Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas

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New from PLOS ONE comes, Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas. The authors examined both no-take and partially-protected areas for changes in fish abundance, which were 38% greater in no-take areas versus partially-protected ones. However, there were no consistent differences and thus no evidence that one type of area performed better than the other. For full details, and to download the full-text PDF for free, please use the link below.

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Table of Contents


Linking the ecosystem services approach to social preferences and needs in integrated coastal land use management – A planning approach. Leena Karrasch, Thomas Klenke, Johan Woltjer. Land Use Policy, Volume 38, May 2014, Pages 522–532.

Free: Mapping Reef Fish and the Seascape: Using Acoustics and Spatial Modeling to Guide Coastal Management. Costa B, Taylor JC, Kracker L, Battista T, Pittman S (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e85555. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085555.

The relation of coastal mangrove changes and adjacent land-use: A review in Southeast Asia and Kien Giang, Vietnam. Hai-Hoa Nguyen. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 90, March 2014, Pages 1–10.


Free: Polluted Runoff: How Investing in Runoff Pollution Control Systems Improves the Chesapeake Bay Region's Ecology, Economy, and Health. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2014.

Climate Change

Impacts of climate change on coastal benthic ecosystems: assessing the current risk of mortality outbreaks associated with thermal stress in NW Mediterranean coastal areas. Ivane Lilian Pairaud, Nathaniel Bensoussan, Pierre Garreau, Vincent Faure, Joaquim Garrabou. Ocean Dynamics, January 2014, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 103-115.

Free: Impacts of Climate-Change-Driven Sea Level Rise on Intertidal Rocky Reef Habitats Will Be Variable and Site Specific. Thorner J, Kumar L, Smith SDA (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e86130. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086130.

Ecosystem-Based Management

Free: Implementing Ecosystem-Based Management: A report to the National Ocean Council. Ocean Research Advisory Panel, December 2013.

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.

A test of the use of computer generated visualizations in support of ecosystem-based management. Amanda P. Rehr, Gregory D. Williams, Phillip S. Levin. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 14–18.

A framework for identifying appropriate sub-regions for Ecosystem-Based Management in Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine environments. Ziegler, Jennifer Sloan, Ph.D., MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY, 2013, 533 pages; 3603493.


Modelling the impacts of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and fish enhancing devices (FEDs) and their implications for managing small-scale fishery. Cabral, R. B., Aliño, P. M., and Lim, M. T. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst229.

Interpreting variation in fish-based food web indicators: the importance of “bottom-up limitation” and “top-down control” processes. Reilly, T., Fraser, H. M., Fryer, R. J., Clarke, J., and Greenstreet, S. P. R. 2014. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: 406–416.

Where and when will they go fishing? Understanding fishing site and time choice in a recreational squid fishery. Cabanellas-Reboredo, M., Alós, J., March, D., Palmer, M., Jordà, G., and Palmer, M. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi.10.1093/icesjms/fst206.

Green growth in fisheries. Max Nielsen, Lars Ravensbeck, Rasmus Nielsen. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 43–52.

Free: Parrotfish Size: A Simple yet Useful Alternative Indicator of Fishing Effects on Caribbean Reefs? Vallès H, Oxenford HA (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e86291. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086291.


Toxicological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, benzophenone-2, on planulae and in vitro cells of the coral, Stylophora pistillata. C. A. Downs, Esti Kramarsky-Winter, John E. Fauth, Roee Segal, Omri Bronstein, Rina Jeger, Yona Lichtenfeld, Cheryl M. Woodley, Paul Pennington, Ariel Kushmaro, Yossi Loya. Ecotoxicology, December 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10646-013-1161-y.

Free: Seaweed-Coral Interactions: Variance in Seaweed Allelopathy, Coral Susceptibility, and Potential Effects on Coral Resilience. Bonaldo RM, Hay ME (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e85786. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085786.

Marine Protected Areas

Free: Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas. Kelaher BP, Coleman MA, Broad A, Rees MJ, Jordan A, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e85825. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085825.


Free: Ecological restoration in the deep sea: Desiderata. C.L. Van Dover, J. Aronson, L. Pendleton, S. Smith, S. Arnaud-Haond, D. Moreno-Mateos, E. Barbier, D. Billett, K. Bowers, R. Danovaro, A. Edwards, S. Kellert, T. Morato, E. Pollard, A. Rogers, R. Warner. Marine Policy, Volume 44, February 2014, Pages 98–106.


Free: Extinction risk and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays. Nicholas K Dulvy, Sarah L Fowler, John A Musick, Rachel D Cavanagh, Peter M Kyne, Lucy R Harrison, John K Carlson, Lindsay NK Davidson, Sonja V Fordham, Malcolm P Francis, Caroline M Pollock, Colin A Simpfendorfer, George H Burgess, Kent E Carpenter, Leonard JV Compagno, David A Ebert, Claudine Gibson, Michelle R Heupel, Suzanne R Livingstone, Jonnell C Sanciangco, John D Stevens, Sarah Valenti, William T White. eLife 2014;3:e00590.

