[Coral-List] more articles
M.Emslie at aims.gov.au
Mon Apr 20 21:03:54 EDT 2015
This is a few months late for this thread but I thought I'd draw your attention to our paper published today in Current Biology examining the effects of the 2004 rezoning of the GBR. Link to the paper is:
Expectations and Outcomes of Reserve Network Performance following Re-zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Michael J. Emslie, Murray Logan, David H. Williamson, Anthony M. Ayling, M. Aaron MacNeil, Daniela Ceccarelli, Alistair J. Cheal, Richard D. Evans, Kerryn A. Johns, Michelle J. Jonker, Ian R. Miller, Kate Osborne, Garry R. Russ, Hugh P.A. Sweatman
Experimental Scientist/Coral Reef Ecologist
Long Term Monitoring Program
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Ph +61 7 47 534 530
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Douglas Fenner
Sent: Tuesday, 24 February 2015 6:55 PM
To: tomascik at novuscom.net
Cc: coral list
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] more articles
I think we should also be aware that the Fletcher et al. paper does not demonstrate that MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) will cost fishermen catches and profits on most of the world's coral reefs. It applies to well managed fisheries but most coral reefs do not have well managed fisheries. I present supporting arguments in the rest of this rather long post; apologies, read it only if interested.
I agree with Magnus that "Marine Protected Areas" usually only imply protection from fishing, and without protection from other things they can be in great danger. Calling them "Marine Protected Areas" could even be argued to be misleading, since they often aren't protected from many things. Maybe they should be called "Marine Partially Protected Areas" or "Marine Areas Protected from Fishing." Mind you, some have a "ridge to reef" idea that implies much more protection, and three cheers for those working hard to provide reefs with other kinds of protection as well.
However, no one has yet come up with a practical way to protect reefs locally from global warming or acidification, as far as I know. Protecting reefs is not easy by a long shot.
The Fletcher article demonstrates that the closing of large areas on the GBR (Great Barrier Reef) to fishing has reduced catch and thus reduced fishing incomes more than expected. I think that the publication of this information is a valuable contribution. Governments as well as citizens need to know all the costs of government actions, as well as benefits, as accurately as possible. All the cards need to be on the table, and everybody needs to be able to see them. That said, decisions also need to be made based on weighing both costs and benefits. This paper adds to the knowledge of costs, and that is good. But it does not survey the benefits, that's not a criticism of the paper, that was not the goal of the paper.
But that has to be a goal of both governments and the citizenry in making decisions.
One could come away thinking that no-take MPAs cost fishermen catches and incomes, so we shouldn't implement MPAs on coral reefs. I think that does not follow from the study, primarily because the GBR is very unusual for coral reefs. The GBR is in a developed country, with all the economic and expertise resources that implies, and is said by the article to have well managed fisheries. However, the vast majority of the world's coral reefs are not in developed countries, and are widely acknowledged not to have well managed fisheries. Instead, many are widely thought to have overfished reefs. Coral reef fisheries have the most species taken of any fishery, and most are in countries with no spare money to manage them, some with incredibly long coastlines and huge numbers of fishers to manage, a near-impossible task for anyone. The article states that their results show that in areas of well managed fisheries, closing MPAs to fisheries can reduce fish catches instead of enhance them as often is said to happen.
That's the key, "well managed fisheries." For the majority of the world's coral reefs, the fisheries cannot be managed well, and so this study does not show that no-take areas cause loss of fish catch and income on most coral reefs. It does not apply to most coral reefs.
No-take areas are difficult to implement precisely because of the assumption (by fishermen) that they will cost fishermen, an assumption that appears reasonable, restrict fishing and it can be expected to cost
fishermen. Often MPAs are declared by governments without any
implementation or enforcement, and so neither cost fishermen nor produce fish catch increases or conservation. Because they can't be imposed without community support and be effective, they are rarely planned based on science, and are usually tiny. In spite of that, some have been demonstrated to produce large increases in fish populations within the reserve. It is much more difficult to prove enhancement of actual fish catches outside of reserves. However, in some cases fishermen come to be convinced that their fish catches have improved.
