Patterns of connectivity and self-recruitment are recognized as key factors shaping the dynamics of marine populations. Connectivity is also essential for maintaining and restoring natural ecological processes with genetic diversity contributing to the adaptation and persistence of any species in the face of global disturbances. Estimates of connectivity are crucial to inform the design of both marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks. Among several approaches, genetic structure is frequently used as a proxy for patterns of connectivity. Using 8 microsatellite loci, we investigated genetic structure of the two-banded sea bream Diplodus vulgaris, a coastal fish that is both commercially and ecologically important. Adults were sampled in 7 locations (stretches of coastline approximately 8 km long) and juveniles in 14 sites (~100 to 200 m of coastline) along 200 km of the Apulian Adriatic coast (SW Adriatic Sea), within and outside an MPA (Torre Guaceto MPA, Italy). Our study found similar genetic diversity indices for both the MPA and the surrounding fished areas. An overall lack of genetic structure among samples suggests high gene flow (i.e. connectivity) across a scale of at least 200 km. However, some local genetic divergences found in two locations demonstrate some heterogeneity in processes renewing the population along the Apulian Adriatic coast. Furthermore, two sites appeared genetically divergent, reinforcing our observations within the genetic makeup of adults and confirming heterogeneity in early stage genetics that can come from either different supply populations or from chaotic genetic patchiness occurring under temporal variation in recruitment and in the reproductive success. While the specific role of the MPA is not entirely known in this case, these results confirm the presence of regional processes and the key role of connectivity in maintaining the local population supply.
This report presents the overall results of the spatial data collection in 2015 & 2016 and the methods and results of participatory mapping workshops conducted in 2016. The 2015 Pilot Party and Charter Vessel Mapping Study Final Report provides additional details on the project, including the context, purpose, and goals; the collaboration with fisheries management officials and entities; and development and management of the technical infrastructure, including data management and processing. Figure 2 presents a timeline of the spatial data collection pilot project.
As more ocean plans are developed and adopted around the world, the importance of accessible, up-to-date spatial data in the planning process has become increasingly apparent. Many ocean planning efforts in the United States and Canada rely on a companion data portal–a curated catalog of spatial datasets characterizing the ocean uses and natural resources considered as part of ocean planning and management decision-making.
Data portals designed to meet ocean planning needs tend to share three basic characteris- tics. They are: ocean-focused, map-based, and publicly-accessible. This enables planners, managers, and stakeholders to access common sets of sector-speci c, place-based information that help to visualize spatial relationships (e.g., overlap) among various uses and the marine environment and analyze potential interactions (e.g., synergies or con icts) among those uses and natural resources. This data accessibility also enhances the transparency of the planning process, arguably an essential factor for its overall success.
This paper explores key challenges, considerations, and best practices for developing and maintaining a data portal. By observing the relationship between data portals and key principles of ocean planning, we posit three overarching themes for data portal best practices: accommodation of diverse users, data vetting and review by stakeholders, and integration with the planning process. The discussion draws primarily from the use of the Northeast Ocean Data Portal to support development of the Northeast Ocean Management Plan, with additional examples from other portals in the U.S. and Canada.
This comprehensive set of policy recommendations on oceans and climate for consideration at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 22nd Conference of the Parties and beyond is aimed at recognizing the central role of oceans in climate and the need to implement stringent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid disastrous consequences for coastal and island communities, marine ecosystems, and ocean chemistry. The recommendations from the International Expert Working Group on Oceans and Climate address mitigation, adaptation, displacement, financing, and capacity development.With respect to mitigation, the authors recommend implementing “blue carbon” policies, reducing carbon emissions from ships, developing ocean-based renewable energy, and considering (long-term/no-harm) ocean-based carbon capture and storage. They also encourage all nations to reduce carbon emissions so that the Paris Agreement to limit emissions to well below 2 degrees Celsius can be achieved. With respect to adaptation, the authors recommend implementing ecosystem-based adaptation strategies through integrated coastal and ocean management institutions at national, regional, and local levels to reduce the vulnerability of coastal/ocean ecosystems and human settlements and to build the management capacity, preparedness, resilience, and adaptive capacities of coastal and island communities. With respect to displacement of coastal and island populations as a result of climate change, they recommend international law changes to clarify definitions, rights, and procedures for climate-induced refugees and migrants, including development and implementation of appropriate financing measures. With respect to financing adaptation and mitigation efforts, they recommend directing a significant portion of the current climate funds to coastal and SIDS issues and developing supplementary financing to support adaptation and mitigation methods through innovative approaches and partnerships. Finally, with respect to capacity development, they recommend building up knowledge, tools, and scientific and political expertise to empower people to implement mitigation and adaptation measures, to increase adaptive management capacity, to create early warning systems, and to institute disaster risk reduction. They also recommend developing knowledge management mechanisms to share knowledge among all countries.
