Stakeholder participation toolkit for identification, designation and management of marine protected areas

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The IUCN, UNEP, and others have published a new report, Stakeholder participation toolkit for identification, designation and management of marine protected areas. The report examines the MedMPAnet project - the Regional Project for the Development of a Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Protected Areas Network. 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: Estimating the Adaptive Capacity of Local Communities at Marine Protected Areas in Latin America: a Practical Approach. Maldonado, J. H., and R. del Pilar Moreno-Sánchez. 2014. Ecology and Society 19(1): 16.

Effects of Marine Protected Areas on Overfished Fishing Stocks with Multiple Stable States. Nao Takashina, Akihiko Mougi. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 341, 21 January 2014, Pages 64–70.

Compensation, conservation and communities: an analysis of direct payments initiatives within an Indonesian marine protected area. Julian Clifton. Environmental Conservation / Volume 40 / Issue 03 / September 2013, pp 287-295.

Free: Stakeholder participation toolkit for identification, designation and management of marine protected areas. RAC/SPA and IUCN-Med. Ed. RAC/SPA, Tunis. 30pp.

Fisheries

Free: Fish identification tools for biodiversity and fisheries assessments: Review and guidance for decision-makers. Fischer, J. ed. 2013. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 585. Rome, FAO. 2013. 107 pp.

Demonstration of a spatially explicit, tag-integrated stock assessment model with application to three interconnected stocks of yellowtail flounder off of New England. Goethel, D. R., Legault, C. M., and Cadrin, S. X. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu014.

Assessing the state of pelagic fish communities within an ecosystem approach and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Shephard, S., Rindorf, A., Dickey-Collas, M., Hintzen, N. T., Farnsworth, K., and Reid, D. G. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu005.

The importance of length and age composition data in statistical age-structured models for marine species. Ono, K., Licandeo, R., Muradian, M. L., Cunningham, C. J., Anderson, S. C., Hurtado-Ferro, F., Johnson, K. F., McGilliard, C. R., Monnahan, C. C., Szuwalski, C. S., Valero, J. L., Vert-pre, K. A., Whitten, A. R., and Punt, A. E. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu007.

Moving Beyond Rights-Based Management: A Transparent Approach to Distributing the Conservation Burden and Benefit in Tuna Fisheries. Quentin Hanich; Yoshitaka Ota. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, Volume 28, Issue 1, pages 135 – 170. DOI: 10.1163/15718085-12341268.

The “Lost Mackerel” of the North East Atlantic: The Flawed System of Trilateral and Bilateral Decision-making. Peter Ørebech. The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 343 – 373. DOI: 10.1163/15718085-12341276.

Free: Killer Whale Depredation and Associated Costs to Alaskan Sablefish, Pacific Halibut and Greenland Turbot Longliners. Peterson MJ, Mueter F, Criddle K, Haynie AC (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88906. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088906.

Spatial overlap of Black-browed albatrosses with longline and trawl fisheries in the Patagonian Shelf during the non-breeding season. Sofía Copello, Juan Pablo Seco Pon, Marco Favero. Journal of Sea Research, Available online 22 February 2014.

Contemporary fisheries stock assessment: many issues still remain. Maunder, M. N., and Piner, K. R. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu015.

Evaluation of a fishing captain's ability to predict species composition, sizes, and quantities of tunas associated with drifting fish-aggregating devices in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Fuller, D. W., and Schaefer, K. M. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsu012.

Spatial Planning and Management

Understanding emerging discourses of Marine Spatial Planning in the UK. Heather Ritchie. Land Use Policy, Available online 15 February 2014.

Predicting the occurrence of rocky reefs in a heterogeneous archipelago area with limited data. Henna Rinne, Anu Kaskela, Anna-Leena Downie, Harri Tolvanen, Mikael von Numers, Johanna Mattila. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 138, 1 February 2014, Pages 90–100.

Coastal management in South Africa: Historical perspectives and setting the stage of a new era. Bronwyn J. Goble, Melissa Lewis, Trevor R. Hill, Mike R. Phillips. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 91, April 2014, Pages 32–40.

Marine environmental governance networks and approaches: Conference report. Yen-Chiang Chang, Warwick Gullett, David L. Fluharty. Marine Policy, Available online 18 February 2014.

Coral Reefs

Free: Surviving Coral Bleaching Events: Porites Growth Anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef. Cantin NE, Lough JM (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88720. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088720

Ecosystem Services and Valuation

Free: Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean. Waite, R., et al. 2014. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.

Free: Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health: Workshop Summary. National Research Council. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2014.

Repair and revitalisation of Australia׳s tropical estuaries and coastal wetlands: Opportunities and constraints for the reinstatement of lost function and productivity. Marcus Sheaves, Justin Brookes, Rob Coles, Marnie Freckelton, Paul Groves, Ross Johnston, Pia Winberg. Marine Policy, Volume 47, July 2014, Pages 23–38.

Incorporating ecosystem services in marine planning: The role of valuation. Tobias Börger, Nicola J. Beaumont, Linwood Pendleton, Kevin J. Boyle, Philip Cooper, Stephen Fletcher, Tim Haab, Michael Hanemann, Tara L. Hooper, S. Salman Hussain, Rosimeiry Portela, Mavra Stithou, Joanna Stockill, Tim Taylor, Melanie C. Austen. Marine Policy, Volume 46, May 2014, Pages 161–170.

