First Evidence that Marine Protected Areas Can Benefit Marine Mammals

Studies have shown that marine protected areas (MPAs) can be used as tools to preserve marine biodiversity, but currently there is little empirical evidence that MPAs have been effective for improving demographic parameters in marine mammal populations. In 1988, the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary was established in New Zealand to decrease the number of gillnet mortalities of Hector’s dolphin, an endangered dolphin species. Gormley et al. (2012) hypothesized that reduced gillnetting pressures in this sanctuary should result in increased adult survival rate and an improvement in population growth. They addressed this hypothesis by applying random effects Bayesian modeling to photographic capture-recapture data collected through photo-identification studies that lasted for 21 year. They then specified a matrix protection model for pre- and post-sanctuary periods to carry out population projections. Gormley et al. estimate that there is a 90% probability that dolphin survival has improved since the creation of the sanctuary. They found that mean dolphin survival probability increased 5.4% which corresponds to a 6% increase in mean annual population growth, thus providing evidence that area-based protection measures can be effective for marine mammals.Evelyn Byer
                  Gormley, A. M., Slooten, E., Dawson, S., Barker, R. J., Rayment, W., du Fresne, S. and Bräger, S. (2012), First evidence that marine protected areas can work for marine mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49: 474480. doi: 10.1111/j.13652664.2012.02121.x

                  Gormley and colleagues from New Zealand assessed dolphin survival probability by coupling models with field transect data. Photo-identification of Hector’s dolphins were conducted through standardized along-shore transects around Banks Peninsula in 46 m boats. All distinctive dolphins were photographed in each pod sighting before continuing the transect. Photographs of individual dolphins were only used if the dorsal fin was completely visible, in focus, and perpendicular to the photographer to ensure that identifying marks would be completely visible. A catalogue of identifiable individuals was maintained along with a data base containing individual sighting history. No photo-identification fieldwork was collected in 1998 or 1999. Data were restricted to captures during November to February (inclusive) to satisfy the assumption of population closure within each sampling period for the capture-recapture model. Gormley et al. used a modified form of the Cormack-Jolley-Seber (CJS) model to estimate annual survival rate. This model allows for imperfect detection and was implemented using a state-space modeling approach that includes a process model and an observation model. The CJS model was fitted in a Bayesian framework using WinBUGS. Three Markov-chains were started from different initial values and run for 10,000 iterations to tune the algorithm. These samples were then discarded and the algorithm was run for a further 100,000 samples. Convergence was assessed visually and goodness-of-fit was assessed using a posterior predictive checking procedure for a general CJS model. This capture-recapture analysis differs from the classical approach in that a single model is specified in which all the parameters are acknowledged to vary in a random manner with time about some mean. A fixed-duration, stage-structured matrix model was specified to carry out population projections and used three life stages: calf, junvenile, and adult.
                  During 19862006, a total of 462 reliably marked individuals were photographically captured during the summer periods. The results of Gormley et al.show a 90% probability that survival rate has improved between the pre- and post-sanctuary periods. This translates to a mean increase in annual survival rate of 5.4% since the establishment of the sanctuary. All but one (1991) of the point estimates of annual survival from the post-sanctuary period are greater than those from the pre-sanctuary period. These results suggest that the sanctuary’s restrictions on gillnetting have reduced the bycatch of Hector’s dolphins. Furthermore, the increase in survival corresponds to an increase in population growth of 6%. Gormley et al. studied survival rate and projected population growth rather than direct estimates of abundance because survival is typically estimated with less bias and greater precision. Although the post-sanctuary survival rate estimate of 0.917 is substantially higher than the pre-sanctuary rate (a 0.054 increase), this rate is too low to allow population recovery. Gormley and colleagues conclude that the Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary is too small to afford effective protection to the Hector’s dolphin population.

