Tracking data have led to evidence-based conservation of marine megafauna, but a disconnect remains between the many 1000s of individual animals that have been tracked and the use of these data in conservation and management actions. Furthermore, the focus of most conservation efforts is within Exclusive Economic Zones despite the ability of these species to move 1000s of kilometers across multiple national jurisdictions. To assist the goal of the United Nations General Assembly’s recent effort to negotiate a global treaty to conserve biodiversity on the high seas, we propose the development of a new frontier in dynamic marine spatial management. We argue that a global approach combining tracked movements of marine megafauna and human activities at-sea, and using existing and emerging technologies (e.g., through new tracking devices and big data approaches) can be applied to deliver near real-time diagnostics on existing risks and threats to mitigate global risks for marine megafauna. With technology developments over the next decade expected to catalyze the potential to survey marine animals and human activities in ever more detail and at global scales, the development of dynamic predictive tools based on near real-time tracking and environmental data will become crucial to address increasing risks. Such global tools for dynamic spatial and temporal management will, however, require extensive synoptic data updates and will be dependent on a shift to a culture of data sharing and open access. We propose a global mechanism to store and make such data available in near real-time, enabling a holistic view of space use by marine megafauna and humans that would significantly accelerate efforts to mitigate impacts and improve conservation and management of marine megafauna.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
This study explores how geographic information technologies – or geo-technologies – are used in spatial planning processes, and more specifically, marine spatial planning (MSP) processes. MSP has the double advantage of being both fertile ground for a lively epistemological debate on positivism and associated with a unique space (maritime space) that is frequently reduced to a simple planar space. We investigate the role of geo-technologies in MSP processes and in particular, their capacity to reinforce power relationships by aligning spatial representation norms with dominant interests, which are then expressed through zoning. To do this, we have decided to look at the different cases involving fishing activities, given that they are resistant to zoning and infrequently regarded as a priority in MSP. This has required us to propose a method which draws on the actor-network theory and the field of critical cartography. On this basis, we perform an initial analysis of the fishery “inscriptions” produced by geo-technologies, by examining the content of 43 current marine spatial plans from around the globe. We conclude that fisheries are generally not inscribed, or incorrectly inscribed (i.e., data and representation methods are unsuitable), and as a result, fisheries align themselves more often than not “by default”. We go on to discuss the results and suggest a few ways in which dominated interests, including fisheries, can be taken into account more effectively. Aside from fisheries, dominated interests more generally include interests that are either not inscribed or incorrectly inscribed, such as non-commercial “uses” of maritime space, non-use, itinerant activities, or elements not considered as a priority for conservation objectives.
- For more than 40 years, marine zoning has played a key role while evolving as part of the adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park. The statutory zoning plan provides the primary integrating component that prohibits many threatening activities and manages the impacts of allowed human activities and competing uses by means of various zones, special management areas and other spatial management tools.
- How zoning is applied, however, has changed considerably since the first zoning plan was finalized in 1981. Today, zoning is applied in combination with other layers of marine spatial planning; the effective combination of these management tools provides the integrated approach, considered one of the best for managing a large marine protected area.
- The zoning plan provides the foundation for management of the GBR and is the fundamental component of the integrated marine spatial planning approach ensuring high levels of protection for significant areas of the GBR, while also allowing ecologically sustainable use.
- The paper outlines the legal and managerial contexts of zoning, providing 38 lessons that may be useful for marine zoning and ecosystem‐based management elsewhere. It outlines aspects of zoning that have worked well in the GBR Marine Park and what has changed in the light of experience and changing contexts, and seeks to clarify various misconceptions about zoning and marine spatial planning.
- The integrated management approach in the GBR utilizes a variety of spatial planning tools, which complement the underlying zoning; some of these comprise statutory management layers (e.g. designated shipping areas, special management areas, plans of management, fishery management arrangements, Traditional Owner agreements, defence training areas); other layers are non‐statutory (e.g. site plans).
