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An Integrated Approach Is Needed for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management: Insights from Ecosystem-Level Management Strategy Evaluation comes to us from PLoS ONE. The authors undertook this study "as part of a stakeholder driven process to review and improve the ecological, economic and social performance of the fishery." Results suggested "an integrated management strategy, involving combinations of measures including quotas, gear controls and spatial management, performed best against a wide range of objectives and this strategy was subsequently adopted in the fishery, leading to marked improvements in performance." You may download the full-text PDF for free using the link below.
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Table of Contents
Marine Protected Areas
Changes in a coral reef fishery along a gradient of fishing pressure in an Indonesian marine protected area. S. J. Campbell, A. Mukminin, T. Kartawijaya, C. Huchery, J. E. Cinner. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 92–103, February 2014.
Governing Marine Protected Areas: Resilience through Diversity. Peter J.S. Jones. Routledge – 2014 – 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1-84407-663-5.
Editorial: Networks of marine protected areas – the demonstrability dilemma. John C. Roff. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Volume 24, Issue 1, pages 1–4, February 2014.
Protected areas in the Atlantic facing the hazards of micro-plastic pollution: First diagnosis of three islands in the Canary Current. Baztan Juan, Carrasco Ana, Chouinard Omer, Cleaud Muriel, Gabaldon Jesús E., Huck Thierry, Jaffrès Lionel, Jorgensen Bethany, Miguelez Aquilino, Paillard Christine, Vanderlinden Jean-Paul. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 13 January 2014.
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.
Free: Reef-Fidelity and Migration of Tiger Sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea. Werry JM, Planes S, Berumen ML, Lee KA, Braun CD, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e83249. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083249.
Free: Using Environmental DNA to Census Marine Fishes in a Large Mesocosm. Kelly RP, Port JA, Yamahara KM, Crowder LB (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e86175. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086175.
Free: An Integrated Approach Is Needed for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management: Insights from Ecosystem-Level Management Strategy Evaluation. Fulton EA, Smith ADM, Smith DC, Johnson P (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e84242. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084242.
Generic management procedures for data-poor fisheries: forecasting with few data. Geromont, H. F., and Butterworth, D. S. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst232.
Free summary: Predicting overfishing and extinction threats in multispecies fisheries. Matthew G. Burgess, Stephen Polasky, and David Tilman. PNAS October 1, 2013 vol. 110 no. 40 15943-15948.
Simulation testing the robustness of stock assessment models to error: some results from the ICES strategic initiative on stock assessment methods. Deroba, J.J., Butterworth, D.S., Methot, R.D. Jr., De Oliveira, J.A.A., Fernandez, C., Nielsen, A., Cadrin, S.X., Dickey-Collas, M., Legault, C.M., Ianelli, J., Valero, J.L., Needle, C.L., O'Malley, J.M., Chang, Y-J., Thompson, G.G., Canales, C., Swain, D.P., Miller, D.C.M., Hintzen, N.T., Bertignac, M., Ibaibarriaga, L., Silva, A., Murta, A., Kell, L.T., de Moor, C.L., Parma, A.M., Dichmont, C.M., Restrepo, V.R., Ye, Y., Jardim, E., Spencer, P.D., Hanselman, D.H., Blaylock, J., Mood, M., Hulson, P.-J. F., ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst237.
Free: Scientific Support by the BONUS+ Projects for the Sustainability of the Baltic Sea Region: The Case of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. Kaisa Kononen, Andris Andrusaitis, Maija Sirola. AMBIO, February 2014, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 1-10.
Changes in a coral reef fishery along a gradient of fishing pressure in an Indonesian marine protected area
- Human population growth, rising incomes, and increased commercialization of marine resources promote demand for reef fish, yet few studies in Indonesia have examined how artisanal fisheries are influenced by the socio-cultural conditions that contribute to their exploitation. This study examined artisanal fisheries of Karimunjawa National Park, Java, to understand how the condition of an artisanal fishery was related to socio-cultural factors, along a gradient in fishing pressure.
