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.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are considered key elements to the achievement of conservation and sustainable marine management targets. Yet, even if recently the number of MPAs has increased rapidly worldwide, the area of ocean under some type of MPA classification is far behind the international targets (e.g. Convention on Biological Diversity) considered essential for conservation of the world's oceans. Furthermore, coherence, representativeness and effectiveness of existing MPAs are largely unknown or even weakly defined. In this study, general characteristics of MPAs from Portugal, Spain and France were collected and used to evaluate conservation progress in this geographic area. In addition, an online questionnaire was administered to the MPAs managers, and focused on multiple processes inherent to each MPA, namely on the characteristics and suitability of planning, management, monitoring, governance and enforcement. Obtained responses were used to calculate the overall level of MPA management effectiveness, and multivariate analyses were used to identify the factors that most contributed to differences in effectiveness. Most MPAs are adjacent to the coast, are small in area (near 50% have less than 20 km2) and were established with multiple goals concerning species conservation and sustainable development of economic activities (e.g. fisheries). Only 9% of analysed MPAs are larger than 1000 km2 and are unequally distributed among the study area. Overall, 46% of MPAs and 59% of total area covered were established during the last five years, while only 3 of the 35 no-take areas (22% in area) were implemented during this period. High MPA effectiveness (i.e. the extent to which an MPA is protecting values and achieving its goals and objectives) was related with high levels of stakeholders support, with suitable goals, management and enforcement. Results highlighted the need to improve MPA coverage taking into account other existing MPAs to increase coherence and representativeness of networks, that new no-take areas should be implemented in key conservation sites and that management strategies (e.g. enforcement and monitoring) should be strengthened. These findings are applicable to the study area yet methodology and outcomes are pertinent to MPA management worldwide. Ultimately, strategies aiming at maximizing MPA performance are probably as important as the increase of MPA coverage.
Source: M. I. Batista and H. N. Cabral (2016); “An overview of Marine Protected Areas in SW Europe: Factors contributing to their management effectiveness”, Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 132, November 2016, p. 15 – 23; Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2016.07.005
Coastal populations in the global tropics and sub-tropics are vulnerable to the devastating impacts of hurricane storm surge and this risk is only expected to rise under climate change. In this study, we address this issue for the U.S. Gulf and Florida coasts. Using the framework of Potential Intensity, observations and output from coupled climate models, we show that the future large-scale thermodynamic environment may become more favourable for hurricane intensification. Under the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario and for the peak hurricane season months of August–October, we show that the mean intensities of Atlantic hurricanes may increase by 1.8–4.2 % and their lifetime maximum intensities may increase by 2.7–5.3 % when comparing the last two decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. We then combine our estimates of hurricane intensity changes with projections of sea-level rise to understand their relative impacts on future storm surge using simulations with the National Weather Service’s SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model for five historical hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. Considering uncertainty in hurricane intensity changes and sea-level rise, our results indicate a median increase in storm surge ranging between 25 and 47 %, with changes in hurricane intensity increasing future storm surge by about 10 % relative to the increase that may result from sea level rise alone, with highly non-linear response of population at risk.
Source: K. Balaguru, D. R. Judi and L. R. Leung (2016); “Future hurricane storm surge risk for the U.S. gulf and Florida coasts based on projections of thermodynamic potential intensity”, Climatic Change, September 2016, Volume 138, Issue 1, p. 99 – 110; First Online: 21 June 2016; Available under DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1728-8
Sea urchin (Paracentrotus lividus) fishery is intensively practiced in several areas of the Mediterranean basin. In Sardinia, as well as other Mediterranean countries, sea urchin is a basic ingredient for several dishes due to the delicacy of its gonads (roe), and demand is constantly increasing. Restrictions have been implemented in order to minimise the risk of overexploitation, however, these measures might jeopardize economic convenience in sea urchin harvesting. This paper estimates economic convenience within the edible sea urchin fishery in Sardinia. It aims to determine whether both profitability and sustainability, in terms of the preservation of sea urchin stock, can be guaranteed by actual policy regulation. We found high variability in terms of captures and profitability among firms, and a considerable degree of this variability is the result of technological differences between fishing methods. Analysis also suggests that a slight increase in allowed captures should generate a more than proportional increase in profits. This evidence gives some useful suggestions for improving the efficacy of policies in affecting the economic and environmental sustainability of the Mediterranean Sea urchin fishery.
Source: R. Furesi, F. A. Madau, P. Pulina, R. Sai, M. G. Pinna and A. Pais (2016), “Profitability and sustainability of edible sea urchin fishery in Sardinia (Italy)”, Journal of Coastal Conservation, August 2016, Volume 20, Issue 4, p. 299 – 306; First Online: 23 May 2016, under DOI: 10.1007/s11852-016-0441-0
Here we present the results of the analysis of coastal exploitation patterns in the southern Red Sea during the Middle Holocene. We focus on the shell midden cluster of the Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia, which comprises over 3,000 shell midden sites. These sites date from 6,500 to 4,500 cal BP and are part of an arid landscape. We focus on one site, JW1727, which provides a snapshot of marine exploitation and will help to understand the use of food resources within the region. Stable isotope values (δ18O) were collected from the marine gastropod Conomurex fasciatus (Born 1778), which represents 72% of shell weight of JW1727, in order to reconstruct the season of capture. Results demonstrate that 1) every season is represented within the dataset; and 2) there is increased C. fasciatus deposition during the summer and autumn months. This indicates a diet consisting of C. fasciatus throughout the year in combination with other food sources and an increase of the C. fasciatus component during the arid seasons, possibly linked to the unavailability of vegetation. Additionally, size measurements of C. fasciatus were carried out to examine changes in size distribution throughout the occupation of the site that could be related to overexploitation of C. fasciatus. However, no significant trends could be observed. In sum, the results suggest a sustainable and constant habitation of the Farasan Islands despite the highly arid conditions.
Source: N. Hausmann and M. Meredith-Williams (2016); “Seasonal Patterns of Coastal Exploitation on the Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia”, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Volume 0, Issues 0, p. 1 – 20; Received: 11 March 2016; Accepted: 12 July 2016; Published Online: 23 August 2016;