Genetic diversity is needed for species’ adaptation to changing selective pressures and is particularly important in regions with rapid environmental change such as the Baltic Sea. Conservation measures should consider maintaining large gene pools to maximize species’ adaptive potential for long-term survival. In this study, we explored concerns regarding genetic variation in international and national policies that governs biodiversity and evaluated if and how such policy is put into practice in management plans governing Baltic Sea Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Germany. We performed qualitative and quantitative textual analysis of 240 documents and found that agreed international and national policies on genetic biodiversity are not reflected in management plans for Baltic Sea MPAs. Management plans in all countries are largely void of goals and strategies for genetic biodiversity, which can partly be explained by a general lack of conservation genetics in policies directed toward aquatic environments.
Chemical contaminants can be introduced into estuarine and marine ecosystems from a variety of sources including wastewater, agriculture and forestry practices, point and non-point discharges, runoff from industrial, municipal, and urban lands, accidental spills, and atmospheric deposition. The diversity of potential sources contributes to the likelihood of contaminated marine waters and sediments and increases the probability of uptake by marine organisms. Despite widespread recognition of direct and indirect pathways for contaminant deposition and organismal exposure in coastal systems, spatial and temporal variability in contaminant composition, deposition, and uptake patterns are still poorly known. We investigated these patterns for a suite of persistent legacy contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and chemicals of emerging concern including pharmaceuticals within two Oregon coastal estuaries (Coos and Netarts Bays). In the more urbanized Coos Bay, native Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) tissue had approximately twice the number of PCB congeners at over seven times the total concentration, yet fewer PBDEs at one-tenth the concentration as compared to the more rural Netarts Bay. Different pharmaceutical suites were detected during each sampling season. Variability in contaminant types and concentrations across seasons and between species and media (organisms versus sediment) indicates the limitation of using indicator species and/or sampling annually to determine contaminant loads at a site or for specific species. The results indicate the prevalence of legacy contaminants and CECs in relatively undeveloped coastal environments highlighting the need to improve policy and management actions to reduce contaminant releases into estuarine and marine waters and to deal with legacy compounds that remain long after prohibition of use. Our results point to the need for better understanding of the ecological and human health risks of exposure to the diverse cocktail of pollutants and harmful compounds that will continue to leach from estuarine sediments over time.
It is ironic that countries that are least responsible for or insignificant contributors to global climate change, are in fact, the most susceptible to its harmful impact. The Ganges deltaic coast, one of the largest sediment depocentres with the ∼286 km long coastline of Bangladesh, faces a potentially multi-hazard threat due to climatic change. This study attempts to develop a coastal vulnerability index (CVI) by using seven physical parameters namely: (a) geomorphology; (b) coastal slope; (c) shoreline change rate; (d) rate of sea level change; (e) mean tide range; (f) bathymetry; and (g) storm surge height. These variables are considered as relative risk parameters and integrated through geospatial techniques (i.e., remote sensing and GIS), and then ranked to estimate the degree of coastline vulnerability to sea level rise. The entire coastline is ranked in accordance with multi-hazard vulnerability and the results reveal that 20.1% of the shoreline (57.9 km of total coastline in the Ganges delta) is very highly vulnerable, whilst 17.5% of shoreline (50.0 km) is estimated to be highly vulnerable. In contrast, 21.5% of the entire shoreline (61.3 km) is moderately vulnerable, whereas approximately 56.6 km (19.7%) and 60.4 km (21.2%) of the total shorelines are in low and very low vulnerability categories, respectively. The results of the CVI are expected to provide a clear picture for predicting future recession of shorelines; hence the outcome of this study can be used as an important tool by coastal managers for developing sustainable resources management practices. Furthermore, this study also offers a framework for prioritizing actions to enhance a community's resilience or to assist in developing appropriate adaptive measures as part of disaster risk reduction initiative.