Trajectory economics: Assessing the flow of ecosystem services from coastal restoration. Rex H. Caffey, Hua Wang, Daniel R. Petrolia. Ecological Economics, Volume 100, April 2014, Pages 74–84.

Producing regional production multipliers for Irish marine sector policy: A location quotient approach. Karyn Morrissey. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 91, April 2014, Pages 58–64.

Overcoming the challenges of data scarcity in mapping marine ecosystem service potential. Michael Townsend, Simon F. Thrush, Andrew M. Lohrer, Judi E. Hewitt, Carolyn J. Lundquist, Megan Carbines, Malene Felsing. Ecosystem Services, Available online 22 February 2014.

Human Impacts

Free summary: Ecological Footprint: Implications for biodiversity. Alessandro Galli, Mathis Wackernagel, Katsunori Iha, Elias Lazarus. Biological Conservation. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.10.019.

Free: Prevalence of External Injuries in Small Cetaceans in Aruban Waters, Southern Caribbean. Luksenburg JA (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088988.

Free: Histopathological Muscle Findings May Be Essential for a Definitive Diagnosis of Suspected Sharp Trauma Associated with Ship Strikes in Stranded Cetaceans. Sierra E, Fernández A, Espinosa de los Monteros A, Arbelo M, Díaz-Delgado J, et al. (2014) PLoS ONE 9(2): e88780. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088780.

Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystem production in societies dependent on fisheries. M. Barange, G. Merino, J. L. Blanchard, J. Scholtens, J. Harle, E. H. Allison, J. I. Allen, J. Holt & S. Jennings. Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2119.

Offshore Renewable Energy

Ocean thermal energy resources in Colombia. Andrea Devis-Morales, Raúl A. Montoya-Sánchez, Andrés F. Osorio, Luis J. Otero-Díaz. Renewable Energy, Volume 66, June 2014, Pages 759–769.

Insights into the Ocean Health Index for marine renewable energy. Wei-Haur Lam, Chandra Bhushan Roy. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 33, May 2014, Pages 26–33.


Estimating the Adaptive Capacity of Local Communities at Marine Protected Areas in Latin America: a Practical Approach

The establishment of marine protected areas (MPA) has become the prevailing management strategy to stop the degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems; however, the effectiveness of MPAs is affected not only by ecological factors but also by social ones. Identifying and understanding socioeconomic conditions and the institutional context of fishing communities is essential to achieve success with MPAs. We propose a practical methodology for estimating the adaptive capacity (AC) of local communities to the establishment of MPAs. Adaptive capacity is defined as the ability of households to anticipate and respond to disturbances, natural or human induced, and to minimize, cope with, and recover from the consequences. We propose an index of adaptive capacity (IAC) of fishing communities that can be estimated at a local scale. This composite index comprises three dimensions, i.e., socioeconomic, social-ecological, and socio-political/institutional, which attempt to capture comprehensively the determinants of AC. Each dimension is constructed from three indicators, whose estimation is based on information collected from a household structured survey for which we suggested specific questions. We proposed the use of a Min function to highlight the weakest dimension of the IAC and guide decision makers with respect to elements that should be addressed to improve AC. A discussion about normalization and aggregation issues is also included.


Effects of Marine Protected Areas on Overfished Fishing Stocks with Multiple Stable States

Marine protected areas (MPAs) have attracted much attention as a tool for sustainable fisheries management, restoring depleted fisheries stocks and maintaining ecosystems. However, even with total exclusion of fishing effort, depleted stocks sometimes show little or no recovery over a long time period. Here, using a mathematical model, we show that multiple stable states may hold the key to understanding the tendency for fisheries stocks to recover because of MPAs. We find that MPAs can have either a positive effect or almost no effect on the recovery of depleted fishing stocks, depending on the fish migration patterns and the fishing policies. MPAs also reinforce ecological resilience, particularly for migratory species. In contrast to previous reports, our results show that MPAs have small or sometimes negative effects on the recovery of sedentary species. Unsuitable MPA planning might result in low effectiveness or even deterioration of the existing condition.


Compensation, conservation and communities: an analysis of direct payments initiatives within an Indonesian marine protected area

Conservation practitioners are increasingly faced with the need to compensate resource users because of restrictions imposed on access and use of natural resources. The idea that direct payments may facilitate compensation more effectively than a programme based upon income substitution is questioned through examining two direct payments initiatives in an Indonesian marine national park. Elite capture of the direct payments process was facilitated in a context characterized by malleable state institutions and powerful private business interests, thereby disadvantaging key resource-dependent groups. The ecological benefits of direct payments initiatives and of protected areas were compromised through the emphasis on business priorities rather than environmental criteria. These difficulties were mitigated through taking account of existing practices regarding resource access, ensuring equal distribution of benefits and introducing new systems gradually over a period of time through trusted individuals, thereby facilitating the acceptance of direct payments initiatives amongst key user groups.