Free: Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Beaked Whale Echolocation Signals in the North Pacific. Baumann-Pickering S, Roch MA, Brownell Jr RL, Simonis AE, McDonald MA, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(1): e86072. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086072.

The Human Element

Sustainable dive tourism: Social and environmental impacts — The case of Roatan, Honduras. Sébastien Doiron, Sebastian Weissenberger. Tourism Management Perspectives, Volume 10, April 2014, Pages 19–26.

Stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem service declines in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea: Is human population a more critical driver than climate change? J.R.A. Butler, T. Skewes, D. Mitchell, M. Pontio, T. Hills. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 1–13.

Fishing for equality: Policy for poverty alleviation for South Africa's small-scale fisheries. Merle Sowman, Jackie Sunde, Serge Raemaekers, Oliver Schultz. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 31–42.

A multilevel analytical framework for more-effective governance in human-natural systems: A case study of marine protected areas in Vietnam. Thu Van Trung Ho, Simon Woodley, Alison Cottrell, Peter Valentine. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 90, March 2014, Pages 11–19.

Offshore Power

Assessing ecological risks of offshore wind power on Kattegat cod. Linus Hammar, Andreas Wikström, Sverker Molander. Renewable Energy, Volume 66, June 2014, Pages 414–424.

Linking the ecosystem services approach to social preferences and needs in integrated coastal land use management – A planning approach

Coastal zones with their natural and societal sub-systems are exposed to rapid changes and pressures on resources. Scarcity of space and impacts of climate change are prominent drivers of land use and adaptation management today. Necessary modifications to present land use management strategies and schemes influence both the structures of coastal communities and the ecosystems involved. Approaches to identify the impacts and account for (i) the linkages between social preferences and needs and (ii) ecosystem services in coastal zones have been largely absent. The presented method focuses on improving the inclusion of ecosystem services in planning processes and clarifies the linkages with social impacts. In this study, fourteen stakeholders in decision-making on land use planning in the region of Krummhörn (northwestern Germany, southern North Sea coastal region) conducted a regional participative and informal process for local planning capable to adapt to climate driven changes. It is argued that scientific and practical implications of this integrated assessment focus on multi-functional options and contribute to more sustainable practices in future land use planning. The method operationalizes the ecosystem service approach and social impact analysis and demonstrates that social demands and provision of ecosystem services are inherently connected.

Mapping Reef Fish and the Seascape: Using Acoustics and Spatial Modeling to Guide Coastal Management

Reef fish distributions are patchy in time and space with some coral reef habitats supporting higher densities (i.e., aggregations) of fish than others. Identifying and quantifying fish aggregations (particularly during spawning events) are often top priorities for coastal managers. However, the rapid mapping of these aggregations using conventional survey methods (e.g., non-technical SCUBA diving and remotely operated cameras) are limited by depth, visibility and time. Acoustic sensors (i.e., splitbeam and multibeam echosounders) are not constrained by these same limitations, and were used to concurrently map and quantify the location, density and size of reef fish along with seafloor structure in two, separate locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Reef fish aggregations were documented along the shelf edge, an ecologically important ecotone in the region. Fish were grouped into three classes according to body size, and relationships with the benthic seascape were modeled in one area using Boosted Regression Trees. These models were validated in a second area to test their predictive performance in locations where fish have not been mapped. Models predicting the density of large fish (≥29 cm) performed well (i.e., AUC = 0.77). Water depth and standard deviation of depth were the most influential predictors at two spatial scales (100 and 300 m). Models of small (≤11 cm) and medium (12–28 cm) fish performed poorly (i.e., AUC = 0.49 to 0.68) due to the high prevalence (45–79%) of smaller fish in both locations, and the unequal prevalence of smaller fish in the training and validation areas. Integrating acoustic sensors with spatial modeling offers a new and reliable approach to rapidly identify fish aggregations and to predict the density large fish in un-surveyed locations. This integrative approach will help coastal managers to prioritize sites, and focus their limited resources on areas that may be of higher conservation value.

The relation of coastal mangrove changes and adjacent land-use: A review in Southeast Asia and Kien Giang, Vietnam

Coastal mangrove habitats are threatened by human-induced drivers and natural-induced forces, in particular driven by impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. This paper reviews the state of knowledge of drivers of changes in coastal mangrove habitats in Southeast Asia, with great emphasis of State-forest allocation policy drivers of change in coastal mangroves in Kien Giang, Vietnam. A large number of studies considered the relation of coastal land-use changes and the dynamics of coastal mangrove forests, while few studies examined the effects of coastal development policy on and local participation in mangrove conservation. Based on this review, key important issues are addressed a direct future study related to policy and regulations of mangrove conservation in Kien Giang, Vietnam. This paper argues that a policy with great emphasis of local rights and responsibilities over coastal mangroves and a clear statement of economic benefits sharing over coastal resources are keys of successful mangrove conservation.

