Q methodology provides a novel, quantitative approach to reveal stakeholder perspectives and was used to assess social acceptance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with fisheries and conservation management goals using the Devon & Severn region, UK as a case study site. Participants sorted a set of statements (n=42) into a forced-choice frequency distribution and centroid analysis revealed three factors for interpretation: (1) ‘pro-conservation’, characterised by views that conservation should be prioritised over commercial and economic interests; (2) ‘pro-fisheries’ who saw fishing as the priority and expressed concerns over the uncertainty of management measures and the number of planned MPAs; and (3) ‘win–win’ who felt that the current approach to marine management using MPAs would allow both fisheries and conservation goals to be met. Despite some differences in opinion, social acceptability of MPAs was identified across all three discourses, but was limited by the knock-on effects of the exclusion of stakeholders from the implementation of MPAs and the development of management measures. This resulted in disenfranchisement and uncertainty over the future of their activities. The results suggest that social acceptability of MPAs is generated by effective and ongoing stakeholder engagement, transparency and honesty relating to the costs and benefits of designations and a certainty that once sites are in place the resources exist for their effective management. Understanding social acceptability will guide adaptive management and increase the chances of MPA success and the meeting of global targets.
This first survey of fish in the Betty's Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA), on the south coast of South Africa, was conducted using baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs). A total of 58 deployments recorded 42 species in 20 km2, including reef, kelp and sand habitats in protected and exploited zones, at between 5 and 40 m depth. Chondrichthyans accounted for 28% of diversity. Teleost diversity was dominated by Sparidae, Cheilodactylidae, Sciaenidae and Ariidae. Diversity (H′) was highest in kelp and lowest over sand. Species composition differed among habitat and depths, but protection had no effect. Among four commercial species, only Pachymetopon blochii responded positively to protection. The apparent failure of protection may attest to poor compliance, but an investigation into fish size might show an effect. Many species were detected at the western extreme of their range. Diversity in Betty's Bay was predictably lower than in the more eastward Stilbaai MPA, but also lower than in the westward Table Mountain National Park MPA. Fish diversity did not follow a linear increase eastwards from Cape Point. Betty's Bay includes the most easterly protected kelp forests and contains seven species not recorded in the other two areas, and is therefore an important element in the MPA network.
Management of human activities which impact the seafloor in the deep ocean is becoming increasingly important as bottom trawling and exploration for minerals, oil, and gas continue to extend into regions where fragile ecosystems containing habitat-forming deep-sea corals and sponges may be found. Spatial management of these vulnerable marine ecosystems requires accurate knowledge of their distribution. Predictive habitat suitability modelling, using species presence data and a suite of environmental predictor variables, has emerged as a useful tool for inferring distributions outside of known areas. However, validation of model predictions is typically performed with non-independent data. In this study, we describe the results of habitat suitability models constructed for four deep-sea reef-forming coral species across a large region of the South Pacific Ocean using MaxEnt and Boosted Regression Tree modelling approaches. In order to validate model predictions we conducted a photographic survey on a set of seamounts in an un-sampled area east of New Zealand. The likelihood of habitat suitable for reef-forming corals on these seamounts was predicted to be variable, but very high in some regions, particularly where levels of aragonite saturation, dissolved oxygen, and particulate organic carbon were optimal. However, the observed frequency of coral occurrence in analyses of survey photographic data was much lower than expected, and patterns of observed versus predicted coral distribution were not highly correlated. The poor performance of these broad-scale models is attributed to lack of recorded species absences to inform the models, low precision of global bathymetry models, and lack of data on the geomorphology and substrate of the seamounts at scales appropriate to the modelled taxa. This demonstrates the need to use caution when interpreting and applying broad-scale, presence-only model results for fisheries management and conservation planning in data poor areas of the deep sea. Future improvements in the predictive performance of broad-scale models will rely on the continued advancement in modelling of environmental predictor variables, refinements in modelling approaches to deal with missing or biased inputs, and incorporation of true absence data.