Stakeholder participation toolkit for identification, designation and management of marine protected areas

The MedMPAnet project is the Regional Project for the Development of a Mediterranean Marine and Coastal Protected Areas (MPAs) Network through the boosting of MPAs creation and management. It started in 2009 and is led by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) as part of the MedPArtnership1 GEF full size project “Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Sea Large Ecosystem”. The MedPArtnership is implemented by UNEP and the World Bank while executed by the Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MEDUMAP) and its associated Regional Activity Centers (RACs). This Partnership enables a coordinated and strategic approach to catalyze the policy, legal and institutional reforms, and the investments necessary to reverse the degradation trends affecting this unique large marine ecosystem, including its coastal habitats and biodiversity.

In this context, the Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) signed in 2012 a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Med) for the “Assessment and support to Adriatic countries’ priority needs for legal, policy and institutional reforms to strengthen the creation processes and the management of marine protected areas”.

One of the aims of this MoU, “providing strategic orientations for stakeholders’ participation in MPA management and planning with view to improving good governance of MPAs”, is fulfilled by the production of a Stakeholder participation toolkit adaptable to each country.

The present document entitled Stakeholder Participation Toolkit for Identification, Designation and Management of Marine Protected Areas corresponds to this outcome.


Fish identification tools for biodiversity and fisheries assessments: Review and guidance for decision-makers

This review provides an appraisal of existing, state-of-the-art fish identification (ID) tools (including some in the initial stages of their development) and shows their potential for providing the right solution in different real-life situations. The ID tools reviewed are: Use of scientific experts (taxonomists) and folk local experts, taxonomic reference collections, image recognition systems, field guides based on dichotomous keys; interactive electronic keys (e.g. IPOFIS), morphometrics (e.g. IPez), scale and otolith morphology, genetic methods (Single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs] and Barcode [BOL]) and Hydroacoustics.

The review is based on the results and recommendations of the workshop “Fish Identification Tools for Fishery Biodiversity and Fisheries Assessments”, convened by FAO FishFinder and the University of Vigo and held in Vigo, Spain, from 11 to 13 October 2011. It is expected that it will help fisheries managers, environmental administrators and other end users to select the best available species identification tools for their purposes.


Demonstration of a spatially explicit, tag-integrated stock assessment model with application to three interconnected stocks of yellowtail flounder off of New England

Ignoring population structure and connectivity in stock assessment models can introduce bias into important management metrics. Tag-integrated assessment models can account for spatially explicit population dynamics by modelling multiple population components, each with unique demographics, and estimating movement among them. A tagging submodel is included to calculate predicted tag recaptures, and observed tagging data are incorporated in the objective function to inform estimates of movement and mortality. We describe the tag-integrated assessment framework and demonstrate its use through an application to three stocks of yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) off New England. Movement among the three yellowtail flounder stocks has been proposed as a potential source of uncertainty in the closed population assessments of each. A tagging study was conducted during 2003–2006 with over 45 000 tagged fish released in the region, and the tagging data were included in the tag-integrated model. Results indicated that movement among stocks was low, estimates of stock size and fishing mortality were similar to those from conventional stock assessments, and incorporating stock connectivity did not resolve residual patterns. Despite low movement estimates, new interpretations of regional stock dynamics may have important implications for regional fisheries management given the source-sink nature of movement estimates.


Assessing the state of pelagic fish communities within an ecosystem approach and the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Pelagic fish are key elements in marine foodwebs and thus comprise an important part of overall ecosystem health. We develop a suite of ecological indicators that track pelagic fish community state and evaluate state of specific objectives against Good Environmental Status (GES) criteria. Indicator time-series are calculated for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive “Celtic Seas” (CS) and “Greater North Sea” subregions. Precautionary reference points are proposed for each indicator and a simple decision process is then used to aggregate indicators into a GES assessment for each subregion. The pelagic fish communities of both subregions currently appear to be close to GES, but each remains vulnerable. In the CS subregion, fishing mortality is close to the precautionary reference point, although the unknown dynamics of sandeel, sprat, and sardine in the subregion may reduce the robustness of this evaluation. In the North Sea, sandeel stocks have been in poor state until very recently. Pelagic fish community biomass is slightly below the precautionary reference point in both subregions.


The importance of length and age composition data in statistical age-structured models for marine species

Management of marine resources depends on the assessment of stock status in relation to established reference points. However, many factors contribute to uncertainty in stock assessment outcomes, including data type and availability, life history, and exploitation history. A simulation–estimation framework was used to examine the level of bias and accuracy in assessment model estimates related to the quality and quantity of length and age composition data across three life-history types (cod-, flatfish-, and sardine-like species) and three fishing scenarios. All models were implemented in Stock Synthesis, a statistical age-structured stock assessment framework. In general, the value of age composition data in informing estimates of virgin recruitment (R0), relative spawning-stock biomass (SSB100/SSB0), and terminal year fishing mortality rate (F100), decreased as the coefficient of variation of the relationship between length and age became greater. For this reason, length data were more informative than age data for the cod and sardine life histories in this study, whereas both sources of information were important for the flatfish life history. Historical composition data were more important for short-lived, fast-growing species such as sardine. Infrequent survey sampling covering a longer period was more informative than frequent surveys covering a shorter period.


