Improving the efficiency of management in protected areas is imperative in a generalized context of limited conservation budgets. However, this is overlooked due to flaws in problem definition, general disregard for cost information, and a lack of suitable tools for measuring costs and management quality. This study describes an innovative methodological framework, implemented in the web application SIGEIN, focused on maximizing the quality of management against its costs, establishing an explicit justification for any decision. The tool integrates, with this aim, a procedure for prioritizing management objects according to a conservation value, modified by a functional criterion; a project management module; and a module for management of continuous assessment. This appraisal associates the relevance of the conservation targets, the efficacy of the methods employed, both resource and personnel investments, and the resulting costs. Preliminary results of a prototypical SIGEIN application on the Site of Community Importance Chafarinas Islands are included.
We assessed the temporal evolution of vegetation activity of mangroves in the Southeastern coastal of the Gulf of California (Mexico) through a multi-temporal analysis of Landsat TM images from 1990 to 2010 where time series of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were obtained. A multivariate regression analysis showed the presence of statistically significant negative trends of NDVI (low vegetation activity) in the coverage of mangrove forest, mangrove forest with pickleweed, and pickleweed; however, we did not found any meteorological variable (built time series of average minimum and maximum temperatures, and of accumulated rainfall) that controlled the observed trends. A pixel-by-pixel spatially distributed analysis of the temporal trends of NDVI, complemented by digitalization through photo interpretation of the shrimp farms present in the study area, showed a spatial relationship between the zones of greatest loss of vegetation activity (1990–2010) and the areas with greater proliferation of shrimp farms in the study area. Our study demonstrated the applicability of NDVI for the environmental assessment of mangroves. The relationship between changes in remote sensing indices and environmental variables allows for an efficient evaluation of the main environmental impacts, which can be used for coastal planning and management.
Estimation of at-sea discards is an issue that has received considerable attention worldwide. With this increasing focus, there is a need for greater precision of weight estimates for less common and fishery-limiting species. While one solution is to mandate full (100%) observer coverage to reduce uncertainty in estimation at the trip level, variance from on-deck sampling methods (e.g. within-haul) should also be properly addressed. Commercial fishing vessels are not perfect sampling platforms and all sampling methods suffer from implementation issues that potentially impact the quality of the data collected and the resulting estimates. We conducted a cooperative study with industry to evaluate two observer sampling methods on trawl vessels delivering their catch to shoreside processors. The alternative observer sampling method that targets the portion of the haul that would be discarded directly at-sea, relying on shoreside reports of retained catch to generate total catch estimates, was tested against the standard methods currently used by the NMFS North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program that sample the entire catch, both retained and discarded portions (combined). Methods were tested simultaneously by deploying two observers to sample each haul on study trips within three Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries that varied widely in amount and species composition of discards: Rockfish Program, arrowtooth flounder, and shallow water flatfish. Although the alternative method was successfully implemented in two of the three fisheries, logistical constraints decreased sampling effectiveness in the third. In some situations, observers were unable to collect multiple samples under both methods, preventing variance estimation. This occurred more often for the observer using standard methods. Detection of less common and rare species was higher using the alternative sampling method. Discard estimates from the two methods were found to be significantly different in two of the fisheries examined (Rockfish Program and arrowtooth flounder). Discard estimates under the alternative method tended to have smaller variances than for the standard method, although this was not universally the case. These results provide an important comparison of the relative performance of different on-deck sampling methods under varying catch conditions and fisheries.
The continental margin off the northeastern United States (NEUS) contains numerous, topographically complex features that increase habitat heterogeneity across the region. However, the majority of these rugged features have never been surveyed, particularly using direct observations. During summer 2013, 31 Remotely-Operated Vehicle (ROV) dives were conducted from 494 to 3271 m depth across a variety of seafloor features to document communities and to infer geological processes that produced such features. The ROV surveyed six broad-scale habitat features, consisting of shelf-breaching canyons, slope-sourced canyons, inter-canyon areas, open-slope/landslide-scar areas, hydrocarbon seeps, and Mytilus Seamount. Four previously unknown chemosynthetic communities dominated by Bathymodiolus mussels were documented. Seafloor methane hydrate was observed at two seep sites. Multivariate analyses indicated that depth and broad-scale habitat significantly influenced megafaunal coral (58 taxa), demersal fish (69 taxa), and decapod crustacean (34 taxa) assemblages. Species richness of fishes and crustaceans significantly declined with depth, while there was no relationship between coral richness and depth. Turnover in assemblage structure occurred on the middle to lower slope at the approximate boundaries of water masses found previously in the region. Coral species richness was also an important variable explaining variation in fish and crustacean assemblages. Coral diversity may serve as an indicator of habitat suitability and variation in available niche diversity for these taxonomic groups. Our surveys added 24 putative coral species and three fishes to the known regional fauna, including the black coral Telopathes magna, the octocoral Metallogorgia melanotrichosand the fishes Gaidropsarus argentatus, Guttigadus latifrons, and Lepidion guentheri. Marine litter was observed on 81% of the dives, with at least 12 coral colonies entangled in debris. While initial exploration revealed the NEUS region to be both geologically dynamic and biologically diverse, further research into the abiotic conditions and the biotic interactions that influence species abundance and distribution is needed.