Small-Scale Fishers Unaffected Socioeconomically From Displacement From a Marine Protected Area in Hawaii

MPAs have been implemented across the globe to protect marine biodiversity and critical habitats and enhance commercially harvested fish stocks. Although ecological effects of marine protected areas (MPAs) are well documented, their impacts on the spatial distribution of fishing efforts and fishing communities are poorly understood. MPAs have been shown to enhance fisheries by providing nursery and refuge habitat in which spill-over into commercially fished areas can occur. However, some research has shown that MPAs may have negative effects on fisheries’ revenues. MPAs can affect fishing behavior by reallocating fishing effort to less desirable areas and encourage fishers to aggregate near MPA boundaries. Furthermore, poorly placed MPAs that are introduced when a fishery is not understood can reduce expected profits. Stevenson et al. (2012) investigated how one MPA network in Hawaii altered the spatial distribution of fishing effort, how it impacted perceived fisher socioeconomic well-being and fishing operations, and whether the economic and catch benefits offset costs in the newly established non-MPA fishing areas. Data were collected using social surveys, experimental fishing, and catch reports. Stevenson et al. found that although the MPA network displaced fishing effort, fisher socioeconomic well-being was not affected. Evelyn Byer
                  Stevenson, T., Bissot, B., Walsh, W., 2012. Socioeconomic consequences of fishing displacement from marine protected areas in Hawaii. Biological Conservation 160: 50–58.

                  Stevenson and colleagues in Washington and Hawaii used social surveys, state fishing reports, and experimental fishing to evaluate how the MPA network influenced fisher socioeconomic well-being and fishing operations, fishing displacement, and estimated spatial-catch revenue relationships. The social survey’s primary focus was on fishers who remained active pre- and post-MPA network implementation in 1999. Fishing activity level was assessed by asking permit holders how often they fished; any respondents indicating they fished at least once per month were classified as active. Survey packets were disseminated using a snowball approach, meaning packets were distributed to people referred by other permit holders, and all selected permit holders received a questionnaire, a letter of purpose, and a self-addressed stamped envelope for returning their completed responses. Five point Likert scale questions were used to evaluate perceived changes in fisher socioeconomic well-being and fishing operations pre- and post-MPA implementation, in which responses ranged from much worse to much better. Fishing reports from 1990 to 2008 were used to examine if the MPA network displaced fishing effort after it was implemented. In 2008, experimental fishing with aquarium fishers was performed at ten sites along West Hawaii’s coast over a 10 day period in November to determine if estimated catch revenues changed as a function of distance from ports of entry as well as MPA boundary versus non-MPA boundary sites. Captured fish were identified and counted on the boat for each dive. Three dives were performed at each site. Experimental
catch per unit effort (CPUE) was calculated using the fishing time and number of fish caught per dive. ArcGIS was used to measure the average distance between a given port of entry and fishing sites. Estimated catch revenues were calculated on a per dive basis by multiplying the average annual sale price per species in 2008 by the number of species caught in 2008.
                  Stevenson et al. found that fishing cost and distance traveled were perceived to have significantly increased while economic status was perceived to have slightly improved post-MPA network establishment. All other factors remained unchanged. Stevenson et al. speculated that the reason for an increase in travel costs without a decrease in perceived socioeconomic status is because the fishers expanded their operating range and favorable market factors helped offset potential economic losses. Catch per unit effort and catch revenues were shown to be higher in newly established fishing areas post-MPAs. Results of the experimental fishing showed estimated catch revenues and experimental CPUE increased with distance from ports of entry, which may serve as an incentive for traveling farther. However, it was also found that estimated revenues and fuel expenditures were equal at approximately 60 km round trip distance from ports of entry; after that point fuel expenditures exceeded estimated revenues. Unexpectedly, these small-scale fishers showed little socioeconomic consequences from displacement caused by MPAs, but more empirical studies are needed to understand the effects of MPAs on small-scale fishers in all types of markets.

Empirical Before-After Control-Impact Study Shows Positive Effects of Small-Scale Marine Protected Areas on Northern Cod and Lobster