In any case, MPAs are generally not adopted because they are wonderful fisheries enhancement tools. Rather, they are adopted because they are good conservation tools (though only addressing fishing unless other provisions are explicitly added such as reducing sediment and nutrient runoff, etc..; needless to say other threats MUST be addressed or reefs will be lost), and because there are so few other fisheries management tools that have been shown to work well in impoverished communities that depend heavily on coral reef fish catch for survival.
Even in developed countries, coral reef fish can be overfished. The only stock assessments I know of for coral reef fish have been done by Jerry Ault and his team in two areas of Florida and one of Puerto Rico, and all three show many species of fish are overfished there.
MPAs in temperate areas in developed countries are a whole different matter. But even there, most small fisheries have not had a stock assessment. So managers don't really know if the fish are well managed or not. They don't know if they are overfished or not, and don't have much prospect of finding out, because stock assessments are so expensive and require so much expertise and biological data that they are only economically justified if used on large fisheries where a lot of income is generated. So what is a manager to do? Use weaker assessment tools such as trends in catch per unit effort (CPUE) even though there are greater risks of thinking things are fine when they aren't? Take precautionary action that will make sure that the fishery cannot be completely fished out but may cost fishermen some of their catch? Or just hope for the best?
There appears to be no simple, inexpensive, safe way out of this quandary.
No stock assessment is perfect, either, there are assumptions in the models that often can't be checked. Ask Canada whether they had some of the best fisheries science in the world for their east coast cod fishery, and ask them how much it cost them when it collapsed (about $2 billion a year every year since then and it continues decades later). There are risks and costs for decisions as well as potential benefits. It is good to know more about any of the risks, costs and benefits, so this paper is a valuable contribution in my view.
But I don't think it applies to most coral reefs.
Fenner, D. 2012. Challenges for managing fisheries on diverse coral reefs. Diversity 4(1): 105-160.
Fenner, D. 2014. Fishing down the largest coral reef fish species.
Marine Pollution Bulletin. 84: 9-16.
On Sat, Feb 14, 2015 at 8:27 AM, <tomascik at novuscom.net> wrote:
> With regards to the history of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,
> reading section "2A Objects of this Act" in the "Great Barrier Reef
> Marine Park Act 1975" is illuminating.
> Quoting Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com>:
>> I agree that it is easy to forget these things. Indeed, the term
>> really only refers in most instances to a fisheries closure, and
>> there are a myriad of other things that damage reefs, like sediment,
>> nutrients, global warming, acidification, the list is long and nearly
>> endless. I once saw an article entitled something like "MPA's are
>> not a panacea." Indeed they are not, they are just one tool in a
>> toolbox. If I remember, the GBR marine park was originally set up to
>> protect the reefs from oil drilling and mining limestone, or some
>> such, and did not include no-take areas.
>> Some of the big impacts to the GBR if I remember are crown-of-thorns,
>> sediment, nutrients, and cyclones. The line fishery for coral cod is
>> probably one of the smaller impacts. The shrimp trawling is likely
>> very damaging to gorgonian and sponge communities between the reefs
>> on sandy bottoms. Shrimp trawling has one of the highest ratios of
>> bycatch I know of, most of what comes up in the net is not shrimp.
>> I'm not up on current equipment, "turtle exclusion devices" were very
>> successful at excluding turtles, I don't know if they can exclude
>> other bycatch. But the problem is that trawls are dragged along the
>> bottom and destroy most of what is in their path, and these sandy
>> areas where the shrimp live have quite a bit of life. They don't
>> trawl where there are coral reefs, reefs would rip the trawls up.
>> But GBRMPA made the decision that they wanted to protect
>> representative samples of all the different habitats in the park.
>> They took copious input from the public including fishers, huge
>> numbers of comments, and chose areas to minimize problems for
>> fishers. That's my understanding, and I haven't been watching it
>> closely so I may be behind the curve.
