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Advancing marine conservation through international agreements

Room: Dochart A     2014-08-15; 17:30 - 19:30

NB: Unless specified otherwise, presentations are 15 minutes in length, and speed presentations are 5 mins in length.

Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Solandt, Jean-Luc

C1.1  17:30  Basking Shark science and conservation in the northeast Atlantic: The first signs of conservation success. Solandt, JL *, Marine Conservation Society; Richardson, P Marine Conservation Society; Witt, M University of Exeter; Ranger, S Marine Conservation Society; Duncan, C Marine Conservation Society; Pikesely, SK University of Exeter;

Abstract: 25 years of basking shark sightings submitted to the Marine Conservation Society's Basking Shark Watch project have revealed spatio-temporal trends of occurence of the shark in surface waters of the UK. Hotspots of shark sightings persist in the southwest, Isle of Man and west Scotland. The treatment of the data to reduce observer bias has shown strong correlation between the strength of the NAO and the length of basking shark sighting seasons year on year. It would also appear that SST appears to be a likely signal of the onset of basking shark surface feeding. Other concomitant research has suggested that the 'end' of basking shark surface feeding is coincident with reduction in surface plankton concentrations. Conservation policy work by the Marine Conservation Society has led to the basking shark being protected on the Bonn Convention on Migratory species in 2005, that led to eventual prevention of landings of by-catch in 2007 in all EU waters. Despite better understanding of the migratory behaviour of sharks, and some indications that sharks are increasing in size as a result of protection, there still remains a mystery of assessing population numbers. Regardless of constraints of making these measurements, public sightings of such wide-ranging migratory species have proved their worth in terms of helping the scientific case for protection, increasing awareness, and increasing human respect for the marine environment.

C1.2  17:45  No Reef Left Behind: Is Management of the Mesoamerican Reef Making the Grade? Melanie McField *, Healthy Reefs Initiative / smithsonian Institution;

Abstract: The Healthy Reefs Initiative seeks to demonstrably improve the health and management of the Mesoamerican Reef by generating user-friendly tools to measure, track, evaluate and report on the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem (MAR).The 2014 Eco-Audit is a systematic multinational evaluation involving four countries, over 50 organizations and more than 350 analytical documents - and is thought to be the only multi-national environmental audit of its kind globally. It ranks the performance of how much progress has been made, at the national scale, in implementing 28 reef management indicators , organized into seven key themes and is verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Costa Rica. The region-wide results for 2014 measured a ‘Fair’ level of positive implementation (2.9 out of a possible score of 5.0); The theme with the highest ranking (Good) was Research, Education and Awareness (3.9), followed by Marine Protected Areas (3.4), which also showed good improvement since the last audit. Sustainability in the Private Sector got a “Poor” score (2.4), although it showed improvement since the last audit. Sanitation and Sewage Treatment had the lowest score (2.3) with no improvements. Additional effort in improving sanitation will not only benefit the regions reefs but also the health of the millions of people living along the coast. Routine management evaluation on a large scale is a valuable tool for catalyzing swifter and more comprehensive reef management.

C1.3  18:00  EBSAs, Seascapes, and Hope Spots - New paradigms for conserving highly migratory species on the high seas. Shillinger, George L. *, The Leatherback Trust; Bailey, Helen University of Maryland; Bograd, Steven NOAA ERD; Paladino, Frank Indiana Purdue - Fort Wayne University; Hazen, Elliott NOAA ERD; Spotila, James Drexel University;

Abstract: New large-scale management and conservation paradigms, including Ecological and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs), Seascapes (e.g. Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape), and Hope Spots present opportunities to manage entire populations of highly migratory species across multiple life history stages. These new approaches hold particular promise for marine turtles, whose life histories typically encompass a wide range of habitats from nesting beaches to high seas foraging areas, and whose movements span geopolitical boundaries. Here we present our findings regarding the movements, behaviors, and distribution of critically endangered Eastern Pacific leatherbacks and the implications that ongoing human development pressures are having upon this rapidly disappearing population. We discuss this information in the context of existing management challenges and explore how new management paradigms present hope for implementation of effective “life-history” conservation strategies for leatherback turtles and other highly migratory marine taxa.

