A moratorium on further bivalve leasing was established in 1999–2000 in Prince Edward Island (Canada). Recently, a marine spatial planning process was initiated explore potential mussel culture expansion in Malpeque Bay. This study focuses on the effects of a projected expansion scenario on productivity of existing leases and available suspended food resources. The aim is to provide a robust scientific assessment using available datasets and three modelling approaches ranging in complexity: (1) a connectivity analysis among culture areas; (2) a scenario analysis of organic seston dynamics based on a simplified biogeochemical model; and (3) a scenario analysis of phytoplankton dynamics based on an ecosystem model. These complementary approaches suggest (1) new leases can affect existing culture both through direct connectivity and through bay-scale effects driven by the overall increase in mussel biomass, and (2) a net reduction of phytoplankton within the bounds of its natural variation in the area.
Although it is one of the major threats to sandy beach ecosystems, the impact of harvesting on marine invertebrates is poorly understood, especially considering that recreational harvesting is practiced with little or no management on beaches worldwide. Current management strategies not only target economically valuable resources and focus on biological aspects of harvested populations, but they also tend to neglect socioeconomic information such as the profile, behavior, consumption characteristics of harvesters and their perception of threats to their activities, all of which are little studied. This study evaluated the social aspects of harvesting of the clam Tivela mactroides, based on semi-structured interviews carried out at Caraguatatuba Bay, São Paulo, Brazil, during two sampling periods between 2003 and 2008. This cultural activity has continued for decades, with the continual entry of new harvesters, and the harvesters’ profile and methods varied little over time. Clammers do not depend economically on the resource, use clams mainly for family consumption, harvest them with low frequency, prefer free time periods (for subsistence) and invest little in developing more-efficient harvesting strategies, such as criteria for selecting the harvesting area and more-efficient tools. The clammers showed little awareness of the problems related to harvesting of T. mactroides and the risks associated with its consumption, despite local threats such as episodes of poor water quality and oil spills. Changes in stock abundance did not affect the socioeconomic profile or collecting behavior of clammers, and there was no evidence that harvesting pressure affects fluctuations in the clam stock. An alternate ecosystem-based management approach could include improvement of environmental quality, to guarantee food security for low-income families and food safety for all consumers, instead of traditionally employed resource-based restrictive practices, since clam collecting in Caraguatatuba Bay is a low-impact socio-cultural activity. These findings emphasize that managers of subsistence and recreational activities should not focus only on the potential environmental problems caused by exploitation, but may also benefit from understanding the harvesters, harvesting procedure and consumption estimates, as well as the sociocultural role of and threats to these activities.
A core task in endangered species conservation is identifying important habitats and managing human activities to mitigate threats. Many marine organisms, from invertebrates to fish to marine mammals, use acoustic cues to find food, avoid predators, choose mates, and navigate. Ocean noise can affect animal behavior and disrupt trophic linkages. Substantial potential exists for area-based management to reduce exposure of animals to chronic ocean noise. Incorporating noise into spatial planning (e.g., critical habitat designation or marine protected areas) may improve ecological integrity and promote ecological resilience to withstand additional stressors. Previous work identified areas with high ship noise requiring mitigation. This study introduces the concept of “opportunity sites” — important habitats that experience low ship noise. Working with existing patterns in ocean noise and animal distribution will facilitate conservation gains while minimizing societal costs, by identifying opportunities to protect important wildlife habitats that happen to be quiet.
