This paper empirically examines whether and how experiencing climate-related disasters can improve the rural poorfs adaptation to climate change through community-based resource management. Original household survey data in Fiji capture the unique sequence of a tropical cyclone and the establishment of community-based marine protected areas as a natural experiment. The analysis reveals that household disaster victimization increases its support for establishing marine protected areas for future safety nets. Under Fijian traditional consensual institutions, social learning from disaster experience among community members facilitates their collective decision-making for conservation to enhance community resilience to climate shocks.
Study aim and location
Many populations of highly mobile marine fishes, including large sharks, are experiencing declines. The benefits of spatial management zones, such as marine protected areas (MPAs), for such animals are unclear. To help fill this knowledge gap, we examined core habitat use areas (CHUAs) for bull (Carcharhinus leucas), great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) and tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) in relation to specific MPAs and exclusive economic zones (EEZs) in the western North Atlantic Ocean.
Bull, great hammerhead and tiger sharks (N = 86 total) were satellite tagged and tracked in southern Florida and the northern Bahamas between 2010 and 2013. Filtered and regularized positions from Argos locations of tag transmissions were used to generate CHUAs for these sharks. Overlaps of CHUAs with regional protected areas and exclusive economic management zones were quantified to determine the proportion of each tracked shark's CHUA under spatial protection from exploitation.
A total of 0%, 17.9% and 34.7% of the regional CHUAs for tracked bull, great hammerhead and tiger sharks, respectively, were fully protected from exploitation in the study area.
Expansion of protected areas to include U.S. territorial waters would effectively protect 100% of the CHUAs for all tracked sharks in the study area. This finding is particularly significant for great hammerhead sharks, which are currently overfished, vulnerable to bycatch mortality and are the focus of strident regional conservation efforts. These findings also provide a means to inform decision makers and marine conservation planning efforts as to the types of management actions available and potential efficacy of spatial protections for these marine predators.
In recent years there have been calls among decision makers, interest groups, citizens, and scientists alike for the use of the “best available science” when making environmental policy and managing natural resources. The assumption is that including scientists and the best available scientific information will improve the quality of complex policy decisions. Others have argued, however, that science and scientists are just one source of expertise concerning environmental management and increasing involvement will not necessarily lead to better policy. We report on a study examining the attitudes and orientations of marine scientists, resource managers, and interest group representatives concerning factors that may affect scientific credibility, the credibility of scientific research produced by various organizations, and perceptions of the ability of certain groups to understand scientific research. Using national random sample surveys and interviews of marine scientists, marine managers, and interest groups involved in marine policy issues conducted in 2011, we examine indicators of scientific credibility, data, research and reputation; the ability of scientists to communicate findings; and the role of scientists in the policy process. Further, we explore what factors contribute to credible science, the credibility of the science produced by various organizations, and the scientific literacy of various policy actors.
Adopting a critical geopolitics approach that accounts for the mutually reinforcing link between geo-informed narratives and projection practices, this article proposes that ocean governance and maritime security have translated into states' and regional organisations' increasing control over maritime spaces. This leads to a certain territorialisation of the sea, not so much from a sovereignty and jurisdictional perspective but from a functional and normative perspective. The article starts by discussing the ways oceans have been represented and shows that they are far from a placeless void, both in practice and in discourse. The article then frames the analysis of ocean governance and maritime security within critical geopolitics, and elaborates on the case of the European Union's narrative and practice. It concludes on the mutually reinforcing link between discourse and practice in the field of ocean governance and maritime security in general, and on the consequences for the EU in particular. Scholars working on ocean governance and maritime security are encouraged to challenge the traditional view that oceans are placeless.
The population of red spiny lobster (Panulirus penicillatus) around the Galapagos Islands has supported a fishery since the 1960s. However, conservation concerns have been raised given signs of over-exploitation observed during the mid-2000s, including decreasing trends in catch per unit effort (CPUE), yield, and profitability. We developed an integrated, size-structured assessment method to estimate trends in fishing mortality, recruitment, and mature biomass. A posterior distribution of spawning potential ratio (SPR) in 2011 was calculated using Bayesian methods and had a median of 44%, which is higher than most commonly used reference points (e.g. SPR = 40%). However, there are uncertainties in our estimates and continued monitoring with standardized data collection protocols should be a priority for future work in this fishery. Management should work toward establishing science-based management strategies that consider both the needs of fishing communities and the imperative to conserve unique ecosystems such as the Galapagos Islands.
The North Seas offshore grid serves to connect offshore wind power to onshore systems, and to interconnect power systems in Northern Europe. Its development is a priority for the European climate and energy policy, which has led to a number of studies on the subject. Nonetheless, research questions, assumptions and typologies can vary considerably among them, and thus to guide future research this paper reviews the published works that use bottom–up energy models. This review develops a simple and effective methodology that can be applied to other reviews of energy systems models. It jointly considers the studies of interest, the system characteristics, a categorization framework and relevant indicators. The analysis indicates most studies focus on investment and operation of the grid using optimization models, with rare use of other research questions or other model approaches. Moreover, results vary significantly, and their comparability is limited due to differences in assumptions, methodology and detail of results publication. Nonetheless, integrated typologies frequently present economic, operational and environmental benefits, although the reviewed studies do not unambiguously warrant immediate and full cooperation on grid governance. Lastly, future research should be attentive to the presentation and resolution of data, assumptions and results, as well as consider grid characteristics relevant to the research questions.
