Overfishing and habitat destruction due to local and global threats are undermining fisheries, biodiversity, and the long-term sustainability of tropical marine ecosystems worldwide, including in the Coral Triangle. Well-designed and effectively managed marine reserve networks can reduce local threats, and contribute to achieving multiple objectives regarding fisheries management, biodiversity conservation and adaptation to changes in climate and ocean chemistry. Previous studies provided advice regarding ecological guidelines for designing marine reserves to achieve one or two of these objectives. While there are many similarities in these guidelines, there are key differences that provide conflicting advice. Thus, there is a need to provide integrated guidelines for practitioners who wish to design marine reserves to achieve all three objectives simultaneously. Scientific advances regarding fish connectivity and recovery rates, and climate and ocean change vulnerability, also necessitate refining advice for marine reserve design. Here we review ecological considerations for marine reserve design, and provide guidelines to achieve all three objectives simultaneously regarding: habitat representation; risk spreading; protecting critical, special and unique areas; reserve size, spacing, location, and duration; protecting climate resilient areas; and minimizing and avoiding threats. In addition to applying ecological guidelines, reserves must be designed to address social and governance considerations, and be integrated within broader fisheries and coastal management regimes.
The six Coral Triangle countries-Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste-each have evolving systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) at the national and local levels. More than 1,900 MPAs covering 200,881 km 2 (1.6% of the exclusive economic zone for the region) have been established within these countries over the last 40 years under legal mandates that range from village level traditional law to national legal frameworks that mandate the protection of large areas as MPAs. The focus of protection has been primarily on critical marine habitats and ecosystems, with a strong emphasis on maintaining and improving the status of near-shore fisheries, a primary food and economic resource in the region. This article brings together for the first time a consistent set of current data on MPAs for the six countries and reviews progress toward the establishment of MPAs in these countries with regard to (i) coverage of critical habitat (e.g., 17.8% of the coral reef habitat within the region lies within an MPA), (ii) areas under effective management, and (iii) actions needed to improve the implementation of MPAs as a marine conservation and resource management strategy. The contribution of MPAs to the Coral Triangle MPA System as called for in the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security Regional Plan of Action is clarified. Options for scaling up existing MPAs to networks of MPAs that are more ecologically linked and integrated with fisheries management and responsive to changing climate through the Coral Triangle MPA System development are discussed. A key point is the need to improve the effectiveness of existing MPAs, and plan in a manner leading to ecosystem-based management.
Climate adaptation planning provides an opportunity to enhance the adaptive capacity of stakeholders across multiple levels. However, reviews of standard top-down and bottom-up approaches indicate that the value of multistakeholder involvement is not fully recognized or incorporated into guidelines. Focusing on provinces in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea within the Coral Triangle region, we present a novel integrated top-down and bottom-up planning approach. Based on Participatory Systemic Inquiry the process involves three stages of workshops intentionally designed to promote social learning, knowledge exchange, empowerment and social networks among multilevel stakeholders. Stage 1 workshops engage government, nongovernment and science stakeholders at the provincial level to analyze sub-districts' vulnerability and design appropriate adaptation strategies. Stage 2 engages local government, non-government and community stakeholders within vulnerable sub-districts identified in Stage 1. Stage 3 combines Stage 1 and 2 stakeholders to refine adaptation strategies and design action plans for sub-districts. Evaluation demonstrated that different stakeholder groups' perceptions of community adaptation needs varied significantly, justifying the approach. In terms of adaptive capacity, the primary outcome for all stakeholder groups was innovative ideas, suggesting that social learning and knowledge exchange had occurred. Empowerment was a secondary outcome. We discuss how the approach could be further refined.
