Global warming is predicted to drive preferential survival of warm adapted genotypes that have migrated to cooler locations, and result in an overall decline in genetic diversity due to bleaching-related mortality. Population genomic analysis of Acropora millepora on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) revealed that most populations were demographically distinct with preferential southward migration from lower (warmer) to higher (cooler) latitudes. Still, no recent increase in southward migration was detectable, and predicted migration rates remained closely correlated with those derived from a biophysical model based on ocean currents. There was also no evidence of recent declines in genetic diversity. A multi-locus adaptation model suggested that standing genetic variation spread across latitudes might be sufficient to fuel continuous adaptation of A. millepora metapopulation over 100-200 years of gradual warming. However, the model also predicted increase in severity of local mortality events induced by thermal anomalies.
Artificial reefs (ARs) have long been practiced to manage and enhance fisheries resources worldwide. Here, we aimed to identify relevant indicator species for the specific environmental conditions of ARs by comparing fish diversity against control sites (Conts). We used a combination of non-metric multidimensional scaling and indicator value analysis to identify the indicator species of the specific AR environments. More individuals and species of fish were present in ARs compared to Conts. Water temperature over the seasons was the most important environmental factor associated with the trophic group composition of fish. In particular, macrocarnivores and benthic invertivores/cleaners closely reflected habitat conditions in a consistent manner. Some dominant fish species were detected at all sites, while the indicator species were more predominant under certain environmental conditions. Altogether, ARs should be monitored at regular intervals to optimize management of their health by detecting the community representativeness via indicator species.
Given the great overfishing of the demersal resources in the Northern Adriatic Sea (geographical sub-area [GSA] 17), along with the fishing pressure in marine habitats, evidence strongly supports the need to evaluate appropriate management approaches. Several fishing activities operate simultaneously in the area, and the need to minimize conflicts among them is also a social concern. We applied a spatially and temporally explicit fish and fisheries model to assess the impact of a suite of spatial plans suggested by practitioners that could reduce the pressure on the four demersal stocks of high commercial interest in the GSA 17 and that could promote space sharing between mutually exclusive activities. We found that excluding trawlers from some areas has lowered the effective fishing effort, resulting in some economic losses but providing benefit to the set netters. Not every simulated fishing vessel is impacted in the same way because some fishing communities experienced different economic opportunities, particularly when a 6-nautical mile buffer zone from the coast was implemented in the vicinity of important fishing grounds. Along this buffer zone, the four stocks were only slightly benefiting from the protection of the area and from fewer discards. In contrast, assuming a change in the ability of the population to disperse led to a large effect: Some fish became accessible in the coastal waters, therefore increasing the landings for range-limited fishers, but the discard rate of fish also increased, greatly impairing the long-term biomass levels. Our evaluation, however, confirmed that no effort is displaced onto vulnerable benthic habitats and to grounds not suitable for the continued operation of fishing. We conclude that the tested spatial management is helpful, but not sufficient to ensure sustainable fishing in the area, and therefore, additional management measures should be taken. Our test platform investigates the interaction between fish and fisheries at a fine geographical scale and simulates data for varying fishing methods and from different harbor communities in a unified framework. We contribute to the development of effective science-based inputs to facilitate policy improvement and better governance while evaluating trade-offs in fisheries management and marine spatial planning.
One aim of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is to protect a representative portion of the environment through spatial closures to extractive practices such as fisheries. Although they usually involve the displacement of fisheries, their design rarely takes into account the effect of displacing that fishery on the target fish population. We used a spatially explicit population model of Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea region to investigate the effects of the endorsed Ross Sea region MPA on the fishery dynamics and the spatial distribution of the toothfish population. Our study indicates that the MPA will likely improve protection of the juvenile population residing on the Antarctic Shelf, while the number of areas with high levels of depletion is unlikely to increase compared to status quo management. Results also suggested a small increase in the catch limit under the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) harvest management rules, but with a slight reduction in catch rates. We have showed that spatial modelling tools can help inform MPA planning by simultaneously quantifying potential effects on the fish population and the ability to achieve conservation goals.
This report provides an assessment of emerging evidence on the socio-economic impacts of Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The reports objectives are to develop a methodology for monitoring the socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures and to gather and analyse evidence on the ex post socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures. This report presents evidence from key informant interviews, analysis of fishing activity data and three case studies.
It has been reported that global warming has negative effects on coral ecosystems in the past 50 years and the effects vary in different ocean environment. In order to make clear the coral reef status in the background of global warming along the south coast of Hainan Island of China, satellite and in situ data are used to retrieve the information of the coral reef status and surrounding environmental factors. The results show that cool water induced by upwelling along the south coast of Hainan Island is found in the area every summer month, especially in the relatively strong El Niño years (2002–2003 and 2005). From the NOAA satellite data, degree heating week (DHW) index does not exceed 3 in Sanya Bay even in the relatively strong El Niño years. By comparison of a coral reef growth rate in the Sanya Bay with respect to El Niño events from 1957 to 2000, coral’s growth rate is relatively greater during 1972, 1991–1994 and 1998 El Niño event. By analyzing the environmental factors, it is found that the cool water induced by upwelling may be the main reason for protecting corals from global warming effects.
