, 2010–2011. The second year, an ADCP profiled the currents 80 m above the seafloor. The results illustrate that near-bottom water turbidity at the study site is heavily dominated, both in its magnitude and temporal patterns, by trawling-induced sediment resuspension at the fishing ground. Resuspended sediments are channelised along the tributary in the form of sediment gravity flows, being recorded only during working days and working hours of the trawling fleet. These sediment gravity flows generate turbid plumes that extend to at least 100 m above the bottom, reaching suspended sediment concentrations up to 236 mg l−1 close to the seafloor (5 m above bottom). A few hours after the end of daily trawling activities, water turbidity progressively decreases but resuspended particles remain in suspension for several hours, developing bottom and intermediate nepheloid layers that reach background levels ∼2 mg l−1 before trawling activities resume. The presence of these nepheloid layers was recorded in a CTD+turbidimeter transect conducted across the fishing ground a few hours after the end of a working day. These results highlight that deep bottom trawling can effectively replace natural processes as the main driving force of sediment resuspension on continental slope regions and generate increased near-bottom water turbidity that propagates from fishing grounds to wider and deeper areas via sediment gravity flows and nepheloid layer development.


Defining fishing grounds with vessel monitoring system data

Methods for defining fishing grounds to support marine spatial planning and management are developed, applied, and compared. The methods are broadly applicable and repeatable because they use vessel monitoring system (VMS) data that are archived and increasingly accessible. For several fleets at regional and national scales, an attempt is made to assess how the choice of criteria for defining grounds influences (i) size, shape, and location, (ii) overlap among grounds, and (iii) the extent to which annual and multi-annual patterns of fishing activity describe grounds used seasonally or by individual vessels. The results show that grounds defined by excluding infrequently fished margins (areas with <10% of total fishing activity) are typically 50% smaller than total fished area. However, landings weight or value (LWV) per unit activity can be higher at the margins, with 10% of activity usually accounting for 10–20% of LWV. The removal of fishing activity in the margins, as a consequence of regulation or fleet behaviour, would lead to disproportionately greater reductions in interactions with other fisheries, sectors, and the environment. Accessible high-resolution information on the “anatomy” of all fishing grounds would better inform debates on the allocation and the use of marine space and the integration of fisheries and environmental management.


Assessing the sensitivity of habitats to fishing: from seabed maps to sensitivity maps

In the Welsh part of the Irish Sea, a method was developed for assessing the sensitivity of different seabed habitats to existing fishing activities, across a range of potential fishing intensities. The resistance of 31 habitats and their associated biological assemblage to damage by 14 categories of fishing activity were assessed along with the rate at which each habitat would recover following impact (resilience). Sensitivity was scored based on a combination of the resistance of a habitat to damage and its subsequent rate of recovery. The assessments were based, wherever possible, on scientific literature, with expert judgement used to extrapolate results to habitat and gear combinations not directly examined in the published literature. The resulting sensitivity matrices were then subject to further peer review at a series of workshops. Following consensus on the habitat sensitivity, these data were combined with the most resolved sea-floor habitat maps. These habitat sensitivity maps can help inform the development of site-specific management plans, as well as having a place in spatial planning and aiding managers in developing dialogue with other stakeholders. A case study of their application is provided.


A process-driven sedimentary habitat modelling approach, explaining seafloor integrity and biodiversity assessment within the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) seeks to achieve good environmental status, by 2020, for European seas. This study analyses the applicability of a process-driven benthic sedimentary habitat model, to be used in the implementation of the MSFD in relation to biodiversity and seafloor integrity descriptors for sedimentary habitats. Our approach maps the major environmental factors influencing soft-bottom macrobenthic community structure and the life-history traits of species. Among the 16 environmental variables considered, a combination of water depth, mean grain size, a wave-induced sediment resuspension index and annual bottom maximum temperature, are the most significant factors explaining the variability in the structure of benthic communities in the study area. These variables are classified into those representing the ‘Disturbance’ and ‘Scope for Growth’ components of the environment. It was observed that the habitat classes defined in the process-driven model reflected different structural and functional characteristics of the benthos. Moreover, benthic community structure anomalies due to human pressures could also be detected within the model produced. Thus, the final process-driven habitat map can be considered as being highly useful for seafloor integrity and biodiversity assessment, within the European MSFD as well as for conservation, environmental status assessment and managing human activities, especially within the marine spatial planning process.


Cumulative impacts on seabed habitats: An indicator for assessments of good environmental status

The European seas are under anthropogenic pressures impacting the state of water quality, benthic habitats and species. The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires the Member States to assess the impacts of pressures and make a programme of measures leading to good environmental status (GES) by 2020. This study presents a method for assessing the quantity and distribution of anthropogenic impacts on benthic habitats in the Baltic Sea by using spatial data of human pressures and benthic habitats. The southern sub-basins were more extensively impacted than the northern sub-basins. Over the entire sea area, deep sea habitats were more impacted than shallower infralittoral and circalittoral habitats. Sand and coarse sediments were the seabed types relatively most impacted in the Baltic Sea scale. A comparison against tentative thresholds for GES showed that in the sub-basin scale only one third of the habitat types was in GES.