Despite the fact that marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasing used as tools in fisheries management and conservation, examples of replicated experiments that sampled organismal density before and after establishment of MPAs at sites both inside and outside of the MPAs are rare. Because the implementation of MPAs can be perceived as an opportunity cost to certain stakeholder groups such as commercial and recreational fishers, there is a need for science-based assessments of these areas.  Also, while MPAs with potential to protect temperate species throughout their life histories will need to be large in more open systems, it is not known whether small-scale MPAs may confer benefits to demersal species with pelagic larval stages along convoluted coastlines in high latitudes. Moland et al. (2013) present one of the northernmost documentations of small-scale MPA effects demonstrated by a replicated before-after control-impact (BACI) approach. Only a few studies have previously used this recommended design and none in northern temperate coastal regions. Moland et al. show that both lobster and cod generally responded positively to protection, but also that there were clear regional differences in MPA responses and population developments in adjacent fished areas.Evelyn Byer
                  Moland, E., Olsen, E. M., Knutsen, H., Garrigou, P., Espeland, S. H., Kleiven A. R., Andre, C., Knutsen J., A., 2013. Lobster and Cod Benefit From Small-Scale Northern Marine Protected Areas: Inference From an Empirical Before-After Control-Impact Study. Proc R Soc B 280: 20122679.

                  Moland and colleagues in Norway, Sweden, and France applied a BACI study design to assess the effect of MPAs on lobster and cod in a northern temperate marine ecosystem. Their study encompassed two organisms: the European lobster, and the Atlantic cod. They studied these organisms because catch rates of European lobster has decreased by 65 per cent from the 1950s to 2000s in Norway. Also, a recent study found that 50 per cent of potentially mature cod were removed by fishing each year, suggesting a high level of fishing pressure. Moland et al. established MPAs along the Norwegian Skagerrak coast to generate knowledge on the development of lobster population in areas unaffected by extractive fishing. Capture of lobster was banned in the MPAs from September 2006, with only hook and line fishing allowed. The MPAs were located in Fodevigen, Bolaerve archipelago, and Kvernakjaer. Control areas were separated from MPAs by distances of 1700, 850, and 2250 meters, respectively. At each location, MPAs and control areas are of approximately equal size. Lobsters were sampled using an annual standardized research trapping survey, including capture-mark-recapture, during three consecutive years prior to protection. In 2006, adjacent control areas were designated and included in the survey. Lobsters were sampled using standard ‘parlour’ traps deployed in 1030 meters depth. A set of 25 traps fished for four days within each control group and MPA every year. Lobsters were measured and tagged immediately upon capture and released at the same site. An independent study on cod was conducted in the same area during 20052010 and was included in this study. Cod were sampled in the Flodevigen MPA, Arendal, Lillesand, and Risor using fyke nets in shallow water. Sampling efforts ranged from 74411 trap hauls among years and sites. Individual cods were measured to the nearest cm, tagged, and released at the site of capture. Data analyses and plotting of results for lobster were conducted using R software. Moland et al. analyzed spatial and temporal variation in lobster catch per unit effort (CPUE) and size. They used a zero-inflated Poisson regression model to analyze the effects of year, treatment, and region on CPUE. The Vuong test was used to test whether the zero-inflated model was a significant improvement over a standard Poisson model. The body size data was analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). Spatial and temporal variation in cod catch and cod size was analyzed using generalized linear models.
2074 and 1681 lobsters were captured, measured, and tagged in the MPAs and control areas respectively. The Flodevigen MPA had a modest increase in CPUE, evident in year two of protection and onwards, whereas the rate of change in the control area was negligible. CPUE was similar in the Bolaerne MPA and control area before MPA designation, with increasing difference in all years after designation. At Kvernskjaer, CPUE in the MPA increased rapidly with a mean that was more or less equal to the control area in 2007. The mean relative CPUE increased by 245 per cent in MPAs, whereas mean relative CPUE in control areas increased by 87 per cent. Mean body size of lobster increased by 13.0 per cent and 2.6 per cent in MPAs and control areas, respectively. On the other hand, 12,116 cod were captured and measured. Prior to designation of MPAs, cod from the MPA were, on average, among the smallest in the study. From 2008 and onwards, the MPA cod had the highest average size. These general study differences demonstrate spatial heterogeneity in effects of protection in largely similar systems that cannot be given a straightforward explanation. Moland et al. conclude that harvested marine species in northern temperate waters may benefit from small-scale MPAs, and emphasize the need for replicated MPA/control area pairs in the assessment of MPAs, as monitoring single MPAs may lead to variable conclusions.

Status and Solutions for the World’s Unassessed Fisheries

Assessed fisheries in developing countries may be moving toward sustainability, but little is known about the sustainability of unassessed fisheries which contribute to more than 80% of global catch. In addition, although there have been stock assessments of the most economically important species, et al.