Polluted Runoff: How Investing in Runoff Pollution Control Systems Improves the Chesapeake Bay Region's Ecology, Economy, and Health

A national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams are central to the culture of the more than 17 million people who live in the six-state, 64,000-square-mile region. Clean water is vital not only to our quality of life, but also to our health, family traditions, and economic well-being.

Over the last quarter century, cooperation between governments, businesses, and individuals has reduced many forms of pollution in the Bay and its tributaries. And right now—a critical moment in time for the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams—a federal and state Clean Water Blueprint is in place to finish the job. One major type of water pollution, however, continues to grow: untreated suburban and urban stormwater runoff from blacktop, roofs, and other hardened surfaces.

Every year, development spreads across an additional 38,000 acres of land in the Chesapeake Bay region. About 10,000 of these acres are hard surfaces that water cannot penetrate. Thus, every four years, an area of land about the size of Washington, D.C. (nearly 40,000 acres), is converted from fields and forests to buildings, roads, and parking lots—the hardened landscape of suburban sprawl. This armoring of the land is worsened by the removal of trees that would normally absorb rain water.

When runoff from storms sweeps across blacktop, it heats up and accelerates down funnels of cement, blasting into streams, eroding stream banks, killing
fish and insects, flooding homes, and posing risks to human health.

Runoff collects an often toxic mix of pollutants including trash, oil, dirt, nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, herbicides, fecal bacteria from pet waste, and even toxic metals like copper dust from the brake pads of cars, as well as lead, zinc, chromium, and cadmium. Researchers have found pesticides in 97 percent of suburban and urban runoff samples, and at levels high enough to harm aquatic life 83 percent of the time.

This report details the problems created by suburban and urban runoff pollution. And it offers steps that local, state, and federal governments can take to reduce pollution and achieve clean water for local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Impacts of climate change on coastal benthic ecosystems: assessing the current risk of mortality outbreaks associated with thermal stress in NW Mediterranean coastal areas

In the framework of climate change, the increase in ocean heat wave frequency is expected to impact marine life. Large-scale positive temperature anomalies already occurred in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea in 1999, 2003 and 2006. These anomalies were associated with mass mortality events of macrobenthic species in coastal areas (0–40 m in depth). The anomalies were particularly severe in 1999 and 2003 when thousands of kilometres of coasts and about 30 species were affected. The aim of this study was to develop a methodology to assess the current risk of mass mortality associated with temperature increase along NW Mediterranean continental coasts. A 3D regional ocean model was used to obtain the temperature conditions for the period 2001–2010, for which the model outputs were validated by comparing them with in situ observations in affected areas. The model was globally satisfactory, although extremes were underestimated and required correction. Combined with information on the thermo-tolerance of a key species (the red gorgonian P. clavata) as well as its spatial distribution, the modelled temperature conditions were then used to assess the risk of mass mortality associated with thermal stress for the first time. Most of the known areas of observed mass mortality were found using the model, although the degree of risk in certain areas was underestimated. Using climatic IPCC scenarios, the methodology could be applied to explore the impacts of expected climate change in the NW Mediterranean. This is a key issue for the development of sound management and conservation plans to protect Mediterranean marine biodiversity in the face of climate change.

Impacts of Climate-Change-Driven Sea Level Rise on Intertidal Rocky Reef Habitats Will Be Variable and Site Specific

Intertidal rocky reefs are complex and rich ecosystems that are vulnerable to even the smallest fluctuations in sea level. We modelled habitat loss associated with sea level rise for intertidal rocky reefs using GIS, high-resolution digital imagery, and LIDAR technology at fine-scale resolution (0.1 m per pixel). We used projected sea levels of +0.3 m, +0.5 m and +1.0 m above current Mean Low Tide Level (0.4 m). Habitat loss and changes were analysed for each scenario for five headlands in the Solitary Islands Marine Park (SIMP), Australia. The results indicate that changes to habitat extent will be variable across different shores and will not necessarily result in net loss of area for some habitats. In addition, habitat modification will not follow a regular pattern over the projected sea levels. Two of the headlands included in the study currently have the maximum level of protection within the SIMP. However, these headlands are likely to lose much of the habitat known to support biodiverse assemblages and may not continue to be suitable sanctuaries into the future. The fine-scale approach taken in this study thus provides a protocol not only for modelling habitat modification but also for future proofing conservation measures under a scenario of changing sea levels.

Implementing Ecosystem-Based Management: A report to the National Ocean Council

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an important component of the National Ocean Policy (NOP) that forms a basis for inter-agency as well as state-federal-tribal collaborative work for coastal ocean planning and management. At the request of the National Ocean Council, the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP) convened a small working group to identify strategies and recommendations to advance national implementation of EBM. These recommendations were then reviewed and adopted by the full ORAP.

A key finding is that greater clarity and understanding across the various stakeholder groups about the concept of EBM is critical to its broader and more consistent application. While there have been numerous efforts to describe EBM in the course of developing the National Ocean Policy, it is essential that the messaging across Federal agencies be consistent and clear and that a coordinated communication plan be implemented to address past inconsistencies and confusion.