Fishery closure has increasingly been used for rebuilding depleted fish stocks; however, trophic interactions have rarely been included in studying stock rebuilding in fisheries management. This study used a size-spectrum modeling approach to explicitly capture the effects of trophic interactions in the evaluation of simulated fishery closure. We generalize model parameters to evaluate the influence of community complexity, life-history characteristics and fishing regimes. A target fish stock of large body size showed the potential to recover after being depleted; however, the timescale for recovery ranged from 10 to more than 100 years. Increased number of species could smooth community dynamics and prolong the duration for recovery. The fish species characterized by large body sizes or preference of small-sized prey tended to recover slowly. Bycatch rate had substantial influence on community structure and stocks recovery rate. We showed that an external modification of community size-structure could largely promote stock rebuilding. We conclude that community complexity, life-history characteristics and fishing regimes should be explicitly taken into account in the implementation of fisheries closure.
Economic impact assessment methodology was applied to UK fisheries data to better understand the implications of European Commission proposal for regulations to fishing for deep-sea stocks in the North-East Atlantic (EC COM 371 Final 2012) under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The aim was to inform the on-going debate to develop the EC proposal, and to assist the UK fishing industry and Government in evaluating the most effective options to manage deep sea fish stocks. Results indicate that enforcing the EC proposal as originally drafted results in a number of implications for the UK fleet. Because of the proposed changes to the list of species defined as being deep sea species, and a new definition of what constitutes a vessel targeting deep sea species, a total of 695 active UK fishing vessels would need a permit to fish for deep sea species. However, due to existing and capped capacity limits many vessels would potentially not be able to obtain such a permit. The economic impact of these changes from the status quo reveals that in the short term, landings would decrease by 6540 tonnes, reducing gross value added by £3.3 million. Alternative options were also assessed that provide mitigation measures to offset the impacts of the proposed regulations whilst at the same time providing more effective protection of deep sea Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs). The options include setting a 400 m depth rule that identifies a depth beyond which vessels would potentially be classified as fishing for deep sea species and designating ‘core areas’ for deep sea fishing at depths > 400 m to minimise the risk of further impacts of bottom fishing gear on deep sea habitats. Applying a 400 m depth limit and ‘core fishing’ area approach deeper than 400 m, the impact of the EC proposal would essentially be reduced to zero, that is, on average no vessels (using the status quo capacity baseline) would be impacted by the proposal.
The biological response of mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis, resident and transplanted to cages, to contamination with anthropogenic pollutants from Kaštela Bay, located in the central part of the eastern Adriatic coast, was investigated. The main purpose of this paper is to trace the accumulation of PCBs and chlorinated pesticides (HCB, lindane, heptachlor, aldrin, p,p′-DDTs) as a direct measure of potential contaminant availability to organisms, in a period from 2000 to 2011. In order to do so, cultured mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) of the same size and age were transplanted from the unpolluted Mali Ston Bay to the Kaštela Bay. Sampling was performed bimonthly, and the level of target contaminants in whole soft tissue was determined. After two months of exposure, the concentration of PCBs in transplanted mussels increased on average 6.5-times, and of DDTs 2-times, while the intensity of changes for HCB, lindane, heptachlor and aldrin was negligible. Seasonal variation of pesticide content was similar without a significant change throughout the experimental period, while that of PCBs was somewhat different showing increased accumulation in summer. Seasonal and spatial variation of organochlorines in the Kaštela Bay was likely the result of prevailing environmental rather than biological parameters. In accordance with prevailing hydrodynamic cycling, contaminant concentration decreased in acyclonic direction towards the exit of the Bay. Measurement of target contaminants in resident mussels sampled from the most contaminated area of the Bay exhibited decreasing concentrations of lindane, aldrin and p,p′-DDTs. However, PCBs exhibited statistically significant increasing concentrations in relation to the slightly increasing concentrations of HCB. With regard to human health, organochlorine (OC) levels in the mussel tissue were below prescribed limits for human consumption.
