The first international goal for establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve the ocean’s biodiversity was set in 2002. Since 2006, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has driven MPA establishment, with 193 parties committed to protecting >10% of marine environments globally by 2020, especially ‘areas of particular importance for biodiversity’ (Aichi target 11). This has resulted in nearly 10 million km2 of new MPAs, a growth of ~360% in a decade. Unlike on land, it is not known how well protected areas capture marine biodiversity, leaving a significant gap in our understanding of existing MPAs and future protection requirements. We assess the overlap of global MPAs with the ranges of 17,348 marine species (fishes, mammals, invertebrates), and find that 97.4% of species have <10% of their ranges represented in stricter conservation classes. Almost all (99.8%) of the very poorly represented species (<2% coverage) are found within exclusive economic zones, suggesting an important role for particular nations to better protect biodiversity. Our results offer strategic guidance on where MPAs should be placed to support the CBD’s overall goal to avert biodiversity loss. Achieving this goal is imperative for nature and humanity, as people depend on biodiversity for important and valuable services.
As part of implementing the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA), the UK Government undertook an ambitious program of stakeholder-led site selection projects from 2009–2011 to designate a network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This process resulted in a list of 127 proposed MCZs designed to conserve biodiversity and reconcile socioeconomic concerns, however, citing budgetary constraints and evidence-related issues, the UK Government has proceeded with a tranche approach, designating far fewer sites than stakeholders had expected. Concerned with the Government's lack of progress on the MCZ process, Parliament conducted two inquiries, highlighting problems with the Government's approach. In addition, public confidence in the participative process has eroded, with particular despair expressed by participants in the regional projects, who invested considerable time and effort in the site-selection process. This outcome has implications not only for the UK's future coastal and marine planning, but also with regard to the implementation of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. Drawing on interviews with participants in the consultation process, this paper examines the role of stakeholder participation in the UK MCZ site selection process, in particular how well the UK Government implemented its obligations under the Aarhus Convention, and the meaning of “participation” in a climate of political change and budgetary constraint.
The Regional Workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a Tool for Responsible Fisheries and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Caribbean took place in Christ Church, Barbados, on 6–8 November 2014, in conjunction with the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) 67th Annual Conference. The workshop was organized as part of a series of regional workshops on the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries on MPAs and Fisheries. In the Caribbean, MPAs are widely used as a tool for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. The workshop focused on discussing the role of MPAs in the context of fisheries management. It concluded with a number or recommendations on how to make future MPA planning and management more effective.
Although numerous IFQ programs include active participation measures intended to retain or transition fishing privileges to active fishermen, there has been limited research on the efficacy of these measures. This study addresses this gap by examining the impacts of active participation measures in the Alaska halibut and sablefish IFQ program, which were intended to provide for an ultimate transition of the catcher vessel fleets in these fisheries to becoming fully individual-owned and owner-operated. This paper shows that the effectiveness of these measures has been mixed and constrained by apparently strong incentives for many initial recipients of quota shares to effectively lease their annual IFQ allocations (through the use of hired skippers) rather than to sell their quota shares. Perhaps most problematic is the emergence of a class of wholly absentee quota shareholders, who hold only nominal interest in the vessel upon which their IFQ is fished, do not share in the risk of fishing, and continue to profit from the fishery while residing far away from the actual fishing grounds. There is also anecdotal evidence of differing cultural contexts for hired skipper use and second-generation entry between the Seattle and Alaska-based fleets in the Alaska halibut and sablefish fisheries. Wherein acting as a hired skipper may be analogous to an apprenticeship that facilitates quota share acquisition in the Seattle fleet, Alaskan hired skippers may be more analogous to strict lessees, who ultimately compete for quota shares in a market that includes initial recipients and second-generation shareholders both of whom were gifted quota shares.
No-take zones (NTZ) provide an effective tool for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management. Increases in abundance and biomass within NTZs, with spillover effects to adjacent areas, have been documented. However, most studies occurred at highly connected sites near regions that can replenish the NTZ. In this study we assess NTZ effects within the Mona Island marine protected area (MPA), located within the Mona Passage, a partial biogeographic barrier. We used the robust asymmetrical before-after-control-impact (BACI) design to evaluate changes in population size for fishery target species four years after designation. Data on fish abundance and size were collected within randomly placed belt transects and roving surveys. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA) and similarity percentages (SIMPER) were used to detect changes in the coral reef fish assemblage and structure. Responses in abundance and biomass were calculated at different levels of the assemblage grouped by body size or ontogenetic stage. Additionally, univariate models provided insight on the magnitude and direction of NTZ effects. Results indicate significant increases in locations both open and closed to fishing, predominantly in the abundance of small-sized species and early life stages suggesting a recruitment signal. Significant distinctive performance within two locations was observed, with one showing a higher contribution of medium and large-sized species over time. Mona Island's MPA is apparently achieving its goals of fish stock restoration despite its isolation, although more time, enforcement and monitoring are essential to confirm these trends.
