Supporting early career researchers: insights from interdisciplinary marine scientists

The immense challenges associated with realizing ocean and coastal sustainability require highly skilled interdisciplinary marine scientists. However, the barriers experienced by early career researchers (ECRs) seeking to address these challenges, and the support required to overcome those barriers, are not well understood.

Sustainable aquaculture in Canada: Lost in translation

his paper examined the SI used by the Canadian government to assess the social, economic and environmental sustainability of aquaculture production in Canada, whether they adequately measure policy outcomes, and whether national-level SI indicators are appropriate to assessing sustainability at the community-level.

Disaster-risk, water security challenges and strategies in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Small island developing states (SIDS) are typically characterized by being environmentally and socio-economically vulnerable to disasters and climate change. Additionally, they often have limited resources for freshwater provisioning services. This article presents an assessment of disaster risk and water security-related challenges in SIDS focusing on three major dimensions: (a) how disaster risks are perceived and addressed in the SIDS context using a case study method, (b) analyzing the current status of water security in these regions using an indicator-based approach and (c) assessing gaps and needs in institutions and policies that can facilitate sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets, adaptation and resilience building in SIDS. In this regard, information on all SIDS is collected to be able to distinguish trends in and between SIDS based on amongst others geographical location and characteristics. This synthesis noted two key observations: first, that in SIDS, the number of disasters is increasing at a higher rate than the global average, and that the frequency and intensity of the disasters will likely increase because of climate change. These combined factors will impact SIDS on the societal level and on environmental levels, reducing their adaptive capacity, resources, and resilience. Second, most SIDS are already water-scarce with low groundwater volumes. Because of increasing demand (e.g., population growth and tourism) and decreasing supply (e.g., pollution and changes in precipitation patterns) freshwater resources are becoming increasingly limited, often suffering from the spillover effects of competing and conflicting uses. Threatened ecosystems and limited economic resources further influence the adaptive capacities of communities in SIDS. In this light, key solutions to address disaster-risk and water security-related challenges can be found by sharing best practices and lessons learned—from examples of good governance, integrated policies, improved community-resilience, and capacity-building. Added to their fragile situation, SIDS struggle to find enough funding to put their development plans, programs, and policies into action

A network perspective on spatially clustered territorial use rights for fishers (TURF) zones.

Co-managed territorial use rights for fishers (TURFs) have shown promise for small-scale fisheries management. The territorial use rights help clarify access and ownership rights, while co-management arrangements create formal relationships between fishers and government. However, there is limited research into the governance processes that influence the interactions and complementarities of TURF zones that are clustered together. In a network of 16 co-managed TURFs in the Cau Hai lagoon, Vietnam, we analyzed management decentralization and the relationship between spatial and networked (social) proximity. Our findings draw attention to several broad lessons for co-managed TURFs: (1) TURFs may operate as isolated silos if co-management agreements do not address relationships among TURF leaders; (2) spatial proximity does not automatically translate to social proximity; and (3) leaders of individuals TURFs need capacity for communication and coordination with other local fisheries leaders. These findings highlight the importance of consideration to the ways that TURF design and implementation influences the relationships and collaboration between fishers, government officials, and other actors.

Network governance of land-sea social-ecological systems in the Lesser Antilles.

Human activities on land impact coastal-marine systems in the Lesser Antilles. Efforts to address these impacts are constrained by existing top-down and fragmented governance systems. Network governance may help to address land-sea interactions by promoting improved co-governance and land-sea integration. However, the conditions for, and processes of, transformations towards network governance in the region are poorly understood. We examine network governance emergence in four case studies from the Lesser Antilles: Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. We find that governance is currently in transition towards a more networked mode within all the cases. Our results suggest that participation in collaborative projects has played an important role in initiating transitions. Additionally, multilateral agreements, boundary-spanning organizations, and experience with extreme events provide enabling conditions for network governance. Successfully navigating the ongoing transitions towards improved network governance will require (1) facilitating the leadership of central actors and core teams in steering towards network governance and (2) finding ways to appropriately engage the latent capacity of communities and non-state actors in governance networks.