- A total of 8674 fishes landed in Karimunjawa by fishers using four artisanal fishing gears were examined to understand how the condition of the artisanal fishery (standard and infinite fish length, trophic level and weight) related to fishing gear use, village fishing grounds, management, human population size, human population density and estimated fishing pressure.
- Depletion in fish lengths and trophic structure were found at or above 46 fishing trips day-1 km-2, suggesting that fishing pressure is a key factor driving fishery catch structure. When catch characteristics were examined in relation to the fishing pressure estimates from each village, negative correlations were found between inshore fishing pressure (no. trips day-1 km-2) and all four fish catch characteristics, but owing to small sample sizes (n = 5), only the effects on trophic level were significant.
- Fishery closures had limited impact on fish characteristics, and lack of any effect of spatial controls on fishing also supports the notion that fishing pressure and the types of fishing gears used, most likely driven by human population densities, are the greatest drivers of reef fish catch characteristics in the Karimunjawa fishery.
- In the absence of support for fishery closures from local fishing communities or adequate enforcement of fishery closures, targeted gear or species management strategies that limit impacts on large-bodied fish and aim to conserve key species may be more effective in improving the size and trophic structure of fish populations.
In this innovative volume, the author addresses some important challenges related to the effective and equitable governance of marine protected areas (MPAs). These challenges are explored through a study of 20 MPA case studies from around the world. A novel governance analysis framework is employed to address some key questions: How can top-down and bottom-up approaches to MPA governance be combined? What does this mean, in reality, in different contexts? How can we develop and implement governance approaches that are both effective in achieving conservation objectives and equitable in fairly sharing associated costs and benefits?
The author explores the many issues that these questions raise, as well as exploring options for addressing them. A key theme is that MPA governance needs to combine people, state and market approaches, rather than being based on one approach and its related ideals. Building on a critique of the governance analysis framework developed for common-pool resources, the author puts forward a more holistic and less prescriptive framework for deconstructing and analyzing the governance of MPAs. This inter-disciplinary analysis is aimed at supporting the development of MPA governance approaches that build social-ecological resilience through both institutional and biological diversity. It will also make a significant contribution to wider debates on natural resource governance, as it poses some critical questions for contemporary approaches to related research and offers an alternative theoretical and empirical approach.
In 2010, the Conference of the Parties under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity set as a global target: ‘By 2020, at least… 10% of coastal and marine areas… of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through … ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas… integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes’. The 2020 agenda thus calls for the establishment of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. The term MPA is used here generically to mean any type of marine protected area with defined goals.
Networks of MPAs should be explicitly differentiated from sets of MPAs. A set of MPAs is any group of protected areas within a geographic region or regions that collectively represent the components of marine biodiversity of that region. More specifically, a coherent set of MPAs is a set of MPAs within a defined region that collectively achieve a defined goal. For example, they may achieve a level of protection for 20% of the region, and collectively represent all the identifiable biotic and abiotic components of marine biodiversity within that region. Such a set will be defined according to stated geographic, geological, oceanographic and ecological principles, and will include both representative and distinctive areas (Roff and Zacharias, 2011).
Protected areas in the Atlantic facing the hazards of micro-plastic pollution: First diagnosis of three islands in the Canary Current
Coastal zones and the biosphere as a whole show signs of cumulative degradation due to the use and disposal of plastics. To better understand the manifestation of plastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean, we partnered with local communities to determine the concentrations of micro-plastics in 125 beaches on three islands in the Canary Current: Lanzarote, La Graciosa, and Fuerteventura. We found that, in spite of being located in highly-protected natural areas, all beaches in our study area are exceedingly vulnerable to micro-plastic pollution, with pollution levels reaching concentrations greater than 100 g of plastic in 1 l of sediment. This paper contributes to ongoing efforts to develop solutions to plastic pollution by addressing the questions: (i) Where does this pollution come from?; (ii) How much plastic pollution is in the world’s oceans and coastal zones?; (iii) What are the consequences for the biosphere?; and (iv) What are possible solutions?
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.
