Marine Protected Areas: Securing tenure rights of fishing communities?

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The FAO's new Land Tenure Journal published a thematic issue on fisheries tenure, including the article, Marine Protected Areas: Securing tenure rights of fishing communities? The authors examined if tenure rights (i.e. common ownership of the fishery by local people) were respected in various MPAs, and argues that such rights are human rights. You may download the full-text PDF for free using the link below.

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-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager


Table of Contents

Marine Protected Areas

Free: Marine Protected Areas: Securing tenure rights of fishing communities? Chandrika Sharma, Ramya Rajagopalan. Land Tenure Journal, No 1, 2013. Thematic issue on fisheries tenure.

Vessels’ site fidelity and spatio-temporal distribution of artisanal fisheries before the implementation of a temperate multiple-use marine protected area. Bárbara Horta e Costa, Leonel Gonçalves, Emanuel J. Gonçalves. Fisheries Research, Volume 148, November 2013, Pages 27–37.

Free: Recovery of a Temperate Reef Assemblage in a Marine Protected Area following the Exclusion of Towed Demersal Fishing. Sheehan EV, Stevens TF, Gall SC, Cousens SL, Attrill MJ (2013). PLoS ONE 8(12): e83883. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083883.

Habitat collapse due to overgrazing threatens turtle conservation in marine protected areas. Marjolijn J. A. Christianen, Peter M. J. Herman, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Leon P. M. Lamers, Marieke M. van Katwijk, Tjisse van der Heide, Peter J. Mumby, Brian R. Silliman, Sarah L. Engelhard, Madelon van de Kerk, Wawan Kiswara and Johan van de Koppel. Proc. R. Soc. B 22 February 2014 vol. 281 no. 1777 20132890.

Fisheries & Aquaculture

Neoliberalizing coastal space and subjects: On shellfish aquaculture projections, interventions and outcomes in British Columbia, Canada. Jennifer J. Silver. Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 32, October 2013, Pages 430–438.

Free: Predicting bycatch hotspots for endangered leatherback turtles on longlines in the Pacific Ocean. John H. Roe, Stephen J. Morreale, Frank V. Paladino, George L. Shillinger, Scott R. Benson, Scott A. Eckert, Helen Bailey, Pilar Santidrián Tomillo, Steven J. Bograd, Tomoharu Eguchi, Peter H. Dutton, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Barbara A. Block and James R. Spotila. Proc. R. Soc. B 22 February 2014 vol. 281 no. 1777 20132559.

Tools

SWAMP: An agent-based model for wetland and waterfowl conservation management. Matt L Miller, Kevin M Ringelman, Jeffrey C Schank, John M Eadie. SIMULATION January 2014 vol. 90 no. 1 52-68; DOI: 10.1177/0037549713511864.

Policy

Does banning discards in an otter trawler fishery create incentives for more selective fishing? Harriet M. Condie, Alastair Grant, Thomas L. Catchpole. Fisheries Research, Volume 148, November 2013, Pages 137–146.

The Economics of Dead Zones: Causes, Impacts, Policy Challenges, and a Model of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone. S. S. Rabotyagov, C. L. Kling, P. W. Gassman, N. N. Rabalais and R. E. Turner. Rev Environ Econ Policy (2014) doi: 10.1093/reep/ret024.

Coral Reefs

Free: Quantifying and Valuing Potential Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs in the United States: Comparison of Two Scenarios. Lane DR, Ready RC, Buddemeier RW, Martinich JA, Shouse KC, et al. (2013). PLoS ONE 8(12): e82579. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082579.


Marine Protected Areas: Securing tenure rights of fishing communities?

