Estuaries around the world are in a state of decline following decades or more of overfishing, pollution, and climate change. Oysters (Ostreidae), ecosystem engineers in many estuaries, influence water quality, construct habitat, and provide food for humans and wildlife. In North America’s Chesapeake Bay, once-thriving eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) populations have declined dramatically, making their restoration and conservation extremely challenging. Here we present data on oyster size and human harvest from Chesapeake Bay archaeological sites spanning ∼3,500 y of Native American, colonial, and historical occupation. We compare oysters from archaeological sites with Pleistocene oyster reefs that existed before human harvest, modern oyster reefs, and other records of human oyster harvest from around the world. Native American fisheries were focused on nearshore oysters and were likely harvested at a rate that was sustainable over centuries to millennia, despite changing Holocene climatic conditions and sea-level rise. These data document resilience in oyster populations under long-term Native American harvest, sea-level rise, and climate change; provide context for managing modern oyster fisheries in the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere around the world; and demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach that can be applied broadly to other fisheries.
Portfolio management has been suggested as a tool to help implement ecosystem-based fisheries management. The portfolio approach involves the application of financial portfolio theory to multispecies fishery management to account for species interdependencies, uncertainty, and sustainability constraints. By considering covariance among species, this approach allows economic risks and returns to be calculated across varying combinations of stock sizes. Trade-offs between expected aggregate returns and portfolio risk can thus be assessed. We develop a procedure for constructing portfolio models to help implement ecosystem-based fisheries management in the northeastern United States, using harvest data from the National Marine Fisheries Service. Extending the work of Sanchirico et al. (2008), we propose a measure of excessive risk taking, which may be used by managers to monitor signals of nonoptimal harvests. In addition, we conduct portfolio assessments of historical commercial fishing performance at different accounting stances: the large marine ecosystem, the New England region, and the community (fishing ports). We show that portfolio analysis could inform management at each level. Results of the study suggest that excessive risk taking is associated with overfishing, and risk management is therefore important for ensuring sustainability.
The fisheries sector is vital to the Philippine economy, providing substantial employment and income, contributing export earnings, and meeting local food security and nutrition requirements. To protect coastal and marine habitat and to sustain fisheries, over 1000 marine protected areas (MPAs) have been established, in the Philippines. This paper provides empirical evidence on the variance of net revenues linked with MPA establishment and the possible range of relocation costs for fishing effort displaced by an MPA. A total of 424 households were randomly selected from 18 barangays (villages) adjacent to MPAs in three regions in the Philippines. Results show that incomes decrease significantly for both fulltime and seasonal types of fishers after 1-3 years of MPA establishment. The loss occurring through MPA is higher than expected and at least on the short run (up to 4 years) the spill-over effect does not compensate. This information helped to determine the necessary conditional cash transfers for coastal communities who are highly dependent on coastal and marine resources.
Some ecosystems can undergo regime shifts to alternative compositions of species. Although ecological indicators can identify approaching regime shifts, we propose that rapid changes in the social drivers underlying ecosystem change may provide additional and potentially earlier indicators of impending shifts. We demonstrate this by reconstructing the underlying social drivers of four iconic marine regime shifts: Pacific kelp forests, Northwest Atlantic continental shelf, Jamaican coral reefs, and the Chesapeake Bay estuary. In all cases, a range of social drivers – including opening of lucrative markets, technological innovations, and policies that enhanced the driver – ultimately prompted these ecosystem shifts. Drawing on examples emerging from environmental management practice, we present three practical recommendations for using social drivers as early indicators: monitor social change, determine social trigger points, and identify policy responses. We argue that accounting for the underlying social drivers of ecosystem change could improve decision making.
Human migration may negatively impact biodiversity and is expected to increase in future, yet the phenomenon remains poorly understood by conservation managers. We conducted a mixed-methods investigation of a contemporary migration of traditional fishers in western Madagascar, a country which has been expanding its protected area system through the establishment of both strict and multiple-use sites, and critically evaluate different models of marine protected area in light of our findings. Interviews with fishers in major destination areas revealed that most migrants come from southwest Madagascar, use non-motorised vessels, and principally target sharks and sea cucumbers. Drivers of the migration include both push and pull factors (i.e. declining resource availability in areas of origin and the continued availability of lucrative resources for export to China). Traditional fisher migrants cause limited social conflict with residents and a number of environmental problems in destination areas: however artisanal fishers with motorised vessels probably represent a greater threat to marine resources than migrants, due to their greater harvesting capacity. We suggest that multiple-use arrangements may be more appropriate than strict protected areas in both source and destination areas, because they integrate the interests of migrants rather than marginalising them: however seascape-scale management provides the best approach for managing the threats and opportunities provided by the migration at the appropriate scale.
Vertical chain collaboration is a strategy for customers’ value creation. However, Dutch fishermen are hardly participating in integrated value chains. While supply chain literature describes factors that contribute to successful chain partnerships, scarce research has been done on the dynamics of the sociocultural context for chain collaboration.