C1.4  18:15  Ten years of lessons from the Seascape approach: A framework for improving ocean management at scale. Lawrence, K S *, Conservation International; Farmer, V Conservation International; Katz, L Conservation International; Jones, A Conservation International;

Abstract: The Seascape approach is a practical application of Ecosystem Based Management in large-scale and/or multi-national marine systems. Over 150 partners have collaborated over ten years to implement large-scale conservation initiatives in the Abrolhos (Brazil), Bird’s Head (Indonesia), Eastern Tropical Pacific (Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador), and Sulu-Sulawesi (The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia) Seascapes. The approach has been refined based on these experiences; this is discussed in a paper that is currently in press. This session will share the rich lessons and experiences generated from this decade of implementation. Outcomes have included 5.1 million hectares of new marine and coastal area protected; large numbers of marine managers with increased capacity; extensive scientific data and research; numerous new or strengthened policies and regulations; and increased public awareness and support for sustainable marine management. We will present results from MPA management effectiveness assessments and an emerging new tool for tracking management effectiveness at the Seascape scale, the “Seascapes Scorecard”, and will invite attendees to review and discuss it. We will also discuss lessons learned from working with international agreements (such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, which includes Seascapes as one of its primary goals) to pursue large scale marine management.

C1.5  18:30  Ridge to Reef planning: A review of the need and current responses to within four seascapes. Hedley Grantham *, Conservation International; Keith Lawrence Conservation International; Ginny Farmer Conservation International; Laure Katz Conservation International; Emily Pigeon Conservation International; Daniel Juhn Conservation International; Elizabeth Selig Conservation International;

Abstract: It is typical that landscapes and seascapes are planned without consideration for each other. This can lead to unintended consequences, particularly for marine resources, and undermine conservation and development objectives. For example, a world class, community-based, multi-use protected area in Raja Ampat Indonesia has recently been implemented, but threats from land development could still potentially undermine efforts there. The root causes in Indonesia and other locations where we are working globally, is often due to several reasons. This includes governance and jurisdictional boundaries, planning processes, and the science that underpins decision-making not accounting for land-sea connectivity. A ridge to reef planning approach is a spatial planning process that seeks to bridge the divide between the land and the sea, and often involves flexible and cooperative governance, strong policy, participatory planning processes across the land-sea realms, and decision support science that helps predict and understand the total distribution of costs and benefits of decisions. Here we review the need and current state of land-sea planning within four seascapes 1) Birds Head, 2) Sulu-Sulawesi, 3) Abrolhos and 4) Eastern Tropical Pacific. We present a number of broad scale indicators and a survey of experts from these regions to understand the current planning efforts, lessons learnt and way forward.

C1.7  18:45  Towards an Enhanced Governance of Arctic Fisheries, Can the European Union help? Liu, Nengye *, University of Dundee;

Abstract: The current global legal regime of fisheries management, to a large extent, fails to address over-harvesting and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, especially in the high seas. As the Arctic Ocean became gradually accessible, an enhanced governance of fisheries in the Arctic Ocean is urgently needed. The European Union (EU), as one of the largest fishing fleets and markets for fish in the world, appears on one hand to have significant potential to influence the development of a coherent system of fisheries management for the Arctic. The EU is not, however, a State, let alone an Arctic coastal state. Based on literature review and qualitative interviews with representatives from European Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and NGOs, this presentation gives answers to two major questions. First, whether the European Union (EU) can play a positive role to generate an enhanced regime that achieve the balance between conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources in the Arctic. The second question is what specific initiatives and/or actions can the EU take. It is highlighted that the EU enjoys exclusive competence regarding the conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy to act both internally and externally on Arctic fisheries issues. Moreover, the EU has power to use internal actions that might create external impacts on sustainable fisheries in the Arctic, such as port state control measures.

C1.8  19:00  The use and abuse of flags of convenience by the international fishing industry and other maritime sectors. Miller, DD *, Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia; Tooley, K Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia; Sumaila, UR Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia;

Abstract: The practice of registering vessels under foreign flags, otherwise known as ‘flags of convenience’ (FoCs) has been criticised for facilitating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities and the existence of substandard ships. Despite this, the use of FoCs is common within the global maritime fleet as participating vessel owners can benefit from reduced taxes, cheap labour and lower overall operational costs. In an effort to gain a greater understanding of why FoCs have proliferated and the problems associated to their use, the topic of flag use behaviour within a number of international maritime sectors was examined in detail. Flagging behaviours that uniquely characterised each sector and associated problematic groups of vessels, were identified through fleet comparisons. Importantly, it was found that registration under foreign flags of states that have exhibited failure in compliance with international obligations is more common amongst officially listed IUU fishing vessels. In addition, these flags were often flown more by vessels that have been abandoned by their owners with crew on board and petroleum tankers that have been involved in large-scale oil spills. By identifying the factors that incentivise or deter the use of FoCs generally, we provide scientific information to policy-makers, scientists and conservationists to help in developing strategies against the abuse of FoCs in facilitating IUU fishing activities, particularly in the high seas.

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