As humanity’s capacity for developing new ways to extract and use resources proliferates, so does its use of ocean space and demand for ocean resources by an ever-growing pool of users. Anticipating disputes from this growth, Washington State initiated the process of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to protect existing uses by minimizing conflicts between current and future uses – most notably renewable energy – along Washington’s coastline. As part of this process, Washington State is currently assessing conflicts between existing and future marine uses, yet no baseline study has assessed the intensity of the current level of spatial and temporal use conflict between current marine users. This paper uses spatial, temporal, and use-intensity data for 27 major marine uses to quantify potential conflict and highlight high- and low-intensity areas within Washington’s MSP study area. A novel Marine Conflict Index (MCI), calculated by combining the degree of spatial and temporal overlap between pairs of uses and accounting for their intensities, is used to evaluate pairwise potential conflicts between uses. The spatial extent of uses varies widely throughout the designated MSP study area. 38 pairs of uses, about 10% of the total, did not overlap spatially and therefore are likely compatible with one another. Temporally the number of uses peaks in July and August and falls to a low during January and February. The MCI identified three important user groups with a substantial degree of potential conflict: commercial fishing with commercial fishing, commercial fishing with Tribal usual and accustomed fishing areas, and commercial fishing with shipping. A cumulative intensity analysis found that medium- to high-intensity use characterized much of the MSP study area, whereas low-intensity use characterized Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Northwestern corner of the MSP study area. By ground truthing results with external evidence of actual conflict, three cases highlight how MCI scores can represent potential conflict to understand compatibilities and actual conflict for marine managers. This report is the first representative use analysis on Washington’s existing marine uses that includes spatial, temporal, and intensity factors, providing a crucial first look at ongoing and potential conflicts between marine uses. These results are intended to inform the Washington MSP process to meet one of its core goals of protecting and preserving existing uses while planning for future uses. Beyond Washington, this study provides a template for examining potential use conflicts that incorporates space, time, and intensity and is applicable for any marine planning process.
lthough the literature surrounding the development of decision support tools (DSTs) has rapidly expanded in recent years, their use in marine spatial planning (MSP) processes remains limited. Tradeoff analysis is considered essential to the MSP process by most implementation guides, but the use of DSTs to conduct tradeoff analysis is rare. Here I identify the barriers to widespread use of DSTs for tradeoff analysis. To inform this objective, I conduct an independent assessment of three DSTs that have been used in MSP in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each. Based on this analysis, I identify weaknesses that may contribute to infrequent use in tradeoff analysis and MSP development. Ultimately, three major barriers are detected: 1) significant data requirements impede institutional capacity to use DSTs; 2) lack of sufficient documentation and information available to practitioners; and 3) outputs that can be difficult to interpret for stakeholders and decision-makers. Because of the barriers identified, practitioners may benefit from using simpler tools as part of a broader stakeholder process.
Environmental managers and planners have become increasingly enthusiastic about the potential of decision support tools (DSTs) to improve environmental decision-making processes as information technology transforms many aspects of daily life. Discussions about DSTs, however, rarely recognize the range of ways software can influence users’ negotiation, problem-solving, or decision-making strategies and incentives, in part because there are few empirical studies of completed processes that used technology. This mixed-methods study—which draws on data from approximately 60 semi-structured interviews and an online survey—examines how one geospatial DST influenced participants’ experiences during a multi-year marine planning process in California. Results suggest that DSTs can facilitate communication by creating a common language, help users understand the geography and scientific criteria in play during the process, aid stakeholders in identifying shared or diverging interests, and facilitate joint problem solving. The same design features that enabled the tool to aid in decision making, however, also presented surprising challenges in certain circumstances by, for example, making it difficult for participants to discuss information that was not spatially represented on the map-based interface. The study also highlights the importance of the social context in which software is developed and implemented, suggesting that the relationship between the software development team and other participants may be as important as technical software design in shaping how DSTs add value. The paper concludes with considerations to inform the future use of DSTs in environmental decision-making processes.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are widely considered as useful tools to achieve both conservation and resource management goals. They have the potential to produce a wide array of positive socio-ecological effects. Their effectiveness, however, varies dramatically. The sources of this variability are numerous and, in some cases, quite well studied. Yet, a significant portion of the variability in MPAs effectiveness still remains unexplained. MPAs, due to a number of intrinsic features, can be considered “organizational systems”, a definition recognizing the fact that 1) their effectiveness can be influenced by their own organizational dimensions and 2) they could be analyzed employing the typical tools provided by ‘Organization Science’ (hereafter OS). Here we analyze the available literature on MPAs on a worldwide scale to explore whether and how the principles of OS have been used as a scientific basis for the evaluation of MPA effectiveness. We found that no study explicitly used a comprehensive OS framework for evaluating effectiveness in the context of MPAs. Just 20 studies considered some organizational dimensions in their analysis (e.g. professionalism of the organization members, vision, goals, strategy and networking), but not in a comprehensive manner. The outputs of our review stress the limited use of the OS methodologies and principles in the context of MPAs so far. We posit that there is a significant potential for new insights in MPA science thanks to a more integrated implementation of an OS framework for the interpretation and improvement of MPA socio-ecological effectiveness.