Knowledge of the habitat use and migration patterns of large sharks is important for assessing the effectiveness of large predator Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vulnerability to fisheries and environmental influences, and management of shark–human interactions. Here we compare movement, reef-fidelity, and ocean migration for tiger sharks, Galeocerdo cuvier, across the Coral Sea, with an emphasis on New Caledonia. Thirty-three tiger sharks (1.54 to 3.9 m total length) were tagged with passive acoustic transmitters and their localised movements monitored on receiver arrays in New Caledonia, the Chesterfield and Lord Howe Islands in the Coral Sea, and the east coast of Queensland, Australia. Satellite tags were also used to determine habitat use and movements among habitats across the Coral Sea. Sub-adults and one male adult tiger shark displayed year-round residency in the Chesterfields with two females tagged in the Chesterfields and detected on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, after 591 and 842 days respectively. In coastal barrier reefs, tiger sharks were transient at acoustic arrays and each individual demonstrated a unique pattern of occurrence. From 2009 to 2013, fourteen sharks with satellite and acoustic tags undertook wide-ranging movements up to 1114 km across the Coral Sea with eight detected back on acoustic arrays up to 405 days after being tagged. Tiger sharks dove 1136 m and utilised three-dimensional activity spaces averaged at 2360 km3. The Chesterfield Islands appear to be important habitat for sub-adults and adult male tiger sharks. Management strategies need to consider the wide-ranging movements of large (sub-adult and adult) male and female tiger sharks at the individual level, whereas fidelity to specific coastal reefs may be consistent across groups of individuals. Coastal barrier reef MPAs, however, only afford brief protection for large tiger sharks, therefore determining the importance of other oceanic Coral Sea reefs should be a priority for future research.
The ocean is a soup of its resident species' genetic material, cast off in the forms of metabolic waste, shed skin cells, or damaged tissue. Sampling this environmental DNA (eDNA) is a potentially powerful means of assessing whole biological communities, a significant advance over the manual methods of environmental sampling that have historically dominated marine ecology and related fields. Here, we estimate the vertebrate fauna in a 4.5-million-liter mesocosm aquarium tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium of known species composition by sequencing the eDNA from its constituent seawater. We find that it is generally possible to detect mitochondrial DNA of bony fishes sufficient to identify organisms to taxonomic family- or genus-level using a 106 bp fragment of the 12S ribosomal gene. Within bony fishes, we observe a low false-negative detection rate, although we did not detect the cartilaginous fishes or sea turtles present with this fragment. We find that the rank abundance of recovered eDNA sequences correlates with the abundance of corresponding species' biomass in the mesocosm, but the data in hand do not allow us to develop a quantitative relationship between biomass and eDNA abundance. Finally, we find a low false-positive rate for detection of exogenous eDNA, and we were able to diagnose non-native species' tissue in the food used to maintain the mesocosm, underscoring the sensitivity of eDNA as a technique for community-level ecological surveys. We conclude that eDNA has substantial potential to become a core tool for environmental monitoring, but that a variety of challenges remain before reliable quantitative assessments of ecological communities in the field become possible.
An Integrated Approach Is Needed for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management: Insights from Ecosystem-Level Management Strategy Evaluation
An ecosystem approach is widely seen as a desirable goal for fisheries management but there is little consensus on what strategies or measures are needed to achieve it. Management strategy evaluation (MSE) is a tool that has been widely used to develop and test single species fisheries management strategies and is now being extended to support ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM). We describe the application of MSE to investigate alternative strategies for achieving EBFM goals for a complex multispecies fishery in southeastern Australia. The study was undertaken as part of a stakeholder driven process to review and improve the ecological, economic and social performance of the fishery. An integrated management strategy, involving combinations of measures including quotas, gear controls and spatial management, performed best against a wide range of objectives and this strategy was subsequently adopted in the fishery, leading to marked improvements in performance. Although particular to one fishery, the conclusion that an integrated package of measures outperforms single focus measures we argue is likely to apply widely in fisheries that aim to achieve EBFM goals.
