We investigate motivations for people's intention to contribute towards increased protection of eight threatened and endangered marine species in the United States, using factor analysis and ordered response analysis applied to data from 7425 respondents to a national household survey conducted in 2010. We find that the strength of individuals' intention to contribute towards species conservation depends on how conservation programs are funded, which species are being targeted for conservation, individuals' knowledge of and prior interaction with these species, awareness of need, awareness of responsibility, altruism, environmental concern, and contextual forces. We argue that individuals who are predisposed to contribute to conservation are likely to be incentivized by messages that focus on charismatic species and reinforce altruistic motives, and ethical beliefs. Individuals with more fiscally conservative viewpoints are more likely to respond to messages about how conservation complements their political beliefs and improves economic conditions or their quality of life.
Natural resource management agencies implement conservation policies with the presumption that they are effective and of benefit to aquatic ecosystems. However, it is often difficult to decide what management action to implement and what will be most effective. Here we call for natural resource management agencies to fully adopt and implement evidence-based management (EBM) for conservation and fisheries management. We support this call by providing a primer on systematic reviews, a core tool in evidence synthesis but one that is rarely used in the context of fisheries management. We highlight the benefits and challenges associated with implementing EBM, with a particular focus on the routine decisions and management actions undertaken by natural resource practitioners. We submit that by adopting EBM, practitioners would have access to the best available evidence on the effectiveness of various management and conservation interventions, while providing defensible and credible evidence to inform decision-making processes and policies.
The growth of marine recreational activities raises the issues of the current lack of knowledge on these activities and the information required to assess their potential impacts. Indeed, the monitoring of unrecorded activities is a great challenge, especially when basic information, such as the size of the population practicing the different activities, is unknown. In this paper, the experience of the monitoring of marine recreational fishing was used to carry out a diagnosis study to assess the cost-effectiveness of survey methods used in France between 2004 and 2012. Costs of alternative surveys were balanced with data quality, and particular attention was paid to potential biases. Results showed that the involvement of citizens through diary surveys could be a cost-effective option when the recruitment of participants complied with randomness and representativeness requirements. The outcomes of this study provide useful insights to help managers and decision makers implement monitoring schemes in similar contexts.
Marine fisheries science is a broad field that is fundamentally concerned with sustainability across ecological, economic, and social dimensions. Ensuring the delivery of food, security, equity, and well-being while sustaining ecosystems in the face of rapid change is, by far, the main challenge facing marine fisheries. A tighter integration of modeling and empiricism is needed to confront this challenge. In particular, improved incorporation of empirically grounded and realistic representation of human behaviors into models will greatly enhance our ability to predict likely outcomes under alternative adaptive strategies. Challenges to this integration certainly exist, but many of these can be overcome via improved professional training that reduces cultural rifts between empiricists and modelers and between natural and social sciences, ideally ending the presumption that there is a divide between empiricism and modeling.
Drawing on seventy-four interviews, this article analyzes the rising importance since the mid-2000s of large marine protected areas (MPAs) as a policy for managing ocean conservation. Governments have initiated eighteen large MPAs (over 200,000 km2) since 2006, reflecting the emergence of a new large MPA norm in marine conservation. This norm, we argue, emerged because of the success of a few transnational nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in identifying politically feasible large MPAs, and then forming ad hoc domestic coalitions to lobby for them. This explanation is in contrast to most of the literature on how and why norms diffuse internationally, as well as existing explanations for the rise of large MPAs, both of which emphasize the importance of cohesive coalitions of transnational NGOs lobbying in multilateral venues. This bottom-up, international norm diffusion strategy has made large MPAs a viable policy option, one national jurisdiction at a time. For instance, this strategy was a critical element in convincing the UK to create the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve (835,000 km2) in 2015. Given the politics underlying the formation of large MPAs, where political gains have been high, and corporate and societal resistance relatively low, the creation of more large MPAs would seem likely, as occurred in 2016 when the UK announced it would designate three more large MPAs by 2020, totalling over 1.4 million km2. Growing support for large MPAs as a conservation strategy could also embolden states to establish large MPAs in more politically and economically contested waters, including on the Pacific high seas.