Globally, shoreline protection approaches are evolving towards the incorporation of natural and nature-based features (living shorelines henceforth) as a preferred alternative to shoreline armoring. Emerging research suggests that living shorelines may be a viable approach to conserving coastal habitats (marshes, beaches, shallows, seagrasses) along eroding shorelines. Living shorelines typically involve the use of coastal habitats, such as wetlands, that have a natural capacity to stabilize the shore, restore or conserve habitat, and maintain coastal processes. They provide stability while still being dynamic components of the ecosystem, but due to their dynamic nature, careful designs and some maintenance will be required if habitat conservation is a goal. Living shorelines may represent a singular opportunity for habitat conservation in urban and developing estuaries because of their value to society as a shoreline protection approach and resilience to sea level rise. However, enhanced public acceptance and coordination among regulatory and advisory authorities will be essential to expand their use. To fully understand their significance as habitat conservation strategies, systematic and standardized monitoring at both regional and national scales is vital to evaluate the evolution, persistence, and maximum achievable functionality (e.g., ecosystem service provision) of living shoreline habitats.
Coastal communities, indigenous peoples, and small-scale fishers rely on the ocean for livelihoods, for subsistence, for wellbeing and for cultural continuity. Thus, understanding the human dimensions of the world's peopled seas and coasts is fundamental to evidence-based decision-making across marine policy realms, including marine conservation, marine spatial planning, fisheries management, the blue economy and climate adaptation. This perspective article contends that the marine social sciences must inform the pursuit of sustainable oceans. To this end, the article introduces this burgeoning field and briefly reviews the insights that social science can offer to guide ocean and coastal policy and management. The upcoming United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) provides a tremendous opportunity to build on the current interest, need for and momentum in the marine social sciences. We will be missing the boat if the marine social sciences do not form an integral and substantial part of the mandate and investments of this global ocean science for sustainability initiative.
Indigenous peoples' efforts toward environmental conservation are indivisible from their cultural identity and their social and political organizations. Indigenous resurgence, including the reinvigoration and reestablishment of Indigenous ways of living, are linked to the management, restoration, and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems around the world. However, there remains a significant gap in the recognition and support of Indigenous governance systems in international policy discussions regarding conservation work. As a way to address this gap, we offer an analysis of marine Indigenous community-led conservation initiatives from around the world that were recipients of the UNDP Equator Prize, framed by initial research on Indigenous-led conservation in British Columbia, Canada. We highlight specific Indigenous governance strategies undertaken by such communities that foster both marine resource conservation and stewardship. The strategies we identified included practicing Indigenous traditional resource management, protection of traditional territories, Indigenous-led actions of environmental conservation, and data collection and monitoring. We also identified networking and collaboration with non-Indigenous supporters, as was reinvestment into education and capacity-building within the community. We conclude with concrete policy suggestions drawn from these cases that can help strengthen the leadership and self-determination of Indigenous peoples on local resource and environmental issues, and aid in much broader conservation efforts globally.
This article presents the results of an impact assessment of a component of a large scale USAID sustainable fisheries management project initiative aimed at integrating gender and strengthening the role of women in fisheries management in Ghana. The assessment is based on a literature review and qualitative field data collection. It assessed gender integration from three entry points: improving the Ghanaian policy environment for gender in fisheries, empowering women post-harvest processors, and engaging women gleaners in fisheries co-management. The assessment found that an important milestone was the adoption and implementation of the Ghanaian Fisheries Sector's National Gender Mainstreaming Strategy in 2016. Summarizing the impacts on local post-harvest processors and gleaners, the assessment found that female post-harvest processors have increased capacity, confidence, and engagement in fisheries management. Gender mainstreaming efforts have succeeded in challenging cultural norms about women's role in fisheries. Women have been exposed to sustainable fisheries management and are better equipped with the knowledge and leadership skills to advocate for good fisheries practices, which they actively demonstrate.
Persistent development, population pressures, and increasing natural hazards are unequivocally changing socio-ecological systems in the coastal zone. This essay provides direction and initiates scientific dialog on the potential role of mobility in adapting to natural and social changes in coastal environments. The essay identifies four key research areas on information needed to develop coastal management actions and policies that support and recognize socio-ecological coupling in coastal areas. The proposed research includes: (1) modeling localized scenarios that illustrate the tradeoffs associated with various sea level rise adaptation, (2) assessing and consolidating mobility terminology for different applications and contexts, (3) developing solutions to synchronize the co-migration of natural environments and built infrastructure, and (4) evaluating existing or creating new transparent, equitable, and sustainable policies and incentives to support socio-ecological mobility by using case studies and social science methods to understand how people make mobility decisions in different contexts.