A primer for the Environmental Impact Assessment of mining at seafloor massive sulfide deposits

Seafloor massive sulfides (SMS) contain commercially viable quantities of high grade ores, making them attractive prospect sites for marine mining. SMS deposits may also contain hydrothermal vent ecosystems populated by high conservation value vent-endemic species. Responsible environmental management of these resources is best achieved by the adoption of a precautionary approach. Part of this precautionary approach involves the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of exploration and exploitative activities at SMS deposits. The VentBase 2012 workshop provided a forum for stakeholders and scientists to discuss issues surrounding SMS exploration and exploitation. This forum recognised the requirement for a primer which would relate concepts underpinning EIA at SMS deposits. The purpose of this primer is to inform policy makers about EIA at SMS deposits in order to aid management decisions. The primer offers a basic introduction to SMS deposits and their associated ecology, and the basic requirements for EIA at SMS deposits; including initial data and information scoping, environmental survey, and ecological risk assessment.


Designating networks of chemosynthetic ecosystem reserves in the deep sea

From the moment of their discovery, chemosynthetic ecosystems in the deep sea have held intrinsic scientific value. At the same time that the scientific community is studying chemosynthetic ecosystems other sectors are either engaged in, or planning for, activities that may adversely impact these ecosystems. There is a need and opportunity now to develop conservation strategies for networks of chemosynthetic ecosystem reserves in national and international waters through collaboration among concerned stakeholders.


Impacts of dredged material disposal on macrobenthic invertebrate communities: A comparison of structural and functional (secondary production) changes at disposal sites around England and Wales

Although the impacts of dredged material disposal in the marine environment have been well studied, there is currently a limited understanding of the associated impacts on benthic function. This study compares macrofaunal structural and functional (based on secondary production estimates) responses to dredged material disposal at 14 sites across the coast of England and Wales.

Disposal resulted in significant reductions of total secondary production at seven sites; no sites exhibited significant increases in production estimates. These seven sites were generally those which displayed significant structural impacts. There was no clear relationship between multivariate structural changes and taxonomic contribution to total production, indicating that a lack of change in the former (regarded as a sensitive indicator of change) does not always signify a lack of a significant functional impact. The need to evaluate functional changes, in addition to structural impacts, with respect to dredged material disposal site monitoring is discussed.


Mobile demersal megafauna at artificial structures in the German Bight – Likely effects of offshore wind farm development

Within the next few decades, large underwater structures of thousands of wind turbines in the northern European shelf seas will substantially increase the amount of habitat available for mobile demersal megafauna. As a first indication of the possible effects of this large scale habitat creation on faunal stocks settling on hard substrata, we compared selected taxa of the mobile demersal megafauna (decapods and fish) associated with the foundation of an offshore research platform (a wind-power foundation equivalent) with those of five shipwrecks and different areas of soft bottoms in the southern German Bight, North Sea. When comparing the amount of approximately 5000 planned wind-power foundations (covering 5.1 × 106 m2 of bottom area) with the existing number of at least 1000 shipwrecks (covering 1.2 × 106 m2 of bottom area), it becomes clear that the southern North Sea will provide about 4.3 times more available artificial hard substratum habitats than currently available. With regard to the fauna found on shipwrecks, on soft substrata and on the investigated wind-power foundation, we predict that the amount of added hard substrata will allow the stocks of substrata-limited mobile demersal hard bottom species to increase by 25–165% in that area. The fauna found at the offshore platform foundations is very similar to that at shipwrecks. Megafauna abundances at the foundations, however, are lower compared to those at the highly fractured wrecks and are irregularly scattered over the foundations. The upper regions of the platform construction (5 and 15 m depth) were only sparsely colonized by mobile fauna, the anchorages, however, more densely. The faunal assemblages from the shipwrecks and the foundations, respectively, as well as from the soft bottoms clearly differed from each other. We predict that new wind-power foundations will support the spread of hard bottom fauna into soft bottom areas with low wreck densities.


“That’s what opening day is for:” social and cultural dimensions of (not) fishing for salmon in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Commercial fishing represents an important cultural and economic cornerstone in the lives and livelihoods of the people of the Cook Inlet/Kenai Peninsula region of Alaska. Here, we discuss one aspect of commercial salmon fishing that we have found to be of particular social and cultural significance: the opening day. On the opening day, salmon are not as abundant as they will be later in the year, and as such this first chance to put nets in the water provides an opportunity for fishers to test their gear, train their crew, and renew important social connections with other fishers. The opening day also acts as an important and symbolic rite of passage for many fishers who fish seasonally and, despite working for the rest of the year in a variety of trades nevertheless consider fishing to be their primary occupation and identity. However, such ‘human dimensions’ are often not well accounted for by fisheries management regimes, and Alaska’s management of commercial salmon fisheries, which is done primarily with directed openings and closures, provides a case-in-point. We discuss the possible cumulative impacts of repeatedly losing the opening day to the long-term sustainability of the fishery and fishing communities, including contributions to the ongoing “greying of the fleet” trend. Using a framework for social well-being we argue for a more holistic approach to management that improves both ecological and societal outcomes by incorporating these human dimensions into ecosystem-based fisheries management.


Octocoral gardens in the Gulf of Maine (NW Atlantic)

Octocorals had been considered a common component of the seafloor fauna in the Gulf of Maine, but it appears a century of impacts have reduced coral distribution to small refugia. Here we provide a preliminary report of a recent expedition that discovered dense coral garden communities at two sites >200 m depth.