- This paper is written for planners, managers and decision‐makers considering the use of zoning to achieve effective marine conservation, protection and ecologically sustainable use.
The distributions of migratory species in the ocean span local, national and international jurisdictions. Across these ecologically interconnected regions, migratory marine species interact with anthropogenic stressors throughout their lives. Migratory connectivity, the geographical linking of individuals and populations throughout their migratory cycles, influences how spatial and temporal dynamics of stressors affect migratory animals and scale up to influence population abundance, distribution and species persistence. Population declines of many migratory marine species have led to calls for connectivity knowledge, especially insights from animal tracking studies, to be more systematically and synthetically incorporated into decision-making. Inclusion of migratory connectivity in the design of conservation and management measures is critical to ensure they are appropriate for the level of risk associated with various degrees of connectivity. Three mechanisms exist to incorporate migratory connectivity into international marine policy which guides conservation implementation: site-selection criteria, network design criteria and policy recommendations. Here, we review the concept of migratory connectivity and its use in international policy, and describe the Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean system, a migratory connectivity evidence-base for the ocean. We propose that without such collaboration focused on migratory connectivity, efforts to effectively conserve these critical species across jurisdictions will have limited effect.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) has become the most adopted approach for sustainable marine governance. While MSP has transformative capacity, evaluations of its implementation illustrate large gaps between how it is conceptualised and how it is practiced. We argue that these gaps arise from MSP being implemented through post-political processes. Although MSP has been explored through post-political lenses, these evaluations are incomplete and do not provide sufficient detail about the complex nature of the post-political condition. Drawing on seminal literature, we conceptualise the post-political as consisting of highly interconnected modalities of depoliticisation, including: neoliberalism; choreographed participation; path dependency; technocratic-managerialism; and the illusion of progressive change. Using these modalities as an analytical framework, we evaluate English MSP and find that it focuses on entrenching neoliberal logic through: tokenistic participation; wholescale adoption of path-dependent solutions; obstructionist deployment of inactive technological solutions; and promising progressive change. We do not, however, view the post-political condition as unresolvable and we develop a suite of suggestions for the re-politicisation of MSP which, collectively, could form the basis for more radical forms of MSP.
Aquaculture of bivalve shellfish and seaweed represents a global opportunity to simultaneously advance coastal ecosystem recovery and provide substantive benefits to humanity. To identify marine ecoregions with the greatest potential for development of shellfish and seaweed aquaculture to meet this opportunity, we conducted a global spatial analysis using key environmental (e.g., nutrient pollution status), socioeconomic (e.g., governance quality), and human health factors (e.g., wastewater treatment prevalence). We identify a substantial opportunity for strategic sector development, with the highest opportunity marine ecoregions for shellfish aquaculture centered on Oceania, North America, and portions of Asia, and the highest opportunity for seaweed aquaculture distributed throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania, and North and South America. This study provides insights into specific areas where governments, international development organizations, and investors should prioritize new efforts to drive changes in public policy, capacity-building, and business planning to realize the ecosystem and societal benefits of shellfish and seaweed aquaculture.