This report provides a set of examples – not to be considered exhaustive – of collaborative frameworks that can be built upon to implement EBM around the U.S. In implementing the NOP these existing arrangements should be fully used in pilot projects and for long-term efforts to develop better coastal and ocean management. They give the states, and in some cases tribes, a leading role in developing science and management efforts and provide good connections, as well as further opportunities for state, tribal and federal collaboration.

The report emphasizes that instituting EBM under the National Ocean Policy is not an additional layer of regulation, but a re-engineering of current inter-agency consultation and state -federal interactions. This can be a nuance lost on state agencies, tribes and other stakeholders who increasingly see “ecosystem-based management” terminology appearing in permitting and regulatory documents. For that reason, consistent messaging and collaboration among federal agencies is critically important if EBM is to become a key organizing principle for managing the nation’s coastal and ocean resources. In effect this means re-engineering existing processes between agencies, strengthening collaborative work, reducing agency stovepipes and becoming more “forward thinking” in these collaborations rather than “reactive,” for both federal science and management efforts.

Criteria for pilot projects are described in the report but can be simply summarized thus: build upon what is already underway and improve data, science and management collaborative efforts to be more effective and efficient. While we recognize that greater consistency in EBM approach and tools would be beneficial, a single uniform structure nation-wide is not needed, and regional efforts around the country, with strong federal agency support, should lead much of the effort.

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.

A test of the use of computer generated visualizations in support of ecosystem-based management

Systematic scenario analysis is increasingly being used as an approach to evaluate ecosystem-based management options, often using “storylines” communicated through computer-generated (CG) images or visualizations. To explore potential issues associated with using CG imagery for conveying scenarios of habitat restoration we performed experiments in the Puget Sound, Washington region in which we asked whether respondents could differentiate among images of varying seagrass density and spatial extent, and if the presence of humans in the images affected these assessments and their perceptions of ecosystem health. Respondents were able to grossly determine relative seagrass density in the images, but only about 50% of them were able to determine this perfectly. Most errors occurred when the difference in density was small: approximately 20 shoot m−2. The ability to correctly distinguish among images was inversely correlated with educational level. The presence or absence of people in the imagery did not influence the ability of respondents to correctly sort images, nor did it affect perceptions of ecosystem “health”. Taken together, the results suggest that such imagery can be useful as basis for communicating large differences in ecological conditions, but may be less informative as means to convey marginal changes in ecological structure. This work begins to highlight some of the pitfalls, but also the promise, of the use of CG visualization in marine resource management.

A framework for identifying appropriate sub-regions for Ecosystem-Based Management in Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine environments

Nearly half of the population of the United States lives in coastal regions, and millions of visitors from across the nation and world enjoy the coasts every year. Coastal and marine areas provide for recreation, economic activities essential for the financial health of the nation, and vital ecological services. As they provide so many benefits to the U.S., it is vital to protect and preserve the coastal and ocean areas from the increasing, competing demands they are facing. In order to protect and preserve these complex systems, a comprehensive approach incorporating science, engineering, humanities, and social sciences should be taken; this approach is commonly referred to as Ecosystem-Based Management. This dissertation focuses on developing a framework that can be used to identify appropriate sub-regions in Northern Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine environments for the purposes of Ecosystem-Based Management. Through this work, the roles of three management protocols used for managing coastal areas - coastal and marine spatial planning, ecosystem-based management, and integrated ecosystem assessment - were examined individually as well as their integrations with each other. Biological, ecological, physical, human, and economic indicators for partitioning an ecosystem were developed and weighted for each management protocol using the analytic hierarchy process and expert elicitation. Using the weighted indicators, a framework for identifying sub-regions and estuarine classification system was developed. The framework and classification system were applied to five estuaries within the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Barataria, Galveston, Mobile, and Perdido Bays and Mississippi Sound. Initial results from this work show that: 1. Sub-regions can be identified as associated to each other based upon indicator data values and not upon physical location. 2. Even though the weights calculated for the management protocols vary significantly, for systems that were not highly homogeneous in indicator data values, the different weights did not produce the vastly different cluster maps expected. 3. The scale work indicates that to identify appropriate sub-regions using the developed framework, a larger grid size produces more consistent results for larger systems whereas a smaller grid size produces more consistent results for smaller systems. Recommendations for further research are also presented.

Modelling the impacts of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and fish enhancing devices (FEDs) and their implications for managing small-scale fishery

Fish aggregating devices (FADs) are deployed to aggregate fish over a limited area to improve fish catch. Fish enhancing devices (FEDs), which are FADs deployed in no-fishing areas, are fast gaining popularity as a fisheries management tool in the western Pacific. Yet, the impacts of utilizing FADs and FEDs are not yet well understood. In this work, we used a mean-field model to assess the effects of utilizing FADs and FEDs on stock biomass and catch. Our results indicate that using FADs enhances catch per boat when total fishing pressure is low, but can exacerbate fishery collapse when fishing effort is high. On the other hand, a FED-based system can increase the resistance of the fishery to collapse. A FED-based fishery may thus serve as pelagic marine protected areas and/or refugia. In a quota-based system, where fishing time is tied to catch quota, a phase transition occurs: both catch and biomass abruptly shift to low levels without warning. Deploying FADs to act as FEDs in a high quota fishery can prevent this phase transition resulting to a stabilizing effect.