Supplementary comment: conservation of deep-sea corals off the northeast United States

Most deep-sea corals off the northeastern US (Scleractinia, Octocorallia, Antipatharia, Pennatulacea) are non-reef forming, are dominated by octocorals and occur mainly in the deeper waters of the continental margin. They provide habitat for other marine life, including commercially important species, increase habitat complexity and contribute to marine biodiversity; their destruction could have a significant impact on other marine species. Octocorals are especially susceptible to damage by fishing gear because of their often fragile, complex, branching form of growth above the bottom; fishing has been shown to have significant effects on octocoral populations in other regions. Also, they grow and reproduce at very slow rates. Some are estimated to be hundreds of years old with low recruitment rates, which makes their recovery from disturbances questionable, at least over ecologically relevant periods of time. The effects of current and historic fishing efforts on deep coral and coral habitats off the northeastern US have not been quantified. The types of fishing gear used here include fixed gear such as longlines, gillnets, pots and traps, as well as mobile trawls and dredges. Fixed gear can be lost at sea, where it can continue to damage corals. In Canada, longlines have been observed entangled in deep corals such as Paragorgia and Primnoa and may cause breakage. Further, ‘ghost fishing’ of nets entangled in coral reefs has been reported in the North Sea. Bottom trawling was found to have a larger impact on deep corals per fishing unit of effort compared to longlining in the northeast Pacific region off Alaska. Anecdotal accounts from Gulf of Maine fishermen indicate corals had been more common in the past, with gillnets and trawls brought up with large numbers of coral ‘trees’. Clearly corals disappeared from many areas before their occurrences could be documented. The presence of the coral gardens we describe in the preceding research note can be attributed to the steep and rough topography of certain areas of the Gulf of Maine that makes the use of bottom fishing gear impossible. Without either direct observation or destructive sampling by trawling or dredging, the presence of corals, usually found in areas of complex topography, remains unknown as does the historical perseverance of corals in areas that are more accessible to fishing gear. More than a century of fishing likely reduced the distribution of corals to a select few refugia and the extent and identification of these refugia should be a priority. In areas where human impacts have or are likely to occur, conserving extant communities is critical as is understanding connectivity and resilience of these communities for conservation success.


Cost-Effective Methods for Accurate Determination of Sea Level Rise Vulnerability: A Solomon Islands Example

For millions of people living along the coastal fringe, sea level rise is perhaps the greatest threat to livelihoods over the coming century. With the refinement and downscaling of global climate models and increasing availability of airborne-lidar-based inundation models, it is possible to predict and quantify these threats with reasonable accuracy where such information is available. For less developed countries, especially small island states, access to high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from lidar is limited. The only freely available DEMs that could be used for inundation modeling by these nations are those based on data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). These data, with a horizontal resolution of ≈90 m and a vertical accuracy of ±5–10 m, are generally unsuitable for local-scale planning and adaption projects. To address this disparity, low-cost ground-based techniques were tested and applied to accurately determine coastal topography in the Solomon Islands. This method had a significantly improved vertical accuracy (±2 cm) and was readily learned by local community members, who were able to independently map and determine the vulnerability of their costal community to inundation from sea level rise. For areas where lidar is not economically viable, this method is intended to provide an important balance of cost, simplicity, accuracy, and local participation that can assist remote coastal communities with coastal planning decisions. The method can enhance local capacity and arguably promotes more meaningful local engagement in sea level rise planning and adaptation activities.


Costs of Adapting Coastal Defences to Sea-Level Rise: New Estimates and Their Implications

The cost of upgrading and raising coastal defences is an important consideration in societal response to sea-level rise. Currently available unit cost estimates have a limited empirical basis. This article presents new information on the unit costs of adapting coastal defences for three specific case studies in low-lying delta regions: The Netherlands, New Orleans, and Vietnam. Typical measures include dikes, flood walls, storm surge barriers, and nourishment. These unit cost estimates are significantly higher than earlier estimates that are still the main source of costs for global vulnerability assessments. Factors affecting these unit costs include local economic factors (material and labour costs), design choices related to the alignment of the system, and the types of measures for implementation of the system in an urban or rural environment. On the basis of an example for a Dutch sea dike, it is shown that the material quantities and associated costs are expected to rise linearly, in the case of depth-limited wave breaking, for the range of sea-level rise rates that are expected in the coming century. However, other factors, such as increasing costs for implementation of wider coastal defences in an urban environment and future changes in material and labour costs, could contribute to a nonlinear increase of the costs. Further collection and analysis of project information for coastal defence projects in other regions is recommended to strengthen the empirical basis of the cost estimates that are used for regional and global assessments.


Potential impact of sea level rise on French islands worldwide

Although sea level rise is one of the most certain consequences of global warming, yet it remains one of the least studied. Several studies strongly suggested that sea level rise will accelerate in the future with a potentially rise from 0.5 to 2 m at the end of the century. However, currently island conservation programs do not take into account the potential effects of sea level rise. Therefore, we investigated the potential consequences of sea level rise for 1, 269 French islands worldwide, by assessing the total number of island that will be totally submerged for three different scenarios (1, 2 and 3 m). Under the worst scenario, up to 12% of all islands could be entirely submerged. Two regions displayed the most significant loss of island: New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Focusing on New Caledonia, we highlighted that endemic plant species that are already classified as critically endangered by the IUCN will be the most vulnerable to sea level rise. Losses of insular habitats will thus be important in the next decades for the French islands. Given that French islands covers all latitudes in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans and in the Mediterranean, our results suggested that the implications for the 180 000 islands around the world should be considerable. Therefore, decision makers are required to define island conservation priorities that will suffer of the future sea level rise.