The majority of fish stocks worldwide are not managed quantitatively as they lack sufficient data, particularly a direct index of abundance, on which to base an assessment. Often these stocks are relatively “low value”, which renders dedicated scientific management too costly, and a generic solution is therefore desirable. A management procedure (MP) approach is suggested where simple harvest control rules are simulation tested to check robustness to uncertainties. The aim of this analysis is to test some very simple “off-the-shelf” MPs that could be applied to groups of data-poor stocks which share similar key characteristics in terms of status and demographic parameters. For this initial investigation, a selection of empirical MPs is simulation tested over a wide range of operating models (OMs) representing resources of medium productivity classified as severely depleted, to ascertain how well these different MPs perform. While the data-moderate MPs (based on an index of abundance) perform somewhat better than the data-limited ones (which lack such input) as would be expected, the latter nevertheless perform surprisingly well across wide ranges of uncertainty. These simple MPs could well provide the basis to develop candidate MPs to manage data-limited stocks, ensuring if not optimal, at least relatively stable sustainable future catches.
Threats to species from commercial fishing are rarely identified until species have suffered large population declines, by which time remedial actions can have severe economic consequences, such as closure of fisheries. Many of the species most threatened by fishing are caught in multispecies fisheries, which can remain profitable even as populations of some species collapse. Here we show for multispecies fisheries that the biological and socioeconomic conditions that would eventually cause species to be severely depleted or even driven extinct can be identified decades before those species experience high harvest rates or marked population declines. Because fishing effort imposes a common source of mortality on all species in a fishery, the long-term impact of a fishery on a species is predicted by measuring its loss rate relative to that of species that influence the fishery’s maximal effort. We tested our approach on eight Pacific tuna and billfish populations, four of which have been identified recently as in decline and threatened with overfishing. The severe depletion of all four populations could have been predicted in the 1950s, using our approach. Our results demonstrate that species threatened by human harvesting can be identified much earlier, providing time for adjustments in harvesting practices before consequences become severe and fishery closures or other socioeconomically disruptive interventions are required to protect species.
Simulation testing the robustness of stock assessment models to error: some results from the ICES strategic initiative on stock assessment methods
The World Conference on Stock Assessment Methods (July 2013) included a workshop on testing assessment methods through simulations. The exercise was made up of two steps applied to datasets from 14 representative fish stocks from around the world. Step 1 involved applying stock assessments to datasets with varying degrees of effort dedicated to optimizing fit. Step 2 was applied to a subset of the stocks and involved characteristics of given model fits being used to generate pseudo-data with error. These pseudo-data were then provided to assessment modellers and fits to the pseudo-data provided consistency checks within (self-tests) and among (cross-tests) assessment models. Although trends in biomass were often similar across models, the scaling of absolute biomass was not consistent across models. Similar types of models tended to perform similarly (e.g. age based or production models). Self-testing and cross-testing of models are a useful diagnostic approach, and suggested that estimates in the most recent years of time-series were the least robust. Results from the simulation exercise provide a basis for guidance on future large-scale simulation experiments and demonstrate the need for strategic investments in the evaluation and development of stock assessment methods.
Scientific Support by the BONUS+ Projects for the Sustainability of the Baltic Sea Region: The Case of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan
The synthesis of the BONUS+ research is introduced. The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan is examined as a case to illustrate the potentials and challenges in building the science–policymaking interface on a macroregional level. The projects address environmental challenges in the Baltic Sea as defined by the Baltic Sea Action Plan, or consider the environmental governance and decision making within the Baltic Sea context in general. Eutrophication, biodiversity, hazardous substances, maritime activities, and the environment governance are addressed, as are crosscutting issues, such as the impact of climate change, maritime spatial planning and impacts of future development on ecosystem services. The projects contributed to relevant policy developments: 37 consultations carried out at EU level, 49 modifications to policy documents and action plans, 153 suggestions for the efficacy of pertinent public policies and governance, and in 570 occasions, scientists working in BONUS+ projects served as members or observers in scientific and stakeholder committees.