Interpreting variation in fish-based food web indicators: the importance of “bottom-up limitation” and “top-down control” processes

Proposed indicators for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) food webs Descriptor focus on structural elements of food webs, and in particular on the abundance and productivity of top predators. However, the inferences that can be drawn from such indicators depend on whether or not the predators are “bottom-up limited” by the availability of their prey. Many seabird populations appear to be “bottom-up limited” so that variation in their reproductive success and/or abundance reflects changes in lower trophic levels. Here we find that gadoid fish predators off the Firth of Forth, southeast Scotland, do not appear to be “bottom-up limited” by the biomass of their main prey, 0-group sandeels; gadoid biomass and feeding performance was independent of sandeel biomass. Variability in food web indicators based on these gadoid predators seems to impart little insight into underlying processes occurring at lower trophic levels in the local food web. The implications of this in terms of how the currently proposed MSFD food web indicators should be used and interpreted are considered, and the ramifications in terms of setting targets representing good environmental status for both fish and seabird communities are discussed.

Where and when will they go fishing? Understanding fishing site and time choice in a recreational squid fishery

Recreational fishing effort greatly fluctuates in space and time. Therefore, one of the most relevant conceptual issues when managing recreational fishing is to understand the primary complexities associated with anglers' preferences in selecting site and day, and the way that these choices affect the catch. However, two practical pitfalls (data acquisition and statistical issues) are hampering progress towards the understanding of this problem. In this study, we propose several strategic improvements and apply them to the recreational squid fishery in Palma Bay (Balearic Islands). The spatial scenario (20 km width) was surveyed 63 times (visual censuses) during two years. For each of the 173 grid cells (1 km2) into which Palma Bay was divided, the fishing effort (number of recreational boats targeting squid) was recorded. In addition, a number of variables intended to summarize any potential driver of anglers' choices were also recorded. The principal drivers of squid recreational fishing in Palma Bay appeared to be expected harvest and distance to the nearest port, but the effect of these variables was clearly modulated by sea conditions. The fine-scale estimates of effort (daily predictions for each 1 km2 cell) provided here represent the first step towards understanding angler preferences, estimating total catches, and selecting the best management options for avoiding conflicts between stakeholders, thus ensuring resource sustainability.

Green growth in fisheries

Climate change and economic growth have gained a substantial amount of attention over the last decade. Hence, in order to unite the two fields of interest, the concept of green growth has evolved. The concept of green growth focuses on how to achieve growth in environment-dependent sectors, without harming the environment. Fishery is an environment-dependent sector and it has been argued that there is no potential for green growth in the sector owing to global overexploitation, leaving no scope for production growth. The purpose of this paper is to explain what green growth is and to develop a conceptual framework. Furthermore, the aim is to show that a large green growth potential actually exists in fisheries and to show how this potential can be achieved. The potential green growth appears as value-added instead of production growth. The potential can be achieved by reducing overcapacity, investing in the rebuilding of fish stocks and a coordinated regulation of marine activities that interact with fisheries. Incentive-based regulation of fisheries that counterbalances services of the ecosystems is an important instrument to achieve green growth.

Parrotfish Size: A Simple yet Useful Alternative Indicator of Fishing Effects on Caribbean Reefs?

There is great need to identify simple yet reliable indicators of fishing effects within the multi-species, multi-gear, data-poor fisheries of the Caribbean. Here, we investigate links between fishing pressure and three simple fish metrics, i.e. average fish weight (an estimate of average individual fish size), fish density and fish biomass, derived from (1) the parrotfish family, a ubiquitous herbivore family across the Caribbean, and (2) three fish groups of “commercial” carnivores including snappers and groupers, which are widely-used as indicators of fishing effects. We hypothesize that, because most Caribbean reefs are being heavily fished, fish metrics derived from the less vulnerable parrotfish group would exhibit stronger relationships with fishing pressure on today’s Caribbean reefs than those derived from the highly vulnerable commercial fish groups. We used data from 348 Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) reef-surveys across the Caribbean to assess relationships between two independent indices of fishing pressure (one derived from human population density data, the other from open to fishing versus protected status) and the three fish metrics derived from the four aforementioned fish groups. We found that, although two fish metrics, average parrotfish weight and combined biomass of selected commercial species, were consistently negatively linked to the indices of fishing pressure across the Caribbean, the parrotfish metric consistently outranked the latter in the strength of the relationship, thus supporting our hypothesis. Overall, our study highlights that (assemblage-level) average parrotfish size might be a useful alternative indicator of fishing effects over the typical conditions of most Caribbean shallow reefs: moderate-to-heavy levels of fishing and low abundance of highly valued commercial species.