The abundance and the distribution of trophic resources available for consumers influence the productivity and the diversity of natural communities. Nevertheless, assessment of the actual abundance of food items available for individual trophic groups has been constrained by differences in methods and metrics used by various authors. Here we develop an index of food abundance, the framework of which can be adapted for different ecosystems. The relative available food index (RAFI) is computed by considering standard resource conditions of a habitat and the influence of various generalized anthropogenic and natural factors. RAFI was developed using published literature on food abundance and validated by comparison of predictions versus observed trophic resources across various marine sites. RAFI tables here proposed can be applied to a range of marine ecosystems for predictions of the potential abundance of food available for each trophic group, hence permitting exploration of ecological theories by focusing on the deviation from the observed to the expected.
Spatial properties of landscapes modify the abundance and diversity of most animal assemblages in ways that need to be understood to plan and implement conservation initiatives, and evaluate their effectiveness. Seascape context (i.e. the spatial arrangement of ecosystems) mediates the effects of reserves on fish abundance, species richness and ecological processes in shallow coral reef and mangrove ecosystems; however, it is unclear whether this interaction exerts similar effects on reserves in other ecosystems. This study used baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) to test for combined effects of seascape context and reserves on fish abundance in seagrass meadows in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. We demonstrate that the composition of harvested fishes in seagrass meadows was different in reserves and fished areas. Specifically, in reserves there was enhanced abundance of exploited rabbitfish Siganus fuscescens, a functionally important herbivore in local seagrass meadows. These reserve effects are not influenced by the area of seagrass meadows or seascape context they occur in (i.e. their spatial proximity to other ecosystems or the ocean). However, seascape context was directly correlated with the spatial distribution of harvested rabbitfish and emperors Lethrinus spp., which were more abundant in seagrass meadows nearer to the open ocean. Our results show that reserves and seascape context can shape spatial patterns in the abundance of harvested fishes in seagrass meadows, and that these effects may be operating on different components of fish assemblages. Further empirical data on how and where seascape features modify reserve performance are critical for effective conservation in seagrass and related ecosystems.
This article presents data from a citizens jury-inspired deliberative workshop held to tease out stakeholder views of management priorities for a section of the North Sea: the Dogger Bank. As this article reveals, the lessons learned from the Dogger Bank workshop advocate not simply what is required for managing one particular ocean commons, but also highlight some of the public participation research design failings, taking public participation in resource management further by adding to the literature and theoretical discussions on the public sphere. Analysis of the citizens jury-inspired deliberative workshop also highlights the critical issue of power inherent, yet often unacknowledged, in public participation in environmental management. Stakeholder opinions uncovered through workshop discussions also show how commons are viewed today – as an economic resource-- highlighting the trend of the mainstreaming of the commodification of the commons.
This report summarizes the results of a rapid vulnerability assessment (July 2016) and adaptation strategy planning (September 2016) workshops for 10 focal resources in the Territory and National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa by engaging with stakeholders, including village leaders, community members, resource managers, local government representatives, and business owners that rely on the resources with the goal of increasing climate resilience in the region.
Many sea-level rise (SLR) assessments focus on populations presently inhabiting vulnerable coastal communities1, 2, 3, but to date no studies have attempted to model the destinations of these potentially displaced persons. With millions of potential future migrants in heavily populated coastal communities, SLR scholarship focusing solely on coastal communities characterizes SLR as primarily a coastal issue, obscuring the potential impacts in landlocked communities created by SLR-induced displacement. Here I address this issue by merging projected populations at risk of SLR1 with migration systems simulations to project future destinations of SLR migrants in the United States. I find that unmitigated SLR is expected to reshape the US population distribution, potentially stressing landlocked areas unprepared to accommodate this wave of coastal migrants—even after accounting for potential adaptation. These results provide the first glimpse of how climate change will reshape future population distributions and establish a new foundation for modelling potential migration destinations from climate stressors in an era of global environmental change.