The socioeconomic implications of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and perceptions of stakeholders on MPA impacts are important to consider when designing, implementing, and managing MPAs. However, the currently available knowledge about these areas and especially of stakeholder perceptions is scarce and limited to restricted geographic areas. The present study aims to address this gap by examining these factors in the Mediterranean and Black Seas using an extensive literature review and an online survey approach. We collated and examined a total of 208 published studies on socioeconomic impacts of MPAs and marine uses. We found that for fishing, the socioeconomic impacts of MPAs were generally perceived as negative for industrial fishing and positive for artisanal fishing. In the online survey, we collected ca. 100 responses and found that stakeholder perceptions on the impacts of MPAs differ across sectors and regions. Industrial fishing was perceived as being negatively impacted in the Black Sea, while most respondents from the Mediterranean Sea were neutral in their responses relating industrial fishing and MPAs. The impact of MPAs on artisanal and recreational fishing was generally viewed as neutral by respondents from the Black Sea, whereas most Mediterranean respondents indicated a positive impact of MPAs. We also found that perceptions of the major threats to MPAs differed across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Responses from the Black Sea were systematically shifted towards a more negative perception of threats to MPAs compared to those from the Mediterranean Sea. Illegal fishing and other illegal activities were considered to be the most relevant threats to MPAs by stakeholders in both regions. The mismatch found between evidence of MPA effectiveness and impacts from the scientific literature and the results of our survey suggests that within the framework of maritime spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, effective MPA planning should be informed by multiple sources across regions.
Highly migratory fish species such as tunas, billfishes and sharks and associated ecosystems sustain important function and services for human wellbeing. Over the last decades international instruments of fisheries governance have set the core principles and minimum standards for the management of highly migratory fishes. Concomitantly the expectations and roles of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have changed. In response, RFMOs have been slowly incorporating ecosystem principles when managing the tuna and those tuna-like species under their juristiction. Here, our main objective is to evaluate the progress of tuna RFMOs (tRFMO) in implementing Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM), and specifically we focus on reviewing the ecological component, rather than the socio-economic and governance components of an EBFM approach. We first develop a benchmark Conceptual Ecological Model for what could be considered a “role model” of EBFM implementation in a tRFMO. Second, we develop a criteria to evaluate progress in applying EBFM against this benchmark role model. In our evaluation, we assess progress of the following four ecological components: targeted species, bycatch species, ecosystem properties and trophic relationships, and habitats, and review 20 elements that ideally would make EBFM more operational. We find that many of the elements necessary for an operational EBFM are already present, yet they have been implemented in a patchy way, without a long term vision of what is to be achieved and a formalized plan implementation. In global terms, tuna RFMOs have made considerable progress within the ecological component of target species, moderate progress in the ecological component of bycatch, and little progress in the components of ecosystem properties and trophic relationships and habitats, although their overall performance varies across the ecological components. All the tuna RFMOs share the same challenges of coordinating effectively all ecosystem research activities and developing a formal mechanism to better integrate ecosystem considerations into management decisions and communicating them to the Commission. While we consider tuna RFMOs are at the early stages of implementing EBFM, we believe its implementation should be seen as a step-wise adaptive process which should be supported with the best ecosystem science and an operational plan as a tool to set the path to advance towards its full implementation. With this comparative review of progress we hope to create discussion across the tuna RFMOs to inform the much needed development of operational EBFM plans.
The publically documented decline in health of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has led to its labelling, in media and academic literature, as a last chance tourism destination. That is, a place tourists travel to experience before it is gone. While the GBR has been labelled as such, no empirical evidence has identified that this is actually occurring. This article explores if tourists are motivated to visit the GBR to see it before it's gone, and examines the level of concern tourists have about the range of issues that are threatening the GBR. Drawing on 235 questionnaires with on-site tourists, the results indicate that tourists are seeking travel to the GBR in a bid to see the reef before it's too late. These tourists – identified as “seeking a last chance experience” – were also found to be more environmentally conscious, and have a higher level of concern about the overall health of the GBR. In terms of threats to the GBR, respondents indicated that they were mainly concerned about coral bleaching/disease and climate change, with tourism only considered as a moderate to low concern. The implications of this are discussed.