Despite decades of monitoring global reef decline, we are still largely unable to explain patterns of reef deterioration at local scales, which precludes the development of effective management strategies. Offshore reefs of the Florida Keys, USA, experience milder temperatures and lower nutrient loads in comparison to inshore reefs yet remain considerably more degraded than nearshore patch reefs. A year-long reciprocal transplant experiment of the mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) involving four source and eight transplant locations reveals that corals adapt and/or acclimatize to their local habitat on a <10-km scale. Surprisingly, transplantation to putatively similar environmental types (e.g., offshore corals moved to a novel offshore site, or along-shore transplantation) resulted in greater reductions in fitness proxies, such as coral growth, than cross-channel transplantation between inshore and offshore reefs. The only abiotic factor showing significantly greater differences between along-shore sites was daily temperature range extremes (rather than the absolute high or low temperatures reached), providing a possible explanation for this pattern. Offshore-origin corals exhibited significant growth reductions at sites with greater daily temperature ranges, which explained up to 39% of the variation in their mass gain. In contrast, daily temperature range explained at most 9% of growth variation in inshore-origin corals, suggesting that inshore corals are more tolerant of high-frequency temperature fluctuations. Finally, corals incur trade-offs when specializing to their native reef. Across reef locations the coefficient of selection against coral transplants was 0.07 ± 0.02 (mean ± SE). This selection against immigrants could hinder the ability of corals to recolonize devastated reefs, whether through assisted migration efforts or natural recruitment events, providing a unifying explanation for observed patterns of coral decline in this reef system.
Does membership in industry associations affect whether firms extend beyond their traditional markets? I use a data set from a survey of U.S. shellfishermen and empirically examine the relationship between membership in associations and participation in new markets. Traditionally, shellfishermen have been growing and harvesting shellfish for human consumption. However, some shellfishermen also engage in alternative revenue-generating environmental projects such as coastal restoration, clean-up, and research. Drawing on the organizational literature on associations and economic sociology literature, I test hypotheses about whether associations contribute to generating value and promoting cooperation among their members thus fulfilling requirements for a new market to emerge. I find that shellfishermen who are members of industry associations are more likely to participate in alternative revenue-generating activities and derive revenues from environmental projects. I argue that industry associations play an important role in firms’ decisions to pursue new markets by contributing to creating value and promoting cooperation.
Ecosystem management (EM) suffers from linguistic uncertainty surrounding the definition of “EM” and how it can be operationalized. Using fisheries management as an example, we clarify how EM exists in different paradigms along a continuum, starting with a single-species focus and building towards a more systemic and multi-sector perspective. Focusing on the specification of biological and other systemic reference points (SRPs) used in each paradigm and its related regulatory and governance structures, we compare and contrast similarities among these paradigms. We find that although EM is a hierarchical continuum, similar SRPs can be used throughout the continuum, but the scope of these reference points are broader at higher levels of management. This work interprets the current state of the conversation, and may help to clarify the levels of how EM is applied now and how it can be applied in the future, further advancing its implementation.
Eco-certifications have become an important site of power struggles in commodity sectors such as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture, palm oil, and soy. In each, multiple eco-certification initiatives have been developed and resisted through interactions among non-governmental organizations, governments, and commercial actors. This paper contributes to understanding how power is embodied in certifications by exploring how territoriality manifests in the international struggle over defining what products are ‘sustainable’ and which producers will have access to markets that require ‘sustainable’ products. Focusing on the wild capture fisheries sector in which the non-governmental Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) administers the preeminent eco-certification initiative, we explore the emergence of new fisheries eco-certification initiatives in Japan, Iceland, Alaska, Canada, and the US that insist there is no transnational monopoly on judgments over fisheries sustainability. We argue that these new eco-certifications attempt to defend and embed territorial social and regulatory relations of production within the contested domain of transnational sustainability governance. The initiatives accommodate both the territorially embedded material interests, institutions, and discursive strategies of producers (and their state supporting agencies) andtransnationally embedded governance norms for assessing and communicating sustainability. They also counter the globally applicable institutions of the MSC in favor of making space for state and non-state actors to contend with demands for sustainability in the global seafood market by combining place-specific attributes with transnational governance norms.