Human impact on the environment remains at the center of the debate on global environmental change. Using the Hong Kong-Shenzhen corridor in south China as an example, we present evidence that rapid urbanization and economic development in coastal areas were the dominant factors causing rapid changes in coastal waters. From 1990 to 2012, coastal seawater temperature increased ~ 0.060 °C per year, sea level rose 4.4 mm per year and pH decreased from 8.2 to 7.7, much faster than global averages. In the same period, there were exponential increases in the local population, gross domestic product and land fill area. Empirical analyses suggest that the large increase in the population affected local temperature, and economic development had a major impact on local pH. Results also show that pH and temperature were significantly correlated with local sea level rise, but pH had more predictive power, suggesting it could be considered a predictor for changes in local sea level. We conclude that human activities could significantly exacerbate local environmental changes which should be considered in predictive models and future development plans in coastal areas.
A first-person account of the scientific career of the fishery scientist Daniel Pauly is given, starting with his studies in Germany and his work on a coastal lagoon in Ghana in 1971, through his trawl fisheries surveys in Indonesia (1975–1976), his work at the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management in the Philippines (1979–mid-1990s), and his transition to the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. Emphasis is given to the widely used major products of his and his collaborators' work (ELEFAN, Ecopath and FishBase) and to the Sea Around Us, a 15-year research activity that he led, which culminated in a reconstruction of global marine fisheries catches from 1950 to 2010, and which discovered a strong decline in catches since the mid-1990s.
International shipping, although considered a safe and environment-friendly form of transportation, has many direct and indirect impacts on cetaceans in many ways, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the world's busiest waterways. An AIS receiver located at 44.30 °N and 8.45 °E, operating between 3 May 2013 and 31 October 2014, provided a detailed description of the distribution, number, type and operation of vessels within the Pelagos Sanctuary, an international protected area dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals. A total of 3,757,587 km of vessel traffic was recorded from 82,831 transits by 4205 distinct vessels. The spatial and temporal distribution of traffic was not uniform and dependent on vessel type (0.00<r<0.7); the level of shipping differed spatially between day and night. Passenger vessel traffic was predominant, with 20,853 transits totalling 1,385,361 km, followed by cargo (12,384 transits totalling 1,427,681 km). Transit speed significantly differed amongst vessel types (F=12621, d.f.=5, p-value<0.0001) with passenger vessels the fastest (mean 15.47±4.40 kn). Hazardous cargo transits accounted for 435,116 km. Vessels within the sanctuary navigated under the flags of 90 different states, in variable proportion depending on vessel type (X2=1231, d.f.=10, p-value<0.0001). The data presented in this study on high density shipping corridors and hazardous cargo supplies information for the identification of areas at higher risk from shipping. This data once integrated with available ecological data, can be used to inform ecosystem based management within a Marine Spatial Planning framework.
The Mesoamerican reef (MAR) connects Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. The MAR shares a rich cultural heritage and ecological resources amongst its people. Although crucial resources such as reef health and fisheries have declined steadily, the region depends on ecotourism and fisheries to thrive. In this region, multiple marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established as a conservation strategy, yet little is known about trends in recruitment of reef fishes into these MPAs. Monitoring recruitment is fundamental but difficult in remote areas, thus local capacity-building is the first step to assess reef fish recruitment. An innovative capacity and research effort was carried out in 10 MPAs during the new moon in September 2013, February 2014 and August 2014 to assess the arrival of juvenile fishes into MPAs. First, training was provided to enhance local expertise during capacity workshops in May 2010, and March 2012. Collection efforts utilized water column collectors deployed overnight for at least 5 days at each site, and were sampled in the morning. 947 fish were captured during three simultaneous collection efforts from 23 families, and at least 48 species have been identified. Active recruitment into MPAs was documented, as most fish were post-larvae to early juveniles with pelagic dispersal strategies. The most abundant families were jacks, wrasses, filefishes, and pufferfishes. Jacks were represent- ed by six species; the most abundant was the Atlantic bumper (Chloroscombrus chrysurus). Results of the first three connectivity exercises were successful with widespread participation and improved capacity among neighbor countries. As a result of our capacity building efforts, additional exercises have been incorporated by managers to increase activities related to connectivity research to support conservation and management of reef fishes in the Mesoamerican Region.