(2012) developed a method using species’ life history, catch, and fishery development data to estimate the status of thousands of unassessed fisheries worldwide. This method does not produce precise estimates for individual fisheries and therefore is not a substitute for formal assessment. It does, however, provide a method in which to estimate the statuses of previously unassessed stocks. Costello et al. found that small unassessed fisheries are in substantially worse condition than assessed fisheries, but that large unassessed fisheries may be performing nearly as well as their assessed counterparts. Of these unassessed fisheries, Costello et al. found that 18% of stocks are collapsed.Evelyn Byer

                  Costello, C., Ovando, D., Hilborn, R., Gaines, S.D., Deschenes, O., Lester, S.E., 2012. Status and Solutions for the World’s Unassessed Fisheries. Science 338, 517520.
                  Costello and colleagues in Santa Barbara and Seattle developed a multivariate regression approach to identify predictors of stock status (biomass/biomass for maximum sustainable yields or B/Bmsy) from assessed fisheries and used these models to estimate the status of unassessed fisheries. They coupled existing stock assessments to a database of characteristics of each unassessed fishery such as time-series of catch, fishery development, and species’ life-history traits. The approach of Costello et al. uses the same kinds of variables as stock assessments, but fundamentally differs because a structural model linking these variables to stock status are not specified and there are no indices of abundance trends. The approach captures time-series effects, and cross-sectional effects. This approach is not a substitute for formal assessment but a useful method for estimating previously unassessed stocks. To predict stock status for assessed fisheries, a regression model estimating log(B/Bmsy) was used. To predict the status of unassessed fisheries, a companion database of 7721 marine fisheries for the FAO landings database was compiled. Five approaches were used to validate model predictions including within sample validation for assessed fisheries, bias tests for fishery size and data errors, jackknife analyses, comparisons with FAO assessments, and comparisons with B/Bmsy estimates from inside and outside more than 50 marine reserves.
                  Costello et al. concluded with a final data set containing 1793 unassessed marine fisheries from around the world, which comprise 23% of global landings. They found that 64% of unassessed fisheries have a stock biomass less than Bmsy, almost identical to the 63% of assessed fisheries with a stock biomass less than Bmsy. They also found that 18% of unassessed stocks are already collapsed. Overall, a median B/Bmsy of 0.63 was predicted for the world’s unassessed fisheries in 2009, much lower than the median value of 0.94 from assessed fisheries in 2007. Also, unassessed fisheries in the developing world were predicted to have higher stock masses, on average, than in the developed world. Geographic locations with highest predicted B/Bmsy include the eastern Indian Ocean, southern Indonesia, and Western Australia whereas the Northwestern Atlantic has among the lowest B/Bmsy. Generally, a stark contrast existed between the statuses of assessed and unassessed stocks, even in regions known for good management (i.e. New Zealand and Alaska). These results allow globally important policy questions to be addressed, such as the large potential conservation and food benefits from improving the management of the world’s unassessed fisheries.  Costello et al. also advise that although fisheries reform such as limiting entry and using individual transferable quotas has been successful in developed countries, other methods such as territorial user right fisheries, cooperatives, and co-management approaches are likely to be more successful in developing countries.

Models Predict Potential Consequences of Climate Change for Primary Production and Fish Production in Large Marine Ecosystemsev

Over the past three decades, the waters of the Northeast Atlantic have warmed faster than the global average resulting in exaggerated changes in the distribution and abundance of fish species in this area. Climate change is expected to change productivity of fisheries in the future but ecosystem specifics are not well understood. Many populations, especially poorer populations, rely on marine fish as a main source of protein, making these populations especially vulnerable to the decline in the productivity of fisheries. Because of the complex impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, it is challenging to predict responses at all ecological levels and spatial scales.
Climate change influences fishery production through effects on primary production, food web interactions, and the life history and distribution of target species. Changes in primary production are strongly influenced by changes in the physical and chemical environment, while changes in the food web are also influenced by primary production. Blanchard et al. (2012) combine physical-biogeochemical and size-structured community models with temperature effects to project future effects of climate change on fish biomass and production in 11 large regional domains which include most productive areas of the shelf seas. Changes in fish production are shown to be most strongly influenced by phytoplankton production. Blanchard et al. predict potential declines in fisheries production to be 3060%, most notably in the Indo-Pacific, and the production of pelagic predators to increase by 2889%.—Evelyn Byer.
            Blanchard, J.L., Jennings, S., Holmes, R., Harle, J., Merino, G., Allen, J.I., Holt, J., Dulvy, N.K., Barange, M., 2012. Potential consequences of climate change for primary production and fish production in large marine ecosystems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367, 29792989.