Coral reef fishes, like many other marine organisms, are affected by anthropogenic stressors such as fishing and pollution and, owing to climate change, are experiencing increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification. Against the backdrop of these various stressors, a mechanistic understanding of processes governing individual organismal performance is the first step for identifying drivers of coral reef fish population dynamics. In fact, physiological measurements can help to reveal potential cause-and-effect relationships and enable physiologists to advise conservation management by upscaling results from cellular and individual organismal levels to population levels. Here, we highlight studies that include physiological measurements of coral reef fishes and those that give advice for their conservation. A literature search using combined physiological, conservation and coral reef fish key words resulted in ~1900 studies, of which only 99 matched predefined requirements. We observed that, over the last 20 years, the combination of physiological and conservation aspects in studies on coral reef fishes has received increased attention. Most of the selected studies made their physiological observations at the whole organism level and used their findings to give conservation advice on population dynamics, habitat use or the potential effects of climate change. The precision of the recommendations differed greatly and, not surprisingly, was least concrete when studies examined the effects of projected climate change scenarios. Although more and more physiological studies on coral reef fishes include conservation aspects, there is still a lack of concrete advice for conservation managers, with only very few published examples of physiological findings leading to improved management practices. We conclude with a call to action to foster better knowledge exchange between natural scientists and conservation managers to translate physiological findings more effectively in order to obtain evidence-based and adaptive management strategies for the conservation of coral reef fishes.
A rapid review of the literature on closed areas that recognize key ecosystem-based management (EBM) principles of fisheries and biodiversity conservation and had fisher involvement was employed to review closed areas worldwide from a fisheries perspective and to develop a scorecard that can assess their efficacy. The review provided 523 abstracts of which 19 areas from various regions worldwide had peer-reviewed studies that met strict selection criteria. Criteria included fisher involvement, biodiversity conservation and fisheries management objectives. A repeat search without “fisher” and synonyms found, 62,622 papers indicating that most closed area studies had no mention of any fisher involvement. The general success of the areas selected suggests that fisher involvement benefits both biological conservation and fisheries management. Fisheries and biodiversity conservation outcomes were not exclusive to any one type of management closure (e.g. MPA, Fishery Closure). Twenty-four indicators were selected, designed to provide measurable targets. High scoring indicators included management, planning and socio-economic indicators such as local support (100%), habitat protection (100%), conservation and fisheries objectives (100%), monitoring (91.7%) and fishers concerns (91.7%). Bio-ecological-based indicators scored lower in most cases for all types of areas. Fisheries closures rated as highly as the MPAs with respect to both fisheries and bio-ecological indicators. The scorecard provided a reasonable means to evaluate management success in the light of often qualitative or missing data. Addressing the interests and utilizing knowledge of those affected by closures and familiar with the area, most often local fishers, is key to achieving management objectives.
Low-frequency noise that is part of the acoustic environment for baleen whales has increased in many areas of the Northeast Pacific Ocean that contain whale habitat. We conducted a spatially explicit risk assessment of noise from commercial shipping to blue, fin, and humpback whale habitats in Southern California waters and explored how noise is affected by several place-based management techniques: a National Marine Sanctuary, an Area to be Avoided (ATBA), and a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). We used shipping data to model noise at 2 frequencies that are part of the acoustic environment for these species and capture the variable contributions from shipping to noise. Predicted noise levels in Southern California waters suggest high, region-wide exposure to shipping noise. Our risk assessment identified several areas where the acoustic environment may be degraded for blue, fin, and humpback whales because their habitat overlaps with areas of elevated noise from shipping traffic and 2 places where blue and humpback whale feeding areas overlap with lower predicted noise levels. One of the places with lower predicted noise occurs in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS). Noise has not been directly managed within the CINMS; instead, reduced noise in this portion of the CINMS is likely an ancillary benefit of the ATBA surrounding most of the Sanctuary. Areas of elevated noise in the CINMS also occur, primarily where a TSS intersects the Sanctuary’s boundaries. Our risk assessment framework can be used to evaluate how shipping traffic affects acoustic environments and explore management strategies.
The purpose of this article is to present the Mexican experience related to the US-Mexico joint Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem-Based Assessment and Management Project, particularly the community involvement and mangrove wetland restoration, and the challenges for its replication and up-scaling. Results focus on community engagement, environmental education and social participation, strategies for hydrological restoration of mangrove, and difficulties and recommendations for the implementation of the Strategic Action Program. The main conclusions are that the community-based hydrologic restoration approach, is a good way to ensure long-term restoration of wetlands. Changing from mangrove plantations to the hydrological restoration of wetlands, and construction of human capacities resulted in a more efficient strategy for ecosystem restoration and had influenced the forest environmental policy. The involvement of government and education institutions as execution agencies will contribute to a more efficient appropriation of the project and LME approach. The development of economic alternatives and the ecological monitoring are some of the identified challenges within the implementation phase of the Strategic Action Program.