Multi-purpose marine protected areas (MPAs) are prevalent world-wide as institutional mechanisms deployed in the marine environment to manage multiple uses, conserve resources and protect ecosystems. Yet some people may experience disadvantage following the implementation of new MPAs. One understudied aspect of MPAs is the distribution of advantages and disadvantages and how best to address the "justice" concerns that they raise. This article identifies a framework of principles, methods and tools to address these concerns. It devises a "MPA justice model" and demonstrates its applicability to a Taiwanese case study. In 2014, Taiwan proclaimed its first multiple-purpose MPA, the South Penghu Marine National Park and the case study shows ways that the MPA's socio-economic sustainability could have been better accomplished. The article focuses on future MPA establishment that incorporates distributional fairness and procedural legitimacy into MPA site designation and zoning design - but might also be adapted to use retrospectively in MPA review processes.
Florida's dynamic beach-dune ecosystem and the structures built along the shore face threats from coastal (or shoreline) erosion, sea level rise, and inadequate regulatory protection efforts. In light of these threats, private property owners are choosing to install coastal armoring on their property to protect upland structures which can negatively impact sea turtles and their nesting habitat. Coastal armoring can significantly degrade the beach-dune ecosystem which serves as a vital economic and recreational resource and as crucial habitat for threatened or endangered sea turtle species, nesting shorebirds, and other endemic species. This study explored both Florida coastal property owner's opinions of coastal armoring, and its impact on sea turtles and their nesting habitat. A quantitative survey was administered to beachfront property owners that live within a mile of a protected section of beach (e.g, state park, preserve, wildlife refuge). In total, 373 of 1,274 distributed surveys were returned and analyzed. The presence of a neighbor with coastal armoring was the most influential factor on a property owner intending to, or already having installed coastal armoring. Additionally, higher assessed property values and lower levels of education were also associated with intent to armor, or current presence of coastal armoring on a parcel.
During the past decades, the number of coastal and marine construction projects has multiplied in China, posing a serious threat to underwater cultural heritage in its waters. In contrast, there are few rules dealing with underwater cultural heritage impact assessment which has not yet become a mandatory procedure in various coastal and marine construction projects. With China putting forward the Belt and Road Initiative, the conflicts between the protection of underwater cultural heritage and the need of various coastal and marine construction projects might become more frequent. Chinese legislation in this domain, undergoing important revision, intends to establish a mandatory procedure of proactive archeological investigation. This revision could have a great influence on the protection of underwater cultural heritage as well as the coastal and marine construction projects in China but the relevant provisions are still far from satisfactory. The present study will review the current Chinese legislation concerning the impact assessment of marine or coastal construction projects on underwater cultural heritage and explore the possibility for further improvement at the legislative level.
The Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System aspires to become a region-wide, comprehensive, ecologically representative and well-managed system of marine protected areas (MPAs) and MPA networks. The development of this system will proceed primarily through the implementation of ecological, social, and governance MPA networks at the sub-national scale. We describe six case studies that exemplify different approaches taken to develop MPA networks in the Coral Triangle region at different scales: Nusa Penida in Indonesia; Tun Mustapha Park in Malaysia; Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea; Verde Island Passage in the Philippines; The Lauru Ridges to Reefs Protected Area Network in Choiseul, Solomon Islands; and Nino Konis Santana Park in Timor Leste. Through synthesis of these case studies, we identify five common themes that contributed to successful outcomes: (1) the need for multi-stakeholder and cross-level management institutions; (2) the value of integrating cutting-edge science with local knowledge and community-based management; (3) the importance of building local capacity; (4) using multiple-use zoning to balance competing objectives; and (5) participation in learning and governance networks. These lessons will be invaluable in guiding future efforts to expand the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System, and provide important insights for MPA practitioners elsewhere.