Moving Beyond Rights-Based Management: A Transparent Approach to Distributing the Conservation Burden and Benefit in Tuna Fisheries

Determining the distribution of the conservation burden and benefit is a critical challenge to the conservation and management of trans-boundary fish stocks. Given current levels of overfishing and overcapacity in many trans-boundary fisheries, some or all participating States must necessarily reach a compromise with regard to their interests and carry some share of the conservation burden. This article proposes a new approach to distributing the conservation burden and benefit in trans-boundary fisheries, and explores this approach in the world’s largest tuna fishery: the tropical tuna fisheries of the western and central Pacific. Such an approach would enable Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to transparently ensure that conservation burden and benefit distributions are consistent with international obligations. The article recommends that RFMOs consider developing decision-making frameworks that would enable existing scientific processes to determine the necessary extent of conservation measures, while a new conservation burden methodology would then determine the implementation of the measure and its impact on each member.


The “Lost Mackerel” of the North East Atlantic: The Flawed System of Trilateral and Bilateral Decision-making

The North East Atlantic mackerel is moving westward and northward. How to integrate new coastal states whose Exclusive Economic Zone is invaded by mackerel into existing decision-making processes? The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the 1995 Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement, the 1980 North East Atlantic Fisheries Convention, and bilateral and trilateral agreements between “relevant coastal states” fail to provide rules for present decision-makers to incorporate newcomers. The present harvesting states are sovereign with regard to admitting or refusing newcomers. This article argues for a stricter obligation on coastal states to acknowledge the right of new harvesting nations to access decision-making processes for estimating total allowable catch and allocating quotas. Equitable distribution can occur if quota allocation is subject to principles that are less discretionary than the present ones. One solution is to estimate the ratio of biomass related to the share of coastal states in the distribution of eggs, larvae and fishable stock, and allocate a quota to each coastal and high seas fishing state accordingly.


Killer Whale Depredation and Associated Costs to Alaskan Sablefish, Pacific Halibut and Greenland Turbot Longliners

Killer whale (Orcinus orca) depredation (whales stealing or damaging fish caught on fishing gear) adversely impacts demersal longline fisheries for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) and Greenland turbot (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Western Gulf of Alaska. These interactions increase direct costs and opportunity costs associated with catching fish and reduce the profitability of longline fishing in western Alaska. This study synthesizes National Marine Fisheries Service observer data, National Marine Fisheries Service sablefish longline survey and fishermen-collected depredation data to: 1) estimate the frequency of killer whale depredation on longline fisheries in Alaska; 2) estimate depredation-related catch per unit effort reductions; and 3) assess direct costs and opportunity costs incurred by longliners in western Alaska as a result of killer whale interactions. The percentage of commercial fishery sets affected by killer whales was highest in the Bering Sea fisheries for: sablefish (21.4%), Greenland turbot (9.9%), and Pacific halibut (6.9%). Average catch per unit effort reductions on depredated sets ranged from 35.1–69.3% for the observed longline fleet in all three management areas from 1998–2012 (p<0.001). To compensate for depredation, fishermen set additional gear to catch the same amount of fish, and this increased fuel costs by an additional 82% per depredated set (average $433 additional fuel per depredated set). In a separate analysis with six longline vessels in 2011and 2012, killer whale depredation avoidance measures resulted in an average additional cost of $494 per depredated vessel-day for fuel and crew food. Opportunity costs of time lost by fishermen averaged $522 per additional vessel-day on the grounds. This assessment of killer whale depredation costs represents the most extensive economic evaluation of this issue in Alaska to date and will help longline fishermen and managers consider the costs and benefits of depredation avoidance and alternative policy solutions.


Spatial overlap of Black-browed albatrosses with longline and trawl fisheries in the Patagonian Shelf during the non-breeding season

Incidental mortality in fisheries is the main at-sea threat albatrosses are facing nowadays. In this study we used remote sensing techniques to model the degree of spatial overlapping between the Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) and Argentine fisheries, assuming this as a proxy of risk for albatrosses. Eleven tags were deployed on albatrosses during the non-breeding seasons 2011 and 2012 in the Patagonian Shelf. Their distribution overlapped to different extent with the two coastal trawl, three offshore trawl and one demersal longline fisheries. The overlap index showed highest values with both coastal fleets, followed by the ice-chilling trawl fleet. These intersections were located in the Argentine-Uruguay Common Fishing Zone, in coastal areas of the SE of Buenos Aires province, El Rincón estuary and over the shelf break. The analysis of intersections of focal areas from albatrosses and all fisheries allowed us the identification of thirty-four fishing management units (1° by 1° grid within the Argentine EEZ) classified as of medium, high or very high conservation priority. Very high priority units were placed between 35 and 38°S in the external mouth of Rio de la Plata, and between 45 and 47°S in neighboring waters East to the hake fishing closure. Although possible biases due to the limited number of tracked birds and the locations where albatrosses were captured and instrumented, the information presented in this study provides a comprehensive picture of important areas of overlapping during winter that could be used by the fishery administration to prioritize conservation actions under limited resource scenarios.


Contemporary fisheries stock assessment: many issues still remain

Interpretation of data used in fisheries assessment and management requires knowledge of population (e.g. growth, natural mortality, and recruitment), fisheries (e.g. selectivity), and sampling processes. Without this knowledge, assumptions need to be made, either implicitly or explicitly based on the methods used. Incorrect assumptions can have a substantial impact on stock assessment results and management advice. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding of these processes for most, if not all, stocks and even for processes that have traditionally been assumed to be well understood (e.g. growth and selectivity). We use information content of typical fisheries data that is informative about absolute abundance to illustrate some of the main issues in fisheries stock assessment. We concentrate on information about absolute abundance from indices of relative abundance combined with catch, and age and length-composition data and how the information depends on knowledge of population, fishing, and sampling processes. We also illustrate two recently developed diagnostic methods that can be used to evaluate the absolute abundance information content of the data. Finally, we discuss some of the reasons for the slowness of progress in fisheries stock assessment.