Resolving coastal conflicts using marine spatial planning

We applied marine spatial planning (MSP) to manage conflicts in a multi-use coastal area of Kenya. MSP involves several steps which were supported by using geographical information systems (GISs), multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and optimization. GIS was used in identifying overlapping coastal uses and mapping conflict hotspots. MCDA was used to incorporate the preferences of user groups and managers into a formal decision analysis procedure. Optimization was applied in generating optimal allocation alternatives to competing uses. Through this analysis three important objectives that build a foundation for future planning of Kenya's coastal waters were achieved: 1) engaging competing stakeholders; 2) illustrating how MSP can be adapted to aid decision-making in multi-use coastal regions; and 3) developing a draft coastal use allocation plan. The successful application of MSP to resolve conflicts in coastal regions depends on the level of stakeholder involvement, data availability and the existing knowledge base.


Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification

Widespread concern over global fish stocks has prompted an increase in research and initiatives aimed at rebuilding ailing fisheries and incentivizing sustainable fishing practices. This promising focus on solutions coincides with a burgeoning consumer and retailer demand for environmentally friendly products (Figure 1). Sustainability certification, labeling, and consumer guides (e.g., Marine Stewardship Council, Fair Trade, Seafood Watch, etc.) are signals that help eco-minded consumers identify products that meet their standards. Accurate signals offer an immense opportunity to incentivize sustainability, increasing demand and profits for sustainable producers. Yet, while the growing number of seafood certification programs and consumer seafood guides fuel and inform demand, the pace of change is slow. One key barrier to progress is the significant lag between the implementation of reforms and the recovery of fish stocks. Without preemptive credits within certification protocols for conservation actions that can be expected to benefit the stock over time, the incentives for reforms may be limited.


Estimates of Marine Debris Accumulation on Beaches Are Strongly Affected by the Temporal Scale of Sampling

Marine debris is a global issue with impacts on marine organisms, ecological processes, aesthetics and economies. Consequently, there is increasing interest in quantifying the scale of the problem. Accumulation rates of debris on beaches have been advocated as a useful proxy for at-sea debris loads. However, here we show that past studies may have vastly underestimated the quantity of available debris because sampling was too infrequent. Our study of debris on a small beach in eastern Australia indicates that estimated daily accumulation rates decrease rapidly with increasing intervals between surveys, and the quantity of available debris is underestimated by 50% after only 3 days and by an order of magnitude after 1 month. As few past studies report sampling frequencies of less than a month, estimates of the scale of the marine debris problem need to be critically re-examined and scaled-up accordingly. These results reinforce similar, recent work advocating daily sampling as a standard approach for accurate quantification of available debris in coastal habitats. We outline an alternative approach whereby site-specific accumulation models are generated to correct bias when daily sampling is impractical.


Evaluation of New Zealand’s High-Seas Bottom Trawl Closures Using Predictive Habitat Models and Quantitative Risk Assessment

United Nations General Assembly Resolution 61/105 on sustainable fisheries (UNGA 2007) establishes three difficult questions for participants in high-seas bottom fisheries to answer: 1) Where are vulnerable marine systems (VMEs) likely to occur?; 2) What is the likelihood of fisheries interaction with these VMEs?; and 3) What might qualify as adequate conservation and management measures to prevent significant adverse impacts? This paper develops an approach to answering these questions for bottom trawling activities in the Convention Area of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) within a quantitative risk assessment and cost : benefit analysis framework. The predicted distribution of deep-sea corals from habitat suitability models is used to answer the first question. Distribution of historical bottom trawl effort is used to answer the second, with estimates of seabed areas swept by bottom trawlers being used to develop discounting factors for reduced biodiversity in previously fished areas. These are used in a quantitative ecological risk assessment approach to guide spatial protection planning to address the third question. The coral VME likelihood (average, discounted, predicted coral habitat suitability) of existing spatial closures implemented by New Zealand within the SPRFMO area is evaluated. Historical catch is used as a measure of cost to industry in a cost : benefit analysis of alternative spatial closure scenarios. Results indicate that current closures within the New Zealand SPRFMO area bottom trawl footprint are suboptimal for protection of VMEs. Examples of alternative trawl closure scenarios are provided to illustrate how the approach could be used to optimise protection of VMEs under chosen management objectives, balancing protection of VMEs against economic loss to commercial fishers from closure of historically fished areas.


Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Early Life-History Stages and Settlement of the Coral-Eating Sea Star, Acanthaster planci

Coral reefs are marine biodiversity hotspots, but their existence is threatened by global change and local pressures such as land-runoff and overfishing. Population explosions of coral-eating crown of thorns sea stars (COTS) are a major contributor to recent decline in coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef. Here, we investigate how projected near-future ocean acidification (OA) conditions can affect early life history stages of COTS, by investigating important milestones including sperm motility, fertilisation rates, and larval development and settlement. OA (increased pCO2 to 900–1200 µatm pCO2) significantly reduced sperm motility and, to a lesser extent, velocity, which strongly reduced fertilization rates at environmentally relevant sperm concentrations. Normal development of 10 d old larvae was significantly lower under elevated pCO2 but larval size was not significantly different between treatments. Settlement of COTS larvae was significantly reduced on crustose coralline algae (known settlement inducers of COTS) that had been exposed to OA conditions for 85 d prior to settlement assays. Effect size analyses illustrated that reduced settlement may be the largest bottleneck for overall juvenile production. Results indicate that reductions in fertilisation and settlement success alone would reduce COTS population replenishment by over 50%. However, it is unlikely that this effect is sufficient to provide respite for corals from other negative anthropogenic impacts and direct stress from OA and warming on corals.