>> Cheers, Doug
>> On Mon, Feb 9, 2015 at 2:35 AM, Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk>
>> Thanks for posting these Doug,
>>> One of the issues, which is a general one in fisheries, is that
>>> stronger "protection" for the GBR ("protection" because MPAs don't
>>> do anything to protect reefs from mine waste, agricultural run off
>>> etc) doesn't stop people eating fish and if you can't buy local fish
>>> you import from areas where protection is less stringent, damaging
>>> their habitats rather than your own. I think one of the
>>> justifications for the expansion of the GBR was that it would
>>> enhance fisheries
>>> "The actual commercial fishery catch data from the GBR region show
>>> that as a result of the RAP closures, there was an initial reduction
>>> in commercial catches of approximately 26% (only slightly less than
>>> the extra 28.4% of the area that was closed) and that catch data for
>>> 7 years after the closure showed no evidence of a recovery (Fletcher
>>> et al., in press). Clearly, the scientific advice to governments by
>>> BRS, and as interpreted in the RIS, that was to the fore in
>>> justifying increased fishing closures, over-optimistically projected
>>> the outcome from the closures."
>>> Kearney B, Farebrother G (2014) Inadequate Evaluation and Management
>>> of Threats in Australia's Marine Parks , Including the Great Barrier
>>> Reef , Misdirect Marine Conservation. Adv Mar Biol 69:252-280
>>> Cheers, Magnus
>>> http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-29705818 (article about coal
>>> exports from Australia)
>>> (article from 2006 which points out that Australia is importing most
>>> of its seafood despite having a huge EEZ)
>>> another popular article:
>>> Cautionary fish tale from Australia's Great Barrier Reef marine reserve.
>>> It contains a link to the original article, which is not
>>> open-access, but the abstract is open-access. The web page gives
>>> the email address of the first author.
>>> original article:
>>> Fletcher, et al. 2015. Large-scale expansion of no-take closures
>>> within the Great Barrier Reef has not enhanced fishery production.
>>> Ecological Applications.
>>> (My understanding is that the expansion of no-take areas in the GBR
>>> was not done to try to enhance fishery production, but rather for
>>> conservation purposes. Further, the income to Australia from
>>> tourism to the GBR is far larger than income from fisheries on the
>>> GBR. The article reports that the loss of fishery income which the
>>> closure produced was more than expected.
>>> If I got it right, Australia pays compensation to fishers that lost
>>> income. The larger loss of fishery income is thought to be because
>>> the fish and prawns were not overfished before closure.)
>>> To view the terms under which this email is distributed, please go
>>> to http://www2.hull.ac.uk/legal/disclaimer.aspx
>>> Coral-List mailing list
>>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>> Douglas Fenner
>> Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
>> PO Box 7390
>> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
>> phone 1 684 622-7084
>> "belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."
>> belief in evolution is optional, use of antibiotics that bacteria
>> have not evolved resistance to is recommended.
>> In the past, putting fluoride in the city water was said by some to
>> be a communist plot, but today it is in most city water and helps
>> reduce the number of tooth cavities.
>> A survey of the U.S. public and scientists found that 86% of
>> scientists say children should get immunized, while 68% of the public
>> agrees. 87% of scientists say humans are the primary cause of global
>> warming, but just 50% of the public agrees. 98% of scientists say
>> humans have evolved, but only 65% of the public agrees.
>> website: http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner
>> blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope
>> Coral-List mailing list
>> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
phone 1 684 622-7084
"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."
belief in evolution is optional, use of antibiotics that bacteria have not evolved resistance to is recommended.
In the past, putting fluoride in the city water was said by some to be a communist plot, but today it is in most city water and helps reduce the number of tooth cavities.
A survey of the U.S. public and scientists found that 86% of scientists say children should get immunized, while 68% of the public agrees. 87% of scientists say humans are the primary cause of global warming, but just 50% of the public agrees. 98% of scientists say humans have evolved, but only 65% of the public agrees.
Coral-List mailing list
Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
The information contained within this transmission is for the
use of the intended recipient only and may contain confidential
and/or legally privileged material and/or material the subject
of copyright and/or personal information and/or sensitive
information that is subject to the Privacy Act 1988. Any review,
re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or
taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by
persons or entities other than the intended recipient is
prohibited. If you have received this email in error please
notify the AIMS Privacy Officer on (07) 4753 4444 and delete
all copies of this transmission together with any attachments.
More information about the Coral-List