Given the immeasurable value of estuaries and their severe and growing pressures, sound understanding and reporting of estuarine condition is essential for their effective management and sustainable development. In light of this, we aim to provide a timely and comprehensive three-part review of the approaches currently employed for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition, focussing on Australian systems. Here, in Part 1, we establish the national and international context of our review and define globally-relevant evaluation criteria against which to assess Australian progress. We achieve this by examining effective monitoring, assessment and reporting programs from around the world and characterising ‘best practice’. We then highlight the Australian historical context and consider recent policies, frameworks, guidelines and legislation relating to the monitoring and reporting of estuarine condition nationwide.
Many different blended sea surface temperature (SST) analyses are currently available and exhibit significant differences in the high latitude regions. It is challenging for users to determine which of these products is most accurate and best suited for their applications. Nine different SST analyses and two single sensor satellite products are compared with independent observations from Upper Temperature of the polar Oceans (UpTempO) buoys deployed in the Beaufort Sea in 2012 and 2013 during the Marginal Ice Zone Processes Experiment (MIZOPEX). The relative skill of the different SST products is evaluated using a combination of Taylor diagrams and two different verification scores that weight different statistical measures. Skill thresholds based on satellite accuracy requirements are chosen to map products with similar performance into three discrete skill categories: excellent, good, and poor. Results are presented for three subsets of the buoys corresponding to different regimes: coastal waters, northerly waters, and extreme weather. The presence of strong thermal gradients and cloudiness posed problems for the SST products, while in more homogeneous regions the performance was improved and more similar among products. The impact of variations in the ice mask between the SST products was mostly inconsequential. While the relative performance of the analyses varied with regime, overall, the best performing analyses for this region and period included the NOAA Optimal Interpolation SST (OISST), the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) SST, and the Group for High Resolution SST (GHRSST) Multi-Product Ensemble (GMPE).
A new oil risk management system is proposed herein. Risk is computed in a quantitative way, combining a detailed hazard maps generated with a process-based oil spill model over an unstructured computational grid, and a spatially detailed methodology for vulnerability analysis. The system has a web interface that serves as a single point of access to both emergency-driven and risk-management products. The system's products are made available to decision makers and emergency response agents through a WebGIS portal. The paper describes the methodological bases and application of a risk-assessment tool that provides hazard, vulnerability and risk assessment maps for oil spills in coastal areas.
The system is demonstrated in the Aveiro lagoon. The hazard maps are obtained from the analysis of an oil spill scenarios database, generated for the climatological conditions most prone to the occurrence of an oil spill event in the study region. Several vulnerability indexes are considered (namely physical, socio-economical, biological and global vulnerability indexes) and adapted to consider the intertidal areas, instead of the commonly-used coastline representation of the vulnerability indexes usually found in the literature. This new feature was possible due to the capability of the oil spill model to represent the process of oil retention and re-suspension in the intertidal zones.
The methodology and the risk management system and its WebGIS interface are of generic nature and can be applied to other hazards in coastal zones.
Spatial boundaries have become an indispensable part of regimes and tools for regulating fisheries, with examples including marine protected areas, regional fisheries management organizations and Exclusive Economic Zones. Yet, it is also widely acknowledged that boundaries are a social construct, which may be resisted by both fishers and fish ecology. The ensuing spatial and institutional mismatches have been shown to frustrate management efforts, exacerbating issues of non-compliance and ultimately leading to conflicts and overfishing. Interestingly, the often static and rigid nature of these boundaries has also led to a concomitant research interest in ‘transboundary’. This paradoxical situation of more boundary-setting entailing more transboundary thinking warrants a deeper understanding about boundaries and the role of transboundary research in fisheries. The aims of this review article are twofold: (1) a theoretical clarification on the meanings and uses of spatial boundaries drawing on geographical “boundary studies” literature; and (2) a construction of a typology that outlines how transboundary research is being articulated and envisioned. Together, the study reveals that transboundary scholarship in fisheries are mostly related to resources, fleets, trade and governance aspects and that dealing with the “boundary paradox” encompasses re-incorporating, re-scaling and re-imagining of boundaries. This article provides a conceptual basis for reflecting upon boundaries in world's fisheries and opens up discussions for a more nuanced boundary application that can better cope with multi-level interactions and dynamicity.
In recent years, negative impacts of jellyfish blooms (JB) on marine human activities have been increasingly reported. Aquaculture has been affected by jellyfish outbreaks, mostly documented through repeated episodes of farmed salmon mortalities in Northern Europe; however, the valuation of JB consequences on the aquaculture sector still remains poorly quantified. This study aims to provide the first quantitative evaluation effects of JB on finfish aquaculture in the Mediterranean Sea and to investigate the general awareness of JB impacts among Mediterranean aquaculture professional workers. The aquaculture workers' perception about JB was assessed through a structured interview-based survey administered across 21 aquaculture facilities in central and western Mediterranean. The workers' awareness about JB impacts on aquaculture differed among countries. Italian and Spanish fish farmers were better informed about jellyfish proliferations and, together with Tunisian farmers, they all recognized the wide potential consequences of JB on sea bream and sea bass aquaculture. On the contrary, the majority of Maltese respondents considered JB as a non-significant threat to their activity, mostly based on off-shore tuna farming. This study for the first time shows that JB may negatively affect different Mediterranean aquaculture facilities from Tunisia (Sicily Channel) and Spain (Alboran Sea), by increasing farmed fish gill disorders and mortality, clogging net cages, or inflicting painful stings to field operators, with severe economic consequences. Available knowledge calls for the development of coordinated preventive plans, adaptation policies, and mitigation countermeasures across European countries in order to address the JB phenomenon and its impacts on coastal water activities.