Salmons raised in aquaculture farms around the world are increasingly subjected to sub-optimal environmental conditions, such as high water temperatures during summer seasons. Aerobic scope increases and lipid metabolism changes are known plasticity responses of fish for a better acclimation to high water temperature. The present study aimed at investigating the effect of high water temperature on the regulation of fatty acid metabolism in juvenile Atlantic salmon fed different dietary ARA/EPA ratios (arachidonic acid, 20:4n-6/ eicosapentaenoic acid, 20:5n-3), with particular focus on apparent in vivo enzyme activities and gene expression of lipid metabolism pathways. Three experimental diets were formulated to be identical, except for the ratio EPA/ARA, and fed to triplicate groups of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) kept either at 10°C or 20°C. Results showed that fatty acid metabolic utilisation, and likely also their dietary requirements for optimal performance, can be affected by changes in their relative levels and by environmental temperature in Atlantic salmon. Thus, the increase in temperature, independently from dietary treatment, had a significant effect on the β-oxidation of a fatty acid including EPA, as observed by the apparent in vivo enzyme activity and mRNA expression of pparα -transcription factor in lipid metabolism, including β-oxidation genes- and cpt1 -key enzyme responsible for the movement of LC-PUFA from the cytosol into the mitochondria for β-oxidation-, were both increased at the higher water temperature. An interesting interaction was observed in the transcription and in vivo enzyme activity of Δ5fad–time-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis pathway of EPA and ARA. Such, at lower temperature, the highest mRNA expression and enzyme activity was recorded in fish with limited supply of dietary EPA, whereas at higher temperature these were recorded in fish with limited ARA supply. In consideration that fish at higher water temperature recorded a significantly increased feed intake, these results clearly suggested that at high, sub-optimal water temperature, fish metabolism attempted to increment its overall ARA status -the most bioactive LC-PUFA participating in the inflammatory response- by modulating the metabolic fate of dietary ARA (expressed as % of net intake), reducing its β-oxidation and favouring synthesis and deposition. This correlates also with results from other recent studies showing that both immune- and stress- responses in fish are up regulated in fish held at high temperatures. This is a novel and fundamental information that warrants industry and scientific attention, in consideration of the imminent increase in water temperatures, continuous expansion of aquaculture operations, resources utilisation in aquafeed and much needed seasonal/adaptive nutritional strategies.
Reef corals typically contain a number of pigments, mostly due to their symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic dinoflagellates. These pigments usually vary in presence and concentration and influence the spectral characteristics of corals. We studied the variations in pigment composition among seven Caribbean shallow-water Scleractinian corals by means of High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis to further resolve the discrimination of corals. We found a total of 27 different pigments among the coral species, including some alteration products of the main pigments. Additionally, pigments typically found in endolithic algae were also identified. A Principal Components Analysis and a Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed the separation of coral species based on pigment composition. All the corals were collected under the same physical environmental conditions. This suggests that pigment in the coral’s symbionts might be more genetically-determined than influenced by prevailing physical conditions of the reef. We further investigated the use of remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) as a tool for estimating the total pigment concentration of reef corals. Depending on the coral species, the Rrs and the total symbiont pigment concentration per coral tissue area correlation showed 79.5–98.5% confidence levels demonstrating its use as a non-invasive robust technique to estimate pigment concentration in studies of coral reef biodiversity and health.
Marine reserves are becoming progressively more important as anthropogenic impacts continue to increase, but we have little baseline information for most marine environments. In this study, we focus on the Oceanic Shoals Commonwealth Marine Reserve (CMR) in northern Australia, particularly the carbonate banks and terraces of the Sahul Shelf and Van Diemen Rise which have been designated a Key Ecological Feature (KEF). We use a species-level inventory compiled from three marine surveys to the CMR to address several questions relevant to marine management: 1) Are carbonate banks and other raised geomorphic features associated with biodiversity hotspots? 2) Can environmental (depth, substrate hardness, slope) or biogeographic (east vs west) variables help explain local and regional differences in community structure? 3) Do sponge communities differ among individual raised geomorphic features? Approximately 750 sponge specimens were collected in the Oceanic Shoals CMR and assigned to 348 species, of which only 18% included taxonomically described species. Between eastern and western areas of the CMR, there was no difference between sponge species richness or assemblages on raised geomorphic features. Among individual raised geomorphic features, sponge assemblages were significantly different, but species richness was not. Species richness showed no linear relationships with measured environmental factors, but sponge assemblages were weakly associated with several environmental variables including mean depth and mean backscatter (east and west) and mean slope (east only). These patterns of sponge diversity are applied to support the future management and monitoring of this region, particularly noting the importance of spatial scale in biodiversity assessments and associated management strategies.