Extracting power from the tide is a potential avenue for renewable energy production but is also a significant engineering challenge. This challenge has many different aspects but the basic problem is the hydrodynamic problem of converting the movement of the ocean into mechanical power. This paper presents a review of some of the hydrodynamic modelling techniques which can be used to model tidal barrages and tidal turbines. The analysis of these is broken down into different length scales, ranging from a single device, to an array of devices, and up to regional scales. As well as discussing modelling techniques some of the hydrodynamic problems, such as resource assessment and efficiency of power generation, are discussed.
Conservation actions generally benefit some groups more than others, and this inequity is thought to affect the probability of achieving conservation objectives. This has led to the common assumption that triple bottom line solutions – those that are effective, efficient, and equitable – are best and most likely to achieve each individual objective. Although this may be true, it has been little tested, and importantly lacks a conceptual foundation for understanding, predicting and evaluating how equity affects conservation outcomes. We describe types of equity relevant to conservation and explore how they may affect the probability of successfully achieving conservation outcomes. Depending on the equity type and context, the relationship between equity and conservation success varies. We find that the best conservation outcome is often achieved without perfect equity; highlighting the risk of ignoring the relationship between equity and success. We offer a conceptual foundation for better addressing this important issue in future research and application.
The proclamation of a marine protected area by David Miliband in the Chagos Archipelago in 2010 triggered a complaint of infringement of sovereignty by Mauritius and a human rights claim by dispossessed Chagossians. It also faced criticism by academia and the UK media. In March 2015, a Tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration investigated the Mauritian claim. In a majority decision, the Tribunal found that Mauritius was legally disabled from pursuing its sovereignty claim but through estoppel the UK Government was required to fulfil its obligations contained in an undertaking given before independence. This included requirements for the return of the Archipelago once it is no longer needed for defence, mineral rights and historic fishing rights. It called for the proclamation to be revoked. The majority of the Tribunal found no link to the exclusion of the Chagossians. It provides useful insight on the development of large marine parks.
Increasing clarity about plastic-waste leakage volumes and the waste’s effects on the ecosystem, as well as new information about solution economics and action levers—together with emerging private-sector, government, and multilateral support—makes this a good time to elevate the agenda for reducing leakage from the global plastic value chain.
This study outlines a path that can generate considerable benefits to communities, preserve the bioproductivity of the ocean, and reduce risks for industry. It shows that, over the next ten years, concerted action in the form of a $5 billion annual ramp-up in waste-management spending could create a vibrant secondary resource market, trigger investment in packaging and recovery systems, and let the ocean thrive. The drivers of the ocean plastic-reduction agenda should convene and jointly define the architecture of such a global program, the actors who should be involved, and the funds required to drive a flagship initiative that stands for a new, collaborative, and effective way of addressing this global challenge.
Tourism accounts for 9% of global GDP and comprises 1.1 billion tourist arrivals per annum. Visits to wildlife tourist attractions (WTAs) may account for 20–40% of global tourism, but no studies have audited the diversity of WTAs and their impacts on the conservation status and welfare of subject animals. We scored these impacts for 24 types of WTA, visited by 3.6–6 million tourists per year, and compared our scores to tourists’ feedback on TripAdvisor. Six WTA types (impacting 1,500–13,000 individual animals) had net positive conservation/welfare impacts, but 14 (120,000–340,000 individuals) had negative conservation impacts and 18 (230,000–550,000 individuals) had negative welfare impacts. Despite these figures only 7.8% of all tourist feedback on these WTAs was negative due to conservation/welfare concerns. We demonstrate that WTAs have substantial negative effects that are unrecognised by the majority of tourists, suggesting an urgent need for tourist education and regulation of WTAs worldwide.
Managing the pathways by which non-native species are introduced and spread is considered the most effective way of preventing species invasions. Tourism and outdoor recreation involve the frequent congregation of people, vehicles and vessels from geographically diverse areas. They are therefore perceived to be major pathways for the movement of non-native species, and ones that will become increasingly important with the continued growth of these sectors. However, a global assessment of the relationship between tourism activities and the introduction of non-native species–particularly in freshwater and marine environments–is lacking. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the impact of tourism and outdoor recreation on non-native species in terrestrial, marine and freshwater environments. Our results provide quantitative evidence that the abundance and richness of non-native species are significantly higher in sites where tourist activities take place than in control sites. The pattern was consistent across terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments; across a variety of vectors (e.g. horses, hikers, yachts); and across a range of taxonomic groups. These results highlight the need for widespread biosecurity interventions to prevent the inadvertent introduction of invasive non-native species (INNS) as the tourism and outdoor recreation sectors grow.