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used as instruments for conservation and management of coastal and marine biodiversity, with most MPAs being located within the territorial waters of specific nation states. Most inshore and coastal areas are defined by complex systems of local or customary tenure, and cannot really be classified as ‘open access’ areas. This paper explores the extent to which tenure rights are recognized in marine protected areas. Based on a review of recent literature the paper examines whether the tenure rights of local communities have been respected in MPA practice. It draws attention to cases where tenure rights have been weakened or extinguished, and the displacement, social conflict and sense of alienation associated with them. At the same time several more positive examples are offered – primarily driven by local communities – where tenure rights have been strengthened during MPA practice. The paper emphasizes the importance of recognizing and respecting the tenure rights of local communities, both as a means for more effective and sustainable conservation and management (given the link that has been observed between biological and social success in relation to MPAs), and as an end in itself – reflecting the commitment of MPA practitioners to respecting human rights. The paper suggests some key steps and principles with respect to tenure rights that need to be part of MPA practice.


Vessels’ site fidelity and spatio-temporal distribution of artisanal fisheries before the implementation of a temperate multiple-use marine protected area

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly proposed as a fisheries management tool besides their conservation purposes. When assessing the ecological, economic, and social-cultural impacts of protection, the dynamics of fisheries and fishers reallocation within and around multiple-use MPAs should be analyzed. Despite this, few studies incorporate the baseline information of fisheries distribution, therefore compromising an understanding of fishers’ preferences, choices and constrains before losing fishing grounds through the establishment of zoning and protection measures. To fulfil this gap, here we assess the spatial and seasonal fishers’ preferences from local artisanal fisheries (nets, traps, jigs and longlines) before the implementation of a MPA management plan (the Arrábida Marine Park, Portugal). Zero inflated modelling, hotspot analysis, vessels distribution range and site fidelity statistics showed that the main drivers of fishing effort allocation are the placement of preferred fishing grounds which are likely related to the distribution of target species and associated habitats. Proximity to port, weather conditions and distance to coast are also important factors influencing, in different ways, these artisanal fisheries. Our findings highlight the complex dynamics of the distribution of artisanal fisheries operating multiple-gears and targeting multiple-species and are likely transferable to many coastal multiple-use MPAs where no baseline data exist. Moreover, the variety of responses and preferences found between gears and fishers before the establishment of zoning are important to understand the dynamics of local fisheries, to contribute to an ecosystem-based management and to improve both conservation and fisheries management decisions. Our study is one of the few characterizing fisheries dynamics and fishers’ preferences before protection measures are implemented providing important lessons to the management of coastal fisheries where artisanal fisheries prevail.


Recovery of a Temperate Reef Assemblage in a Marine Protected Area following the Exclusion of Towed Demersal Fishing

Marine Protected Areas MPA have been widely used over the last 2 decades to address human impacts on marine habitats within an ecosystem management context. Few studies have quantified recovery of temperate rocky reef communities following the cessation of scallop dredging or demersal trawling. This is critical information for the future management of these habitats to contribute towards conservation and fisheries targets.

The Lyme Bay MPA, in south west UK, has excluded towed demersal fishing gear from 206 km2 of sensitive reef habitat using a Statutory Instrument since July 2008.

To assess benthic recovery in this MPA we used a flying video array to survey macro epi-benthos annually from 2008 to 2011. 4 treatments (the New Closure, previously voluntarily Closed Controls and Near or Far Open to fishing Controls) were sampled to test a recovery hypothesis that was defined as ‘the New Closure becoming more similar to the Closed Controls and less similar to the Open Controls’.

Following the cessation of towed demersal fishing, within three years positive responses were observed for species richness, total abundance, assemblage composition and seven of 13 indicator taxa. Definitive evidence of recovery was noted for species richness and three of the indicator taxa (Pentapora fascialis, Phallusia mammillata and Pecten maximus).

While it is hoped that MPAs, which exclude anthropogenic disturbance, will allow functional restoration of goods and services provided by benthic communities, it is an unknown for temperate reef systems. Establishing the likely timescales for restoration is key to future marine management. We demonstrate the early stages of successful recruitment and link these to the potential wider ecosystem benefits including those to commercial fisheries.