Evaluation of a fishing captain's ability to predict species composition, sizes, and quantities of tunas associated with drifting fish-aggregating devices in the eastern Pacific Ocean

Experiments were conducted to evaluate a fishing captain's ability to predict species composition, sizes, and quantities of tunas associated with drifting fish-aggregating devices (FADs), before encirclement with a purse-seine net. Operating in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean, during 11 May–23 July 2011, Captain Ricardo Diaz detected small quantities of bigeye (Thunnus obesus) and yellowfin (Thunnus albacares) tunas within large FAD-associated aggregations dominated by skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis). The captain's predictions were significantly related to the actual total catch and catch by species, but not to size categories by species. His predictions of species composition were most accurate when estimates of bigeye and yellowfin tuna were combined. If purse-seine captains are able to make accurate predictions of the proportion of bigeye and yellowfin tunas present in mixed-species aggregations associated with FADs, managers may wish to consider incentives to fishers to reduce the fishing mortality on those species.


Understanding emerging discourses of Marine Spatial Planning in the UK

This paper investigates the emergence of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) through Rhetorical Analysis of three UK marine policy documents. The analysis focuses on the rhetorical presentation of key MSP policy documents located within the previous Government period and seeks to reveal the rationality of how MSP was constructed at that time. This highlights the assumptions and ideologies emerging from this area of Government regulation and suggests that MSP reveals a discourse that may be aligned with New Labour and that bears the hallmarks of post-political environmental consensus. The findings of the analysis allow us to understand the significance of MSP's emergence and to question the future of MSP within a new political context.


Predicting the occurrence of rocky reefs in a heterogeneous archipelago area with limited data

The lack of spatial distribution data on marine habitats often presents an obstacle to their protection. The Annex I of the Habitats Directive (European Council Directive 92/43/EEC) lists habitats that are important in biodiversity protection and should be maintained (or restored) to a favourable conservation status. The habitats listed should be protected within an ecological network of protected areas, the Natura 2000 network. However, in the past the establishment of the marine Natura 2000 network has been largely based on insufficient knowledge on the distribution of the habitats. Annex I habitat type reefs are defined as formations of hard compact biogenic or geogenic substrata, which arise from the seafloor in the sublittoral and littoral zone. As obtaining marine data is time-consuming and costly, the bathymetric and substratum data needed for their identification on a larger scale are often scarce. Furthermore, the use of data may be limited due to e.g. national security reasons. This study identifies reefs in a complex archipelago area in the northern Baltic Sea using the best, although limited, data currently available. In the area reefs are elevated rocky outcrops and the associated algal communities and blue mussel beds are vital in maintaining biodiversity in the relatively species poor Baltic Sea. In addition to identifying the physical reef structures, an estimate of their ecological value is obtained by modelling the distribution of four key species occurring on reefs. The results are encouraging, as 55 out of 68 of the potential reefs ground-truthed were confirmed to be reefs. Furthermore the number of predicted species occurring on the reefs, correlated significantly with the number of species observed. The presented maps serve as a valuable background for more detailed mapping of the species diversity occurring on reefs as well as for monitoring their ecological status. Map-based information on important habitats is essential in conservation and marine spatial planning to minimize human impact on marine ecosystems.


Coastal management in South Africa: Historical perspectives and setting the stage of a new era

The coastal environment represents a critical interface of human activity, socio-economic influence and ecological diversity. It is estimated that the coastal environment supports some 30% of the world's population and provides a range of social and economic benefits. Use of the coastal environment is ever increasing due to its attractiveness for recreation and leisure actives, holiday homes and retirement. As a result, the coastal environment is constantly under pressure and management actions, policies and legislation need to ensure the protection of this unique environment. South Africa is considered to be the third most biodiverse country in the world, largely linked to coastal and marine diversity with a number of Marine Protected Areas (MPA). This rich biodiversity needs to be carefully managed while also meeting the needs of South Africans with regards to access to coastal and marine resources. To date management of the South African coast has been governed by various statutes and access to the coast and its resources has been affected by historical spatial planning and socio-political conditions. To facilitate a more holistic management the newly promulgated Integrated Coastal Management Act (Act 24 of 2008) is an attempt to better manage coastal resources to protect coastal assets and functionality. The ICM Act is inherently dynamic, attempting to tackle the interlinked problems of coastal development and conservation. However, to ensure implementation, capacity challenges and historical fragmented governance structures need to be addressed.


Marine environmental governance networks and approaches: Conference report

The development of maritime law and policy is one of the most important tasks for nation States. The implications of globalisation and the importance of the rule of law, the protection of maritime rights and interests and the marine environment should be realised through effective, reasonable and equitable legal systems, within which both public and private law can be utilised to deal with the wide range of marine governance challenges. In October 2013, Shandong University School of Law organised with the support of Zhongcheng Renhe Law Firm the “2013 International Conference on Marine Environmental Governance” to bring together academics, policy makers and maritime law practitioners to examine developments and dispute resolution mechanisms in this field of research. We provide a brief report of the key issues discussed during the workshop which may assist in developing better understanding of ocean governance approaches in different regions and their application to decision-making processes.