This research develops a methodology to evaluate public support for fishing regulations, comparing existing regulations designed without much public input, to possible alternative regulations based fishers' ecological knowledge (FEK) and preferences. First, a survey and open-ended interview was completed with 42 fishers in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands (33% of the total number of currently registered commercial fishers on island) regarding general matters of fishery health and productivity, with heightened focus on the management of a mutton snapper (Lutjanus analis) spawning aggregation. The interview results suggest that fishers view management tools in terms of spatial and temporal parameters, and how much those regulations influence gear selection. Fishers respond primarily to socioeconomic pressures, but recognize and support ecological goals of regulations, particularly those that provide protections to important stocks throughout their spawning season. A Discrete Choice Model (DCM) was developed based on the results of the fisher surveys and was administered to 182 individuals, including 54 residents of St. Croix and all 42 fishers interviewed. Eight DCM options were presented to respondents who selected their regulatory preference in a pair-wise fashion. In seven of eight pairs, public respondents selected fisher-preferred, FEK-based regulatory frameworks. These results suggest FEK can be used to develop fishery regulations that will meet management goals, and be broadly supported by both members of the fishing community and the general public. In this manner, ecosystem-based management frameworks can be improved by incorporating fishers and their FEK, particularly for small-scale fisheries.
Understanding temporal patterns of marine mammal occurrence is useful for establishing conservation strategies. We used a 38 yr-long dataset spanning 1976 to 2013 to describe temporal patterns and trends in marine mammal strandings along a subtropical stretch of the east coast of South America. This region is influenced by a transitional zone between tropical and temperate waters and is considered an important fishing ground off Brazil. Generalized Additive Models were used to evaluate the temporal stranding patterns of the most frequently stranded species. Forty species were documented in 12,540 stranding events. Franciscana (n = 4,574), South American fur seal, (n = 3,419), South American sea lion (n = 2,049), bottlenose dolphins (n = 293) and subantarctic fur seal (n = 219) were the most frequently stranded marine mammals. The seasonality of strandings of franciscana and bottlenose dolphin coincided with periods of higher fishing effort and strandings of South American and subantarctic fur seals with post-reproductive dispersal. For South American sea lion the seasonality of strandings is associated with both fishing effort and post-reproductive dispersal. Some clear seasonal patterns were associated with occurrence of cold- (e.g. subantarctic fur seal) and warm-water (e.g. rough-toothed dolphin) species in winter and summer, respectively. Inter-annual increases in stranding rate were observed for franciscana and South American fur seal and these are likely related to increased fishing effort and population growth, respectively. For subantarctic fur seal the stranding rate showed a slight decline while for bottlenose dolphin it remained steady. No significant year to year variation in stranding rate was observed for South American sea lion. The slight decrease in frequency of temperate/polar marine mammals and the increased occurrence of subtropical/tropical species since the late 1990s might be associated with environmental changes linked to climate change. This long-term study indicates that temporal stranding patterns of marine mammals might be explained by either fishing-related or environmental factors.
Several projects aimed at identifying priority issues for conservation with high relevance to policy have recently been completed in several countries. Two major types of projects have been undertaken, aimed at identifying (i) policy-relevant questions most imperative to conservation and (ii) horizon scanning topics, defined as emerging issues that are expected to have substantial implications for biodiversity conservation and policy in the future. Here, we provide the first overview of the outcomes of biodiversity and conservation-oriented projects recently completed around the world using this framework. We also include the results of the first questions and horizon scanning project completed for a Mediterranean country. Overall, the outcomes of the different projects undertaken (at the global scale, in the UK, US, Canada, Switzerland and in Israel) were strongly correlated in terms of the proportion of questions and/or horizon scanning topics selected when comparing different topic areas. However, some major differences were found across regions. There was large variation among regions in the percentage of proactive (i.e. action and response oriented) versus descriptive (non-response oriented) priority questions and in the emphasis given to socio-political issues. Substantial differences were also found when comparing outcomes of priority questions versus horizon scanning projects undertaken for the same region. For example, issues related to climate change, human demography and marine ecosystems received higher priority as horizon scanning topics, while ecosystem services were more emphasized as current priority questions. We suggest that future initiatives aimed at identifying priority conservation questions and horizon scanning topics should allow simultaneous identification of both current and future priority issues, as presented here for the first time. We propose that further emphasis on social-political issues should be explicitly integrated into future related projects.
Excessive truncation of a population’s size structure is often identified as an important deleterious effect of exploitation, yet the effect on population persistence of size-structure truncation caused by exploitation is often not quantified due to data limitations. In this study, we estimate changes in eggs per recruit (EPR) using annual length-frequency samples over a 9 year period to assess persistence of the two most important recreational fishes in southern Angola: west coast dusky kob (Argyrosomus coronus) and leerfish (Lichia amia). Using a length- and age-structured model, we improve on an existing method to fit this type of model to length-frequency data and estimate EPR. The objectives of the methodological changes are to add flexibility and robustness to the approach for assessing population status in data-limited situations. Results indicate that dusky kob presents very low levels of EPR (5%-10% of the per recruit reproductive capacity in the absence of fishing) in 2013, whereas large inter-annual variability in leerfish estimates suggest caution must be applied when drawing conclusions about its exploitation status. Using simulated length frequency data with known parameter values, we demonstrate that recruitment decline due to overexploitation leads to overestimation of EPR values. Considering the low levels of EPR estimated for the study species, recruitment limitation is not impossible and true EPR values may be even lower than our estimates. It is, therefore, likely that management action, such as the creation of Marine Protected Areas, is needed to reconstitute the west coast dusky kob population.