Habitat collapse due to overgrazing threatens turtle conservation in marine protected areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key tools for combatting the global overexploitation of endangered species. The prevailing paradigm is that MPAs are beneficial in helping to restore ecosystems to more ‘natural’ conditions. However, MPAs may have unintended negative effects when increasing densities of protected species exert destructive effects on their habitat. Here, we report on severe seagrass degradation in a decade-old MPA where hyper-abundant green turtles adopted a previously undescribed below-ground foraging strategy. By digging for and consuming rhizomes and roots, turtles create abundant bare gaps, thereby enhancing erosion and reducing seagrass regrowth. A fully parametrized model reveals that the ecosystem is approaching a tipping point, where consumption overwhelms regrowth, which could potentially lead to complete collapse of the seagrass habitat. Seagrass recovery will not ensue unless turtle density is reduced to nearly zero, eliminating the MPA's value as a turtle reserve. Our results reveal an unrecognized, yet imminent threat to MPAs, as sea turtle densities are increasing at major nesting sites and the decline of seagrass habitat forces turtles to concentrate on the remaining meadows inside reserves. This emphasizes the need for policy and management approaches that consider the interactions of protected species with their habitat.


Neoliberalizing coastal space and subjects: On shellfish aquaculture projections, interventions and outcomes in British Columbia, Canada

This article interrogates shellfish aquaculture expansion efforts and outcomes in British Columbia (BC), Canada. While the clearest objectives of the Provincial Government's 1998 Shellfish Development Initiative were to privatize new ocean tenures and increase the wholesale value of the BC shellfish aquaculture sector, the analysis identifies and explores a range of government-led and government-funded interventions that emerged to discipline coastal space and subjects accordingly. These include: classifying productive space and projecting economic potential; identifying beneficiaries and enrolling Indigenous First Nations entrepreneurs; and, generating supportive knowledge, practice and public relations. I argue that these efforts work to produce ‘new shellfish growing regions’ imagined to be homogeneously ideal for shellfish aquaculture. They also reinforce the notion that coastal residents, especially First Nations, must adopt very specific outlooks and practices before the sector's full economic potential can be met. Theorizing these processes in terms of neoliberalization provides important perspective at a time when aquaculture is being widely promoted for its potential as an approach to economic modernization and sustainability in coastal communities in BC and beyond.


Predicting bycatch hotspots for endangered leatherback turtles on longlines in the Pacific Ocean

Fisheries bycatch is a critical source of mortality for rapidly declining populations of leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea. We integrated use-intensity distributions for 135 satellite-tracked adult turtles with longline fishing effort to estimate predicted bycatch risk over space and time in the Pacific Ocean. Areas of predicted bycatch risk did not overlap for eastern and western Pacific nesting populations, warranting their consideration as distinct management units with respect to fisheries bycatch. For western Pacific nesting populations, we identified several areas of high risk in the north and central Pacific, but greatest risk was adjacent to primary nesting beaches in tropical seas of Indo-Pacific islands, largely confined to several exclusive economic zones under the jurisdiction of national authorities. For eastern Pacific nesting populations, we identified moderate risk associated with migrations to nesting beaches, but the greatest risk was in the South Pacific Gyre, a broad pelagic zone outside national waters where management is currently lacking and may prove difficult to implement. Efforts should focus on these predicted hotspots to develop more targeted management approaches to alleviate leatherback bycatch.


SWAMP: An agent-based model for wetland and waterfowl conservation management

The management of North American waterfowl is widely recognized as a premier example of a successful conservation program. Conservation managers on the wintering grounds typically use simple estimates of food availability and population-wide cumulative energy demand to determine how many birds can be supported on a given landscape. When attempting to plan for future needs due to land reallocation, climate change, and other large-scale environmental changes, simple bioenergetic models may not capture important impacts on individual behavior, such as changes in metabolic costs due to increased travel-time and reduced food accessibility leading to non-linear declines in forager success. We describe the development of an agent-based model of foraging waterfowl that uses explicit individual behavior to generate more detailed and potentially more accurate insights into the impact of environmental changes on forager success and survival. While there is growing recognition of the potential utility of agent-based models in conservation planning, there has yet to be an attempt to formulate, validate, and communicate such a model for use as a decision support tool to guide habitat management conservation for wetlands in North America. Our model seeks to provide the foundational framework for such an effort. We predict that this model will be a useful tool for stakeholders making conservation management decisions.


