This article explores the new legal framework for marine spatial planning (msp) in Portugal. The main focus of the analysis is on the drivers of msp processes, the consideration given to existing vs. new uses, and on the evaluation of alternatives, based on the u.s. experience, with a focus on perceptions of u.s. msp practitioners. The Portuguese framework for msp may lead to favoring new uses over existing ones and defines ambiguous criteria for the selection of alternatives that are mostly financial in nature. The article draws attention to the potential environmental, social and economic risks of improperly addressing competing marine uses in the new Portuguese msp framework.
The current hiatus in the establishment of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Antarctic means that other routes to conservation are required. The protection of overseas territories in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic represents one way to advance the initiation of such a network. This review of the physical and biological features of the United Kingdom (U.K.) overseas territories of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is undertaken to estimate the importance of the islands in terms of marine conservation in the Southern Ocean and globally. The economy and management of SGSSI are also analysed, and the question of whether the islands already have sufficient protection to constitute part of an Antarctic network of MPAs is assessed. The SGSSI comprise unique geological and physical features, a diverse marine biota, including a significant proportion of endemic species and globally important breeding populations of marine predators. Regardless of past exploitation of biotic resources, such as seals, whales and finfish, SGSSI would make a significant contribution to biological diversity in an Antarctic network of MPAs. At present, conservation measures do not adequately protect all of the biological features that render the islands so important in terms of conservation at a regional and global level. However, a general lack of data on Antarctic marine ecosystems (particularly needed for SGSSSI) makes it difficult to assess this fully. One barrier to achieving more complete protection is the continuing emphasis on fishing effort in these waters by U.K. government. Other non-U.K. Antarctic overseas territories of conservation importance are also compromised as MPAs because of the exploitation of fisheries resources in their waters. The possible non-use values of SGSSI as well as the importance of ecosystem services that are indirectly used by people are outlined in this review. Technology is improving the potential for management of remote MPAs, particularly in the context of incursion by illegal fishing activities and use of satellite surveillance for enforcement of fisheries and conservation regulations. The conflict between commercial exploitation and conservation of Antarctic marine living resources is explored.
Locally-established marine protected areas (MPAs) have been proven to achieve local-scale fisheries and conservation objectives. However, since many of these MPAs were not designed to form ecologically-connected networks, their contributions to broader-scale goals such as complementarity and connectivity can be limited. In contrast, integrated networks of MPAs designed with systematic conservation planning are assumed to be more effective—ecologically, socially, and economically—than collections of locally-established MPAs. There is, however, little empirical evidence that clearly demonstrates the supposed advantages of systematic MPA networks. A key reason is the poor record of implementation of systematic plans attributable to lack of local buy-in. An intermediate scenario for the expansion of MPAs is scaling up of local decisions, whereby locally-driven MPA initiatives are coordinated through collaborative partnerships among local governments and their communities. Coordination has the potential to extend the benefits of individual MPAs and perhaps to approach the potential benefits offered by systematic MPA networks. We evaluated the benefits of scaling up local MPAs to form networks by simulating seven expansion scenarios for MPAs in the Verde Island Passage, central Philippines. The scenarios were: uncoordinated community-based establishment of MPAs; two scenarios reflecting different levels of coordinated MPA expansion through collaborative partnerships; and four scenarios guided by systematic conservation planning with different contexts for governance. For each scenario, we measured benefits through time in terms of achievement of objectives for representation of marine habitats. We found that: in any governance context, systematic networks were more efficient than non-systematic ones; systematic networks were more efficient in broader governance contexts; and, contrary to expectations but with caveats, the uncoordinated scenario was slightly more efficient than the coordinated scenarios. Overall, however, coordinated MPA networks have the potential to be more efficient than the uncoordinated ones, especially when coordinated planning uses systematic methods.
Recreational boating is an important economic activity that can also represent a powerful source of interference for biological communities. The monitoring of the recreational boating in all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Liguria region was conducted in the 2010 summer season and it allowed to obtain information not provided by any official institution. The collaboration of geographically different MPAs in Liguria has led to the implementation of a monitoring framework of recreational boating, and this has made it possible to develop uniform management strategies for all the Ligurian marine parks. This study identifies the optimal number of boats for each MPAs, the number of boats that can anchor in the various parks without creating any impact on the biocenosis of merit, providing a first characterization of recreational boating in Liguria during the high touristic season and providing management recommendation to each MPAs. Generally, the Ligurian MPAs do not present critical situations, the number of boats in each MPA being below the optimal number, with the exception of Portofino MPA, where in the 12.5 % of monitored days more than 220 boats were counted and the mean density for weekend is 1.19 no boats/ha (4 times higher than weekday). The results confirm the dependence of the boats peaking from the holidays and the months of the summer, but also it highlights other factors that can contribute in the choice of the boaters.