            Blanchard and colleagues from the United Kingdom coupled physical-biogeochemical models to predict climate change scenarios. Exclusive economic zones (EEZs) were deemed to be most relevant for predicting changes in fisheries, as the majority of the global fish catch is taken from EEZs and most of the marine primary production occurs in these areas. Forcing data from a global ocean assimilation, a re-analysis simulation, and an atmospheric re-analysis dataset enabled the outputs from the coupled model to be evaluated against oceanographic and fisheries data for the same period of time. Nutrient input from rivers was provided by the Global Nutrient Export from Water Sheds model. Data from the IPCC SRESAI1B ‘business as usual’ emissions simulation and a simulation forced with trace gases set to 1980 values from the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Model were also used.
            The size-structured dynamics of marine animal communities were modeled using a previously published size-based model modified to incorporate a temperature effect on the feeding and intrinsic mortality rates of organisms. The model focuses on pelagic predators and benthic detrivores and is concerned with a continuous function that gives the density per unit mass per unit volume for organisms of mass m at time t. The feeding rate for the pelagic community is dependent on the preference for prey, the volume of water searched per unit time, and the amount of suitably sized food available. Contrastingly, feeding rate for benthic consumers is not dependent on prey size because the majority of benthic organisms feed on detritus. Instead, the benthic feeding rate is dependent on available biomass density of detritus. A temperature effect on feeding and intrinsic mortality rates was also incorporated into the model to enable the effects of changes in temperature to be assessed.
            To validate the predictions of their models, Blanchard et al. used data from the Ocean and Atmospheric re-analysis datasets from 19922001. Fish production estimates were compared with national catch statistics from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization database.
            The Blanchard et al. models predict both positive and negative responses in fish biomass density and production that mirror potential changes in primary production more strongly than changes in temperature. An advantage of this model over previous models is the inclusion of fishing effects, enabling the relative effects of climate change and fishing to be explored within and across size-structured ecosystems. Either low primary production or cold-water ecosystems conferred higher susceptibility to fishing effects, due to slow relative growth rates. Also, heavily fished ecosystems were less resilient to climate change compared to unexploited states because of reductions in size structure and higher induced growth rates. For 19922001 in analysis, the models generated catches and growth rates that were realistic, if it is taken into consideration that catch data can be misreported and true community-wide fishing mortality rates are not well known. A drawback of these models is that other sources of primary production besides phytoplankton are not incorporated. Blanchard et al. hope that these models will help assess the vulnerabilities of certain areas to climate change and that the models may be useful for establishing levels of threat and uncertainty in specific regions. The results most likely underestimate the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and a greater understanding of the specific effects of climate change on the ocean will help to improve prediction models.

Recommended Future Research to Promote Seamount Conservation and Management

Seamounts are biodiversity hotspots in the deep-sea. Although they are threatened from trawling and seabed mining, much is unknown about the structure, function and connectivity of seamount ecosystems. The Census of Marine Life on Seamounts (CenSeam) was a field program that examined seamounts as part of the global Census of Marine Life that brought together scientists working on seamount ecology, taxonomy, conservation, fisheries, geology, physical oceanography, and informatics to progress seamount science. The expansion of research efforts beyond national programs substantially advanced the understanding of seamounts, which is evident through the numerous scientific papers published on seamount oceanography, ecology, and the vulnerability and management of seamount resources. Clark et al. (2012) summarize the main findings of CenSeam and current research, identify the key questions needed to be asked for spatial planning, identify the future research need for seamount conservation and management, and propose future data and tools needed for seamount conservation and management. Clark et al. conclude that close cooperation and collaboration between scientists, managers, policy agencies, commercial companies, and NGOs at the outset when planning research is essential to the practical success of the research.Evelyn Byer
Clark MR, Schlacher TA, Rowden AA, Stocks KI, Consalvey M (2012) Science Priorities for Seamounts: Research Links to Conservation and Management. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29232. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029232