- Marine protected areas (MPAs) have become a widely used tool for marine conservation and fisheries management. In coastal areas, it has become clear that the success of MPAs, and the achievement of sustainable fishery production, requires a combination of effective management and conservation frameworks, maintenance of decent fisheries livelihoods, and a governance system that allows for effective participation of coastal communities, fishing people, and other ocean users in considering, designing and implementing MPAs. These ingredients are crucial to provide the social sustainability needed to achieve ecological sustainability, and in particular, to reconcile fisheries and marine conservation objectives, in light of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Aichi targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- Since its inception in 1962, the series of World Parks Congresses (WPC) has focused on protected areas, in both terrestrial and marine domains. The 2014 WPC in Sydney reinforced the apparent movement, started at the Durban WPC of 2003, towards recognition of social and economic issues related to MPAs, including the importance of food security and livelihoods, and the crucial nature of interactions between MPAs and fisheries. Many discussions at the 2014 WPC focused on these human dimensions of MPAs, and the need to incorporate them into MPA decision-making.
- This article examines the process and outcomes of the 2014 WPC, with emphasis on the role of people (in particular, fishers) in marine conservation, and particularly in coastal MPAs. In doing so, the article examines the process of producing a Marine Statement at the end of the WPC, as a component of the final ‘Promise of Sydney’ declaration. That process led to a range of concerns including (i) issues over transparency and inclusiveness in the statement's development, and (ii) content issues focused on representation of the social and economic conclusions, and advocacy of a specific MPA target for no-take areas. The article focuses on potential strategies for moving constructively beyond the still existing tensions between environment- and people-focused conservation and development.
The ocean provides many benefits, such as food provision, tourism opportunities, and coastal protection, to people around the world. To manage ocean uses in a sustainable way, managers need to limit some activities, but which benefits are most important to preserve? To answer this question, an opinion survey of 2000 Canadians was conducted, combining a best-worst scaling experiment and a Likert-scale choice instrument, to determine their perception of 10 ocean-derived benefits. Both approaches showed that ‘Clean Waters’ is highly important across all Canadians. The importance of other benefits such as ‘Food Provision’ and ‘Biodiversity’ varied with respondent age, political affiliation, and/or seafood-eating frequency. A majority (83%) of Canadians favoured non-extractive over extractive benefits. This case study demonstrates how survey approaches can reveal the values and preferences of the general public and provide an inclusive means to help managers align environmental policies with public priorities.
The time of Indigenous “inclusion” into state-led marine policy making is ending. Indigenous peoples are increasingly asserting their rights to primary roles in policy- and decision-making that affect their traditional homelands, freshwater bodies and oceans. Pacific herring governance is an important illustration of how coastal Indigenous nations, are reasserting legal and inherent rights to fisheries governance. Based in the empirical setting of British Columbia, Canada, this research examines (1) pressures for change to federal herring policy in the context of Indigenous rights and self-determination, and (2) the compatibility of Canadian federal marine policies with Indigenous herring governance. Findings suggest that Canada has an opportunity to implement new and strategic policy alternatives on herring that: better reflect emergent legal precedents; accommodates gains in Indigenous influence over decision-making; and supports the self-determination goals of coastal Indigenous nations. Given the context of fisheries uncertainty and a clear need to address Indigenous legal and inherent rights, Canada has an opportunity to position itself as a global leader in marine policy to reflect Indigenous inherent and legal rights.
Changes to our climate and oceans are already affecting living marine resources (LMRs) and the people, businesses, and economies that depend on them. As a result, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has developed a Climate Science Strategy (CSS) to increase the production and use of the climate-related information necessary to fulfill its LMR stewardship mission for fisheries management and protected species conservation. The CSS establishes seven objectives: (1) determine appropriate, climate-informed reference points; (2) identify robust strategies for managing LMRs under changing climate conditions; (3) design decision processes that are robust to climate-change scenarios; (4) predict future states of ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities; (5) determine the mechanisms of climate-change related effects on ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities; (6) track trends in ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities and provide early warning of change; and (7) build and maintain the science infrastructure required to fulfill NMFS mandates under changing climate conditions. These objectives provide a nationally consistent approach to addressing climate-LMR science needs that supports informed decision-making and effective implementation of the NMFS legislative mandates in each region. Near term actions that will address all objectives include: (1) conducting climate vulnerability analyses in each region for all LMRs; (2) establishing and strengthening ecosystem indicators and status reports in all regions; and (3) developing a capacity to conduct management strategy evaluations of climate-related impacts on management targets, priorities, and goals. Implementation of the Strategy over the next few years and beyond is critical for effective fulfillment of the NMFS mission and mandates in a changing climate.