Toxicological effects of the sunscreen UV filter, benzophenone-2, on planulae and in vitro cells of the coral, Stylophora pistillata

Benzophenone-2 (BP-2) is an additive to personal-care products and commercial solutions that protects against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. BP-2 is an “emerging contaminant of concern” that is often released as a pollutant through municipal and boat/ship wastewater discharges and landfill leachates, as well as through residential septic fields and unmanaged cesspits. Although BP-2 may be a contaminant on coral reefs, its environmental toxicity to reefs is unknown. This poses a potential management issue, since BP-2 is a known endocrine disruptor as well as a weak genotoxicant. We examined the effects of BP-2 on the larval form (planula) of the coral, Stylophora pistillata, as well as its toxicity to in vitro coral cells. BP-2 is a photo-toxicant; adverse effects are exacerbated in the light versus in darkness. Whether in darkness or light, BP-2 induced coral planulae to transform from a motile planktonic state to a deformed, sessile condition. Planulae exhibited an increasing rate of coral bleaching in response to increasing concentrations of BP-2. BP-2 is a genotoxicant to corals, exhibiting a strong positive relationship between DNA-AP lesions and increasing BP-2 concentrations. BP-2 exposure in the light induced extensive necrosis in both the epidermis and gastrodermis. In contrast, BP-2 exposure in darkness induced autophagy and autophagic cell death. The LC50 of BP-2 in the light for an 8 and 24 h exposure was 120 and 165 parts per billion (ppb), respectively. The LC50s for BP-2 in darkness for the same time points were 144 and 548 ppb. Deformity EC20 levels (24 h) were 246 parts per trillion in the light and 9.6 ppb in darkness.

Seaweed-Coral Interactions: Variance in Seaweed Allelopathy, Coral Susceptibility, and Potential Effects on Coral Resilience

Tropical reefs are in global decline with seaweeds commonly replacing corals. Negative associations between macroalgae and corals are well documented, but the mechanisms involved, the dynamics of the interactions, and variance in effects of different macroalgal-coral pairings are poorly investigated. We assessed the frequency, magnitude, and dynamics of macroalgal-coral competition involving allelopathic and non-allelopathic macroalgae on three, spatially grouped pairs of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and non-MPAs in Fiji. In non-MPAs, biomass of herbivorous fishes was 70–80% lower, macroalgal cover 4–9 fold higher, macroalgal-coral contacts 5–15 fold more frequent and 23–67 fold more extensive (measured as % of colony margin contacted by macroalgae), and coral cover 51–68% lower than in MPAs. Coral contacts with allelopathic macroalgae occurred less frequently than expected by chance across all sites, while contact with non-allelopathic macroalgae tended to occur more frequently than expected. Transplants of allelopathic macroalgae (Chlorodesmis fastigiata and Galaxaura filamentosa) against coral edges inflicted damage to Acropora aspera and Pocillopora damicornis more rapidly and extensively than to Porites cylindrica and Porites lobata, which appeared more resistant to these macroalgae. Montipora digitata experienced intermediate damage. Extent of damage from macroalgal contact was independent of coral colony size for each of the 10 macroalgal-coral pairings we established. When natural contacts with Galaxaura filamentosa were removed in the field, recovery was rapid for Porites lobata, but Pocillopora damicornis did not recover and damage continued to expand. As macroalgae increase on overfished tropical reefs, allelopathy could produce feedbacks that suppress coral resilience, prevent coral recovery, and promote the stability of algal beds in habitats previously available to corals.

Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas

Networks of no-take marine reserves and partially-protected areas (with limited fishing) are being increasingly promoted as a means of conserving biodiversity. We examined changes in fish assemblages across a network of marine reserves and two different types of partially-protected areas within a marine park over the first 5 years of its establishment. We used Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) to quantify fish communities on rocky reefs at 20–40 m depth between 2008–2011. Each year, we sampled 12 sites in 6 no-take marine reserves and 12 sites in two types of partially-protected areas with contrasting levels of protection (n = 4 BRUV stations per site). Fish abundances were 38% greater across the network of marine reserves compared to the partially-protected areas, although not all individual reserves performed equally. Compliance actions were positively associated with marine reserve responses, while reserve size had no apparent relationship with reserve performance after 5 years. The richness and abundance of fishes did not consistently differ between the two types of partially-protected areas. There was, therefore, no evidence that the more regulated partially-protected areas had additional conservation benefits for reef fish assemblages. Overall, our results demonstrate conservation benefits to fish assemblages from a newly established network of temperate marine reserves. They also show that ecological monitoring can contribute to adaptive management of newly established marine reserve networks, but the extent of this contribution is limited by the rate of change in marine communities in response to protection.

