Welcome to PAP/RAC Mediterranean Coastal Alert! This newsletter is regularly updated monthly. It contains abstracts of selected current articles and archives on various environmental themes, in particular those dealing with all aspects of coastal issues. The selection is made from the articles published in the leading international scientific journals. This newsletter is an excellent way of keeping you updated with coastal studies and processes.
Most of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Philippines are small-sized and community-based, and their contribution to the conservation efforts has been usually overlooked.
This paper will present the results of the biological assessment study conducted in three community-based MPAs in Southern Iloilo, Philippines. Each MPA has a 2-ha no-take zone and this size is way below the recommended optimal size of 10–100 km2. Results show that fish biomass showed an overall increase of about 1–5 times. This is attributed to both an increase in abundance and in fish size. Fish in this survey conducted in 2013 were about 2.3–3.3 times the size of fish in the 2007 baseline data. Macroepifaunal abundance increased 2 to 8 times across the three MPA sites. However, live hard coral cover showed a parallel ∼40% decrease across all sites, which can be attributed to several factors.
The conservation goals of these MPAs have been attained. However, the results of biological assessments still need to be correlated with a study on the socioeconomic impact of the MPAs in the community to be able to arrive at good management decisions.
Keywords: Marine protected areas; Iloilo; Philippines; Biological assessment; Small MPAs.
Source: L. N. Espectato, R. P. Napata and C. C. Baylon (2017); “Will small MPAs work? The case of small-sized MPAs in Southern Iloilo, Philippines”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 139, April 2017, Pages 24-32; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2017.01.024
The present study aimed to investigate ecosystem dynamics in Tokyo Bay, a semi-enclosed bay surrounded by the Tokyo metropolitan area in Japan, which is one of the largest and most populous industrialized areas in the world. The bay has been subject to eutrophication since the 1960s, and excessive increase in phytoplankton biomass has led to hypoxia. Ecopath with Ecosim was used to simulate the phytoplankton dynamics, and it could closely reproduce the observed relative biomass. To evaluate the impacts of phytoplankton dynamics, hypoxia, and fishing on the dynamics, with a focus on high trophic levels (up to fish), 3 scenarios, “Yearly constant phytoplankton biomass,” “No hypoxia,” and “No fishing,” were tested. Comparisons with the “Control” scenario without any modifications suggested that (1) the dynamics was controlled by phytoplankton (bottom-up control), (2) hypoxia did not have a serious effect on the past dynamics, and (3) stopping fishing would not contribute to recover of the biomass of exploited fish. Predictions for future dynamics under the scenarios “DO deteriorated” and “DO unchanged” suggest that if DO deteriorates strongly enough to decrease the survival of most benthos, the ecosystem might undergo a non-negligible transformation through extinction or biomass decrease of some benthos.
Keywords: Tokyo Bay; Ecopath with Ecosim; Bottom-up control; Hypoxia; Fishing impact.
Source: A. Sakamoto, K. Shirakihara (2017); “Ecosystem dynamics in Tokyo Bay with a focus on high trophic levels using Ecopath with Ecosim”, Journal of Marine Science and Technology, March 2017, Volume 22, Issue 1, Pages 1–10; First Online: 13 May 2016 under DOI: 10.1007/s00773-016-0388-8
Long-term flood risk management often relies on future sea-level projections. Projected uncertainty ranges are however widely divergent as a result of different methodological choices. The IPCC has condensed this deep uncertainty into a single uncertainty range covering 66% probability or more. Alternatively, structured expert judgment summarizes divergent expert opinions in a single distribution. Recently published uncertainty ranges that are derived from these “consensus” assessments appear to differ by up to a factor four. This might result in overconfidence or overinvestment in strategies to cope with sea-level change. Here we explore possible reasons for these different interpretations. This is important for (i) the design of robust strategies and (ii) the exploration of pathways that may eventually lead to some kind of consensus distributions that are relatively straightforward to interpret.
Keywords: Uncertainties; Se-level projections
Source: A. M. R. Bakker, D. Louchard and K. Keller (2017); “Sources and implications of deep uncertainties surrounding sea-level projections”, Climatic Change, February 2017, Volume 140, Issue 3, Pages 339–347; First Online: 9 December 2016 under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1864-1
Sustainable management of coastal systems requires an iterative process using a multidisciplinary approach that integrates the three pillars of sustainable development: environmental protection, social progress and economic growth. The Systems Approach Framework (SAF) provides a structure for an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) process with an effective science-policy interface that embraces the challenge of simulating complex systems and encapsulates citizen involvement from the onset. We analysed the findings of 16 re-analyses studies undertaken in eight Baltic Sea countries to test how well SAF elements had been applied in practice within ICM processes. The results revealed the main ICM driver was ecology or economy. Several ICM elements as defined by the SAF are already standard within the Baltic Sea region. However, in many cases, the omission of stakeholder and institutional mapping as instructed by the SAF led to an unbalanced participation of stakeholders, or in some cases, lack of involvement of stakeholders at the start of the process. Most of the ICM processes failed to include an integrated, cross-sectorial, ecological-socio-economic assessment. This extends from the lack of system thinking when defining the Policy Issue for the problem and when developing the conceptual model, which often leads to one-sectorial solutions, which may not be sustainable. Furthermore, the duration of some of the ICM processes was prolonged due to disagreement and opposition early in the process and/or lack of manager experiences in conducting a stakeholder participatory process. Finally, due to its stringent structure the SAF was found to be a suitable quality assurance for sustainable ICM processes.
Keywords: Systems approach framework; Stakeholder engagement; Ecological-socio-economic assessment; Policy and science integration; Social ecology.
Source: J. G. Støttrup, G. E. Dinesen, H. Janßen, C. Gillgren and G. Schernewski (2017); “Re-visiting ICM theory and practice: Lessons learned from the Baltic Sea Region”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 139, April 2017, Original Research Article, Pages 64-76; Available Online under http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2017.02.002