Clark and colleagues evaluated how well six key ecological aspects of seamounts are understood from recent research. First, Clark et al. summarized information that shows that seamounts are generally not isolated habitats with a highly endemic fauna. On the contrary, they have assemblages of species composition similar to those found in adjacent deep-sea habitat on the continental slope also known as banks. Seamount assemblages differ in structure from the habitat surrounding them in terms of species abundance and frequency. Connectivity between them was found to be highly variable. These differences are not surprising because seamounts are heterogeneous habitats that span a broad depth range, are influenced by diverse oceanographic processes, are situated in diverse geological settings, and are comprised of heterogeneous habitat types. Seafloor type and character on seamounts, just as in non-seamount habitats, are key factors in determining species occurrence, distribution and diversity in the benthos. Third, it is impossible to generalize about the spatial scales over which faunal assemblages of seamounts are structured because communities on seamounts are variable over large spatial scales. The fourth point Clark et al.make is that seamounts are increasingly exploited by humans. Major global threats come from trawling and seafloor mining, principally for poly-metallic sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts. The review follows with the point that seamounts are affected by human exploitation. It cites specific examples of seamounts in New Zealand and Australia where there exist significant differences in the structural complexity of benthic habitats, species numbers and abundance, and the composition and structure of assemblages between fished and unfished seamounts. Moreover, the effects of mining are more uncertain because few studies have been carried out. Lastly, seamounts are very slow to recover from impacts. This conclusion is mainly based on the exceptionally slow growth rates of large, deep-sea megafauna. For example, seamounts off the coast of New Zealand and Australia were observed for 5-10 years after closure to trawling and still had no signs of recovery.
Clark et al. also identified seven areas of research priorities for seamounts over the next decade including identifying seamount locations and physical characteristics, providing descriptions of biodiversity, characterizing spatial scales of population connectivity, providing context for seamounts as part of the deep-sea ecosystem, identifying broader effects of human disturbance, examining recovery dynamics, and looking at the effects of climate change. Clark et al. also suggests expanding and maintaining seamount data and information, improving fisheries data and information by capturing historical data sets into existing global repositories and improving the spatial resolution, producing models of species and assemblage distribution as data compilations become available, determining the extent to which physical and chemical parameters can predict biological information, and refining ecological risk assessment methods so that they are robust, transparent and understandable.

Fishing Cooperatives Deal With Common-Pool Resource Problems in Diverse Ways and Often Support Private Marine Protected Areas

While many fisheries around the globe are in a state of collapse, many are successful as well. Fishing cooperatives are an approach to sustainable fishing that have received little attention despite the fact that studies have shown potential benefits from this practice such as reducing or eliminating the race for fish, improving economic efficiency and market value, improving enforcement and compliance, and promoting conservation and environmental stewardship. The conditions and attributes that lead to a successful fishing cooperative need to be studied in order to better understand their actual and potential role in fishing management. Fishing cooperatives exist in diverse settings, and for analysis to be broadly applicable, information was drawn from 67 different institutions in different geographic, social, environmental, and economic settings. This enabled Ovando et al. (2012) to analyze the links between specific characteristics and contexts of fisheries, such as the development status of the host nation, fisheries management practices, species characteristics, and collective actions taken by fishery cooperatives. Ovando et al. found that fishing cooperatives often take actions directed toward coordinating harvest activities, adopting and enforcing restrictions on fishing methods and effort, and taking direct conservation actions such as establishment of private marine protected areas.Evelyn Byer
Ovando, D.A., Deacon, R.T., Lester, S.E., Costello, C., Van Leuvan, T., McIlwain, K., Kent Strauss, C., Arbuckle, M., Fujita, R., Gelcich, S., 2012. Conservation incentives and collective choices in cooperative fisheries. Marine Policy. 37, 132-140.