Ecological restoration in the deep sea: Desiderata

An era of expanding deep-ocean industrialization is before us, with policy makers establishing governance frameworks for sustainable management of deep-sea resources while scientists learn more about the ecological structure and functioning of the largest biome on the planet. Missing from discussion of the stewardship of the deep ocean is ecological restoration. If existing activities in the deep sea continue or are expanded and new deep-ocean industries are developed, there is need to consider what is required to minimize or repair resulting damages to the deep-sea environment. In addition, thought should be given as to how any past damage can be rectified. This paper develops the discourse on deep-sea restoration and offers guidance on planning and implementing ecological restoration projects for deep-sea ecosystems that are already, or are at threat of becoming, degraded, damaged or destroyed. Two deep-sea restoration case studies or scenarios are described (deep-sea stony corals on the Darwin Mounds off the west coast of Scotland, deep-sea hydrothermal vents in Manus Basin, Papua New Guinea) and are contrasted with on-going saltmarsh restoration in San Francisco Bay. For these case studies, a set of socio-economic, ecological, and technological decision parameters that might favor (or not) their restoration are examined. Costs for hypothetical restoration scenarios in the deep sea are estimated and first indications suggest they may be two to three orders of magnitude greater per hectare than costs for restoration efforts in shallow-water marine systems.

Extinction risk and conservation of the world’s sharks and rays

The rapid expansion of human activities threatens ocean-wide biodiversity. Numerous marine animal populations have declined, yet it remains unclear whether these trends are symptomatic of a chronic accumulation of global marine extinction risk. We present the first systematic analysis of threat for a globally distributed lineage of 1,041 chondrichthyan fishes—sharks, rays, and chimaeras. We estimate that one-quarter are threatened according to IUCN Red List criteria due to overfishing (targeted and incidental). Large-bodied, shallow-water species are at greatest risk and five out of the seven most threatened families are rays. Overall chondrichthyan extinction risk is substantially higher than for most other vertebrates, and only one-third of species are considered safe. Population depletion has occurred throughout the world’s ice-free waters, but is particularly prevalent in the Indo-Pacific Biodiversity Triangle and Mediterranean Sea. Improved management of fisheries and trade is urgently needed to avoid extinctions and promote population recovery.

Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Beaked Whale Echolocation Signals in the North Pacific

At least ten species of beaked whales inhabit the North Pacific, but little is known about their abundance, ecology, and behavior, as they are elusive and difficult to distinguish visually at sea. Six of these species produce known species-specific frequency modulated (FM) echolocation pulses: Baird’s, Blainville’s, Cuvier’s, Deraniyagala’s, Longman’s, and Stejneger’s beaked whales. Additionally, one described FM pulse (BWC) from Cross Seamount, Hawai’i, and three unknown FM pulse types (BW40, BW43, BW70) have been identified from almost 11 cumulative years of autonomous recordings at 24 sites throughout the North Pacific. Most sites had a dominant FM pulse type with other types being either absent or limited. There was not a strong seasonal influence on the occurrence of these signals at any site, but longer time series may reveal smaller, consistent fluctuations. Only the species producing BWC signals, detected throughout the Pacific Islands region, consistently showed a diel cycle with nocturnal foraging. By comparing stranding and sighting information with acoustic findings, we hypothesize that BWC signals are produced by ginkgo-toothed beaked whales. BW43 signal encounters were restricted to Southern California and may be produced by Perrin’s beaked whale, known only from Californian waters. BW70 signals were detected in the southern Gulf of California, which is prime habitat for Pygmy beaked whales. Hubb’s beaked whale may have produced the BW40 signals encountered off central and southern California; however, these signals were also recorded off Pearl and Hermes Reef and Wake Atoll, which are well south of their known range.

Sustainable dive tourism: Social and environmental impacts — The case of Roatan, Honduras

The rapidly expanding coral diving tourism and the associated residential and commercial development exert a considerable pressure on the ecological and social fabric of Roatan, Honduras, and in particular on coral reefs and on mangroves. Due to its strong reliance on healthy and attractive coral reefs, the tourism sector on Roatan is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This article examines past and current development paths and management efforts on Roatan and proposes avenues in order to achieve sustainable development of the tourism sector while safeguarding ecosystem quality. Integrated coastal zone management, a whole ecosystem approach and the recognition of the importance of social aspects for the success of management tools such as marine protected areas can greatly contribute to that goal.

Stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem service declines in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea: Is human population a more critical driver than climate change?

Milne Bay Province (MBP) in Papua New Guinea is a priority seascape in the Coral Triangle marine biodiversity hotspot. Goal 4 of the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security promotes adaptation planning for small island ecosystems and communities threatened by climate change, but information to identify vulnerable islands and priority interventions is limited. This study adapted the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) framework in MBP with regional stakeholders to project trends in harvested or cultivated ‘provisioning’ ecosystem goods and services (EGS), human well-being, drivers of change and necessary management strategies, based on their tacit knowledge. In 2010 five island subregions which are susceptible to food insecurity were assessed. Workshop participants identified freshwater, garden food crops, coral, bêche-de-mer, reef fish and sharks as the most important EGS in all subregions. Terrestrial EGS contributed 43% of aggregated ecosystem-derived well-being, and marine EGS 57%. By 2030 the overall condition of EGS was projected to decline by >50%. The primary driver in all subregions was human population growth, and climate change impacts were predicted in only two subregions. Improved garden and agricultural productivity and population control were the highest ranked management strategies. Population relocation was also prioritised for two subregions where human carrying capacities may soon be exceeded. Although none of the strategies addressed climate change directly, all could yield climate adaptation and marine conservation co-benefits by enhancing ecosystem-based adaptation and community adaptive capacity. It is suggested that there is a 20–30 year ‘adaptation window’ in which to address population growth, which otherwise will continue to erode the capacity of communities and ecosystems to cope with potentially extreme climate impacts after mid-century.

