The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has been working to develop and implement a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) for over 10 years. Within CCAMLR there is a long-held belief that the area covered by the CCAMLR Convention is equivalent to a category IV protected area as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This belief was founded upon a comparison of the central objective of CCAMLR as defined by the CCAMLR Convention with the IUCN definition of a category IV MPA. This advice was accepted by the CCAMLR Scientific Committee but to date there has not been any analysis of this advice within CCAMLR, IUCN or in the literature. This paper critically analyses that advice, and finds that the CCAMLR Convention area does not meet the IUCN definition of an MPA and thus the CCAMLR Convention Area cannot be considered equivalent to a category IV MPA.
Clarity and accuracy of reporting are fundamental to the scientific process. The understandability of written language can be estimated using readability formulae. Here, in a corpus consisting of 707 452 scientific abstracts published between 1881 and 2015 from 122 influential biomedical journals, we show that the readability of science is steadily decreasing. Further, we demonstrate that this trend is indicative of a growing usage of general scientific jargon. These results are concerning for scientists and for the wider public, as they impact both the reproducibility and accessibility of research findings.
Palau has a rich heritage of conservation that has evolved from the traditional moratoria on fishing, or “bul”, to more western Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), while still retaining elements of customary management and tenure. In 2003, the Palau Protected Areas Network (PAN) was created to conserve Palau’s unique biodiversity and culture, and is the country’s mechanism for achieving the goals of the Micronesia Challenge (MC), an initiative to conserve ≥30% of near-shore marine resources within the region by 2020. The PAN comprises a network of numerous MPAs within Palau that vary in age, size, level of management, and habitat, which provide an excellent opportunity to test hypotheses concerning MPA design and function using multiple discreet sampling units. Our sampling design provided a robust space for time comparison to evaluate the relative influence of potential drivers of MPA efficacy. Our results showed that no-take MPAs had, on average, nearly twice the biomass of resource fishes (i.e. those important commercially, culturally, or for subsistence) compared to nearby unprotected areas. Biomass of non-resource fishes showed no differences between no-take areas and areas open to fishing. The most striking difference between no-take MPAs and unprotected areas was the more than 5-fold greater biomass of piscivorous fishes in the MPAs compared to fished areas. The most important determinates of no-take MPA success in conserving resource fish biomass were MPA size and years of protection. Habitat and distance from shore had little effect on resource fish biomass. The extensive network of MPAs in Palau likely provides important conservation and tourism benefits to the Republic, and may also provide fisheries benefits by protecting spawning aggregation sites, and potentially through adult spillover.
The Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), a Philippine environmental organization, in collaboration with Region 7 municipality leaders from Cebu, Leyte, and Bohol, as well as various financial donors, is striving to improve the marine resource management of the Outer Danajon Bank in the Philippines. One of the goals is to develop scuba dive tourism along the Outer Bank, beginning with the municipality of Bien Unido on Bohol Island. Despite previous efforts to attract investors and tourists by the Bien Unido mayor, dive tourism is currently absent from the municipality. During the summer of 2011, the mayor, the CCEF, and a private real estate developer, agreed to invest in infrastructure and livelihood training in Bien Unido for the purpose of developing a scuba dive tourism industry. This study analyzes current community viewpoints on the development of dive tourism in Bien Unido and four selected dive tourist cites. The study consists of thirty-four qualitative interviews conducted in Bien Unido and four other dive tourist sites as well as 1117 quantitative surveys conducted with community members throughout the central portion of the Philippines (Region 7). This study complements the Danajon Bank Marine Park Project of the CCEF and makes recommendations to improve the management of the Danajon Bank Double Barrier coral reef with protected areas and alternative livelihood projects linked to tourism development. The interviews served to define tourism and to document the specific needs of each barangay, or community, for tourism development. The qualitative survey revealed generally positive attitudes regarding scuba dive tourism development. Nintey-one percent of respondents believe tourism will help the barangay and most would participate in selling food/drink or being a recreational tour guide for tourists. Interview and survey respondents expectations that economic benefits will outweigh any social or environmental challenges, primarily alternative livelihoods and increased revenue for the municipality. Overall, Bien Unido and Region 7 community members will likely welcome visitors to their communities due to the expected benefits regardless of other negative environmental and social externalities such as increases in resource pressures and losses of tradition. Four additional municipalities were selected as “tourism developed sites” to further explore the negative and positive impacts of dive tourism, as perceived by the barangay captains or council, over a range of five to thirty years. These findings revealed challenges that were not mentioned in Bien Unido interviews or in the Region 7 qualitative surveys including changes in the price of living, increases in drug trafficking and sex trade, and private investors controlling community decisions.