Competing values on the Antarctic high seas: CCAMLR and the challenge of marine-protected areas

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been lauded as a leader in high seas conservation. Highlighting its leadership, CCAMLR joined the international movement to designate a representative network of marine-protected areas (MPAs) throughout the world’s oceans by 2012. Over the last decade, CCAMLR has been working towards this goal convening a series of workshops and celebrating their first Southern Ocean MPA in 2009. In 2011, plans for large MPAs in the Ross Sea and East Antarctic came up for discussion but their adoption has stalled due to Member States’ objections, with the primary concern being interference with fishing. In July 2013, CCAMLR’s Scientific Committee and Commission convened a special intersessional meeting dedicated to making progress on the Ross Sea and East Antarctic MPAs. Progress was again stalled due to Member’s objections and the Russian delegation’s concerns over the legal capacity of CCAMLR to adopt Southern Ocean MPAs. To address potential barriers to MPA adoption, including fishing interests, I provide a synthesis of the CCAMLR MPA process to date and then analyse CCAMLR fishing trends from 1982 to 2012. The results show that since 1982, the number of fishing States has increased four-fold, correlating with the rise of toothfish fisheries (sold on the market as “Chilean sea bass”). While historically, and in the present, krill (Euphasia superba) comprise the largest catch, toothfish (Dissostichus spp.) bring in 20 times more profit. While the MPA proposals under consideration in 2012/2013 were designed specifically to balance conservation and fishing interests, they would displace some toothfish fishing and would limit potential future access to Southern Ocean resources. The shift in balance among fishing States along with the increasing pressure to find more toothfish fisheries may be interfering with CCAMLR’s ability to effectively implement MPAs in the Convention Area.


The “mapping out” approach: effectiveness of marine spatial management options in European coastal waters

Marine spatial management is challenged by complex situations in European countries where multiple stakeholder interests and many management options have to be balanced. EU policy initiatives such as the proposed Marine Spatial Planning Directive, are in different ways targeting area allocation in European waters. In this circumstance, EU marine management needs assessments based on a satisfactory evaluation framework design that can ensure a transparent treatment of different types of information including interests, values, and facts. The main goal of this article is to introduce an evaluation framework applicable to marine management in European countries. This so-called CoExist framework maps out different types of relevant knowledge to assess future possibilities for use or no-use of marine areas and links this with appropriate management measures. The CoExist framework is based on the principles of ensuring transparent treatment of different types of information as well as appropriate stakeholder representation which can ensure legitimacy. Empirical findings in six European case studies have been obtained while conducting the CoExist framework. Applying the basic principles of the CoExist framework when planning future management directions of the coexistence of multiple activities in the long-run will expectedly affect the ecological and social-cultural goals by counterbalancing the economic ones.


BOFFFFs: on the importance of conserving old-growth age structure in fishery populations

The value of big old fat fecund female fish (BOFFFFs) in fostering stock productivity and stability has long been underappreciated by conventional fisheries science and management, although Hjort (1914) indirectly alluded to the importance of maternal effects. Compared with smaller mature females, BOFFFFs in a broad variety of marine and freshwater teleosts produce far more and often larger eggs that may develop into larvae that grow faster and withstand starvation better. As (if not more) importantly, BOFFFFs in batch-spawning species tend to have earlier and longer spawning seasons and may spawn in different locations than smaller females. Such features indicate that BOFFFFs are major agents of bet-hedging strategies that help to ensure individual reproductive success in environments that vary tremendously in time and space. Even if all else were equal, BOFFFFs can outlive periods that are unfavourable for successful reproduction and be ready to spawn profusely and enhance recruitment when favourable conditions return (the storage effect). Fishing differentially removes BOFFFFs, typically resulting in severe truncation of the size and age structure of the population. In the worst cases, fishing mortality acts as a powerful selective agent that inhibits reversal of size and age truncation, even if fishing intensity is later reduced. Age truncation is now known to destabilize fished populations, increasing their susceptibility to collapse. Although some fisheries models are beginning to incorporate maternal and other old-growth effects, most continue to treat all spawning-stock biomass as identical: many small young females are assumed to contribute the same to stock productivity as an equivalent mass of BOFFFFs. A growing body of knowledge dictates that fisheries productivity and stability would be enhanced if management conserved old-growth age structure in fished stocks, be it by limiting exploitation rates, by implementing slot limits, or by establishing marine reserves, which are now known to seed surrounding fished areas via larval dispersal. Networks of marine reserves are likely to be the most effective means of ensuring that pockets of old-growth age structure survive throughout the geographic range of demersal species.


The EU shark finning ban at the beginning of the new millennium: the legal framework

The strong international market for shark fins, but the often relatively low value of shark meat and the practical constraints for preserving it on board, has led to the practice whereby fins are removed from any shark caught by a fishing vessel and retained on board while the remainder of the shark is discarded at sea. This practice, known as “shark finning”, has raised increasing concerns, at both the international and European level, due to the killing of large quantities of sharks, with devastating and unsustainable effects on shark populations. Despite the importance of shark fisheries for EC fleets, to date shark fisheries are not subject to a comprehensive management framework at the European level. A number of measures aiming directly or indirectly at the conservation and management of sharks have been adopted over time. Considering that, the range of existing measures must be strengthened to ensure the rebuilding of many depleted stocks fished by the EU fleet both in and outside EU waters. At the EC level a new regulation has recently been implemented. The paper carries out an overview of the legal framework for the finning bans in the EU to improve current knowledge about this topic and to aid in focusing future research.


