The COVID-19 Pandemic, Small-Scale Fisheries and Coastal Fishing Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly spread around the world with extensive social and economic effects. This editorial focuses specifically on the implications of the pandemic for small-scale fishers, including marketing and processing aspects of the sector, and coastal fishing communities, drawing from news and reports from around the world. Negative consequences to date have included complete shut-downs of some fisheries, knock-on economic effects from market disruptions, increased health risks for fishers, processors and communities, additional implications for marginalized groups, exacerbated vulnerabilities to other social and environmental stressors, and increased Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.

The Thriving Coastal Communities Initiative

Rural and resource-based coastal communities in British Columbia (BC) are facing a number of pressing challenges that are affecting the holistic health and well-being of local people. The challenges facing coastal communities include being disconnected from decision-making process, a changing climate, rapidly evolving ecosystems, increasing pollution, declining investment, loss of community infrastructure, increasing competition over […]

A modelling approach to assess the impact of land mining on marine biodiversity: assessment in coastal catchments experiencing catastrophic events (SW Brazil).

Analysis that link hydrological processes with oceanographic dispersion offer a promising approach for assessing impacts of land-based activities on marine ecosystems. However, such an analysis has not yet been customised to quantify specific pressures from mining activities on marine biodiversity including those from spillages resulting from tailing dam failure. Here, using a Brazilian catchment in which a tailing dam collapsed (Doce river) as a case study, we provide a modelling approach to assess the impacts on key ecosystems and marine protected areas subjected to two exposure regimes: (i) a pulse disturbance event for the period 2015–2016, following the immediate release of sediments after dam burst, which witnessed an average increase of 88% in sediment exports; and (ii) a press disturbance phase for the period 2017–2029, when impacts are sustained over time by sediments along the river’s course. We integrated four components into impact assessments: hydrological modelling, coastal-circulation modelling, ecosystem mapping, and biological sensitivities. The results showed that pulse disturbance causes sharp increases in the amount of sediments entering the coastal area, exposing key sensitive ecosystems to pollution (e.g. rhodolith beds), highlighting an urgent need for developing restoration strategies for these areas. The intensity of impacts will diminish over time but the total area of sensitive ecosystems at risk are predicted to be enlarged. We determined monitoring and restoration priorities by evaluating and comparing the extent to which sensitive ecosystems within marine protected areas were exposed to disturbances. The information obtained in this study will allow the optimization of recovery efforts in the marine area affected, and valuation of ecosystem services lost.

Insights on fostering the emergence of robust conservation actions from Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program.

One strategy to address threats to biodiversity in the face of ongoing budget constraints is to create an enabling environment that facilitates individuals, communities and other groups to self-organise to achieve conservation outcomes. Emergence (new activities and initiatives), and robustness (durability of these activities and initiatives over time), two related concepts from the common pool resources literature, provide guidance on how to support and enable such self-organised action for conservation. To date emergence has received little attention in the literature. Our exploratory synthesis of the conditions for emergence from the literature highlighted four themes: for conservation to emerge, actors need to 1) recognise the need for change, 2) expect positive outcomes, 3) be able to experiment to achieve collective learning, and 4) have legitimate local scale governance authority. Insights from the literature on emergence and robustness suggest that an appropriate balance should be maintained between external guidance of conservation and enabling local actors to find solutions appropriate to their contexts. We illustrate the conditions for emergence, and its interaction with robustness, through discussing the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) in Zimbabwe and reflect on efforts at strengthening local autonomy and management around the world. We suggest that the delicate balance between external guidance of actions, and supporting local actors to develop their own solutions, should be managed adaptively over time to support the emergence of robust conservation actions.

Synergies on the coast: challenges facing shellfish aquaculture development on the central and north coast of British Columbia.

The rise in global demand for seafood has led many people to view shellfish aquaculture as an economically and ecologically viable source of seafood. However, interactions with the environment, existing industry, and societal values must be considered to ensure sustainability of this industry. Shellfish aquaculture in British Columbia (BC), Canada, showcases many of these issues. This review explores key socio-economic and ecological considerations for future growth of shellfish aquaculture on the central and north coast of BC, with implications for the continuing global expansion of the industry. Interactions among shellfish aquaculture, coastal groups, existing industries, and First Nations, as well as considerations under changing oceanic conditions are investigated. Expansion of shellfish aquaculture on the central and north coast of BC will need to be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. The results of this review strongly indicate that shellfish aquaculture should be incorporated in marine planning initiatives and developed in consideration of local ecological, environmental, economic, and social context.

Incorporate Indigenous perspectives for impactful research and effective management.

Indigenous knowledge and ecological science have complementary differences that can be fruitfully combined to better understand the past and predict the future of social-ecological systems. Cooperation among scientific and Indigenous perspectives can improve conservation and resource management policies.

Diving back in time: extending historical baselines for Yelloweye rockfish with Indigenous knowledge.

Ocean systems, and the culturally and commercially important fishes that inhabit them, face growing threats. Increasingly, unconventional data sources are being used to inform fisheries research and management for data‐poor species.
Listed as a species of special concern in Canada, yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) are vulnerable to exploitation, and have historical and cultural value to Indigenous people. In this study, Indigenous fishers of British Columbia, Canada, were interviewed and asked about observed changes to the body sizes (length) and abundance of this species over the last ~60 years, and the factors driving these changes. Their current and historical estimates of size and abundance were compared with current biological survey data.
Forty‐two semi‐directed interviews were carried out and 89% of respondents observed a decrease in yelloweye rockfish body sizes since the 1980s. The median historical (1950s–1980s) length was 84 cm, compared with the median modern (2010–2015) length of 46 cm. All but one respondent reported substantial decrease in yelloweye rockfish abundance since their earliest fishing experiences (1950s to1980s, depending on participant’s age), with a third suggesting the change was most evident in the early 2000s, followed by the 1980s (21%) and 1990s (17%).
Sizes of modern yelloweye rockfish estimated by participants resembled estimates derived from ecological data recorded concurrently at the study region.
This study illustrates a repeatable method for using traditional and local knowledge to extend baselines for data‐poor species, and highlights the value of integrating Indigenous knowledge into fisheries research and management.

Assessing trade-offs in large marine protected areas.

Large marine protected areas (LMPAs) are increasingly being established and have a high profile in marine conservation. LMPAs are expected to achieve multiple objectives, and because of their size are postulated to avoid trade-offs that are common in smaller MPAs. However, evaluations across multiple outcomes are lacking. We used a systematic approach to code several social and ecological outcomes of 12 LMPAs. We found evidence of three types of trade-offs: trade-offs between different ecological resources (supply trade-offs); trade-offs between ecological resource conditions and the well-being of resource users (supply-demand trade-offs); and trade-offs between the well-being outcomes of different resource users (demand trade-offs). We also found several divergent outcomes that were attributed to influences beyond the scope of the LMPA. We suggest that despite their size, trade-offs can develop in LMPAs and should be considered in planning and design. LMPAs may improve their performance across multiple social and ecological objectives if integrated with larger-scale conservation efforts.

Addressing criticisms of large-scale Marine Protected Areas.

Designated large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs, 100,000 or more square kilometers) constitute over two-thirds of the approximately 6.6% of the ocean and approximately 14.5% of the exclusive economic zones within marine protected areas. Although LSMPAs have received support among scientists and conservation bodies for wilderness protection, regional ecological connectivity, and improving resilience to climate change, there are also concerns.