Ocean sustainability is a widespread public concern in Europe, and the issue of fisheries discards is one that is now widely known. With this increase in public awareness comes the need to adapt fisheries management policies to manage issues like fisheries discards that were not previously taken into account. In this context, this study analyses the evolution of the European Union's discard policy since its inception in 2006 until the present day and the events that shaped its current format. It analyses the policy's advantages and disadvantages, and its political, environmental and scientific consequences. It argues that an increase in public awareness, due to public campaigns against fisheries discards, has focused managers' attention onto a symptom of fisheries mismanagement, rather than on its underlying causes of over-exploitation and lack of fisheries control. This has distorted the discussion of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and potentially undermined its provisions relating to discards.
Pollution caused by shipping accidents or by intentional discharge of harmful materials can be transported by currents to locations far from the source, and therefore poses a potential risk to marine protected areas (MPAs). The risk of current-driven pollution to MPAs in the Gulf of Finland is assessed by analysing the paths from 23 surface drifters crossing a major fairway in the western and central parts of the Gulf of Finland. About 2/3 of the drifters entered into one of the MPAs. The majority of drifters reached the Ekenäs Archipelago near the western coast of Finland. The travel time from the fairway to the MPAs ranged from 1.3 days to 36.1 days, suggesting that different processes may be influencing the surface circulation patterns and that the drifters can travel long distances before reaching a MPA.
Subtropical rocky reefs are ecotonal habitats that support unique biodiversity and attract all levels of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) divers. Compared to tropical coral reefs, there have been few studies evaluating the effects of SCUBA diving on these communities. Cape Byron and Solitary Islands marine parks in northern New South Wales include some of the most intensively dived sites in Australia, outside of the Great Barrier Reef. Most of those diving sites are located within management zones that offer the highest level of protection. Contact by divers, or their equipment, is a principal mechanism for chronic impact on benthic life forms. This study tested two levels of intervention over the standard dive briefing to determine their effectiveness for reducing SCUBA-diver contact: (1) targeted pre-dive briefing with specific reference to minimising benthic contact; and (2) direct underwater reinforcement at the time of first contact. Both intervention levels significantly reduced the number of contacts made by divers. The targeted briefing is the easiest and most cost effective to implement and is the least intrusive on the diving experience. The more intensive approach of underwater intervention may be required in more sensitive areas, or for those divers who have been shown to create the majority of damage.
Regime shifts triggered by human activities and environmental changes have led to significant ecological and socioeconomic consequences in marine and terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. Ecological processes and feedbacks associated with regime shifts have received considerable attention, but human individual and collective behavior is rarely treated as an integrated component of such shifts. Here, we used generalized modeling to develop a coupled social–ecological model that integrated rich social and ecological data to investigate the role of social dynamics in the 1980s Baltic Sea cod boom and collapse. We showed that psychological, economic, and regulatory aspects of fisher decision making, in addition to ecological interactions, contributed both to the temporary persistence of the cod boom and to its subsequent collapse. These features of the social–ecological system also would have limited the effectiveness of stronger fishery regulations. Our results provide quantitative, empirical evidence that incorporating social dynamics into models of natural resources is critical for understanding how resources can be managed sustainably. We also show that generalized modeling, which is well-suited to collaborative model development and does not require detailed specification of causal relationships between system variables, can help tackle the complexities involved in creating and analyzing social–ecological models.
The U.S. National Ocean Policy calls for a science- and ecosystem-based approach to comprehensive planning and management of human activities and their impacts on America’s oceans. The Ocean Community in Data.gov is an outcome of 2010–2011 work by an interagency working group charged with designing a national information management system to support ocean planning. Within the working group, a smaller team developed a list of the data categories specifically relevant to marine planning. This set of categories is an important consensus statement of the breadth of information types required for ocean planning from a national, multidisciplinary perspective. Although the categories were described in a working document in 2011, they have not yet been fully implemented explicitly in online services or geospatial metadata, in part because authoritative definitions were not created formally. This document describes the purpose of the data categories, provides definitions, and identifies relations among the categories and between the categories and external standards. It is intended to be used by ocean data providers, managers, and users in order to provide a transparent and consistent framework for organizing and describing complex information about marine ecosystems and their connections to humans.
Assignment problems in quota-managed fisheries are caused by spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the productivity of the stock. If the quota management system is not fully delineated (e.g. harvest rights assigned to particular areas) then fishers will compete with each other and overexploit parts of the fishery where or when the quota unit value is highest (i.e. fishing costs low and/or market price high), leading to economic rent dissipation. This study used experimental economics to assess the effectiveness of fishery temporal closures and income-sharing fishery cooperatives in resolving assignment problems across three different fisheries with varying levels of fisher heterogeneity (i.e. numbers of quota owners and lease quota fishers). While most fisheries were successful in reducing economic rent dissipation under the fishery closure management structure relative to their baseline(s), fisheries characterized by a greater number of lease quota fishers were less effective. This was due to the differential values that lease quota fishers place on the resource relative to quota owners, due to having insecurity of tenure and diminished wealth in having to bid for a quota package and pay for it using their revenue from fishing. Conversely, income-sharing fishery cooperatives were equally successful across all three fisheries in reducing assignment problems relative to their baseline(s). This was because income-sharing created an incentive to coordinate fishing effort, particularly among heterogeneous groups. While requiring further exposition in the field, these experimental results represent a first step in identifying management institutions that may assist fishers under quota management to resolve assignment problems in a dynamic environment.