Better integration of sectoral planning and management approaches for the interlinked ecology of the open oceans

Open oceans are one of the least protected, least studied and most inadequately managed ecosystems on Earth. Three themes were investigated that differentiate the open ocean (areas beyond national jurisdiction and deep area within exclusive economic zones) from other realms and must be considered when developing planning and management options: ecosystem interactions, especially between benthic and pelagic systems; potential effects of human activities in open oceans on ecological linkages; and policy context and options. A number of key ecological factors differentiate open oceans from coastal systems for planners and managers: (1) many species are widely distributed and, especially for those at higher trophic levels, wide ranging; (2) the sizes and boundaries of biogeographical domains (patterns of co-occurrence of species, habitats and ecosystem processes) vary significantly by depth; (3) habitat types exhibit a wide range of stabilities, from ephemeral (e.g., surface frontal systems) to hyper-stable (e.g., deep sea); and (4) vertical and horizontal linkages are prevalent. Together, these ecological attributes point to interconnectedness between open ocean habitats across large spatial scales. Indeed, human activities – especially fishing, shipping, and potentially deep-sea mining and oil and gas extraction – have effects far beyond the parts of the ocean in which they operate. While managing open oceans in an integrated fashion will be challenging, the ecological characteristics of the system demand it. A promising avenue forward is to integrate aspects of marine spatial planning (MSP), systematic conservation planning (SCP), and adaptive management. These three approaches to planning and management need to be integrated to meet the unique needs of open ocean systems, with MSP providing the means to meet a diversity of stakeholder needs, SCP providing the structured process to determine and prioritise those needs and appropriate responses, and adaptive management providing rigorous monitoring and evaluation to determine whether actions or their modifications meet both ecological and defined stakeholder needs. The flexibility of MSP will be enhanced by the systematic approach of SCP, while the rigorous monitoring of adaptive management will enable continued improvement as new information becomes available and further experience is gained.


Implications of Macroalgal Isolation by Distance for Networks of Marine Protected Areas

The global extent of macroalgal forests is declining, greatly affecting marine biodiversity at broad scales through the effects macroalgae have on ecosystem processes, habitat provision, and food web support. Networks of marine protected areas comprise one potential tool that may safeguard gene flow among macroalgal populations in the face of increasing population fragmentation caused by pollution, habitat modification, climate change, algal harvesting, trophic cascades, and other anthropogenic stressors. Optimal design of protected area networks requires knowledge of effective dispersal distances for a range of macroalgae. We conducted a global meta-analysis based on data in the published literature to determine the generality of relation between genetic differentiation and geographic distance among macroalgal populations. We also examined whether spatial genetic variation differed significantly with respect to higher taxon, life history, and habitat characteristics. We found clear evidence of population isolation by distance across a multitude of macroalgal species. Genetic and geographic distance were positively correlated across 49 studies; a modal distance of 50–100 km maintained FST < 0.2. This relation was consistent for all algal divisions, life cycles, habitats, and molecular marker classes investigated. Incorporating knowledge of the spatial scales of gene flow into the design of marine protected area networks will help moderate anthropogenic increases in population isolation and inbreeding and contribute to the resilience of macroalgal forests.


Rebuilding coral reefs: does active reef restoration lead to sustainable reefs?

The coral reefs worldwide are exposed to multiple anthropogenic threats and persisting global change impacts, causing continuous degradation, also calling for the development of novel restoration methodologies. Of the most promising emerging approaches, deriving its rationale from silviculture, is the low-cost ‘gardening concept’, guided by a two-step restoration operation: (a) mid-water nursery phase, where coral-nubbins are farmed and (b) transplantation of nursery-farmed colonies. Tested worldwide, at least 86 coral-species and over 100 000 colonies were successfully farmed in different archetype nurseries, and several novel transplantation methodologies were developed. A number of unanticipated emerged outcomes were the immediate establishment of coral infaunal biodiversity in nurseries, the development of nurseries into ‘larval dispersion hubs’ and the enhanced reproduction of transplanted coral colonies. Altogether, and in addition to envisaged results (e.g., high survivorship, fast coral growth), results attest that the gardening-toolbox could serve as a ubiquitous ecological engineering platform for restoration on a global scale.


Accurate catches and the sustainability of coral reef fisheries

While there might be differences in details, any definition of ‘sustainability’ must include an element that remains similar over time. For example, this applies to the catches of coral reef fisheries, which cannot be sustainable if exhibiting a strong ascending or descending trend. Thus, despite claims of the efficacy of ‘data-less’ management, at least time series of the catch of coral reef fisheries must be known for valid inferences on their status to be drawn. By contrasting the official and the ‘reconstructed’ coral reef catches of four small island states (Fiji and Tonga in the Pacific, and Jamaica and St Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean), we show, however, that official catch data, as made available to and by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) not only strongly underestimate catches (from 4 to 17 times for 1950–2010), but also suggest increasing catch trends in 3 of 4 cases, that is, the very opposite of the trend resulting from the bottom-up catch reconstructions. Some implications of these findings, which we think have general currency, are presented.