Ovando and colleagues compiled data from a large set of case studies of cooperatives and organized them into a database of the ecological, economic, institutional, and social structure of the fisheries involved, together with the collective actions fishery cooperatives undertake. Also, these data were used to test hypotheses on how ecological, economic, social, and governance circumstances are linked to the collective choices made by cooperatives. Ecological and microeconomic theories were informally used to guide the selection of six survey question areas: ecology, institutions, economics, government policy, coop structure, and cooperative actions. The first four are hypothesized to influence cooperative formation and action, the fifth category is descriptive, and the sixth category is the main focus of attention. Ecological variables focused on life history traits of the species targeted by the fishery.  Institutional variables reflect the national context, such as the per capita GDP.  Economic variables are fishery specific, and capture information on species value, market destination, and reliability of catch. Policy variables measure the role of government in the management of the fishery and include variables such as the extent of government subsidizes for fishing. Structural variables describe attributes of cooperatives such as annual landings. Finally, cooperative action variables identify the specific collective activities each cooperative undertakes. The fishing cooperatives were not chosen randomly, but rather were selected from a review of the existing literature, possibly meaning that cooperatives in developed countries are over-represented. Complete linkage cluster analysis was used to identify relationships among cooperative actions to provide insight into choices made by cooperatives. Finally, logit regression analysis for clustered survey data was used to examine factors contributing to the probability of the formation of private marine protected areas (PMPAs).
Ovando et al. found cooperatives often establish PMPAs and take other resource stewardship actions when institutional and ecological circumstances are appropriate. Cooperative fishing was found in every major fishing region and was found not to be solely associated with large, small, rich, or poor fisheries, but rather to represent a broadly applied strategy for dealing with common-pool resources. The fact that the sample contains a greater proportion of democratic and developed countries than the world as a whole means that the world’s fishing cooperatives may not be perfectly represented. Ovando et al. encourages comparative analysis of wide groups of fisheries in order to better understand what incentives drive the actions of cooperatives and thus support the health of fisheries and the communities that depend on them.

Intensive Ploughing Alters Submarine Landscapes Causing Possible Ecological and Biogeochemical Consequences

During the past decades, bottom trawling has spread around the globe and its spatial extent has now been estimated to be an order of magnitude greater than the total extent of all other anthropogenic activities. The direct impacts of this technique on benthic communities and fish populations are known but trawling can also modify the physical properties of seafloor sediments, water-sediment chemical exchanges and sediment fluxes. Using high-resolution seafloor relief maps, Puig et al. (2012) found that on upper continental slopes, sediment displacement and removal by trawling gradually causes the morphology of the deep sea floor to become smoother over time thus reducing its complexity and habitat heterogeneity. It is anticipated that many parts of the world’s oceans could be altered by intensive bottom trawling, producing comparable effects on the deep sea floor to intensive agricultural activities on land.—Evelyn Byer
            Puig, P., Canals, M., Martín, J., Amblas, D., Lastras, G., Palanques, A., Calafat, A.M., 2012. Ploughing the deep sea floor. Nature 489, 286-289.

            Puig and colleagues from the Marine Sciences Institute and University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain used a unique experimental strategy by combining monitoring of contemporary sediment transport processes, sediment coring, remote operated vehicle in situ observations and high-resolution multibeam bathymetric surveys coupled with the information provided by satellite-based navigation tracks of fishing vessels. Time series observations were carried out on the flank of La Fonera Canyon, a trawled submarine canyon in the Mediterranean, to measure sediment transport induced by fishing. An instrumented mooring was placed within a tributary valley to capture sediment gravity flow.  In 2007 a high-resolution multibeam bathymetry survey was conducted in the canyon. Puig et al. plotted four years (2007-2010) of satellite-based navigation tracks from all large bottom trawlers operating in the area on top of the multibeam bathymetry of La Fonera Canyon.
            Instrumented mooring observations included increases of near-bottom suspended sediment concentrations and current velocities during weekdays thus revealing a highly active scenario with the almost daily occurrence of sediment transport linked to trawling fleets upslope of the observation site. Analysis of the bathymetry data revealed a noticeable smoothing of bottom topography along the northern canyon flank at depths shallower than 800 meters, which had in the past been interpreted as a result of dense shelf water cascading flowing southward. Smoothing, however, was also observed in the southern canyon flank, away from the region potentially affected by cascading flows, challenging the previous hypotheses. The depth of 800 meters coincided with the maximum trawled depths which points to trawling as a potential shaping agent within this depth range. Overlaying satellite-based navigation tracks over the bathymetry data revealed that navigation tracks coincided with the smoothed canyon flanks. In contrast, untrawled canyon flanks are dominated by more complex topography. Therefore, a causative relationship can be established between trawling-induced erosion effects and the reduction of morphological complexity. Evidence from sediment cores and remote operated vehicle footage support the observed contrasts between untrawled and trawled seafloors. In conclusion, Puig et al. approximated that 2.4 X 10^(-4) km^3 of sediment has been exported from this fishing ground annually. This study raises questions over the possibility that today trawling is an important driver of seascape evolution. Along with alteration of topography, trawling also reduces habitat heterogeneity which may affect species diversity. The impacts of trawling have been compared to the impacts from forest clear-cutting, however the results from Puig et al. indicate a better comparison to be the impacts from intensive agricultural activities, although farmers usually plough their land a few times per year while sea trawling con occur on a nearly daily basis. Puig et al. argue for the inclusion of trawling in the list of major present and future human footprints in the ocean.

