Capacity-building initiatives and training courses for marine and coastal resource management are often academically-oriented and target average or higher academic achievers (HAA), while practical skills for poor academic performers (PAP) remain undeveloped. The current paper gives insights into experiences from a PAP program implemented under the capacity-building subcomponent of the Kenya Coastal Development Project (KCDP). KCDP, a medium to large-sized development project at the Kenya coast, was financed by the Kenyan government through a loan from the World Bank from 2011 to 2017. Slightly better performance than what is expected of 30 out of 32 candidates indicated that PAP can successfully undergo training in fisheries and aquaculture, tourism and wildlife management. As metrics, we compared the richness of interpersonal ties and the within-range performance of PAP and HAA. The similarity of these metrics between the two groups indicated that PAP can successfully engage in marine and coastal management capacity-building initiatives. The capacity-building method presented in this study could help in developing much-needed policies for socio-economic inclusivity of vulnerable populations in the use and management of ocean and coastal resources for sustainable development.
Monitoring provides important feedback on how social and environmental systems are tracking and whether or not human activities, including management activities, are having an impact. This paper describes an approach applied to develop an integrated monitoring framework to inform adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, a complex, multi-jurisdictional, multi-sectoral marine system of international importance. It identifies the gaps and opportunities to integrate the existing long-term, short-term and compliance-related monitoring and reporting initiatives to provide the information for more effective and efficient (adaptive) management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. And as importantly it aligns expectations among different agencies about how monitoring will inform management. Fifty two high priority values, processes and pressures for management were identified along with 65 existing monitoring programs. Developing the monitoring framework was useful in several ways. First it brought together scientists, policy-makers, managers, and other interested stakeholders with different agendas, philosophies and incentives and established a common purpose, lexicon and language for an integrated monitoring program. Second, it highlighted the importance and usefulness of qualitative conceptual models as a framework for focused discussion around a set of hypotheses with relevance for management. Third, the process started an important conversation about defining and setting a realistic number of monitoring priorities for management. Finally, it has provided direction for how to build on existing initiatives to develop an integrated monitoring program for a globally significant world heritage area.
The marine environment provides a range of ecosystem services and benefits for society. A previous study in Marine Policy (Potts et al., 2014)  advocated a matrix approach to demonstrate the relative degree of ecosystem service provision from habitats and species within UK Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), but excluded seabird species in its assessment. Despite the number of existing UK MPAs designated specifically for individual seabird species and/or seabird assemblages, and the fact that seabird species have long been used as policy-relevant indicators for the monitoring and management of the marine environment, as yet little research has focussed on the direct role of seabird species in the provision of ecosystem services and how these are captured for marine spatial planning purposes in the context of MPAs. Building on the matrix approach, this paper develops and populates a matrix to illustrate the relationship between key UK breeding seabird species and their relative contribution to the delivery of intermediate ecosystem services and goods/benefits. The original matrix approach has been strengthened to include the development and testing of a set of rules for combining multiple matrices. Confidence scores relating to the underlying evidence base are built into the matrix to provide an illustration of the current understanding and to identify current gaps in evidence. Following a sense check by external seabird experts the matrix is applied in the context of four existing UK MPA case study sites. Further developments and applications of the seabird matrix are discussed within the context of wider marine management.
Community acceptance of Marine Parks is widely acknowledged as being critical for success. Where community stewardship and voluntary compliance have been achieved, there are fewer issues with non-compliance of zoning regulations. Probability-based surveys that are representative of the wider community can improve understanding of community perceptions prior to and following establishment of Marine Parks. Understanding attitudes towards newly created Marine Parks among user groups provides valuable information for the design of education and engagement programs, while also creating a benchmark to compare changes over time. A survey of community perceptions and awareness regarding the recently created Ngari Capes Marine Park in south-west Western Australia was measured via a randomised telephone survey of local and non-local boat-based recreational fishers; and local residents (including non-fishers and shore/boat fishers). This survey also evaluated other recreational uses of the park and how these activities were valued, knowledge of Marine Park zones, and how information about Marine Parks was being accessed. Participation in recreational fishing within Ngari Capes was above average and a supportive attitude towards the park was apparent. Boat-based recreational fishers displayed a higher degree of concern about fishing restrictions compared to local residents, but overall were supportive of the Marine Park. Across all user groups there was low awareness of the Ngari Capes Marine Park and poor understanding of Marine Parks. A lack of clarity regarding the likely benefits of the Ngari Capes Marine Park was apparent, implying a need to improve public communication and community engagement.