Identifying and protecting nursery habitats for species is a key conservation strategy for the long-term sustainability of populations. In tropical ecosystems, macroalgal habitats have recently been identified as nurseries for fish of commercial and conservation significance. Here, we explore how local-scale variations in seaweed habitat quality interact with large-scale climatic conditions (Southern Oscillation Index, SOI) to influence the recruitment of three tropical fish species (Lethrinusspp.), often targeted by fishers. New fish recruits and juveniles of all species were almost exclusively found in macroalgal nursery habitats, while adults of two of these species were predominantly found on adjacent coral reefs. Annual supply rates of new recruits were found to be strongly correlated to variations in the SOI, with La Nina conditions associated with higher recruitment. However, local rates of recruitment were generally poor predictors of older juvenile abundance. Instead, local juvenile abundance was more closely related to structural characteristics of macroalgae nursery habitat quality (density, canopy height, canopy cover) and/or predator biomass, at the time of survey, with species-specific habitat associations apparent. Given the dynamic nature of fish recruitment supply to the SOI, coupled with the effects of climatic and oceanic processes on the structure of macroalgal patches, these results suggest protection of macroalgal nursery habitats that maintain high canopy density, height and cover is critical to supporting the conservation of fish populations.
Climate change is expected to result in more intense and longer-lasting droughts and increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events. The combination of drought followed by intense rainfall increases the risk of severe flooding, with impacts on a range of natural and anthropogenic systems, including infrastructure (road washouts, damage to houses) and impacts on agriculture (soil erosion and loss of crops and livestock). Blue-Green Infrastructure (BGI) is an interconnected network of natural and designed landscape components, including water bodies and green and open spaces, which provide multiple functions such as: (i) water storage for irrigation and industry use, (ii) flood control, (iii) wetland areas for wildlife habitat or water purification, and many others. This paper provides a review of information on the impact of BGI on environments, particularly on water resources and vegetation. Efforts have been made to review the BGI development situation in different countries. Based on the research reviewed, the authors suggest the following as priorities for future research into the environmental impacts of BGI: determining the feasibility of BGI and determining the impacts of applying the BGI for major regions where there have been considerable nature-based recreation and tourism resources.
Small-scale fisheries are important for the livelihoods of millions but are vulnerable to global and local stresses. Resilient households are able to maintain, and even grow their livelihoods, despite these stresses. Improving fishers’ resilience contributes to poverty prevention and alleviation. Effective intervention requires accurate evaluation of fisher resilience, but no quantitative tool currently exists. In this study, we propose the fisheries livelihoods resilience check (FLIRES check) as a widely applicable tool to evaluate fisher livelihood resilience. This new tool combines the principles of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach with the methodology of RAPFISH (a rapid assessment of fisheries sustainability). For the FLIRES check, 43 attributes were designed to quantify previously described qualitative factors that enable or constrain livelihoods in fishing communities in West Sumatra, Indonesia. These were grouped into six “capital” fields (financial, human, natural, institutional, physical and social) used in the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach. RAPFISH multidimensional scaling was applied to evaluate resilience in each of these fields on a scale from good (resilient) to bad (vulnerable). The FLIRES check was tested in two fishing communities in West Sumatra. The tool identified strengths and weaknesses in livelihood resilience at a household, fishing gear and village scale, for each field. The FLIRES assessment compared well with qualitative descriptions as assessed by interview. It facilitates quantitative temporal and spatial comparisons of livelihood resilience which has not previously been possible. We invite further testing, refining of the attributes and wider application of this methodology.