Rebuilding of some U.S. West Coast rockfish (Sebastes spp.) stocks relies heavily on mandatory fishery discard, however the long-term condition of discarded fish experiencing capture-related barotrauma is unknown. We conducted two studies designed to evaluate delayed mortality, physical condition, and behavioral competency of yelloweye rockfish, Sebastes ruberrimus, experiencing barotrauma during capture followed by recompression (assisted return to depth of capture). First, we used sea-cage and laboratory holding to evaluate fish condition at 2, 15, and 30 days post-capture from 140 to 150 m depth. All external barotrauma signs resolved following 2 days of recompression, but fish that survived (10/12) had compromised buoyancy regulation, swim bladder injuries, and coelomic and visceral hemorrhages at both 15 and 30 days post-capture. For the second study, we used a video-equipped sea-cage to observe fish behavior for one hour following capture and return to the sea floor. Trials were conducted with 24 fish captured from 54 to 199 m water depth. All fish survived, but 50% of fish from the deepest depth ranges showed impairment in their ability to vertically orient (P < 0.01). Most (75%) deep-captured fish did not exhibit “vision-dependent” behavior (P < 0.001) and appeared unable to visually discern the difference between an opaque barrier and unobstructed or transparent components of the cage. These studies indicate physical injuries and behavioral impairment may compromise yelloweye rockfish in the hours and weeks following discard, even with recompression. Our results reiterate the importance of avoiding fishing contact with species under stock rebuilding plans, especially in deep water, and that spatially-managed rockfish conservation areas remain closed to fishing.
This review examines the influence of physical ocanographic processes on catchability of spanner crab (Ranina ranina) in northeast Australia. Physical oceanographic processes may affect crab catchability by influencing their activity levels and ability to detect bait. Bottom temperature, current velocity, and swell intensity appear to influence catches of spanner crab. At this stage, it appears warmer temperatures enhance catchability of spanner crab. Spanner crabs were more catchable in stronger currents, and crabs were observed to arrive from down-current of baited traps. However, a decline in catch was observed following periods of intense swell. Data derived from Waverider buoys suggest that occasionally these periods create strong wave-induced seabed current velocities, lead to at depths of 70 m. The oscillatory motion of wave-induced seabed velocities may cause higher suspended sediment concentrations. These observations corroborate the views of local fishermen that spanner crabs avoid ‘murky’ water. The effect of turbidity on catchability requires further research. Overall, we advocate that studies employ robust methodologies to measure physical oceanographic processes to accurately predict catchability. Moreover, large-scale physical oceanographic processes may also play an important role in catchability of spanner crab; including upwelling, eddies, and the East Australian Current. Integrating physical oceanography and fisheries interactions will considerably benefit commercial fishermen as well as provide valuable information for evidence-based management of these valuable resources.
Baleen whale populations have increased around the world after the end of commercial whaling in the 1980s. Anecdotes from local inhabitants of the Falkland Islands tell of an increase in whale sightings after an almost complete absence. However, no long-term monitoring exists to assess such recovery. With increasing maritime activities around the Islands, local managers need to understand the status and distribution of baleen whales to avoid impeding the potential recovery process. In the complete absence of scientific data, harvesting local ecological knowledge (LEK) from residents could provide means to assess whether whale numbers are increasing. We collected historical knowledge and mapped historical observations through structured interviews with 58 inhabitants and filtered observations for the highest reliability. We also collated existing historical catch and sighting data to compare species composition in inshore and offshore waters. A total of 3842 observations were compiled from the 1940s to 2015. This collation of information provided first-time evidence on the return of the whales in the Falkland Islands' waters. There was a clear increase in numbers of whales sighted, from no observations in the 1970s to 350 observations between 2010 and 2015 for similar effort, mostly of endangered sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). We mapped contemporary whale sighting hotspots to inform current marine spatial planning efforts. The use of LEK is highlighted here as a useful way to gain a better understanding of changes in the status of threatened species when no scientific monitoring has been conducted.