Establishing an agenda for social studies research in marine renewable energy

To date, academic research relating to Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) has largely focused on resource assessment, technical viability and environmental impact. Experiences from onshore renewable energy tell us that social acceptability is equally critical to project success. However, the specific nature of the marine environment, patterns of resource distribution and governance means experiences from onshore may not be directly applicable to MRE and the marine environment. This paper sets out an agenda for social studies research linked to MRE, identifying key topics for future research: (i) economic impacts; (ii) wealth distribution and community benefits; (iii) communication and knowledge flow; (iv) consultation processes; (v) dealing with uncertainty; (vi) public attitudes; and (vii) planning processes. This agenda is based on the findings of the first workshop of ISSMER, an international research network of social scientists with interests in marine renewable energy. Importantly, this research agenda has been informed by the experiences of developers, regulators and community groups in Orkney. The Orkney archipelago, off the north coast of Scotland, is home to the most intense cluster of MRE research, development and deployment activity in the world today.


A systematic approach towards the identification and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems

The United Nations General Assembly in 2006 and 2009 adopted resolutions that call for the identification and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) from significant adverse impacts of bottom fishing. While general criteria have been produced, there are no guidelines or protocols that elaborate on the process from initial identification through to the protection of VMEs. Here, based upon an expert review of existing practices, a 10-step framework is proposed: (1) Comparatively assess potential VME indicator taxa and habitats in a region; (2) determine VME thresholds; (3) consider areas already known for their ecological importance; (4) compile information on the distributions of likely VME taxa and habitats, as well as related environmental data; (5) develop predictive distribution models for VME indicator taxa and habitats; (6) compile known or likely fishing impacts; (7) produce a predicted VME naturalness distribution (areas of low cumulative impacts); (8) identify areas of higher value to user groups; (9) conduct management strategy evaluations to produce trade-off scenarios; (10) review and re-iterate, until spatial management scenarios are developed that fulfil international obligations and regional conservation and management objectives. To date, regional progress has been piecemeal and incremental. The proposed 10-step framework combines these various experiences into a systematic approach.


Sustaining marine life beyond boundaries: Options for an implementing agreement for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

For nearly a decade, governments have been discussing the need to improve efforts to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Support for a new international agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) – an Implementing Agreement – on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in ABNJ has been growing. In June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, States agreed to take a decision on the development of an international instrument under UNCLOS before the end of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which runs from September 2014 to August 2015. In follow-up to this commitment, it was agreed to consider the “scope, parameters and feasibility” of this instrument. To inform these international discussions, this article highlights some potential options for the content of a new UNCLOS Implementing Agreement. It first reviews the history of UN discussions, and then elaborates on options to address key elements identified as priorities for States in 2011: marine genetic resources, including the sharing of benefits, area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, capacity-building and the transfer of marine technology. It addresses cross-cutting issues such as the governing principles, institutional structure as well as on other critical points such as High Seas fishing and flag State responsibilities. The article concludes with suggestions on possible next steps in order to succeed in the negotiations for an agreement.


Establishing attitudes and perceptions of recreational boat users based in the River Hamble Estuary, UK, towards Marine Conservation Zones

Research was completed focusing on a population of recreational boat users with moorings on the River Hamble Estuary, United Kingdom. Issues explored include: (1) boater setting preferences; (2) sources of perceived conflict; and (3) understanding and support for Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). Several sources of perceived conflict emerged. Action taken to address conflict must be problem specific, targeting the individual as opposed to the activity in general. Results suggest that there is little awareness and a lack of understanding and support amongst recreational boaters with regards to the role of MCZs. The MCZ Project was set up in 2009 in order to work with sea users and interest groups to make site recommendations. Many participants in this research stated that the MCZ Project has: taken an unbalanced approach, represents overregulation, and poses a threat to safe anchorages. It is apparent that compliance and support for management tools being employed will be achieved only if the process is transparent and inclusive. An appropriate and equitable mechanism must be developed in order to move beyond ‘public consultation’ to ensure stakeholders are more fully engaged in both the implementation and management of MCZs. Such strategies will help to alleviate feelings of powerlessness as is so often the case in public consultation.


Are we all on the same boat? The challenge of adaptation facing Portuguese coastal communities: Risk perception, trust-building and genuine participation

The Portuguese coast is experiencing severe erosion and loss of beachfront, processes which are expected to become worse with climate change impacts. These additional alterations are beginning to show at a time when financing for conventional coastal protection is no longer guaranteed at scales of investment which are likely to be required if future coastlines are to be maintained. This paper looks at how residents and key stakeholders of three coastal communities in Portugal perceive such possible changes, how far they judge and trust current coastal management, and how they perceive their current participation and foresee future forms of involvement on adaptive coastal change. The evidence from these surveys and interviews suggests that there is a strong commitment in each location to maintaining current levels of coastal protection, and to preserving the integrity of local societies and economies, even though there is also recognition that adaptation in some form will eventually be required. However, our research reveals that there is not yet sufficient trust between coastal stakeholders, especially towards public institutions and policies, for any degree of progressive coastal adaptation to take place. Building trust in creative learning processes of progressive adaptation could lead to improved science and participation along with a meaningful dialogue over cooperative coastal planning and financing. The research undertaken for this paper lays the groundwork for such a process of trust-building to begin.


