The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) sets out a plan of action relating to marine environmental policy and in particular to achieving ‘good environmental status’ (GES) in European marine waters by 2020. Article 8.1 (c) of the Directive calls for ‘an economic and social analysis of the use of those waters and of the cost of degradation of the marine environment’. The MSFD is ‘informed’ by the Ecosystem Approach to management, with GES interpreted in terms of ecosystem functioning and services provision. Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach is expected to be by adaptive management policy and practice. The initial socio-economic assessment was made by maritime EU Member States between 2011 and 2012, with future updates to be made on a regular basis. For the majority of Member States, this assessment has led to an exercise combining an analysis of maritime activities both at national and coastal zone scales, and an analysis of the non-market value of marine waters. In this paper we examine the approaches taken in more detail, outline the main challenges facing the Member States in assessing the economic value of achieving GES as outlined in the Directive and make recommendations for the theoretically sound and practically useful completion of the required follow-up economic assessments specified in the MSFD.
Given their relatively small area, mangroves and their organic sediments are of disproportionate importance to global carbon sequestration and carbon storage. Peat deposition and preservation allows some mangroves to accrete vertically and keep pace with sea-level rise by growing on their own root remains. In this study we show that mangroves in desert inlets in the coasts of the Baja California have been accumulating root peat for nearly 2,000 y and harbor a belowground carbon content of 900–34,00 Mg C/ha, with an average value of 1,130 (± 128) Mg C/ha, and a belowground carbon accumulation similar to that found under some of the tallest tropical mangroves in the Mexican Pacific coast. The depth–age curve for the mangrove sediments of Baja California indicates that sea level in the peninsula has been rising at a mean rate of 0.70 mm/y (± 0.07) during the last 17 centuries, a value similar to the rates of sea-level rise estimated for the Caribbean during a comparable period. By accreting on their own accumulated peat, these desert mangroves store large amounts of carbon in their sediments. We estimate that mangroves and halophyte scrubs in Mexico’s arid northwest, with less than 1% of the terrestrial area, store in their belowground sediments around 28% of the total belowground carbon pool of the whole region.
- Fish movement data is used to estimate no-take area size and spacing.
- Habitat availability and distribution of fishing effort are considered.
- Improved zonation of the MPA is proposed.
Effective publicly developed adaptation strategies are crucial in managing the impacts of Climate Change. Adaptation strategy development is particularly complex in estuarine and coastal marine ecosystems because of their diverse environmental values, extensive human utilisation and the complex socio-ecological systems they support. Although many generic adaptation frameworks are available they cannot provide specific guidance for locally relevant strategy development. In contrast, situation-specific tools work well for their intended purpose but are usually unsuitable for a different situation. The gap between generic frameworks and situation-specific tools is addressed in this study by developing a set of general principles to provide guidance for the efficient and robust development of adaptation strategies. The nine principles comprise a conceptualisation of the various factors that are likely to have an effect on the success or otherwise of an adaptation strategy and they apply in any situation. An example ‘adaptation checklist’ that serves as a guide to practitioners in the field, will help ensure that all critical components are covered during the development of an adaptation strategy.
Despite increasing attention paid to the value of marine resources, in particular marine protected areas (MPAs), their economic valuation focuses mainly on use values of ecosystem services such as fishery and tourism. Furthermore, most MPA related studies are carried out for coastal ecosystems, especially tropical coral reefs. The valuation of remote marine ecosystems is rare. The main objective of this paper is to estimate public willingness to pay (WTP) for alternative management regimes of a network of offshore MPAs in the North Sea under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). In a baseline valuation study carried out just before the adoption of the MSFD, beach visitors and a random sample of coastal and non-coastal residents were asked for their preferences for two alternative management options of three remote, ecologically sensitive areas with multiple use conflicts. Despite the lack of public awareness and familiarity with the offshore marine areas, a majority of 70% is willing to pay extra tax for their protection. Using a conservative value elicitation procedure, Dutch households are willing to pay on average maximum 0.25% of their annual disposable income to ban access and economic use. This serves as an indicator of what a network of remote MPAs in the MSFD is allowed to cost according to the Dutch tax payer.
The aim of this paper is to highlight current opportunities and expected benefits of establishing a transboundary large marine protected area (LMPA)-specifically a no-trawl area – in one of the most exploited sectors of the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea. A no-trawl area is examined as a strategy to foster recovery of the local marine ecosystems and economies, and to meet international conservation targets and EU legal mandates. Based on a review of published studies documenting the positive outcomes of previous trawling bans in other regions, and of current initiatives and opportunities within the Mediterranean region, it is concluded that large-scale protection of the Adriatic with a no-trawl zone is a promising and feasible approach for reversing ecological and socioeconomic losses in this basin. In particular, ecosystem protection can be established in the Mediterranean through a proposal for a Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) to the general Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). The successful establishment and function of a FRA or LMPA will depend on its support by the governments of the surrounding countries, as well as involvement and participation of key user groups.