A growing field of sustainability science examines how environments are transformed through polycentric governance. However, many studies are only snapshot analyses of the initial design or the emergent structure of polycentric regimes. There is less systematic analysis of the longitudinal robustness of polycentric regimes. The problem of robustness is approached by focusing not only on the structure of a regime but also on its context and effectiveness. These dimensions are examined through a longitudinal analysis of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) governance regime, drawing on in-depth interviews and demographic, economic, and employment data, as well as organizational records and participant observation. Between 1975 and 2011, the GBR regime evolved into a robust polycentric structure as evident in an established set of multiactor, multilevel arrangements addressing marine, terrestrial, and global threats. However, from 2005 onward, multiscale drivers precipitated at least 10 types of regime change, ranging from contextual change that encouraged regime drift to deliberate changes that threatened regime conversion. More recently, regime realignment also has occurred in response to steering by international organizations and shocks such as the 2016 mass coral-bleaching event. The results show that structural density and stability in a governance regime can coexist with major changes in that regime’s context and effectiveness. Clear analysis of the vulnerability of polycentric governance to both diminishing effectiveness and the masking effects of increasing complexity provides sustainability science and governance actors with a stronger basis to understand and respond to regime change.
Coral-reef fisheries pose a problem for traditional forms of management because stock assessments and demographic data are limited in diverse systems. We used catch records coupled with fisher interviews to derive hierarchical indicators of fishery status by (1) characterizing catch-and-effort trends with respect to environmental factors, (2) assessing the degree to which biomass-and-abundance distributions were coupled across trophic levels, and (3) identifying key characteristics of species-based landings that were sensitive to fishing pressure and linked with management guidance. Using data across one year from a representative Pacific Island fishery, we show that catch and effort were constrained by environments, as both were disproportionally highest during favorable new moon phases in spring, but more effort was required to catch fewer fish later in the year, and the size of target species declined. The magnitude of constrained catch success provided an initial indication of status that could be compared spatially and temporally. Second, biomass-and-abundance distributions were examined within dominant fish families. Large-bodied species contributed most to biomass in low trophic positions, but small-bodied counterparts were more abundant, following expected observations from systems with less human influence. However, biomass-and-abundance distributions became coupled for invertivores and predators, as small species and individuals were most represented. The shape and fit of regressions between asymptotic lengths and proportional landings identified drivers of coupled distributions. Polynomial fits highlighted that smaller-bodied species were main components of the fishery, while linear fits suggested that larger-bodied species were still dominant, and tolerant of current fishing pressure. Last, two indicators were used to identify management objectives for target fishes, skewness of size distributions and proportional contributions to landings. Significantly skewed size distributions existed for most target fishes, suggesting high density dependence and recruitment, and the potential for size-based polices to achieve desirable fishery objectives. Meanwhile, the diminished and constrained contribution of many large species indicated their vulnerability despite non-significant shifts in size. Catch quotas, gear limitations, or temporary restrictions may be more appropriate for sustaining these species. A framework is synthesized to interact with stakeholders and consider holistic management approaches for multispecies coral-reef fisheries.
This paper examines factors influencing well-being among small-scale fishers in the Gulf of Thailand. 632 small-scale fishers were interviewed at 21 fish landing areas along the coast of Rayong Province. Data concerning respondents’ background information, perception of job satisfaction, resilience, conservation beliefs, environmental ethics, well-being and landing place context were collected. Multivariate statistical analyses of these variables are used to assess factors influencing perceptions of well-being (environmental and individual well-being components). The results demonstrate that two components of job satisfaction Basic Needs and Self-actualization are two significant variables affecting both Environmental and Individual well-being. Fishers living in areas with industrial pollution or in major urban communities are less satisfied with the environment. Similarly, fishers who are concerned about the importance of the environment and members of a fishery association at the province level have lower levels of Environmental well-being. The study also found that, fishers who feel they have the ability to get work elsewhere or who manifest a higher level of resilience are happier with their lives than those with lower resilience. An important aspect of fisheries social impact assessment concerning proposed changes, management or technological, is the impact on well-being. The findings of this study offer several practical findings that, if applied, will contribute to sustainability of fisheries in Thailand and similar locations.