The fishing industry has been facing problems related to catch yields, predatory competition and economic collapse. Management should be based on substantial scientific studies and the state's ability to implement these. In Brazil, the surface longline fishery has been in existence since the 1950s, and remains of great economic importance. This study analyzes 179 legal instruments (1934–2014), divided into restrictive, administrative and promotional, comparing with catches landed (1996–2011). The results show that there was a complete disrespect for the regulations, wherein fleets continued landing prohibited or size limited species, such as Kajikia albida, Makaira nigricans, Alopias superciliosus, A. vulpinus, Carcharhinus longimanus, Galeorhinus galeus and Xiphias gladius. Furthermore, divergent regulatory provisions have hindered understanding/implementation of regulations by all those involved. Being a country of continental proportions and with different longline fisheries along the coast, conducting scientific studies and the development of normative approaches becomes a huge challenge. In a dynamic activity such as fishing, the constant review of these regulations will allow fisheries management to become more accurate and in accordance with the aspirations of the different interests involved. Despite the surface longline fishery having operated for 60 years in Brazil, the existence of incongruous laws makes the management and control of this activity incompatible with the conservation of species. The lack of regulations governing this fishery creates a "gap", increasing the risk of extinction of species (target and bycatch) and the future collapse of this activity.
Indiscriminate and intense fishing has occurred in many marine ecosystems around the world. Although this practice may have negative effects on biodiversity and populations of individual species, it may also increase total fishery productivity by removing predatory fish. We examine the potential for this phenomenon to explain the high reported wild catches in the East China Sea—one of the most productive ecosystems in the world that has also had its catch reporting accuracy and fishery management questioned. We show that reported catches can be approximated using an ecosystem model that allows for trophic cascades (i.e., the depletion of predators and consequent increases in production of their prey). This would be the world’s largest known example of marine ecosystem “engineering” and suggests that trade-offs between conservation and food production exist. We project that fishing practices could be modified to increase total catches, revenue, and biomass in the East China Sea, but single-species management would decrease both catches and revenue by reversing the trophic cascades. Our results suggest that implementing single-species management in currently lightly managed and highly exploited multispecies fisheries (which account for a large fraction of global fish catch) may result in decreases in global catch. Efforts to reform management in these fisheries will need to consider system wide impacts of changes in management, rather than focusing only on individual species.
Coastal Indigenous peoples rely on ocean resources and are highly vulnerable to ecosystem and economic change. Their challenges have been observed and recognized at local and regional scales, yet there are no global-scale analyses to inform international policies. We compile available data for over 1,900 coastal Indigenous communities around the world representing 27 million people across 87 countries. Based on available data at local and regional levels, we estimate a total global yearly seafood consumption of 2.1 million (1.5 million–2.8 million) metric tonnes by coastal Indigenous peoples, equal to around 2% of global yearly commercial fisheries catch. Results reflect the crucial role of seafood for these communities; on average, consumption per capita is 15 times higher than non-Indigenous country populations. These findings contribute to an urgently needed sense of scale to coastal Indigenous issues, and will hopefully prompt increased recognition and directed research regarding the marine knowledge and resource needs of Indigenous peoples. Marine resources are crucial to the continued existence of coastal Indigenous peoples, and their needs must be explicitly incorporated into management policies.