Stakeholders are presumed to represent different interests for marine and coastal areas with the potential to influence marine protected area planning and management. We implemented a public participation GIS (PPGIS) system in the remote Kimberley region of Australia to identify the spatial values and preferences for marine and coastal areas. We assessed similarities and differences in PPGIS participants (N = 578) using three operational definitions for “stakeholder” based on: (1) self-identified group, (2) self-identified future interests in the region, and (3) participant value orientation that reflects a preferred trade-off between environmental and economic outcomes. We found moderate levels of association between alternative stakeholder classifications that were logically related to general and place-specific participatory mapping behavior in the study region. We then analyzed how stakeholder classifications influence specific management preferences for proposed marine protected areas (MPAs) in the study region. Conservation-related values and preferences dominated the mapped results in all proposed marine reserves, the likely result of volunteer sampling bias by conservation stakeholder interests participating in the study. However, we suggest these results may also reflect the highly politicized process of marine conservation planning in the Kimberley where conservation efforts have recently emerged and galvanized to oppose a major offshore gas development and associated land-based infrastructure. Consistent with other participatory mapping studies, our results indicate that the chosen operational definition for stakeholder group such as group identity versus interests can influence participatory mapping outcomes, with implications for MPA designation and management. Future research is needed to better understand the strengths and limitations of participatory mapping that is framed in stakeholder perspectives, especially when sampling relies heavily on volunteer recruitment and participation methods that appear predisposed to participatory bias. In parallel, practical efforts to ensure that social research efforts such as this are included in MPA planning must remain of the highest priority for scientists and managers alike.
The Delta Works, a series of dams and barriers constructed in the 1960's–1980's changed the estuarine landscape of the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta (SW Netherlands) into more stagnant and disengaged freshwater, brackish water or saltwater lakes. The remaining tidal systems were adapted by building a storm surge barrier in the Oosterschelde and dike reinforcement works along the Westerschelde. The Delta Works brought protection against flooding, but at the same time resulted in environmental and socio-economic problems, such as degradation of ecological quality and ecosystem functioning, disruption of fish migration routes, water and sediment quality problems.
In this study we explore in an integrated, quantitative way the consequences of a number of management options for the Southwest Delta and their implications for the occurrence and distribution of aquatic and estuarine habitats, considering the mutual coherence between the water basins. Five scenarios were evaluated using a 1D hydraulic, water quality and primary production numerical model and GIS habitat mapping. Scenarios vary from small-scale interventions, such as changes in day-to-day management of hydraulic infrastructures or creation of small inlets in dams, feasible in the short term, to restoration of an open delta by removing dams and barriers, as a long term potential. We evaluate the outcomes in relation to the restoration of estuarine dynamics, as this is in policy plans proposed as a generic solution for the current ecological and environmental problems. Net water flow rates show more complex patterns when connectivity between water basins is increased and when sluice management is less strict. Estuarine transition zones and fish migration routes are partly restored, but only fully develop when basins are in open connection with each other. Area of intertidal habitats, tidal flats and tidal marshes, increases in each scenario, ranging between 7 and 83%, 1–56%, and 8–100% respectively, depending on scenario. Large scale infrastructural adaptations are needed to restore estuarine dynamics at large scale.
The use of a 1D numerical model allowed to quantify the effect of different management measures for all water basins simultaneously, but also has its limitations. The model does not resolve more complex processes such as vertical mixing and morphodynamic changes. This requires expert judgment and more detailed 3D modelling.
Sandy beaches offer invaluable services, the overexploitation of which threatens their survival. Management responses may be inappropriate, focussing on limited aspects of beaches and neglecting key characteristics. This study developed and tested a new integrated assessment tool for sandy beaches, using seven recreational South African beaches as case study. The tool was based on a beach description matrix, forming the Beach Description Index; an assessment of beachgoers’ attitude and opinion, forming the Human Dimension Index; and a monetary assessment, forming the Monetary Index. Values for each index were classified according to management attention/recreational favourability, opinion/attitude, and economic value, respectively. The average of the indices formed a Beach Evaluation Index, which was used to rate the performance of and compare the case study beaches. Within limits, the evaluation tool successfully identified management priorities, public concerns, and economic aspects regarding the beaches, all of which can be generalised to other beaches worldwide.