A shift towards ecosystem-based management in recent decades has led to new analytical tools such as end-to-end marine ecosystem models. End-to-end models are complex and typically simulate full ecosystems from oceanography to foodwebs and fisheries, operate on a spatial framework, and link to physical oceanographic models. Most end-to-end approaches allow multiple ways to implement human behaviours involving fishery catch, fleet movement, or other impacts such as nutrient loading or climate change effects. Though end-to-end ecosystem models were designed specifically for marine management, their novelty makes them unfamiliar to most decision makers. Before such models can be applied within the context of marine management decisions, additional levels of vetting will be required, and a dialogue with decision makers must be initiated. Here we summarize a review of an Atlantis end-to-end model, which involved a multi-day, expert review panel with local and international experts, convened to challenge models and data used in the management context. We propose nine credibility and quality control standards for end-to-end models intended to inform management, and suggest two best practice guidelines for any end-to-end modelling application. We offer our perspectives (as recent test subjects or “guinea pigs”) on how a review could be motivated and structured and on the evaluation criteria that should be used, in the most specific terms possible.
It is important to account for the movement behaviour of fishes when designing effective marine protected areas (MPAs). Fish movements occur across different spatial and temporal scales and understanding the variety of movements is essential to make correct management decisions. This study describes in detail the movement patterns of an economically and commercially important species, Diplodus sargus, within a well-enforced Mediterranean MPA. We monitored horizontal and vertical movements of 41 adult individuals using passive acoustic telemetry for up to one year. We applied novel analysis and visualization techniques to get a comprehensive view of a wide range of movements. D. sargus individuals were highly territorial, moving within small home ranges (< 1 km2), inside which they displayed repetitive diel activity patterns. Extraordinary movements beyond the ordinary home range were observed under two specific conditions. First, during stormy events D. sargus presented a sheltering behaviour, moving to more protected places to avoid the disturbance. Second, during the spawning season they made excursions to deep areas (> 50 m), where they aggregated to spawn. This study advances our understanding about the functioning of an established MPA and provides important insights into the biology and management of a small sedentary species, suggesting the relevance of rare but important fish behaviours.
Conservation research is essential to help inform the science-based management of environments that support threatened and endangered wildlife; however, research effort is not necessarily uniform across countries globally. Here, we assessed how the research importance of conservation is distributed globally across different countries and what drives this variation. Specifically, we compared the number of conservation/ecological articles versus all scientific articles published for each country in relation to the number of endangered species, the protection status and number of ecosystems, and the economic status of each country (gross domestic product (GDP) per capita). We observed a significant and positive relationship between the proportion of conservation and ecology articles to all scientific articles with respect to the number of endangered species and the proportion of endangered species that are protected in a country, as well as GDP per capita. In conclusion, knowledge about the conservation and economic status of countries should be accounted for when predicting the research importance of conservation and ecology.
Marine historical research has made progress in bridging the gap between science and policy, but examples in which it has been effectively applied remain few. In particular, its application to aquaculture remains unexplored. Using actual examples of natural resource management in the state of South Australia, we illustrate how historical data of varying resolution can be incorporated into aquaculture planning. Historical fisheries records were reviewed to identify data on the now extinct native oyster Ostrea angasi fishery throughout the 1800 and early-1900s. Records of catch, number of boats fishing, and catch per unit effort (cpue) were used to test fishing rates and estimate the total quantity of oysters taken from select locations across periods of time. Catch quantities enabled calculation of the minimum number of oysters per hectare for two locations. These data were presented to government scientists, managers, and industry. As a result, interest in growing O. angasi increased and new areas for oyster aquaculture were included in regulatory zoning (spatial planning). Records of introductions of the non-native oyster Saccostrea glomerata, Sydney rock oysters, from 1866 through 1959, were also identified and used to evaluate the biosecurity risk of aquaculture for this species through semi-quantitative risk assessment. Although applications to culture S. glomerata in South Australia had previously been declined, the inclusion of historical data in risk assessment led to the conclusion that applications to culture this species would be accepted. The examples presented here have been effectively incorporated into management processes and represent an important opportunity for the aquaculture industry in South Australia to diversify. This demonstrates that historical data can be used to inform planning and support industry, government, and societies in addressing challenges associated with aquaculture, as well as natural resource management more broadly.
Karimunjawa National Park (KNP) is a nature conservation area which has an original ecosystem and a highly diverse coral reef. The management of fisheries in KNP uses the zoning system and regulation of fishing gear. This article was written to explain the effectiveness of the zoning system in the management of reef fisheries. The study was conducted in KNP in Jepara Regency, Central Java Province between April and September 2015. The data were collected using the survey method, including both primary and secondary data. The respondents were reef fishers who live in Karimunjawa and Kemujan villages, chosen randomly and numbered 94 people. Secondary data were obtained from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and KNP Authority. The data analysis was done descriptively. The effectiveness of the zoning system was measured from the fishers perception of the zoning, their compliance level, and the number of zoning law violations. The results of this study indicated that most of the fishers (65.95%) state that zone markers are not clearly visible, making it difficult for them to differentiate it. A percentage of 52.13% and 65.96% of the fishers did not reprimand and did not report other fishers who caught fish in the core and protection zones to the KNPA. The fishers compliance level in average was 78.56%. The trend of cases concerning zoning and fishing gear infringements rose linearly between 2002 and 2014. There needs to be more intensive efforts to educate the public about the core and protection zones to build the fishers awareness.