Sea-level rise (SLR) is not just a future trend; it is occurring now in most coastal regions across the globe. It thus impacts not only long-range planning in coastal environments, but also emergency preparedness. Its inevitability and irreversibility on long time scales, in addition to its spatial non-uniformity, uncertain magnitude and timing, and capacity to drive non-stationarity in coastal flooding on planning and engineering timescales, create unique challenges for coastal risk-management decision processes. This review assesses past United States federal efforts to synthesize evolving SLR science in support of coastal risk management. In particular, it outlines the: (1) evolution in global SLR scenarios to those using a risk-based perspective that also considers low-probability but high-consequence outcomes, (2) regionalization of the global scenarios, and (3) use of probabilistic approaches. It also describes efforts to further contextualize regional scenarios by combining local mean sea-level changes with extreme water level projections. Finally, it offers perspectives on key issues relevant to the future uptake, interpretation, and application of sea-level change scenarios in decision-making. These perspectives have utility for efforts to craft standards and guidance for preparedness and resilience measures to reduce the risk of coastal flooding and other impacts related to SLR.
Integrated coastal management (ICM) has long sought to create political settings within which coastal communities can arrive at collective decisions, and support these decisions with the best quality knowledge available. Traditionally this has been through the integration of natural and social science with the political processes of decision-making and management, across the so-called science-policy interface. Contemporary developments in the field have seen the rising prominence of governance models, with a number of scholars arguing this to have implications for the shape of the science-policy interface. This article reviews the evolution in the theory and practice of the science-policy interface for ICM, before arguing that in the future the interface should be framed as a "governance setting." To this extent, the article distills four important guiding principles, including an interface that: (i) espouses an epistemology based in the dialogic mobilization of knowledge; (ii) includes all diverse knowledge perspectives; (iii) integrates disparate knowledge systems through dialogic reciprocity and co-existence; and (iv) has explicit regard for the negotiated quality of knowledge relative to a specific issue.
Marine turtles utilize sandy beaches as nesting grounds, which can be impacted by a variety of coastal modifications. In the context of limited resources, managers need to prioritize which impacts from coastal modifications to mitigate. However, data on the relative impacts of coastal modification activities are not often available. To address this, we determined the perceived relative impact of twelve coastal modification activities on marine turtle nesting grounds by eliciting information from researchers and managers who are experts on the impacts of coastal modifications on marine turtles and their nesting grounds. Experts were asked to answer a series of pair-wise comparison matrices that compared the impacts of each coastal modification activity. Beach armoring, light pollution, and other shoreline stabilization structures (such as groins and jetties) were weighted by our experts as having the greatest impact to marine turtle nesting grounds and nonpermanent coastal modifications (e.g., special events and beach cleaning) were weighted by experts as having the lowest impact to marine turtle nesting grounds. Managers can use this information to prioritize their efforts and resources to manage marine turtle nesting grounds if funds are available and policy allows.
The Verde Island Passage, lying in the "Coral Triangle" and situated between the main Philippine island of Luzon and the island of Mindoro, has been reported as the "center of the center" of shorefish diversity, yet there are no documented successful cases of marine protection. On the northern coast of Mindoro, here focusing on the municipality of Abra de Ilog, an apparent contradiction lies in the fact that the number of families of coral and fish, and corresponding species counts, remains relatively high, though coral cover is "fair to good" at best due to various sources of anthropogenic impact. Furthermore, the mean catch per unit effort (0.92 kg/person/hour) and the mean income per unit effort (PhP33.3 [USD 0.70]/person/hour) are both low, with 23% of total fishing trips reporting no catch. Terrestrial run-off, mainly siltation, and overfishing are the main threats. Though the area is situated in a recognized center of biodiversity, fishing as a means of livelihood cannot be sustained. A major challenge to the establishment of marine protected areas is social acceptability