In this chapter, I describe existing international and regional rules on marine protected areas (MPAs), which are established to protect marine living resources and the marine ecosystem, including habitat, fauna and flora. First, I explain the international legal framework, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and relevant regulations adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO); second, I explain European Union (EU) law, which prescribes MPAs; third, I briefly mention the legal framework for protecting the marine environment in Japan and fourth, I attempt to clarify the limitations of the existing legal framework from an implementation perspective and briefly mention the actions that could be taken for effective protection of the marine environment.
Fish escaping from net pens have always been considered a major source of socioeconomic and ecological issues entitling high economic loses for farmers. Local artisanal fisheries have proved the ability to mitigate escape events by recapturing escapees, but its effectiveness has always been questioned. However, the knowledge regarding the interaction of large scale escape events and local fisheries remains scant. The recapture dynamics of a massive escape of nearly 100 tones taking place in Western Mediterranean was analysed. The artisanal fishery showed efficient in recapturing escaped fish as 64.7% of the escaped biomass was recovered. The spatial distribution of escaped gilthead seabream along the shore was studied as well as the efficiency of the fishing fleet distinguishing between fishing gears. The recapture of escaped fish showed well correlated with the distance to the escape point. Moreover, a high recapture success (64.7%) was registered being fish traps (53.8%) more efficient in recovering escapees than nets (10.9%). Concluding, management implications and data-based measures to be implemented on further regulations of escape events are discussed.
Seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) mining will likely occur at hydrothermal systems in the near future. Alongside their mineral wealth, SMS deposits also have considerable biological value. Active SMS deposits host endemic hydrothermal vent communities, whilst inactive deposits support communities of deep water corals and other suspension feeders. Mining activities are expected to remove all large organisms and suitable habitat in the immediate area, making vent endemic organisms particularly at risk from habitat loss and localised extinction. As part of environmental management strategies designed to mitigate the effects of mining, areas of seabed need to be protected to preserve biodiversity that is lost at the mine site and to preserve communities that support connectivity among populations of vent animals in the surrounding region. These “set-aside” areas need to be biologically similar to the mine site and be suitably connected, mostly by transport of larvae, to neighbouring sites to ensure exchange of genetic material among remaining populations. Establishing suitable set-asides can be a formidable task for environmental managers, however the application of genetic approaches can aid set-aside identification, suitability assessment and monitoring. There are many genetic tools available, including analysis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences (e.g. COI or other suitable mtDNA genes) and appropriate nuclear DNA markers (e.g. microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms), environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques and microbial metagenomics. When used in concert with traditional biological survey techniques, these tools can help to identify species, assess the genetic connectivity among populations and assess the diversity of communities. How these techniques can be applied to set-aside decision making is discussed and recommendations are made for the genetic characteristics of set-aside sites. A checklist for environmental regulators forms a guide to aid decision making on the suitability of set-aside design and assessment using genetic tools. This non-technical primer document represents the views of participants in the VentBase 2014 workshop.
This paper reports findings derived from two samples, each of which numbered over 400 respondents. The first was of divers and the second of whale watchers, and both samples were from the Azores, a major diving and whale watching tourist location in the northeast Atlantic ocean. Distinctions were made between generalists and specialists in the recreational activities with the objective of assessing differences in perceptions and behaviors. While there are commonalities in concerns over environmental issues distinct differences were found. The findings also question previous studies that suggest higher degrees of involvement are related to greater frequencies of a given activity. With reference to the passive activity of whale watching no such relationship was found, but the behaviors of divers are consistent with such hypotheses, and it is suggested that the requirement for training is one determining factor that reinforces involvement as people become more specialized and skilled.
Current bathymetric models for the South China Sea (SCS) are largely based on predicted depths from gravity and sparse single-beam echo-sounder measurements. Such models lack high-resolution coastlines and shallow-water bottom features around atolls and islands. This study refines the gravity field of the SCS using sea surface heights from measurements of satellite altimeter Geosat/GM, ERS-1/GM, Jason-1/GM and the original Cryosat-2. A new one-minute gravity anomaly grid is determined. The modeled gravity anomalies show a 6-mgal RMS discrepancy with shipborne measurements in shallow waters. An altimeter-only bathymetric model is derived from the new gravity grid by the gravity-geological method that uses the latest global and regional models of the ocean depth and marine gravity as a priori knowledge. The new model outperforms current SCS bathymetric models and is accurate to 100 m, based on comparison with multi-beam depth measurements. Optical images from IKONOS-2, QuickBird-2, GeoEye-1, WorldView-1-2 and -3, are rectified and digitized to derive the zero (coastline) and 20-m depth contours (reef lines) around 44 atolls, which are integrated with the altimeter-only depths, giving significantly improved accuracies and spatial resolutions in modeled depths. The improvement percentages of coastlines by the satellite imagery range from 50% to 97% at 41 of the 44 atolls. We establish a webpage for free access to the optical and depth images, and the depth and gravity grids. We will continue to update satellite images, altimeter-derived gravity grids and bathymetric models over major atolls of the SCS.