Fishing for equality: Policy for poverty alleviation for South Africa's small-scale fisheries

With the advent of democracy in South Africa there were great expectations that poor coastal fishing communities would gain legal access to coastal resources historically relied on for food and livelihoods. However, a failure to formally recognise the small-scale fisheries sector and adequately cater for them in the post 1994 law reform process, precipitated legal action by a group of fishers against the Minister (George K and others vs. the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism) in 2005.1 This court action resulted in a ruling by the Equality Court in May 2007 that required the Minister responsible for fisheries to develop a policy that would address the needs of this hitherto excluded group and immediately provide ‘interim relief’ through access to marine resources. This paper reports on the final policy (promulgated in June 2012) that emanated from a five year policy development process largely driven by civil society, NGOs and researchers. It highlights key principles and provisions in the new policy that signal a paradigm shift in the governance of small-scale fisheries in South Africa – from a largely resource-centred approach to one that is more people-centred, and which recognises fisher rights as human rights, as well as the important role that marine resources can play in poverty alleviation. It concludes by exploring some of the implementation challenges.

A multilevel analytical framework for more-effective governance in human-natural systems: A case study of marine protected areas in Vietnam

Marine protected areas (MPAs) can be viewed as coupled human-natural systems where a significant number of local people depend on ecosystem goods and services. There are times when these uses contribute to ecosystem degradation that may eventually lead to a systems' collapse. In addition to studies of technical means for predicting and controlling the systems, the understanding of human dimensions, institutional and social-interaction issues has been considered important for improving effective governance of these systems. This paper presents a multilevel analytical framework and discusses application of this framework to the context of three MPAs in Vietnam. It discusses the development of the framework based on a new perspective that views institutions as a structure and governance as a process for operating a governing system. As a result, inter-relations and mutual influences of institutions and governance occurred within the MPAs are illustrated as a cause–effect relationship diagram. These are grouped into three components (i) formal institutions; (ii) political behaviour and organizational structure; and (iii) local communities' engagement, social capital and socio-economic conditions. These components interact with each other and influence the interplays of actors, both state and non-state, for MPA governance. Findings from this study suggest that institutions should be adaptive and regularly amended based on their performance in real-world governance processes. This ensures the match between the approved institutions and their practical effects in complex contextual conditions. Meanwhile, there should be accountable and transparent dialogues and mechanisms for all the stakeholders and actors to be actively involved in the development of institutions, and evaluating and monitoring governance processes. Bridging actors or organizations also need to be available as active facilitators of these dialogues and mechanisms. When the institutional and social-interaction issues are solved, governance of coupled human-natural systems, such as MPAs, will be enhanced.

Assessing ecological risks of offshore wind power on Kattegat cod

Offshore wind power is expanding with particular development plans in the Baltic and the North Sea. To reassure an environmentally acceptable development, regulatory authorities need to make informed decisions even when evidence and experience are scarce. In this study Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) has been applied on a wind farm project in Kattegat, proposed within a spawning ground for the Kattegat cod, a threatened population of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.). Six stressors with potential impacts on cod and related to wind farms were investigated. Three of them – extreme noise from pile driving, noise from vessels, and disturbances due to cable-trenching – are related to the construction phase, while lubricant spills and noise from turbines together with electric fields from cables are related to the operation phase. The ecological risk was derived from the combined likelihood and magnitude of potential adverse effects from stressors to the cod population using a weight-of-evidence (WOE) ranking procedure. Available evidence was evaluated based on its reliability, and contradictory arguments were balanced against each other using evidence maps. The option of performing hazardous construction events (e.g. pile-driving) outside biologically sensitive periods was incorporated in the assessment. It was shown that the construction of the wind farm poses a high risk to cod, as defined by the ranked and combined likelihoods and magnitudes of adverse effects. However by avoiding particular construction events during the cod recruitment period ecological risks can be significantly reduced. Specifically for this case, ecological risks are reduced from high to low by avoiding pile-driving from December through June, which confirms previous indications that pile-driving is the most ecologically hazardous activity of offshore wind power development. Additional risk reduction is achieved by avoiding cable trenching from January through May. The study thus illustrates the effectiveness of time-planning for risk reduction. Importantly, the study illustrates how combined ERA and WOE methods can be valuable for handling uncertainties of environmental impacts within offshore industrial development.