Understanding dynamics and stock structures of fish is particularly relevant to assessments and management of marine living resources. Using the nonparametric, nonlinear time series (NLTS) approach, we modeled dynamics of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) represented by time series of two fisheries-independent abundance indices and two fisheries-dependent abundance indices in the eastern and western portions of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Gulf). Further, we examined regional dynamics of red snapper in the two areas and explored the utility of NLTS models in generating short term forecasts. Overall, red snapper in the eastern Gulf and western Gulf displayed distinct patterns in terms of the Gulf-wide ecosystem indicators, which likely implies different underlying regional dynamics of the species. Moreover, dynamic features of red snapper differed between the two regions. Specifically, the system dimension (mean ± SE), i.e., the number of potential processes affecting the underlying dynamics of the species, was higher in the western Gulf (5.5 ± 1.32) than in the eastern Gulf (3.75 ± 1.44). The NLTS models exhibited significant skill (i.e., a measure of the goodness of fit (ρ) between observations and predictions) in forecasting red snapper abundance indices. The forecast skill (one year ahead) was 0.48 ± 0.01 for indices representing the eastern Gulf and 0.33 ± 0.05 for indices representing the western Gulf. The average dimension and forecast skill was 3 ± 1.43 and 0.37 ± 0.01 for fisheries-dependent indices, and 6.25 ± 1.32 and 0.45 ± 0.05 for fisheries-independent indices. These findings have implications for the Gulf red snapper fisheries in that the NLTS approach shows potential for forecasting stock abundance indices, and provides new information regarding the appropriate spatial scale for management of the species. Moreover, the ecosystem considerations in this study can be further explored to forecast the dynamics of red snapper for better assessments and management of the species.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been endorsed internationally as a tool promoting marine conservation. MPAs implementation can however be challenging, with many not achieving conservation objectives while creating conflicts with small-scale fishers, often overlooked. This study aims at exploring how MPA implementation can be improved, taking as a case study the Marine National Park of Currais Islands in Southern Brazil. Specifically, this thesis offers a theoretical contribution by applying the interactive governance framework to analyze both the natural and the social systems, focusing on small-scale fishers, governed by the MPA as an institution. The thesis also presents a methodological contribution, as it develops and applies an exploratory mapping approach. We surveyed 65 small-scale fishers from eight communities at Pontal do Paraná municipality, and conducted an exploratory mapping approach in small groups. Main findings point to challenges and opportunities to MPA implementation, and offer a way to involve small-scale fishers in the discussion about MPAs.
Shoreline armoring can impact a variety of ecosystem functions, goods and services provided by beaches. Shoreline managers struggle to balance genuine need for armoring to protect infrastructure versus unacceptable losses of ecosystem functions––whether these be in beaches, sand dunes, or marshes. We use our recent research effort in the Salish Sea, Washington, as a case study to illustrate how highlighting the negative consequences of shoreline armoring to publicly important ecosystem functions may help to strengthen implementation of policy and prioritize restoration actions. We focus on two distinct mechanisms of armoring impact that link strongly to key beach functions, and recommend: (1) where armoring is clearly necessary, place or move it as high on the beach as possible. Armoring emplaced relatively low on the shore is more likely to affect a variety of ecosystem functions from forage fish spawning to beach recreation; (2) prioritize protection or restoration (armor removal) of feeder bluffs that are critical for sediment supply to the beach; this sediment is essential to the maintenance of beach functions. In addition, we recommend that nature-based alternatives to armoring be given preferential regulatory consideration and that outreach efforts clarify the advantages of these engineering methods.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), marine areas in which human activities are restricted, are implemented worldwide to protect the marine environment. However, with a large proportion of these MPAs being no more than paper parks, it is important to be able to evaluate MPA success, determined by improvements to biophysical, socio-economic and governance conditions. In this study a systematic literature review was conducted to determine the most frequently used indicators of MPA success. These were then applied to a case study to demonstrate how success can be evaluated. The fifteen most frequently used indicators included species abundance, level of stakeholder participation and the existence of a decision-making and management body. Using the indicator framework with a traffic light system, we demonstrate how an MPA can be evaluated in terms of how well it performs against the indicators using secondary data from the literature. The framework can be used flexibly. For example, where no MPA data currently exist, the framework can be populated by qualitative data provided by local stakeholder knowledge. This system provides a cost-effective and straightforward method for managers and decision-makers to determine the level of success of any MPA and identify areas of weakness. However, given the variety of motivations for MPA establishment, this success needs to be determined in the context of the original management objectives of the MPA with greater weighting being placed on those objectives where appropriate.
In summary, the biodiversity inventories of 3BNP have revealed that significant species richness remains in each of the three major ecosystems including a large number of total species, as well as some that are rare and endemic to the area. These species and their habitats provide essential services to the communities around the Park and have the potential to be the basis for future ecotourism developments. Extensive human use going back hundreds of years has removed or seriously depleted a number of native species from the area, while threats put the remaining species and their intact habitats at risk (see separate 3BNP Threat Assessment report). Essential to the continued persistence of the remaining biodiversity is the preservation of remaining intact habitats and the establishment of a functioning park with a management plan, zoning, and enforcement to regulate human use within the Park boundaries.
The information developed as part of this baseline ecological assessment is designed to inform the management planning and zoning plan for 3BNP. All of the information will be made available in standardized digital format. GIS maps of terrestrial and benthic habitats along with mapped and modeled threats (Kramer et al. 2016) provide a standardized and up-to-date baseline for the Park. All documented species occurences encountered during the field surveys have been published into a standardized biodiversity systematics database (Darwin Core Archive) (http://tools.gbif.org/dwca- assistant/). It is our hope that this information will form the beginning of a comprehensive ecological database for 3BNP that can be used to guide decision making as well as future scientific studies for the area.