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Advancing marine conservation through international agreements

Room: Boisdale     2014-08-16; 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): Hanf, Danielle

C2.1  17:30  Basking shark conservation in the North-East Atlantic: has it been a BIG success?! Gore MA *, Faculty of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK; Ormond RFG Faculty of Life Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK;

Abstract: The basking shark is not only the second largest fish species globally, but the largest fish species found in Europe. Sizeable aggregations can now be encountered on the west coast of Scotland within 100 – 200 km of the conference venue; but this was not always the case. The species was intensively exploited in the NE Atlantic over various periods since the 18th century. By the 1980s it was considered scarce in the UK with the NE Atlantic population being listed by IUCN as endangered. Since then however a series of measures have been introduced resulting in the species being largely protected through Western Europe. Subsequently we have seen an apparent recovery in the numbers recorded along the western coasts of both Britain and Ireland. At the same time use of satellite tags has revealed that at least some individuals travel much more widely than previously supposed, with some Scottish tagged animals being tracked across the Atlantic. Most recently our photo-ID studies involving volunteer photographers have suggested that the number of sharks now present in Scotland in summer may be as high as 20,000 or more, with in the last few years the species becoming the principal target of an increasing number of marine wildlife watching operators. In our presentation we will overview the evidence for the species decline and recovery, the extent to which the recovery has been a consequence of internationally co-ordinated measures and the implications for Scottish wildlife tourism.

C2.2  17:45  Synoptic data collection on Cetacean, Marine birds, Sea turtle, Marine traffic, Marine litter: a multidisciplinary collaboration in Mediterranean Sea. Arcangeli, A. *, ISPRA, Univ. Roma TRE; Aissi, M. Atutax; Atzori, F. Capo Carbonara MPA; Azzolin, M. Univ. Torino; Baccetti, N. ISPRA, COT; Campana, I. Accademia del Leviatano, Univ. Tuscia; Castelli, A. Univ. Pisa; Cerri, F. , Univ.Pisa;

Abstract: Long-term multidisciplinary collaborations are nowadays needed to achieve the ecosystem based approach required by ecology studies and legislative framework. A multidisciplinary approach for collecting integrated data on different taxa and potential pressures is experimented in the Mediterranean Marine Region. At date, more than 20 organizations (universities, research bodies, NGOs, 4 ferry companies) are directly involved in the network. 1700 NM of transborder sampling transects are regularly monitored (41% year-round, 59% June-Sept.; 2-8 surveys/month), using ferries as platform of observation. Dedicated observers systematically collect data on Cetaceans, Marine birds, Sea turtles, Marine traffic and Marine litter. Two protocols were established for consistent data collection. Main results, based on more than 260.000 Km of effort, show the potential for a better understanding of key areas/seasons/dynamics for biodiversity conservation. The lesson learned for the long term strategical collaboration is the cost effectiveness of the monitoring and the multi-scale coordination. Each partner is responsible for one/more routes, owns the collected data and coordinates the actions required at the local scale; the general coordination is driven by a super-partes public body that is responsible for the consistency of data collection and guarantees the coherence of the information obtained with legislative requirements and conservation purposes at national and international scale.

C2.3  18:00  Mapping key pollutants in the English Channel region: the Channel Catchments Cluster (3C) cross-border project. Richir, J *, Institute of Marine Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth; Pini, J Institute of Marine Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth; Watson, G Institute of Marine Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth;

Abstract: The EU Water Framework Directive was a response to concerns about the previous disparate ways in which water quality was managed under Member State law and early European Directives. Within this context, the Interreg IVA France (Channel) England Region established the ‘sustainable environmental development of this common space’ as one of its priorities to integrate areas that face common problems. The wide variety of cooperative cross-border projects have brought together UK and French scientists and environmental managers to develop practical environmental management tools for the region (3Cs cluster). Using the Solent in the UK as a case study, maps of key pollutants (e.g. metals such as Zn and Cu) will be produced to assess their spatial diversity within the sediment. The incorporation of historical datasets will also provide a temporal component. The inclusion of bioavailable fractions (using sequential extraction methods) will enable the pollutants to be linked to the tissue concentrations of key benthic species such as the polychaete Nereis virens and possible impacts. Not only will this information provide a detailed account of the water quality of key areas of the English Channel, but it will also highlight the gaps in the data and sampling regimes that are necessary to achieve good environmental status for the future, thus ensuring more effective European environmental policy regarding the long-term protection and conservation of aquatic ecosystems.

C2.4  18:15  Ocean Acidification – An orphan problem seeking adoption. Harrould-Kolieb, Ellycia *, University of Melbourne;

Abstract: The existing web of multilateral environmental agreements has to date failed to adequately address the issue of ocean acidification. As yet, no international instruments have been established to address ocean acidification as a standalone issue. Moreover, within the treaties and international policy processes dealing with related environmental issues, ocean acidification remains an orphan issue. Yet, the wide-ranging potential impacts on marine biodiversity and human communities around the world suggest international policy action is warranted. This research explores whether the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its ongoing negotiation process is situated to become the primary site for international efforts to address ocean acidification. To achieve this, this research reviews current UNFCCC activities around the issue, explores the existing mandate of the convention and discusses the limits and opportunities that exist within the work of this regime to accommodate and effectively deal with the problem of ocean acidification.