Spatiotemporal dynamics of ecosystems can challenge the pertinence of Marine Protected Area (MPA) planning. Seasonal environmental changes are extreme in polar regions, however MPA planning in East Antarctica relies mostly on species' summer distribution only. Thirteen Adélie penguins were tracked from Ile des Pétrels (Terre Adélie), and their seasonal distribution and behaviour were compared to the proposed “D'Urville Sea-Mertz” MPA. During the phase of high food-demand preceding moult, penguins used mostly (68.4%) this proposed area. However, following autumnal sea ice extension, penguins migrated north-westwards: overall, 73% of their locations were outside the MPA proposal, and this was up to >99% during winter (in July), the season when penguins maximized their dive depth and time (August and September, respectively). This study thus supports the proposal of implementing a “krill no-take zone” policy in this MPA, in line with the pre-moult foraging of these krill predators in this area. Further protection of the year-round habitats of migratory Adélie penguins could be achieved by inter-connecting the East Antarctic MPA proposals along the ice edge during winter, thereby mirroring the ecosystem's seasonal dynamics.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a critical tool for the economic, social and environmental sustainability of coastal and marine areas. MSP seeks to identify the various human economic activities in these zones and in various depths. In compliance with Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and Council of the 23rd of July 2014, which aims to establish a common framework where each member state identify the maritime space under its control. This was accomplished in Cyprus through the project “Cross-Border Cooperation for the Development of Maritime Spatial Planning (Thal-Chor)”, in short “Thal-Chor”, which was co-funded under the Interreg “Greece–Cyprus 2007–2013” framework. The methodology of the project used government data and bathymetry maps to create a GIS database which produced density maps. The Density maps identified a high concentration of activities near the Limassol district and around the ports of Cyprus and over 60 sea and land activities were analysed for conflicts and compatibilities. The further implementation of MPS will take place through the “Cross-Border Cooperation for Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning (“Thal-Chor 2)”. During the project, satellite remote sensing and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will be used to survey the coastal and marine areas that were identified on the density maps from the Thal-Chor project. SAR data from the Sentinel 1 satellite will provide the necessary data to verify the MSP activities in the first phase of the project. Such data will provide valuable information for the existing geo-spatial database for MSP for the implementation of integrated plans. This research is supported by the project entitled: “Cross-Border Cooperation for Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning” referred as “THAL-CHOR 2” and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by national funds of Greece and Cyprus, under the Cooperation Programme “INTERREG V-A Greece-Cyprus 2014-2020”.
Bottom trawling is a common fishing method for harvesting demersal marine resources such as prawns and ground fish species. However, bottom trawling is known to have negative impacts on marine ecosystems and several measures have been suggested to sustainably manage the fishing method including, mapping trawling pressure and restricting its use away from fragile marine ecosystems. In this study, we map spatio-temporal distribution of trawling effort using 8900 trawls obtained from logbook statistical data and consequently evaluate the effectiveness of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and a Prawn Fisheries Management Plan (PFMP) in the Malindi-Ungwana Bay, Kenya. The PFMP and VMS aimed at restricting prawn trawling to areas beyond 3 nm from shoreline since 2010 in order to reduce conflict with artisanal fishers. Results show spatio-temporal adjustments in the distribution of fishing effort and catch rates of prawns following regulatory changes in the bay. Encroachment in no-trawl areas occurred gradually between 2011 and 2017 with some years (2013, 2016) depicting over 50% of fishing effort in the no-trawl areas. Trawling within the restricted zone produced higher catch per unit effort (CPUE) of prawns compared to fishing outside the zone. Introduction of VMS in 2017 led to a significant reduction of fishing effort in no-trawl area of about 80% by 2018. The change in fleet behaviour in the bay after introduction of the VMS, provides important insights on how marine spatial planning and technology could be applied to enhance compliance with fishing area regulations, reduce resource use conflicts and promote sustainable fisheries.
Appropriate spatial planning and environmental management of coastal areas in cities are essential to maintain a balance of environmental quality and urban development, whereas unscientific planning practices lead to the degradation of coastal ecosystems. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) guidelines are currently being used in India for management of the coast. These guidelines are difficult to implement and do not take into account the variation of physical characteristics of the coast. The alternative to this approach is a quantitative land classification in coastal areas based on geospatial and multiple criteria decision making techniques. In this work, we applied these two approaches to the three case locations of the coastal lands in Mumbai region representing areas which are i) predominantly urban, ii) rural and iii) no development areas. The classification results of the two approaches are systematically compared and contrasted to show the lacunae in the present method of CRZ classification and to highlight the advantages of using the quantitative approach in coastal land classification. The comparative analysis shows that the quantitative approach takes into account the variation of physical features along the coast and will help in conserving the coastal ecosystem more efficiently.