In 10 semi-structured interviews, representatives of supply chain parties were asked for their perceptions on chain collaboration, trust, and the role of the local community. The interviews were directed at obtaining so-called ‘tacit’ knowledge, the non-spoken codified truths of social networks. Without generalizing, this research provides benchmarks to monitor how the different domains, laid out in this study, impact chain collaboration: community values, network participation and company competences. An overview is given of socio-economic factors blocking and enhancing chain collaboration at company and community level. Factors such as the strong bonding of family with business in tightly knit networks, a high level of social control, entrepreneurial autonomy, and loyalty as community norm hamper collaboration within the supply chain.
Respondents’ discourse demonstrates that cultural codes and identity form the very core of the entrepreneur, driving rather than ‘embedding’ economic behavior. Kinship, religion and peer pressure determine ‘windows on the world’ when engaging in chain collaboration. Consequently, any analysis of economics that does not integrate sociological and psychological methodology is flawed from the outset.
In a global context of promotion and expansion of blue growth initiatives, the development of activities such as aquaculture calls for the assessment of the potential impacts on biodiversity at different levels and associated services. This paper presents an assessment of the potential impact of the installation of seaweed farms on ecosystem services and the induced compensation costs. Biophysical and socioeconomic indicators have been developed for helping decision makers to select the most suitable locations. The approach considers a multi-criteria approach based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Habitat Equivalency Analysis (HEA). The former is used to obtain biophysical ecosystem services and socioeconomic indicators and the latter to evaluate the costs required to compensate the loss of cultural and provisioning ecosystem services. A case-study in the Normand-Breton (Saint Malo) Gulf, France, illustrates this method through the analysis of hypothetical locations of seaweed farms. Results highlight the differences between alternative locations regarding biophysical constraints (in terms of distance and depth), potential risks of conflicts with existing uses, impacts on habitats and the ecosystem services delivered, and compensation costs. This case-study illustrates the flexibility of this approach which can be further adapted to include other indicators in order to deliver integrated information to coastal planners.
The management of waterways, including marine parks, typically centres on assessment of biophysical phenomena, whilst social dimensions are relatively neglected. The diverse ways people interact with and relate to aquatic environments are consequently overlooked in planning and management. This misses opportunities as people's decisions and actions have direct and indirect impacts on how natural systems function. Effective management requires appreciation of how people interact with these environments in order to tailor, and build public support for, management plans and ensure compliance. This qualitative study, using 30 semi-structured interviews, explores people's values towards Moreton Bay Marine Park and its tributary rivers in south east Queensland, Australia. The values offer a powerful means to understand the different ways people relate to these waters. The study found that these waterway environments provide people with a diversity of rich and meaningful experiences, and that individuals hold several values each; they are not discrete. Some types of value frequently occur together. These clusters of values suggest new ways of working with the public to achieve management goals of protecting and improving waterway environments.
Sustained ocean observations are crucial to understand both natural processes occurring in the ocean and human influence on the marine ecosystems. The information they provide increases our understanding and is therefore beneficial to the society as a whole because it contributes to a more efficient use and protection of the marine environment, upon which human livelihood depends. In addition the oceans, which occupy 73% of the planet surface and host 93% of the biosphere, play a massive role in controlling the climate. Eulerian or fixed-point observatories are an essential component of the global ocean observing system as they provide several unique features that cannot be found in other systems and are therefore complementary to them. In addition they provide a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary work, combining physical, chemical and biological observations on several time scales. The fixed-point open ocean observatory network (FixO3) integrates the 23 European open ocean fixed-point observatories in the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. The programme also seeks to improve access to key installations and the knowledge they provide for the wider community, from scientists, to businesses, to civil society. This paper summarises the rationale behind open ocean observatories monitoring the essential ocean variables. It also provides an estimate of the costs to operate a typical fixed-point observatory such as those included in the FixO3 network. Finally an assessment of the type of data and services provided by ocean observations and their value to society is also given.
Acropora cervicornis is a threatened Caribbean coral that depends on branch fragmentation to proliferate. Understanding the patterns of branch formation is, therefore, essential for the development of management and conservation initiatives. This study describes branch morphogenesis in 100 colony fragments that were transplanted to two reefs in Puerto Rico that differ in light intensity. Four morphometric variables were measured for one year: internode length, branch growth rate, the number of ramifying branches (mother branches; MB), and the number of branches produced (daughter branches; DB). Branching complexity was also evaluated using two indices: the Horton-Strahler bifurcation ratio (Rb) and the Carrillo-Mendoza branching index (CM-BI). A simple discrete model was constructed to estimate the number of harvestable branches over time. No spatial difference was observed when comparing the development of the primary branches, as the mean internode lengths, the mean extension rates, and the mean number of branches produced did not differ statistically between sites. Likewise, internode lengths in secondary branches did not vary significantly between sites. In contrast, the mean branching and growth rates of secondary branches differed statistically between the two study locations. Significant spatial differences were also observed when comparing the total number of MB and the total number of DB but not for the ratio of DB to MB. The CM-BI was more appropriate than the Rb in describing the branching structure of A. cervicornis. The model provided a good fit to the observed branching dynamics; demonstrating its usefulness as a tool for predicting branch productivity of this species. The implications for restoration activities are discussed.