Potential impacts of finfish aquaculture on eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds and possible monitoring metrics for management: a case study in Atlantic Canada

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) has been designated an Ecologically Significant Species in Atlantic Canada. The development and rapid expansion of netpen finfish aquaculture into sensitive coastal habitats has raised concerns about the impacts of finfish aquaculture on eelgrass habitats. To date, no studies have been done in Atlantic Canada to examine these impacts or to identify potential monitoring variables that would aid in the development of specific conservation and management objectives. As a first step in addressing this gap, we examined differences in environmental variables, eelgrass bed structure and macroinfauna communities at increasing distances from a finfish farm in Port Mouton Bay, a reference site in adjacent Port Joli Bay, and published survey results from other sites without finfish farms along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia. Drawing on research done elsewhere and our results, we then identified possible metrics for assessing and monitoring local impacts of finfish aquaculture on eelgrass habitats. Our results suggest some nutrient and organic enrichment, higher epiphyte loads, lower eelgrass cover and biomass, and lower macroinfauna biomass closer to the farm. Moreover, community structure significantly differed between sites with some species increasing and others decreasing closer to the farm. Changes in the macroinfauna community could be linked to observed differences in environmental and eelgrass bed variables. These results provide new insights into the potential impacts of finfish aquaculture on eelgrass habitats in Atlantic Canada. We recommend a suite of measures for assessment and monitoring that take into account response time to disturbance and account for different levels of eelgrass organizational response (from physiological to community).

Women’s perspectives of small-scale fisheries and environmental change in Chilika lagoon, India

This article investigates the gendered implications of environmental change using case studies of two small-scale fishing communities in Chilika lagoon, India. We undertake an intersectional analysis that examines dynamics between groups of fisherwomen in relation to social-ecological change. We focus specifically on (1) fisherwomen’s perspectives about the key drivers of change (e.g., natural disasters and aquaculture) within the social and ecological system of Chilika lagoon; (2) how environmental change is impacting the livelihoods and coping responses of fisherwomen; and (3) how fisherwomen communities are adapting to the ongoing process of change, highlighting in particular the gendered dimensions of out-migration. Our findings demonstrate that fisherwomen’s roles and identities are not static and that the impacts of environmental change vary for different groups of fisherwomen. We find that gender intersects with caste, income, geographic location, age, and household membership to create heterogeneous experiences and knowledge that reflects the complexities associated with gender and environmental change. With specific regard to the increase in fisherwomen out-migrating, we show that responses and adaptations to environmental change have gender-differentiated impacts and challenges.

Sea-cage aquaculture impacts market and berried lobster (Homarus americanus) catches

Sea-cage finfish aquaculture frequently spatially overlaps and competes with traditional fisheries and ecologically important habitats in the coastal zone. Yet only few empirical studies exist on the effects of sea-cage aquaculture on commercially important fish and shellfish species, due to the lack of data. We present results from a unique collaboration between scientists and lobster fishers in Port Mouton Bay, Atlantic Canada, providing 11 yr of market (market-sized) lobster catches and berried (ovigerous) lobster counts in 5 spatially resolved areas adjacent to a sea-cage finfish farm. The time series covered 2 stocked (feed) and 2 non-stocked (fallow) periods, allowing us to test for the effects of feed versus fallow periods. Our results indicate that average market lobster catch per unit effort (CPUE) was significantly reduced by 42% and berried lobster counts by 56% in feed compared to fallow periods. Moreover, both market and berried lobster CPUE tended to be lower in fishing region 2, which included the fish farm, and higher in region 5, furthest away from the farm. Bottom temperature measurements in one region suggest that differences in CPUE between feed and fallow periods were not driven by temperature, and that berried lobsters may be more sensitive to both aquaculture and temperature than market lobster. We discuss possible mechanisms of how finfish farms as well as other abiotic and biotic factors such as habitat quality and temperature could affect lobster catch. Our results provide critical information for the management of multiple human uses in the coastal zone and the conservation of shellfish habitats that sustain traditional fisheries.

Estimating nitrogen loading and far-field dispersal potential from background sources and coastal finfish aquaculture: a simple framework and case study in Atlantic Canada.

Far-field nutrient impacts associated with finfish aquaculture have been identified as a topic of concern for regulators, managers, scientists, and the public for over two decades but disentangling aquaculture impacts from those caused by other natural and anthropogenic sources has impeded the development of monitoring metrics and management plans.

Identification of native and non-native grass shrimps Palaemon spp. (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) by citizen science monitoring programs in Atlantic Canada.

Grass shrimp collected by the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) in estuaries of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada were previously assumed to be the native Palaemon vulgarisSay, 1818. Taxonomic identification of grass shrimps from CAMP estuaries revealed most individuals were P. vulgaris, but several from the Souris River and Trout River estuaries in Prince Edward Island (PEI) belong to the European species P. adspersusRathke, 1837. We provide the first documented presence of P. adspersus in PEI estuaries, extending its known range in Atlantic Canada from coastal Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands. Boat traffic was probably responsible for the introduction of P. adspersus. The results highlight the importance of community-based monitoring in coastal ecology.

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