This paper evaluates the international agreements in place for the protection of the environment and the regulation of human activities taking place in world's oceans and seas. 500 multilateral agreements were reviewed against a framework of reference, grounded on the theoretical approaches of Adaptive Management and Transition Management. According to this framework, oceans complex systems management should: (1) consider the global oceans as a Social-Ecological System (SES); (2) aim to achieve or maintain their ecological resilience; and (3) implement iterative, learning-based management strategies, supported by science-based advice to policy and management. The results show that the present international legal framework for the global oceans does not require countries to adopt an adaptive, complex systems approach for global oceans ecological resilience. Instead, this study supports the perspective of a double fragmentation among international agreements. First, global agreements focus on issue-based objectives for determined human activities, ecological components or anthropogenic pressures. Second, regional agreements have a wider scope, but also a varying level of inclusion of ecological resilience considerations. There is the need to foster the inclusion of such an approach into existing and future international agreements and their implementation, including through soft-law, project-based initiatives at global and regional scales.
The ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) methodology is currently considered the preferred option for long-term sustainability of fisheries and ecosystem services and is widely popularised. Manuals, guidelines and training have been given to many nations, but the actual existence and execution of an EAFM plan is rare. The applicability and relevance of biological and socioeconomic tools to follow EAFM planning guidelines in a data absent area were explored in Kalpitiya, northwest Sri Lanka, where there is a population of spinner dolphins that the local community are especially dependent on through tuna-dolphin association fishing and dolphin-watching tourism. This paper provides background to the design and collection of information leading to the formulation of an EAFM management plan. Scoping and the determination of a fishery management area were completed through stakeholder consultations using a combination of interviewer-administered questionnaires, interviews, meetings, dolphin distribution data and existing management plans. Threats and stakeholder prioritisation were compiled and the final agreed fisheries management area covers a total area of 2445 km2 adjacent to the Kalpitiya peninsula. The completed EAFM plan contains 4 goals, 16 actions and 72 sub-actions agreed by stakeholders. It was concluded that both willingness of higher level stakeholders responsible for implementing regulations and working with grass-root level stakeholders are critical in developing a realistic and implementable EAFM plan. This work also highlights how data absence should not remain the bottleneck that hinders moving forward with EAFM approaches.
The transboundary nature of the marine environment requires concerted actions among neighbouring countries to improve its quality in an effective way. Coordination at international level is particularly important during the implementation of environmental policies aimed at reducing the widespread pressures derived from activities, such as shipping and fishing. The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) aims to protect and improve the status of a wide range of ecosystem components with a regional focus, promoting cooperation among countries and integration with other environmental policies. In 2014, the European Commission assessed the level of adequacy, consistency and coherence achieved by Member States during the implementation of the first phase of the MSFD and hence this paper focuses on the cross-border coherence and coordination within one marine region in order to achieve the goals of the Directive. In particular, it identifies and analyses the main differences among the results of the implementation of the first phase of the MSFD across the North-East Atlantic region. This analysis shows that, in general, the use of existing data, methodologies and targets from related environmental policies corresponds to the higher levels of coherence among countries while a limited use of such policies produces less coherence. This suggests that the European Commission, Regional Seas Conventions and Member States should work together to identify the real connection between the MSFD and other policies to make a proper use of existing data and approaches and to harmonise different policy objectives. In particular, the review shows what might be termed a ‘paradox of coherence’ amongst Member States where coherence of action has to be achieved within a European policy of subsidiarity, the act of Member States having control over the way they implement framework directives. This can be regarded as a fundamental flaw in having a ‘Framework Directive’ instead of the greater control in a ‘Directive’.
Marine wildlife tourism can benefit both conservation and communities when managed effectively. The Wildlife Tourism Model (WTM) is a framework used to assess sustainability. This paper illustrates how two aspects of the model, the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) and zoning can be linked to improve management direction. Four of the nine steps of the LAC process were applied to identify sustainability concerns about Scuba diving in five Azorean islands and to propose standards of acceptable limits. Qualitative and quantitative survey data were used as well as descriptive indicators. Stakeholder interviews identified main concerns (step 1). Case study islands were described according to the Ecotourism Opportunity Spectrum (step 2) and indicators were selected (step 3). Indicators were measured with the help of gap analysis based on a diver survey (step 4). The islands demonstrated differences in access, infrastructure, diving attractions, clientele and satisfaction levels suggesting two zone types. Results show that perceived and descriptive indicators are valuable input variables for the LAC process and LAC can be related to zoning as suggested by the WTM.