Under climate change, sea-level rise and increasing storm surge intensity will increase the likelihood of floods for low-lying coastal areas. Therefore, Coastal Flood Vulnerability Assessments (CFVA) are necessary to inform decision making for coastal management, where applicable. Two types of tools, hydrodynamic models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), are commonly employed for these evaluations. Using Pigeon Point, Southwest Tobago, as a case study, this paper compares the application of both to determine the best approach for CFVA that can be used to guide coastal management. For hydrodynamic modelling, available and surveyed data on bathymetry, topography and tides along with current and future estimates of mean sea-level were used to create a structured and an unstructured grid model via the LISFLOOD-FP and TELEMAC-2D codes, respectively. For the GIS assessment, a coastal digital elevation model was developed using the same data on bathymetry and elevation. These models were used to project the present and future impact of storm surges on coastal flood extent at Pigeon Point. Outputs generated were compared and analysed within a GIS. Using predictions from TELEMAC-2D (full shallow water equations) as the baseline for comparison, average results acquired revealed that projections generated by all three models were consistent (less than 5.00% difference in flood predictions). To add certainty to the modelling results, all models were used to simulate an observed spring high tide event for model validation purposes. The Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) was calculated as an indication of model performance. RMSE values indicated that all models were consistent and matched well to the field observations. However, further analysis revealed that inherent in the use of GIS for CFVA is hydraulic connectivity issues due to exclusion of flow dynamics, which leads to over-estimation in flood extent. Acknowledging the theory that over-estimation leads to over-management, it is suggested that hydrodynamic models are better suited for detailed CFVA, while GIS can be used rapidly as a potential indicator of flood exposure for large sites.
Assessing and mapping impacts or pressures of human activities on coastal region help managers and policy makers have insight about the degree and magnitude of human influence, thus important in decision making of management practice, e.g. rationalize spatial distribution or management of human industry. In this research, a methodology for assessing and mapping pressures of a variety of human activities was described. The intensity of each activity at its source was obtained based on a stepwise logic decision process. Then the pressure of each human activity on the coastal area was calculated based on weighted distance from the activity by spatial analysis tools in Geographic Information System (GIS). Considering different types and pressures of activities, a weighting factor for each activity was determined through analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Finally maps of multiple pressures were combined into a single cumulative human impact on coastal regions. The methodology was applied to Jiaozhou Bay and results showed that human activities impact almost every part of the bay. Spatially, the pressure intensity in the east and northeast part were the highest due to a variety of intensive human activities surrounding this part. Pressures caused by sewage/riverine discharge, anchor ground and urbanization were relatively high among all the human pressures. Coastal management authorities should bear in mind that population and industry in the east and northeast coast of Jiaozhou Bay may already be saturated and call for more rationalized distribution of human activities for the whole Jiaozhou Bay.
Future climate change is likely to increase the frequency of coastal storms and floods, with major consequences for coastal transport infrastructure. This paper assesses the extent to which projected sea-level rise is likely to impact upon the functioning of the Dawlish to Teignmouth stretch of the London to Penzance railway line, in England. Using a semi-empirical modelling approach, we identify a relationship between sea-level change and rail incidents over the last 150 years and then use model-based sea-level predictions to extrapolate this relationship into the future. We find that days with line restrictions (DLRs) look set to increase by up to 1170%, to as many as 84–120 per year, by 2100 in a high sea-level rise scenario (0.55–0.81 m). Increased costs to the railway industry deriving from maintenance and line restrictions will be small (£ millions) in comparison with damage caused by individual extreme events (£10s of millions), while the costs of diversion of the railway are higher still (£100s of millions to billions). Socio-economic costs to the region are likely to be significant although they are more difficult to estimate accurately. Finally, we explain how our methodology is applicable to vulnerable coastal transport infrastructure worldwide.
Hydrophiine (true) sea snakes are large predatory live-bearing marine reptiles. Australia is a biodiversity hotspot for true sea snakes with almost half of the ~ 70 extant species (including 11 endemics). Two Australian endemics, Aipysurus foliosquama and Aipysurus apraefrontalis, were listed as Critically Endangered (CR) under IUCN Red List (2010) criteria and Australia's Threatened Species Legislation (2011) due to their restricted geographic ranges being < 10 km2 (i.e. Ashmore and Hibernia Reefs, Timor Sea), from where they disappeared between 1998 and 2002. However, museum and anecdotal records suggested that these species might also occur in coastal locations of Western Australia (WA). We used intensive field surveys, habitat data, and molecular genetics to document the first unequivocal records of living A. foliosquama (n = 16) and A. apraefrontalis (n = 7) since they were listed as Critically Endangered, in coastal WA. Our data significantly increases the known geographic range and habitats of A. foliosquama, to include seagrass meadows in subtropical Shark Bay (latitudes 24.5°S to 26.6°S), which is 500 km further south than any previous sighting. Most sea snakes were collected from demersal prawn trawl by-catch surveys, indicating that these species are vulnerable to demersal trawl gear. Nonetheless, the disappearance of these two species from Ashmore Reef (which coincided with extirpations of at least three other sea snake species) could not be attributed to trawling and remain unexplained. Key threatening processes will need to be identified if effective conservation strategies are to be implemented to protect these newly discovered coastal populations of two Critically Endangered species.