Surviving Coral Bleaching Events: Porites Growth Anomalies on the Great Barrier Reef

Mass coral bleaching affected large parts of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in 1998 and 2002. In this study, we assessed if signatures of these major thermal stress events were recorded in the growth characteristics of massive Porites colonies. In 2005 a suite of short (<50 cm) cores were collected from apparently healthy, surviving Porites colonies, from reefs in the central GBR (18–19°S) that have documented observations of widespread bleaching. Sites included inshore (Nelly Bay, Pandora Reef), annually affected by freshwater flood events, midshelf (Rib Reef), only occasionally affected by freshwater floods and offshore (Myrmidon Reef) locations primarily exposed to open ocean conditions. Annual growth characteristics (extension, density and calcification) were measured in 144 cores from 79 coral colonies and analysed over the common 24-year period, 1980–2003. Visual examination of the annual density bands revealed growth hiatuses associated with the bleaching years in the form of abrupt decreases in annual linear extension rates, high density stress bands and partial mortality. The 1998 mass-bleaching event reduced Porites calcification by 13 and 18% on the two inshore locations for 4 years, followed by recovery to baseline calcification rates in 2002. Evidence of partial mortality was apparent in 10% of the offshore colonies in 2002; however no significant effects of the bleaching events were evident in the calcification rates at the mid shelf and offshore sites. These results highlight the spatial variation of mass bleaching events and that all reef locations within the GBR were not equally stressed by the 1998 and 2002 mass bleaching events, as some models tend to suggest, which enabled recovery of calcification on the GBR within 4 years. The dynamics in annual calcification rates and recovery displayed here should be used to improve model outputs that project how coral calcification will respond to ongoing warming of the tropical oceans.


Coastal Capital: Ecosystem Valuation for Decision Making in the Caribbean

This guidebook details the steps in conducting a coastal ecosystem valuation to inform decision making in the Caribbean. It guides valuation practitioners—both economists and non-economists—through the three phases of a valuation effort (scoping, analysis and outreach), with an emphasis on stakeholder engagement in all phases.

Coastal ecosystems are valuable to people and economies across the Caribbean, but are threatened by human pressures. Ecosystem valuation can make the economic case for protection of coastal ecosystems, but in many cases valuation studies have had a limited impact on decision making regarding coastal resource use in the Caribbean. Drawing on the lessons learned from coastal valuations that have successfully informed decision making in the Caribbean, this guidebook leads valuation practitioners through the three phases of a valuation effort to inform decision making:

  1. Scoping
  2. Analysis
  3. Outreach and Use of Results.

Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health: Workshop Summary

Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health discusses the connection of ecosystem services and human health. This report looks at the state of the science of the role of oceans in ensuring human health and identifies gaps and opportunities for future research. The report summarizes a workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine's Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine. Participants discussed coastal waters and ocean ecosystem services in the United States in an effort to understand impacts on human health. Understanding the Connections Between Coastal Waters and Ocean Ecosystem Services and Human Health focuses on key linkages by discussing the ecosystem services provided by coastal waterways and oceans that are essential for human health and well-being; examining the major stressors that affect the ability of coastal waterways and ocean systems to provide essential services; and considering key factors that can enhance the resiliency of these systems.


Repair and revitalisation of Australia׳s tropical estuaries and coastal wetlands: Opportunities and constraints for the reinstatement of lost function and productivity

Tropical fisheries are in decline around world as a result of diverse anthropogenic threats. These threats are intimately linked to biodiversity and conservation values because of the heavy dependence of both fisheries and high value marine and coastal wetlands on coastal ecosystem health. Consequently, if the widespread degradation of coastal ecosystems can be halted and remediated, there are substantial benefits to fisheries output, ecosystem resilience, food security, livelihoods, recreation and the protection of ecological assets of national and global significance. The extent, intactness and quality of Australia׳s tropical coastal ecosystems has declined markedly since European settlement, due to the cumulative impact of many small encroachments and local barrier construction on the extent and productivity of coastal wetlands, mangroves and seagrass meadows. Additionally, coastal ecosystem dependent biota has been excluded from large areas of critical habitats. Despite these changes, coastal fisheries show no clear declines that could not be explained by changes in effort. This lack of detectable decline is probably partly attributable to the short history of available fisheries catch data. However, it is also likely that it reflects the offsetting of lost natural productivity by greatly increased anthropogenic nutrient loads; a substantial problem as governments are committed to large scale, long term efforts to reduce discharges of nutrients to coastal waters. This possibility underlines the importance of rejuvenating lost coastal productivity. Evaluation of past remediation efforts show that documented success is rare, due to a complex of factors including ineffective prioritisation, a lack of necessary knowledge and resources, and inefficient monitoring and evaluation. Past experiences from Australia׳s tropics and around the world, together with current ecological understanding, suggests some generally desirable characteristics to enhance the likelihood of successful remediation and repair actions.


