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Participation in marine conservation science / Communicating marine conservation

Room: Carron B     2014-08-18; 15:00 - 17:00

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

Chair(s)/Moderator(s): Quiros, T E Angela

C28.1  15:00  Reconciling Environmental Protection and Sustainable Resource Use through Citizen Science in the Upper Gulf of California. Lopez-Sagastegui, Catalina *, UCMEXUS, UC Riverisde; Moreno-Baez, Marcia Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Mascareñas-Osorio, Ismael Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y Conservación; Domínguez-Pérez, Ana Gulf of California Marine Program; Hinojosa, Gustavo Centro para la Biodiversidad Marina y Conservación; Erisman, Brad Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego; Aburto-Oropeza, Octavio Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego;

Abstract: In recent years, scholars have called for greater integration of local knowledge in science, particularly where natural resource management and priority species conservation overlap. Science programs have begun to apply participatory approaches that seek to increase collaboration, cooperation and co-production of data. The University of California Riverside and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have established a citizen science program in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico, as a means to understand the interactions between small-scale fishing activities, ecosystem processes and endemic and endangered species. Through citizen science we aim to bridge the gap between the conservation and fisheries agendas in an area where conflict between the two are common. An open and transparent process where data collection, analysis and discussion takes place has helped generate trust, which in turn has increased stakeholder investment in research activities and policy processes. We developed this collaborative framework in the context of small-scale fisheries which are the main source of income for local communities. Our results show that fishermen involvement, supported by communication strategies, has improved our collective understanding of fishing dynamics within a natural protected area. Our citizen science framework has improved data collection in one of the most productive areas in Mexico.

C28.2  15:15  Compliance variables influencing the ecological performance of Marine Protected Areas in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Velasquez Jofre, P *, Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology; Ferse, S Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology; Glaser, M Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology; Kaligis, F Sam Ratulangi University;

Abstract: Community-based marine protected areas (CB-MPAs) are being used in North Sulawesi and have shown a higher fish average size and biomass when compared with the same values outside its boundaries. The effectiveness of the MPAs depends largely on whether people comply or not with the rules, especially in the case of community-based efforts. To determine if the compliance with the management rules is having an influence in the ecological performance of such CB-MPAs, 24 villages managing these areas are currently being sampled. A measurement of the stated compliance towards the management rules is being obtained and information regarding the variables related with compliance is being gathered. So far, CB-MPAs with higher fish biomass values are showing a higher stated compliance with the rules, along with higher levels of knowledge about the presence and management of the MPA, higher participation when designing the conservation scheme and strong trust relationships among the villagers. Such insight about the features leading to a positive ecological performance will be useful to future implementation strategies in regions where no-fishing areas are impractical due to the heavy reliance on fish for food from the coastal communities.

C28.3  15:30  Citizen scientist divers monitor California’s MPAs and inform marine conservation . Jan Freiwald *, Reef Check Foundation;

Abstract: Ecosystem-based strategies have become an essential aspect of marine conservation in California, increasing the need for long-term environmental monitoring data to assess management outcomes and adapt accordingly. Citizen science can address these data needs while involving the public in conservation science. One pertinent example is the implementation of a California-wide network of marine protected areas (MPAs). Management agencies are mandated to monitor the performance of these MPAs with respect to meeting their goals; for example, protecting diversity and restoring marine life populations. Reef Check’s California program (RCCA) trains recreational volunteer scuba divers as citizen scientists to conduct subtidal monitoring of an iconic habitat targeted for protection by MPAs: rocky reefs and kelp forests. RCCA has conducted state mandated baseline monitoring since 2007 as MPAs were implemented throughout the state. Through this program, citizen scientists have established one of the geographically largest near-shore reef datasets in California. This level of citizen scientist involvement in subtidal ecosystem monitoring is unprecedented in California and demonstrates how citizens can perform ecosystem monitoring in challenging environments. Their involvement in marine conservation research informs marine management and builds a science-based stewardship ethic in the ocean stakeholder community.

C28.4  15:45  Establishing base-line values for killer whale distribution and habitat use in a climate-sensitive biodiversity hotspot, the Galápagos Marine Reserve. Smith, Kerri J *, Genetics Interdisciplinary Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA; Alava, Juan José School of Resource & Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada; Fundación Ecuatoriana para el Estudio de Mamíferos Marinos (FEMM), Guayaquil, Ecuador; Merlen, Godfrey Galápagos National Park, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Ecuador; Packard, Jane Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA; Palacios, Daniel Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, Newport, Oregon USA;