A complex balance has arisen between the bluefin tuna, killer whales, and human activities in the Strait of Gibraltar. Recent changes in fishing effort have dramatically decreased tuna stocks, breaking this balance. Killer whales exhibit two strategies for feeding on tuna: active hunting and depredation on a drop-line fishery. From 1999 to 2011, a small community of 39 individuals was observed in the Strait in spring and summer. All individuals displayed active hunting and 18 of them also depredated on the fishery. These differences in foraging behaviour influenced life-history parameters. Adult survival for interacting and non-interacting individuals was estimated at 0.991 (SE = 0.011) and 0.901 (SE = 0.050), respectively. Juvenile survival could only be estimated for interacting individuals as 0.966 (SE = 0.024), because only one juvenile and one calf were observed among non-interacting individuals. None of the interacting calves survived after 2005, following the decrease in drop-line fishery catches. Calving rate was estimated at 0.22 (SE = 0. 02) for interacting individuals and 0.02 (SE = 0. 01) for non-interacting. Calving interval, which could only be calculated for interacting groups, was 7 years. The population growth rate was positive at 4% for interacting individuals, and no growth was observed for non-interacting individuals. These differences in demographic parameters could be explained by access to larger tuna through depredation. Consequently, we found that whales would need more tuna to cover their daily energy requirements while actively hunting. Therefore, our findings suggest an effect of artificial food provisioning on their survival and reproductive output. Urgent actions are needed to ensure the conservation of this, already small, community of killer whales. These include its declaration as Endangered, the implementation of a conservation plan, the creation of a seasonal management area where activities producing underwater noise (i.e. military exercise, seismic surveys or even whale watching activities) are forbidden from March to August, and the promotion of bluefin tuna conservation. Additionally, energetic requirements of this whale community should be taken into account when undertaking ecosystem-based fishery management for the Atlantic bluefin tuna stock. In the meantime, as marine predators are most sensitive to changes in fish abundance when prey abundance is low, we suggest an urgent short-term action. Artisanal fisheries, such as drop-lines, should be promoted instead of purse seiners in the Mediterranean Sea. This will help to maintain the survival and reproductive output of the whale community until showing clear signs of recovery and stability, and/or their prey stock recovers.
A regional fisheries stakeholder assessment identified key regional issues and trends facing marine capture fisheries in Southeast Asia, as well as identifying relevant considerations and strategies in potentially addressing such regional issues and trends. The analysis provided a better understanding of the interplay between stakeholders;identifying key points of influence as well as strengths and weaknesses within the framework of promoting sustainable fisheries in a multistakeholder context. Several strategies are presented on how to address the priority issues and threats that face marine capture fisheries in the Southeast Asian region.
he suite of species taken by artisanal fishers targeting tuna often includes species caught in the larger industrial tuna fisheries, leading to concerns that industrial fisheries may reduce local fish availability and consequently impact upon artisanal catch rates. This study provides supporting evidence that industrial purse-seine fisheries may impact upon artisanal and subsistence fishers. A tagged population of skipjack and yellowfin tuna of known size was monitored through time and the probability of recapture was used as a measure of interaction with the industrial purse-seine fisheries. The probability of recapture was positively associated with areas where relative purse-seine fishing effort was higher. The results indicate that skipjack and yellowfin tuna may have longer residency times in nearshore habitats than in open ocean habitats. Lower recapture probabilities in areas currently closed to purse-seine fishing provided empirical evidence that area closures for industrial fisheries may assist with the management of artisanal fisheries. Finally the results suggest that the proximity to industrial purse-seine fishing may also be an important component for decision makers when planning and evaluating the performance of artisanal fisheries in the western Pacific region.