Users expectations and the need for differential beach management frameworks along the Costa Brava: Urban vs. natural protected beaches

Beaches are social–ecological systems where plainly physical, ecological, social and economic dimensions interact, providing several functions and services leading to improved human well-being. Although these systems can provide several protective, recreational and natural functions, only recreation has been traditionally prioritized by managers. This has led to the homogenization of beach management practices, which are poorly adapted to beach settings and beach users. While public participation was highly encouraged, decision-making has traditionally been done by a single stakeholder following a strict hierarchic order. In two antagonistic beaches (natural protected vs. urban) we assess and compare users’ expectations and perceptions that could suggest the necessity of a differential management. Behind an apparent homogeneity, significant differences were detected between these two antagonistic beaches. Although certain normal preferences were common in both beaches, natural attributes were the priority in the natural protected setting, as well as facilities in the urban one. However, the influence of traditional mass tourism model on users’ expectations was undeniable. Particular management frameworks for beaches with singular natural characteristics are necessary. A special emphasis on education and information is needed, as a cornerstone for a sustainable use of these social–ecological systems.


Anthropogenic activities on mangrove areas (São Francisco River Estuary, Brazil Northeast): A GIS-based analysis of CBERS and SPOT images to aid in local management

In Brazil, despite the existence of various environmental laws to protect mangroves, this ecosystem has been affected by a variety of anthropogenic activities. The São Francisco River Estuary (SFRE, Brazil Northeast) comprises significant mangrove forests, important for human populations, and is included in an Environmental Protected Area of sustainable use which does not have a management plan. This work assessed and mapped anthropogenic activities on the mangroves of this estuary and provided a number of guidelines for a local management plan. Satellite images (SPOT 5 and CBERS 2B) of 2008 were processed and a land use/cover map (study area size: 192.4 km²) produced and verified by fieldwork. About 93% (178.8 km2) of the study area is occupied by natural cover such as: sandy coastal vegetation (147.3 km2, 77%), mangroves (30.1 km2, 15.7%) and intertidal flats (1.4 km2, 0.7%), while 7% (13.6 km2) is occupied by human activities as aquaculture (4.5 km2, 2.4%) and agriculture (9 km2, 4.7%). These uses are spatially distributed within mangroves, accounting for approximately one quarter (7.8 km2) of its area, which may indicate the conversion of these forests. Shrimp farming is the main anthropogenic activity, occupying the highest area and occurring within the tallest Rhizophora mangle forests (tree height >15 m). We recommend that a management plan for the SFRE considers: the implementation of sustainable aquaculture practices (e.g. small-scale without deforestation of mangroves, use of native species, effluent treatment, socio-economic equity), strategies for the compliance of the laws regarding shrimp farming license and operation and support the creation of community-based cooperatives for the execution of sustainable aquaculture.


Sea Level Rise: Understanding and Applying Trends and Future Scenarios for Analysis and Planning

Massachusetts coastal communities regularly face impacts associated with storm damage, flooding, and erosion, which affect residential and commercial development, infrastructure and critical facilities, and natural resources and ecosystems. Sea level rise will exacerbate these problems, and as the rate of rise accelerates, not only will the impacts from coastal storm events become more frequent and widespread, but even daily high tides will have adverse effects. Advances in and applications of science, modeling, and other technical approaches can support efforts to begin comprehensive assessment and planning for sea level rise to reduce the risk of current and future coastal flooding. The purpose of this document is to provide background information on local and global sea level rise, summarize the best available sea level rise projections, and provide general guidance in the selection and application of sea level rise scenarios for coastal vulnerability assessments, planning, and decision making for areas that may be at present or future risk from the effects of sea level rise.


Balancing the future of Europe's coasts — knowledge base for integrated management

This report has three elements. Firstly, it gives a snapshot of the current state of Europe's coastal regions. Secondly, it assesses the policies used to manage coastal regions, and discusses the proposal for a new European directive to improve the management of coastal regions. Thirdly, it highlights the need for better information and better monitoring tools to help inform this management process. The three sections below deal with each of these elements in more detail.


Managed Coastal Retreat: A legal handbook on shifting development away from vulnerable areas

Climate change will change the way we live. No longer will the environment be a static condition, a certainty upon which other variables depend. Rather, it will be a variable itself, and it will make us plan for the future like never before. Already we are beginning to see the effects of change along our coasts. Rising seas and more frequent hurricanes present a dynamic environment that threatens infrastructure long thought to be safe. Our cities are ill- prepared for the dangers of the next century. Fiscally, we are spending more and more to repair the damage. Long-term planning that accounts for climate change is needed to ensure that money spent today will reduce our future risk.

We have the opportunity to not only build resilience today but also prepare for the future, to build the infrastructure that will be the foundation for our cities in the next century. This will require innovation and new technologies. It will also require tough decisions. Some areas will be too vulnerable, despite our best efforts to hold back the sea. Infrastructure and homes will need to be moved away from the threat and the shore opened up to the public. The political obstacles to this strategy will be severe in many places, but consideration of them should begin now.

Numerous legal tools already exist to assist federal, state, and local governments in conducting managed retreat away from the most vulnerable coasts. Scattered publications, toolkits, and websites describe a broad range of legal, policy, and regulatory tools. These tools have, with little fanfare, been used by communities around the United States to implement managed retreat. This Handbook collects examples, case studies, and lessons learned from some of these early innovators in the hope that their lessons can inform future efforts to limit the exposure of our communities to coastal threats. The key legal issues raised by these examples are also discussed.

The Handbook is organized into five sections. Each describes a potential tool, provides examples and information, and then present the lessons learned for that tool. The tools described herein are not the only tools that can or should be used. In fact, significant innovation will likely be needed to address the novel challenges posed by climate change. The tools presented here are simply a selection of those that have been implemented and that can inform future actions.