Simple non-cooperative and cooperative game theory is used to explore the crisis involving the European Union (EU), Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands regarding the size and relative allocation of total allowable catches (TACs) in the mackerel fishery in the Northeast Atlantic. The analysis of the mackerel crisis is based on a statistical estimation of relevant functional relations, and the behavior of the players is explained using a fully specified empirical model. Simple, non-cooperative game theory shows that all players have an incentive to act non-cooperatively, a result that is robust to changes in basic assumptions regarding demand and cost functions. Thus, using the estimated parameters and functions, simple, non-cooperative game theory cannot explain the cooperative behavior of EU and Norway during the mackerel crisis. Simple cooperative game theory shows that no player has an incentive to enter a bargaining agreement by forming coalitions, a prediction that is consistent with the actual behavior of the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands between 2010 and 2014 when no bargaining solution was reached. Therefore, the fact that the EU and Norway entered a bilateral agreement in 2010 and that the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands reached a bargaining solution in 2014 cannot be explained by simple cooperative game theory. However, actual behavior during the mackerel crisis can be explained by opportunity costs, including alternative fishing possibilities and regulations, rather than actual harvest costs, but we do not have information about the opportunity costs of harvesting mackerel.
We apply an integrated and interdisciplinary conceptual framework to assess the potential for uptake of bycatch reduction measures by small-scale fisheries along the Andaman coast and eastern Gulf of Thailand, and in Sabah, Malaysia. Specifically, we characterize the current governance, socio-economic, ecological, and scientific context for marine megafauna bycatch, and identify the enabling and limiting factors to bycatch reduction at each location. Enabling factors are those that motivate or facilitate conservation actions among resource users, managers, and other stakeholders, while limiting factors are those that act as barriers to conservation. We conduct a comparative analysis of the strength of enabling and limiting factors at the two study locations by using a qualitative scoring system. Overall, conditions in Thailand appear to be relatively more supportive of bycatch reduction than Sabah. Many enabling factors, such as community based marine management and positive attitudes towards conservation, occur at the local scale, suggesting potential marine megafauna bycatch reduction approaches can be implemented successfully from the bottom-up. We show that intervention points for reducing marine megafauna bycatch lie within a much broader realm than conventionally considered in bycatch reduction schemes. Effective policies for reducing marine megafauna bycatch thus have to address multifaceted drivers of small-scale fishing behaviour in addition to ecological considerations.
Human-induced changes to land cover and associated strong influence such changes have on sediment delivery to coastal waters are a well-recognized threat to nearshore marine habitats worldwide. Land cover has been commonly used as a proxy to document human alterations on sediment discharges. In the present study, changes in sediment delivery to coastal waters along the coastline of the Ligurian Sea (northwestern Mediterranean Sea) were estimated on the basis of land cover data. This area includes benthic habitats-areas that are very sensitive to water turbidity and sedimentation increase -and warrant protection demonstrated by the establishment of five marine Sites of Community Importance and a Marine Protected Area (Portofino MPA). The principal objectives of the study were to identify changes in soil erosion in multiple basins and estimate the strength of the change over a defined period of time in sediment delivery at the outflow. A combination of Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) model and sediment delivery ratio (SDR) was applied. The strongest changes happened individually in two different basins in the periods 1990–2000 and 2006–2012 meanwhile the period 2000–2006 showed several changes in several basins with less estimated change. This assessment can help to make better coastal-land management decisions for managing or restoring coastal marine ecosystems.
Large brown seaweeds (kelps) form forests in temperate and boreal marine systems that serve as foundations to the structure and dynamics of communities. Mapping the distributions of these species is important to understanding the ecology of coastal environments, managing marine ecosystems (e.g., spatial planning), predicting consequences of climate change and the potential for carbon production. We demonstrate how combining seafloor mapping technologies (LiDAR and multibeam bathymetry) and models of wave energy to map the distribution and relative abundance of seaweed forests of Ecklonia radiata can provide complete coverage over hundreds of square kilometers. Using generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs), we associated observations of E. radiata abundance from video transects with environmental variables. These relationships were then used to predict the distribution of E. radiata across our 756.1 km2 study area off the coast of Victoria, Australia. A reserved dataset was used to test the accuracy of these predictions. We found that the abundance distribution of E. radiata is strongly associated with depth, presence of rocky reef, curvature of the reef topography, and wave exposure. In addition, the GLMM methodology allowed us to adequately account for spatial autocorrelation in our sampling methods. The predictive distribution map created from the best GLMM predicted the abundance of E. radiata with an accuracy of 72%. The combination of LiDAR and multibeam bathymetry allowed us to model and predict E. radiata abundance distribution across its entire depth range for this study area. Using methods like those presented in this study, we can map the distribution of macroalgae species, which will give insight into ecological communities, biodiversity distribution, carbon uptake, and potential sequestration.
Despite the fact that Sustainable Fisheries Management (SFM) has long been proposed internationally, it remains controversial. Practical and successful applications are scarce, especially in developing countries with a recent history of massive overfishing, such as Mexico. Although SFM has been adopted at the highest level of the Mexican legal framework during the last two decades, its successful implementation still faces a series of complex challenges. At present, important changes in the Mexican political regime are at a breaking point, motivating the academic discussion about the national implications of adopting SFM approaches. Through the analysis of a series of deep interviews of key actors, combined with published material, the article illustrates how the fast-track adoption of SFM approaches has fared in a national fisheries context, the current situation being largely dysfunctional with regard to the challenges of SFM. A complicated mixture between unbeaten management and academic vestiges caused the present circumstances of an enhanced but limited fisheries system. The article proposes academic initiatives required to improve the implementation of SFM in Mexico based on an enhanced understanding of domestic historic conditions and challenges.
Concern about the visibility of large infrastructure development often drives public opposition to these projects. However, insufficient analytical tools to assess visibility across a large number of alternate sites prior to siting typically results in the omission of visibility in multi-criteria siting processes, leading to inferior site selection and often costly litigation. This paper presents an approach for deriving visibility maps based on the location and duration of viewing by residents and visitors and demonstrates its use in illuminating tradeoffs by comparing these maps to wind energy value maps in the context of offshore wind energy development in the Northeastern United States.