Marine aquaculture is expanding into deeper offshore environments in response to growing consumer demand for seafood, improved technology, and limited potential to increase wild fisheries catches. Sustainable development of aquaculture will require quantification and minimization of its impacts on other ocean-based activities and the environment through scientifically informed spatial planning. However, the scientific literature currently provides limited direct guidance for such planning. Here, we employ an ecological lens and synthesize a broad multidisciplinary literature to provide insight into the interactions between offshore aquaculture and the surrounding environment across a spectrum of spatial scales. While important information gaps remain, we find that there is sufficient research for informed decisions about the effects of aquaculture siting to achieve a sustainable offshore aquaculture industry that complements other uses of the marine environment.
Marine protected areas are considered important tools for protecting marine biodiversity, and animal tracking is a key way to determine if boundaries are effectively placed for protection of key marine species, including seabirds. We tracked chick-rearing brown noddies (Anous stolidus) from the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida USA in 2016 using 1.8 g Nanofix GPS tags (n = 10), making this the first time this species has ever been tracked. We determined movement parameters, such as flight speed, distance traveled and home range, and how birds used a complex of marine protected areas including the Dry Tortugas National Park which is largely no-take (i.e., no fishing or extraction permitted), and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, of which two Ecological Reserves totaling 517.9 km2 are no-take. Birds remained largely within marine protected areas, with 91.3% of birds' locations and 58.8% of the birds' total home range occurring within the MPAs, and 79.2% of birds' locations and 18.2% of the birds' total home range within no-take areas. However, areas of probable foraging, indicated by locations where birds had high-residence time, were found within one of the MPAs only 64.7% of the time, and only 6.7% of those locations were in no-take areas. Birds traveled a mean straight line distance from the colony of 37.5 km, primarily using the region to the southwest of the colony where the shelf break and Loop Current occur. High-residence-time locations were found in areas of significantly higher sea surface temperature and closer to the shelf break than low residency locations. A sea surface temperature front occurs near the shelf edge, likely indicative of where Sargassumseaweed is entrained, providing habitat for forage species. Much of this region, however, falls outside the boundaries of the marine protected areas, and brown noddies and other species breeding in the Dry Tortugas may interact with fisheries via resource competition or discard foraging. The complex of marine protected areas in the region encompasses a large portion of the overall habitat for this small seabird species, however a large portion of the key foraging habitat fell outside the boundaries of the marine protected areas. This study highlights areas for potential management changes including the protection of additional areas, and the importance of advanced tracking technology for management of marine species.
Recent conservation approaches have focused on the landscape as either a conservation target or a mechanism by which conservation can be achieved. A seascape is a spatially heterogeneous surface that is generally represented as a mosaic of patches (homogeneous units of natural vegetation) with spatial and functional relationships that are organized as puzzle pieces, which represent one or several ecosystems. Spatial analysis using a landscape ecology approach offers a wide range of tools to study, monitor, manage, and conserve these areas. The objective of this study was to identify the benthic community and spatially characterize the submarine habitats of the shallow coast along the Yucatan, Mexico, to identify priority conservation areas. The study area was divided into 3 zones based on their environmental qualities, and a total of 290 sampling sites were defined from a stratified random sample based on the unsupervised classification of Landsat ETM+ images. For each site, a video was taken; the substrate type was identified; and the organisms present were identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level. Training groups were defined by ordination analysis for the supervised classification of spectral bands and bathymetric modeling to obtain maps of the seascape, and the composition and configuration of the seascape were analyzed using spatial diversity metrics and indices. A total of 40 benthic morphotypes, predominantly brown algae and seagrass, were identified. Seven habitat types were defined along the coast based on the arrangement and spatial organization of the benthic community: bare substrate (A), sand with seagrass (B), seagrass meadow (C), seagrass with macroalgae (D), macroalgae on sand (E), flagstone with macroalgae (F), and macroalgal forest (G). The spatial configuration of the coastal seascape reflected the geomorphological characteristics of the study area and was significantly different among the three zones. Habitats G and F were present everywhere along the coast and dominated the seascape, whereas habitat C only occurred in Zone 3. Due to their structural complexity and biological richness, habitats C, D, F, and G are potentially critical for turtle, grouper, octopus, and lobster species, so these habitats are suggested as priority conservation areas to promote the conservation of these species as well as the productivity and functionality of these ecosystems.