Does banning discards in an otter trawler fishery create incentives for more selective fishing?

Reforms of the European Union Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will implement an EU wide ban on discarding phased in from 2015, requiring the landing of unwanted small and unmarketable fish. The Commission argues that this will create strong incentives for more selective fishing practices; however, there is little information to allow us to predict likely changes in fishing behaviour. Using detailed historic observer and logbook data from English North Sea otter trawlers and information on fish prices and landing costs, we examine the potential impact of a discard ban combined with either effort controls or catch quotas on the landings of an average trip. We calculate fishing incomes based on the assumption that existing fishing behaviour and catch compositions are maintained and compare this with incomes calculated on the assumption that all unwanted catch can be avoided. The difference provides an estimate of the maximum possible financial incentive for fishers to adopt more selective fishing practices. The calculations suggest that a discard ban in isolation will generate little economic incentive to operate more selectively. When combined with effort controls, a reduction in fishing effort may result in a proportional reduction in unwanted catches, but an incentive to actively avoid this catch is unlikely to be generated. Catch quotas would generate much stronger economic incentives, but only for the avoidance of the five quota species. So, contrary to the aims of the reformed CFP, a discard ban may not result in a dramatic reduction in unmarketable catches of all species.


The Economics of Dead Zones: Causes, Impacts, Policy Challenges, and a Model of the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone

This article reviews and analyzes the issues related to worldwide hypoxic zones and the range of economic questions sorely in need of answers. We begin by describing the extent and causes of hypoxic zones worldwide, followed by a review of the evidence concerning ecological effects of hypoxic zones and their impacts on ecosystem services. We describe what is known about abatement options and cost-effective policy design, and then focus on the large seasonally recurring hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. We offer a simple econometric model to estimate the relationship between pollutants (nutrients) and the size of the hypoxic zone. This “production function” relationship suggests that both instantaneous and historical nutrient contributions affect the size of the zone. Our results support concerns that ecologists have raised about lags in the recovery of the ecosystem and confirm the importance of multiple nutrients as target pollutants. We conclude with a discussion of the types of research and cooperation across disciplines that are needed to support the development of policies to address this important ecological and economic issue. (JEL: Q51, Q52, Q57, B4)


Quantifying and Valuing Potential Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs in the United States: Comparison of Two Scenarios

The biological and economic values of coral reefs are highly vulnerable to increasing atmospheric and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations. We applied the COMBO simulation model (COral Mortality and Bleaching Output) to three major U.S. locations for shallow water reefs: South Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. We compared estimates of future coral cover from 2000 to 2100 for a “business as usual” (BAU) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions scenario with a GHG mitigation policy scenario involving full international participation in reducing GHG emissions. We also calculated the economic value of changes in coral cover using a benefit transfer approach based on published studies of consumers' recreational values for snorkeling and diving on coral reefs as well as existence values for coral reefs. Our results suggest that a reduced emissions scenario would provide a large benefit to shallow water reefs in Hawaii by delaying or avoiding potential future bleaching events. For Hawaii, reducing emissions is projected to result in an estimated “avoided loss” from 2000 to 2100 of approximately $10.6 billion in recreational use values compared to a BAU scenario. However, reducing emissions is projected to provide only a minor economic benefit in Puerto Rico and South Florida, where sea-surface temperatures are already close to bleaching thresholds and coral cover is projected to drop well below 5% cover under both scenarios by 2050, and below 1% cover under both scenarios by 2100.