Incorporating ecosystem services in marine planning: The role of valuation

This paper scrutinises the use of ecosystem service valuation for marine planning. Lessons are drawn from the development and use of environmental valuation and cost-benefit analysis for policy-making in the US and the UK. Current approaches to marine planning in both countries are presented and the role that ecosystem service valuation could play in this context is outlined. This includes highlighting the steps in the marine planning process where valuation can inform marine planning and policy-making as well as a discussion of methodological challenges to ecosystem service valuation techniques in the context of marine planning. Recommendations to overcome existing barriers are offered based on the synergies and the thinking in the two countries regarding the application of ecosystem service valuation to marine planning.


Trajectory economics: Assessing the flow of ecosystem services from coastal restoration

Monetized estimates of ecosystem services are increasingly cited as partial justification for a wide range of environmental restoration initiatives, yet parallel applications of these values in performance assessment have been limited. Incorporated into traditional economic models, such values can offer potential insight on programmatic efficiency and help to inform policy tradeoffs within and between competing methods. For this analysis, acreage trajectories and cost functions are developed for dredge- and diversion-based land reclamation methods in coastal Louisiana, USA. Benefit–cost models are constructed from which ecosystem service values are initially derived via break-even analysis and then specified to inform comparative case studies. Results indicate that the minimum service value required to offset project expenditures is typically higher for “natural” diversion-based restoration relative to “rapid” dredge-based methods under historic project conditions. Accounting for climatological and socioeconomic risks widens this gap, with benefit–cost ratios for dredge-based reclamation exceeding that of diversions in 16 benefit–cost simulations conducted over a 50-year project horizon. Taken together, these results highlight the influence of time and risk in the assessment of competing project alternatives, and suggest the need to reframe restoration efficiency in terms of the aggregate flow of ecosystem services, versus the per unit costs of terminal stocks.


Producing regional production multipliers for Irish marine sector policy: A location quotient approach

Economic activity does not exist in a vacuum. Activities in the marine sector not only directly affect the industries in the sector but also influence other sectors through inter-sectoral linkages. Recent research in Ireland has estimated the impact of inter-sectoral linkages of the marine sector at the national level via production multipliers. However, the importance of the marine sector on regional economies has been well established. Disaggregating the national Input-Output table using location quotients has become widely accepted as a quantitative method for regional impact assessment of industry performance. Using a relatively novel location quotient, the FLQ, this paper produces a set of regional production multipliers for ten marine based sectors for the Border, Midland and West (BMW) region and the South East (SE) region in Ireland. A final analysis, using the regionalised marine production multipliers provides a preliminary case study for the potential of a seafood cluster in the BMW region. Whilst concluding comments offer an insight into how the LQ method may be used to develop a strategy for the multi-sectoral Irish marine sector.


Overcoming the challenges of data scarcity in mapping marine ecosystem service potential

Ecosystem services (ES) are a valuable way of defining the benefits derived from natural resources and are essential for balancing human exploitive uses with the preservation of natural capital. In marine ecosystems real world application of ES theory is hindered by inadequate knowledge of the distribution of communities and habitats and the ecosystem functions that they provide. Here, we present a new approach for mapping ecosystem service potential for multiple services when the details necessary for full quantification are unobtainable. By defining services from a series of principles based on current ecological understanding and linking these to marine biophysical parameters, we developed ecosystem service maps for the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. These maps were verified by statistical comparisons to available ecological information in well studied areas in the region. Such maps allow planners, managers and stakeholders to explicitly consider ES in ecosystem-based management (EBM) including marine spatial planning (MSP). Our approach provides a systems perspective, by emphasising connectivity between processes and locations and highlighting the potential range of trade-offs available for multi-objective management of marine systems.


Ecological Footprint: Implications for biodiversity

In October 2010, world leaders gathered in Nagoya, Japan, for the CBD COP10 and agreed on the adoption of new biodiversity targets and new indicators for the period 2011–2020. This represents a positive development. But given the previous failure in achieving the 2010 biodiversity targets, new approaches to implementation as well as relevant measuring and monitoring systems are needed, for this renewed effort to have lasting success in preserving biodiversity.

The need to adopt a comprehensive approach in monitoring biodiversity clearly emerged and it can be seen in the five strategic goals within which the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity targets are classified. Among them, is the strategic goal A, which aims to address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society. The aim of this paper is to describe the role of the Ecological Footprint in tracking human-induced pressures on biodiversity thus providing a synthesis of how the Ecological Footprint tool can contribute to the advancement of conservation science. Information is provided on the main features of the Footprint indicator and its dataset, the ongoing work to improve the methodology as well as the geographical (more than 150 countries covered) and temporal coverage (a period of almost five decades) of the Ecological Footprint accounting tool.


Prevalence of External Injuries in Small Cetaceans in Aruban Waters, Southern Caribbean

Aruba, located close to the coasts of Colombia and Venezuela, is one of the most densely populated islands in the Caribbean and supports a wide range of marine-related socio-economic activities. However, little is known about the impacts of human activities on the marine environment. Injuries in marine mammals can be used to examine interactions with human activities and identify potential threats to the survival of populations. The prevalence of external injuries and tooth rake marks were examined in Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) (n = 179), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) (n = 76) and false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) (n = 71) in Aruban waters using photo identification techniques. Eleven injury categories were defined and linked to either human-related activities or natural causes. All injury categories were observed. In total, 18.7% of all individuals had at least one injury. Almost half (41.7%) of the injuries could be attributed to human interactions, of which fishing gear was the most common cause (53.3%) followed by propeller hits (13.3%). Major disfigurements were observed in all three species and could be attributed to interactions with fishing gear. The results of this study indicate that fishing gear and propeller hits may pose threats to small and medium-sized cetaceans in Aruban waters. Thus, long-term monitoring of population trends is warranted. Shark-inflicted bite wounds were observed in Atlantic spotted dolphin and bottlenose dolphin. Bite wounds of cookie cutter sharks (Isistius sp.) were recorded in all three species, and include the first documented record of a cookie cutter shark bite in Atlantic spotted dolphin. This is one of the few studies which investigates the prevalence of injuries in cetaceans in the Caribbean. Further study is necessary to determine to which extent the injuries observed in Aruba affect the health and survival of local populations.