In our short-term, minimal-invasive decapod assessment of Brijuni marine protected area (MPA) we recorded 66 species belonging to 20 families. These represent a large part of the basic stock of decapods of the northern Adriatic, including some rare species. Moreover, we use species accumulation curves and extrapolation models to estimate total species richness, and to determine the effort needed for a viable decapod biodiversity assessment. Comparison with faunistic literature on Adriatic decapods indicates high species richness for Brijuni MPA.
Marine Protected Areas are increasingly considered in coastal areas as an instrument to preserve threatened fauna and fragile habitats from the detrimental effects of human activities. For this reason baseline data are of utmost importance for the evaluation of the outcomes of ongoing conservation efforts. Along the Uruguayan coast, the area of Cerro Verde (declared protected since 2011) represents the most important foraging and development area for green turtles (Chelonia mydas). Between 2002 and 2009, a long-term capture-mark-recapture programme for green turtles was developed to gather data on demography, ecology and status of the species in the area. Turtles captured were juveniles ranging from 28.8 to 64.3 cm in length over the curve of the carapace (n = 514), and results indicated a size-based habitat segregation. Tumour prevalence was 5.3% (n = 27) and was positively correlated with carapace length. The mean body condition index was 1.25 ± 0.14 (n = 494). From the total number of tagged turtles 10.6% were recaptured during the study period. Green turtles showed high site fidelity; 81% of the turtles were recaptured within the same season and 76% were recaptured in different seasons but were found at the original capture spot. Mean annual growth rate was 1.6 ± 0.9 cm year−1. The catch per unit effort of 2008 differed from 2009, higher in 2009, but also significantly different between capture spots. The present study constitutes a baseline dataset for future monitoring of green turtles in the area and provides valuable information for wider analyses of population dynamics in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean.
In the marine environment, the ecosystem service of Waste Remediation (WR) enables humans to utilise the natural functioning of ecosystems to process and detoxify a large number of waste products and therefore avoid harmful effects on human wellbeing and the environment. Despite its importance, to date the service has been poorly defined in ecosystem service classifications and rarely valued or quantified. This paper therefore addresses a gap in the literature regarding the application of this key, but poorly documented ecosystem service. Here we present a conceptual framework by which the ecosystem service of WR can be identified, placed into context within current ecosystem classifications and assessed. A working definition of WR in the marine context is provided as is an overview of the different waste types entering the marine environment. Processes influencing the provisioning of WR are categorised according to how they influence the input, cycling/detoxification, sequestration/storage and export of wastes, with operational indicators for these processes discussed. Finally a discussion of the wider significance of the service of WR is given, including how we can maximise the benefits received from it. It is noted that many methods used in the assessment, quantification and valuation of the service are currently hampered due to the benefits of the service often not being tangible assets set in the market and/or due to a lack of information surrounding the processes providing the service. Conclusively this review finds WR to be an under researched but critically important ecosystem service and provides a first attempt at providing operational guidance on the long term sustainable use of WR in marine environments.
At the European Level, SACs (Special Areas of Conservation) are considered among the most reliable tools for increasing the efficiency of protective actions and to identify species vulnerability hotspots across spatial scales. Nevertheless, SACs may fail in their scope when design and management are not dynamically adapted to meet ecological principles. Knowledge of the spatial distribution of relevant key species, such as common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), is crucial in order to achieve the objective of the Habitat Directive (92/43/EEC), and is a fundamental step in the process of Marine Spatial Planning. From this perspective, new data and analysis are required to produce forecasts at spatio-temporal scales relevant to individual organisms. Here, we propose a study based on a MaxEnt modelling exercise to define the spatial distributional patterns of bottlenose dolphin at different temporal scales (over periods of multiple months and years) to increase the ecological understanding of how the species use the eco-space, and to delimit boundaries of a SAC in the waters surrounding Lampedusa Island, a hotspot for cetaceans in the Southern Mediterranean Sea. We show that bottlenose dolphin prefer shallower feeding grounds that often host complex and rich food webs, but also that this preference is constrained by disturbance factors such as boat traffic. As sea-related tourism, including dolphin-watching, is one of the most important economic activities of the island, the study results can be used from a management perspective, in order to reach a solution regarding two apparently conflicting needs - species protection and economic development.
Saline coastal wetlands, such as mangrove and coastal salt marsh, provide many ecosystem services. In Australia, large areas have been lost since European colonization, particularly as a result of drainage, infilling and flood-mitigation works, often starting in the mid-19th century and aimed primarily towards converting land to agricultural, urban or industrial uses. These threats remain ongoing, and will be exacerbated by rapid population growth and climate change in the 21st century. Establishing the effect of wetland loss on the delivery of ecosystem services is confounded by the absence of a nationally consistent approach to mapping wetlands and defining the boundaries of different types of coastal wetland. In addition, climate change and its projected effect on mangrove and salt marsh distribution and ecosystem services is poorly, if at all, acknowledged in existing legislation and policy. Intensifying climate change means that there is little time to be complacent; indeed, there is an urgent need for proper valuation of ecosystem services and explicit recognition of ecosystem services within policy and legislation. Seven actions are identified that could improve protection of coastal wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide, including benchmarking and improving coastal wetland extent and health, reducing complexity and inconsistency in governance arrangements, and facilitating wetland adaptation and ecosystem service delivery using a range of relevant mechanisms. Actions that build upon the momentum to mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon – ‘blue carbon’ – could achieve multiple desirable objectives, including climate-change mitigation and adaptation, floodplain rehabilitation and habitat protection.