Ocean acidification is a threat to many marine organisms, especially those that use calcium carbonate to form their shells and skeletons. The ability to accurately measure the carbonate system is the first step in characterizing the drivers behind this threat. Due to logistical realities, regular carbonate system sampling is not possible in many nearshore ocean habitats, particularly in remote, difficult-to-access locations. The ability to autonomously measure the carbonate system in situ relieves many of the logistical challenges; however, it is not always possible to measure the two required carbonate parameters autonomously. Observed relationships between sea surface salinity and total alkalinity can frequently provide a second carbonate parameter thus allowing for the calculation of the entire carbonate system. Here, we assessed the rigor of estimating total alkalinity from salinity at a depth <15 m by routinely sampling water from a pier in southern California for several carbonate system parameters. Carbonate system parameters based on measured values were compared with those based on estimated TA values. Total alkalinity was not predictable from salinity or from a combination of salinity and temperature at this site. However, dissolved inorganic carbon and the calcium carbonate saturation state of these nearshore surface waters could both be estimated within on average 5% of measured values using measured pH and salinity-derived or regionally averaged total alkalinity. Thus we find that the autonomous measurement of pH and salinity can be used to monitor trends in coastal changes in DIC and saturation state and be a useful method for high-frequency, long-term monitoring of ocean acidification.
Temporal changes in occupancy of the Georges Bank (NE USA) fish and invertebrate community were examined and interpreted in the context of systems ecological theory of extinction debt (EDT). EDT posits that in a closed system with a mix of competitor and colonizer species and experiencing habitat fragmentation and loss, the competitor species will show a gradual decline in fitness (occupancy) eventually leading to their extinction (extirpation) over multiple generations. A corollary of this is a colonizer credit, where colonizer species occupancy may increase with fragmentation because the disturbance gives that life history a transient relative competitive advantage. We found that competitor species occupancy decreased in time concomitant with an increase in occupancy of colonizer species and this may be related to habitat fragmentation or loss owing to industrialized bottom trawl fishing. Mean species richness increased over time which suggests less specialization (decreased dominance) of the assemblage that may result from habitat homogenization. These analyses also showed that when abundance of species was decreased by fishing but eventually returned to previous levels, on average it had a lower occupancy than earlier in the series which could increase their vulnerability to depletion by fishing. Changing occupancy and diversity patterns of the community over time is consistent with EDT which can be exacerbated by direct impacts of fishery removals as well as climate change impacts on the fish community assemblage.
The Maritimes Region released its Regional Oceans Plan in 2014. The plan outlines the approach and actions that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is taking to support oceans and coastal management in the Maritimes Region. It responds to DFO’s responsibilities under the Oceans Act to lead and facilitate integrated and ecosystem approaches to the management of Canada’s oceans. The Oceans and Coastal Management Division (OCMD) is responsible for working with other parts of DFO and other organizations to implement the Regional Oceans Plan.
DFO committed to communicating progress on the implementation of the plan on a regular basis with other parts of DFO and with other government departments and stakeholders. The current document responds to that commitment by reporting on the plan’s four implementation priorities. This document will be distributed to DFO senior managers in the region and across the Oceans sector, federal and provincial government partners via the Regional Committee on Coastal and Oceans Management, and other interested parties.
The decline of sea turtle populations in the Caribbean has led to intensive recovery efforts. In Belizean waters, hawksbill turtles are seemingly making a comeback. At Glover’s Reef Atoll particularly, juvenile hawksbill turtles are found in the fore-reef habitat. The population status and dynamics of this foraging aggregation were assessed to inform conservation management and to ascertain the national and regional importance of this site. During 12 sampling periods from 2007 to 2013, turtles of all species were counted, captured, and tagged. For hawksbill turtles, the capture-recapture histories were combined with the counts using a mark-resight analysis under a robust design. This provided estimates of abundance as well as survival and transition rates. From 2009 onward, distance sampling was also used to estimate density and abundance of hawksbill turtles and the less frequently encountered green and loggerhead turtles. Distance sampling provided a more cost-effective estimation method for multiple species and another more precise source of abundance estimates for hawksbills. This is the first study known to use either mark-resight or distance sampling methods during snorkel surveys of sea turtles. It produced reasonably congruent abundance estimates of >1000 juvenile hawksbills and an order of magnitude less of green and loggerhead turtles. The mark-resight analysis estimated an apparent juvenile hawksbill survival probability of 0.975 (95% CI: 0.936-0.99), indicating that mortality factors are low. The Atoll provides important developmental habitat for juvenile hawksbills, contributing to the recovery of the species on the national and regional scale.
In 2008, the government of the São Paulo State, Brazil, established marine protected areas (MPAs) along its entire coast. Pair trawling was banned from most of these areas ever since. This study investigated how these MPAs influenced on pair trawling fleet's operational patterns and landings from 2005 to 2012 as well as on the other fleets dynamics. Landings of pair trawlers per unit effort remained stable, however, they had to look for farther fishing grounds and capture deeper and less profitable species, changing their landing composition and reducing income. Gillnet fleet, particularly, has intensified fishing in MPAs and showed an increase in catches of some species that was once targeted by pair trawlers. In this case, MPAs management acted more towards a territorial management, protecting artisanal fisheries, than in the protection of fisheries resources.