Abstract: This study represents the first attempt to establish base-line information on killer whale habitat use and distribution in the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR). Data were collected via line-transect surveys and opportunistic sightings from 1976-1997 and analyzed with respect to three variables: bi-annual upwelling, the Multivariate El Niño Southern Oscillation Index (MEI), and resource distribution. Three questions were posed: 1) do killer whale sightings display temporal variability, 2) are sightings spatially associated with resources, and 3) does the spatial association change temporally? Sightings were equally distributed between non-upwelling and upwelling seasons. No direct correlation was found between sightings and the MEI. Sightings occurred more often than expected during the peak upwelling months of August-November when the MEI was within one standard deviation of the average. Sightings were spatially associated with areas of high resource value. The spatial distribution of sightings did not shift with seasonality, but sightings occurred less often than expected in areas of low resource value during the upwelling period. These results suggest a continuous killer whale presence in the GMR and that killer whale occupancy is not seasonal or responsive to El Niño events. Our work attempts to identify important habitat use by killer whales in the GMR to support both regional conservation measures and future focal investigations on their role in the ecosystem.

C28.6  16:15  Adapting a marine debris K-12 citizen science program from the US for use in schools in Indonesia. Abbott, JM *, Bodega Marine Lab, University of California, Davis ; Bean, J Bodega Marine Lab, University of California, Davis ; Hameed, S Bodega Marine Lab, University of California, Davis ; Trockel, D Bodega Marine Lab, University of California, Davis ; Williams, SL Bodega Marine Lab, University of California, Davis ;

Abstract: Citizen science is a powerful way to collect data while also engaging and educating the public about current environmental issues. There have been many successful citizen science initiatives in the US, but starting similar programs internationally can present unique challenges that require consideration. We examine a K-12 marine debris citizen science program that was initially implemented with students from Northern CA, and the challenges associated with adapting it for schools in Barrang Lompo, a small island in Sulawesi, Indonesia. The goals of the project were to document the quantity and type of marine debris along the coast, to teach basic science methodology, and to teach students about the impacts of marine debris and what they could do to reduce debris. There was a vast disparity between the US and Indonesia in the quantity and type of marine debris. The data collected by students showed that the volume of debris on the beaches of Barrang Lompo was 3 orders of magnitude higher than along the CA coast. Initiating the program in Indonesia presented many challenges, including changing the survey methods to accommodate the immensely larger volume and more diverse types of debris, limited/no access to basic scientific equipment, and how to encourage students to reduce debris when there were no viable alternatives to discarding trash on the beach. Marine debris is a global issue that must be addressed internationally. Lessons learned through this project can be applied to other initiatives aimed at tackling this issue.

C28.7  16:30  Angels need guardians too: conserving the last European Angel Shark stronghold in the Canary Islands. Barker, Joanna *, Zoological Society of London; Piper, Rayner Zoological Society of London; Meyers, Eva Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Fernandez-Palacios, Yaiza Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria;

Abstract: The European angel shark (Squatina squatina) was once common throughout Europe’s seas, but the intensification of demersal fishing practices over the last 100 years has caused the widespread decline of this species. The European angel shark was listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2006 and is locally extinct from much of its former range. The last known population stronghold is in the Canary Islands, but very little is known about its abundance, habitat preference and migratory behaviour. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) are working with the diving community in the Canary Islands to gather vital ecological data needed to inform effective conservation and management. We launched our online reporting tool (ePOSEIDON) in April 2014, to identify important angel shark habitat and timing of the breeding season. In the first month, 24 sightings of the European angel shark were submitted, 20 of which were in previously undocumented angel shark habitat. Since starting the project, we have identified that use of lethal handling techniques by the rapidly expanding sportfishing community is one of the greatest threats to the European angel shark in the Canary Islands. We are raising funds to work with the sportfishing community and explain how small changes in handling practice can dramatically increase angel shark survival, as part of a wider educational programme.

C28.8  16:45  Celtic Seas Partnership: helping achieve Good Environmental Status in our seas. Jenny Oates *, WWF-UK; Lyndsey Dodds WWF-UK;

Abstract: The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was established by the European Commission (EC) to achieve Good Environmental Status in our seas. But If we are going to achieve this it is vital that we involve those whose livelihoods and well-being are dependent on the ocean. It’s one thing to create legislation but another to get the buy-in and support of all those that will be expected to follow that legislation. By working with sea-users to identify and develop measures for MSFD the Celtic Seas Partnership project aims to empower stakeholders. We believe this will improve compliance with regulations and ultimately bring about the restoration and protection of the Celtic Seas. At the first project workshop stakeholders from a range of sectors created over 80 ideas for new measures. The results from the workshop together with an online survey helped identify priority issues that people are interested in (e.g. litter). These were considered alongside the EC’s Article 12 review which identified weaknesses in implementation of MSFD. Based on this the measures from the first workshop were shortlisted and taken forwards in another series of workshops. Stakeholders then chose measures to develop using action plans through focus groups. At the end of the process there will be a series of measures with a sound evidence base and stakeholder support to be incorporated into governments’ programmes of measures for MSFD. Celtic Seas Partnership is an EC LIFE+ project led by WWF-UK.

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