Ecosystem changes currently question the traditional allocation of fishing rights and quotas in the fishery of Northeast Atlantic mackerel and Norwegian spring-spawning herring in the Northeast Atlantic. Variability in the distribution of these highly migratory species escalated in a political conflict between member states of the European Union, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway, which is a driving force for unsustainable fishery. The aim of this paper is to investigate this conflict by outlining the social understandings of diverse stakeholders by using the Q methodology. The method reduced the complexity of numerous opinions, detected four distinct perspectives and simultaneously categorised the participating stakeholders. Although the perspectives differ in various elements, the protection of economic interests seems to dominate over the quest for sustainability. The call of all stakeholders in this study to clarify the fishing rights in the Northeast Atlantic reveals a clear deficiency of the current international fishery management in handling abrupt ecological changes and the necessity to acknowledge this as a complex adaptive system.
Despite the growing consensus in the applicability of the ecosystem services (ES) approach to marine resource management, its incorporation into real life decision-making remains insufficient. This paper provides the first bottom up consultation about research priorities of marine ES. This paper surveyed 404 marine ES practitioners globally with the aim of identifying the key research priorities for marine ES to determine crucial knowledge gaps that need to be addressed. The results of this study show that topics related to Linking ES and wellbeing, and Integrating economics, natural and social sciences into ecosystem services assessments are the most important research issues. The research done also indicate that questions concerning the interplay between ecosystems and people were found to be more important than instrumental questions. By identifying and prioritizing research questions this study will help to inform research-funding agencies, governments, and research units seeking to concentrate their financial and human resources on the challenges that require urgent attention, and to enhance the complementarity and minimize duplication of research efforts in the marine ES research community. This study provides the basis for developing a practice-oriented marine ES research agenda.
The expanse of ocean designated as marine protected areas (MPAs) has increased considerably, particularly since the 1990s. Most MPAs are situated close to shore where small-scale fishermen access resources for nutritional and economic security, which may potentially create adverse effects on local livelihoods. This paper draws from the results of fourteen-months of fieldwork conducted on the Caribbean islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina, Colombia, focused on identifying fishermen’s livelihood approaches and determining the variables that influence their decision to accept or reject conservation programs. Findings suggest that fishermen deliberately diversify their livelihoods, ensuring resiliency when faced with fluctuations in marine resources and, more recently, resource management policies. In addition, it finds that trust in local government institutions is the variable that most shapes fishermen’s acceptance of MPAs.
In 1997, Robert Costanza and his colleagues published a groundbreaking study  that estimated the monetary value of the contribution of the world's ecosystems to human wellbeing. The methods used were cited as preliminary and received considerable criticism  and . In two more recent peer-reviewed studies  and , the authors update the original estimates of ecosystem service value and find: (1) that original per area ecosystem service values were underestimated and (2) using these revised per area values, the total global value of ecosystem services has declined. Just under ninety-five percent of the estimated loss in ecosystem service value comes from revisions by the authors in the value estimates of marine ecosystem services. These revisions include additional per area value estimates of coral reefs and coastal wetlands that are many times the value of estimates used in the original analysis. The reasons cited by Costanza et al. for the increases in revised value estimates are examined and rejected. The data are found to be insufficient for a rigorous estimate of the global value of marine ecosystems services.
Spatially explicit information on species distributions for conservation planning is invariably incomplete; therefore, the use of surrogates is required to represent broad-scale patterns of biodiversity. Despite significant interest in the effectiveness of surrogates for predicting spatial distributions of biodiversity, few researchers have explored questions involving the ability of surrogates to incidentally represent unknown features of conservation interest. We used the Great Barrier Reef marine reserve network to examine factors affecting incidental representation of conservation features that were unknown at the time the reserve network was established. We used spatially explicit information on the distribution of 39 seabed habitats and biological assemblages and the conservation planning software Marxan to examine how incidental representation was affected by the spatial characteristics of the features; the conservation objectives (the minimum proportion of each feature included in no-take areas); the spatial configuration of no-take areas; and the opportunity cost of conservation. Cost was closely and inversely correlated to incidental representation. However, incidental representation was achieved, even in a region with only coarse-scale environmental data, by adopting a precautionary approach that explicitly considered the potential for unknown features. Our results indicate that incidental representation is enhanced by partitioning selection units along biophysical gradients to account for unknown within-feature variability and ensuring that no-take areas are well distributed throughout the region; by setting high conservation objectives that (in this case >33%) maximize the chances of capturing unknown features incidentally; and by carefully considering the designation of cost to planning units when using decision-support tools for reserve design. The lessons learned from incidental representation in the Great Barrier Reef have implications for conservation planning in other regions, particularly those that lack detailed environmental and ecological data.