Histopathological Muscle Findings May Be Essential for a Definitive Diagnosis of Suspected Sharp Trauma Associated with Ship Strikes in Stranded Cetaceans

Ship strikes are a major issue for the conservation of may cetacean species. Certain gross and microscopic criteria have been previously reported for establishing a diagnosis of death due to ship strikes in these animals. However, some ship-strike injuries may be masked by advanced carcass decomposition and may be undetectable due to restricted access to the animals. In this report we describe histopathological muscular findings in 13 cetaceans with sharp trauma from ship strikes as the cause of death. Skeletal muscle samples were taken from the incision site and from the main locomotor muscle, the longissimus dorsi, in areas not directly affected by the sharp injury. The microscopic findings in tissues from both sites mainly consisted of haemorrhages; oedema; flocculent, granular or/and hyalinised segmentary degeneration; contraction band necrosis; and discoid degeneration or fragmentation of myofibres. We propose that skeletal muscle histopathology provides evidence of ante-mortem injuries even if the sample was taken elsewhere in the carcass and not only within or adjacent to the sharp trauma site and despite the advanced decomposition of some of the carcasses. This method helps to establish the diagnosis of ship strike as the cause of death.


Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystem production in societies dependent on fisheries

Growing human populations and changing dietary preferences are increasing global demands for fish, adding pressure to concerns over fisheries sustainability. Here we develop and link models of physical, biological and human responses to climate change in 67 marine national exclusive economic zones, which yield approximately 60% of global fish catches, to project climate change yield impacts in countries with different dependencies on marine fisheries. Predicted changes in fish production indicate increased productivity at high latitudes and decreased productivity at low/mid latitudes, with considerable regional variations. With few exceptions, increases and decreases in fish production potential by 2050 are estimated to be <10% (mean +3.4%) from present yields. Among the nations showing a high dependency on fisheries, climate change is predicted to increase productive potential in West Africa and decrease it in South and Southeast Asia. Despite projected human population increases and assuming that per capita fish consumption rates will be maintained, ongoing technological development in the aquaculture industry suggests that projected global fish demands in 2050 could be met, thus challenging existing predictions of inevitable shortfalls in fish supply by the mid-twenty-first century. This conclusion, however, is contingent on successful implementation of strategies for sustainable harvesting and effective distribution of wild fish products from nations and regions with a surplus to those with a deficit. Changes in management effectiveness and trade practices will remain the main influence on realized gains or losses in global fish production.


Ocean thermal energy resources in Colombia

Colombia's exclusive location surrounded by the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea and the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean make it a suitable region for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). These are systems that can produce significant amounts of renewable electricity. From the assessment of the temperature gradient and the bathymetric, environmental and socio-economical characteristics, the maritime area around the island of San Andres (in the northwestern Caribbean Sea) was found to be ideal for an OTEC facility since sea surface temperature varies only slightly during annual and interannual timescales. The thermal difference encountered from the surface to a depth of 1000 m is always around 22°–24 °C and cold waters are available for intake at around 450–750 m, within a short horizontal distance from the coast (less than 2.5 km). At these depths, the 20 °C thermal gradient required for OTEC operations is achieved. Furthermore, winds, waves and surface currents around the island are of relatively weak intensity. Presently, energy sources based entirely on Diesel generators are inducing negative impacts on the sustainable development of the region and on the fragile marine ecosystem. An environmentally friendly 10 MW OTEC facility could be part of future energy and water management solutions for the island. It would cover nearly 50% of total electricity demands and provide important additional advantages such as chilled soil agriculture, aquaculture, freshwater, mariculture and seawater air conditioning.


Insights into the Ocean Health Index for marine renewable energy

Several nations around the world start to consider marine renewable energy (MRE) to be an alternative energy to sustainable development. The utilisation of the ocean includes common interests for food provision, artisanal fishing opportunity, natural products, carbon storage, coastal protection, tourism and recreation, coastal livelihoods and economies, sense of place, clean waters and biodiversity. An index is required to relate the marine renewable energy industry to ocean healthiness quantitatively. The Ocean Health Index (OHI) recently published in Nature measures the healthiness of the ocean within 171 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). This study identified several data gaps and suggests improvements for the treatment of MRE in OHI calculations. It is suggested to include MRE effects under pressure (pi) or resilience (ri) variables based on the MRE technology type, stage of operation and its effects on OHI goals. The study suggests the OHI may be a suitable indicator to monitor MRE developments after fully including the components of MRE. Policy makers can use the improved OHI to balance the various multiple-competing activities in maritime spatial planning.