C2.5  18:30  From Measuring Outcomes to Providing Inputs: Governance, Management, and Local Development for Effective Marine Protected Areas. Bennett, Nathan James , University of British Columbia; Dearden, Philip *University of Victoria;

Abstract: Marine protected areas (MPAs) have the potential to conserve marine resources as well as provide social and economic benefits to local communities. Yet the percentage of MPAs that might be considered “successful” on ecological and/or socio-economic accounts is debatable. Measurement of biophysical and socio-economic outcome indicators has become de rigeur for examining MPA management effectiveness so that adaptive feedback loops can stimulate new management actions. Scholars and practitioners alike have suggested that more attention should be given to the inputs that are likely to lead to successful MPA outcomes. This paper briefly discusses the potential ecological and socio-economic outcomes of MPAs then reviews the literature on three categories of inputs - governance, management, and local development – that are required for effective MPAs. In conclusion, the paper presents a novel inputs framework that incorporates indicators for governance, management and development to be used in the design and analysis of MPAs.

C2.6  18:45  Managing catchment and coastal derived pollution in the Great Barrier Reef – success and failure. Brodie, Jon *, TropWATER, James Cook University;

Abstract: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a Marine Park and a World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). The GBR Catchment (area 400,000 km2) is almost completely developed for agriculture. Pollutant runoff (sediment, nutrients and pesticides) from agriculture is causing serious damage to GBR ecosystems. After decades of research and monitoring a plan to address the issue (Reef Plan) was funded in 2008 with incentive payments to farmers and matching farmer funding to improve farm management practices. Reef Plan led to a small improvement in the quality of river discharge to the GBR. Along the GBR coast 5 major ports exist with the 3 largest exporting coal. These ports are in the process of major expansion for increased coal exports. This involves huge dredging operations and dumping of dredge spoil at sea in the GBRWHA. The environmental management regime for the developments is deficient in both planning and execution and unnecessary environmental impacts are occurring. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is now asking the Australian Government for a better management regime for the GBRWHA. It is not clear that a better management regime will be developed given the deficiencies in both the Australian and Queensland environmental assessment and protection system for large projects. The paper will compare the two management regimes and their relative success.

C2.7  19:00  Reinventing residual reserves in the sea: are we favouring ease of establishment over need for protection? Devillers, R *, Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL, A1B3X9, Canada; Pressey, RL Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811, Australia; Grech, A Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville Qld 4811, Australia; Kittinger, JN Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, Woods Institute for the Environment, 99 Pacific Street, Suite 555E, Monterey, CA 93940 USA; Edgar, G Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-49, Hobart Tas 7001, Australia; Ward, TJ University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia; Watson, R Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252-49, Hobart Tas 7001, Australia;

Abstract: As systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) expand globally, there is a risk that new MPAs will be biased toward places that are remote or unpromising for extractive activities, being ‘residual’ to commercial uses. If MPAs are residual, they would follow the general pattern of terrestrial reserves and give less protection to species and ecosystems most exposed to threatening processes. There are strong political motivations to establish residual reserves that minimize costs and conflict with users of natural resources. These motivations will remain effective while success continues to be identified as km2 protected. We examined the extent to which MPAs are residual globally, nationally (Australia) and regionally (Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Marine Park). Globally, we observed an increase in MPA coverage largely driven by giant MPAs located in remote places characterised by low human population and resource extraction. Nationally, the Australian marine reserves announced in 2012 were found to be strongly residual, resulting from an imperative to minimize costs. In contrast, the 2004 rezoning of the GBR was exemplary, although even at this regional-scale, within-bioregion heterogeneity might have biased no-take zones towards areas unsuitable for trawling and compositionally different from trawled areas. We propose a simple, four-step, logical framework, with accompanying metrics, to reduce the emerging residual tendency of MPAs and maximize their effectiveness for conservation.

C2.8  19:15  Prioritizing cost-effective management projects to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. Carissa Klein *, University of Queensland; Jutta Beher University of Queensland; Hugh Possingham University of Queensland;

Abstract: Half of the Great Barrier Reef’s (GBR) coral cover has been lost since 1985. One of the most significant threats to the GBR is the declining water quality from land-based run-off. A significant amount of funding has been committed by the Australian government to invest in catchment management in order to improve downstream water quality. However, a transparent and economically sound investment prioritisation process for the allocation of funds does not exist. Here we present an approach that explicitly considers the economic costs, feasibility, and biodiversity benefits of a range of management projects. We apply our approach to managing sediment run-off in two catchments, considering 296 projects focused on mitigating sediment run-off on grazing and sugarcane land. Using a model, expert elicitation, and existing management data, we calculated the amount of sediment reduced, the feasibility, and the economic cost of each project, respectively. We determined which projects would deliver the most cost-effective outcomes for sediment reduction for a given budget. We found that the rational use of cost and feasibility information substantially increased the amount of sediment reduced for a given budget, and prioritizing management projects according to threat, area, or cost in isolation was inefficient. Our approach can be used to determine priorities for a range of threats to coastal ecosystems, including nutrients and pesticides, as well as threats to marine species.

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