Measurements of Spillover Fish Naiveté from Marine Reserves May Help Support Marine Conservation and Improve Models of Spillover

Although human induced changes in fish behavior may affect fisheries and marine sanctuaries, the science is lacking. Januchowski-Hartley et al. (2012) conducted an experiment in the Philippines using the fish flight initiation distance (FID) to measure the naiveté of three genera of fishes.  Data were collected within borders of three marine reserves, outside three marine reserves and in three controlled fishing areas. Although it is accepted that marine biomass spillover from reserves exists, data on human-induced behavioral changes are scarce, and are needed to understand fishery success. Recent diffusion models predicting fish abundance across boundaries of reserves assume that fishes do not vary in catchability as they move from the reserve to unprotected areas but Januchowski-Hartley et al. found that FID remains high for some distance outside reserve borders, meaning that spillover of fish naiveté towards spear fishers occurs. Evelyn Byer
Januchowski‐Hartley, F.A., Graham, N.A.J., Cinner, J.E., Russ, G.R., 2012. Spillover of fish naïveté from marine reserves. Ecology Letters 16, 191–197.

Januchowski‐Hartley et al. measured the FID and biomass of three different genera of tropical reef fishes in the Phillipines. Acanthuridae and Scaridae are two key families targeted by local fishereies, while species in the control family, Chaetodontidae, are small and not targeted by spear fishers. FID and biomass were surveyed from 200 m inside to 200 m outside one boundary of each of three marine reserves: Apo Island, Tandyang, and Tubod. Fish FID was estimated by a diver on snorkel imitating spearfisher behavior. When the fish fled, a marker was dropped on the substrate under the diver’s head, and directly below the fishes pre-fleeing location. The distance between the two markers was immediately measured with a tape measure. Biomass and abundance were estimated by a free diver at nine different distances from the boundary at each area.
Both fishes targeted by spearfishers, Acanthuridae and Scaridae, showed linear or weakly exponential increases in FID across marine reserve boundaries. This means that within reserves, spearfishers were able to swim closer to the fish before they fled than outside the park boundary. This demonstrates the spillover of naiveté from within marine reserves to surrounding fished areas and suggests that the export of naïve behavior may be a general benefit to spearfishers of marine reserves. While there was a significant difference between distance and FID for the fish families targeted by fisheries, the untargeted fish family Chaetodontidae showed no significant change in FID across reserve boundary suggesting that this change in FID is influenced by fishing. None of the sampled families showed trends at any control fished boundary meaning this trend is unique to marine reserves. Both target families displayed a higher biomass inside reserves than in fishing grounds adjacent to reserves. Surprisingly, the biomass adjacent to reserves was lower than biomass in control fished areas suggesting that this decrease in biomass is consistent with ‘fishing the line’ behavior; increased fishing pressure directly outside marine reserve borders. Januchowski‐Hartley et al. suggests that the lack of biomass across marine reserve borders may be exacerbated by naïve fishes with lower FID being more easily caught. Increased FID outside of park boundaries may be facilitated with direct experience of a non-fatal encounter with spearfisher, or indirectly through linking the visual image of a predator with chemical alarm cues with more exposures resulting in larger effects. Also, an increase in FID outside park boundaries could result from the selective removal on naïve fishes by spearfishers. These finding are relevant because they add a new factor to marine reserve models which may be overestimating increases in biomass and may increase stake-holder support for marine reserves.