ABSTRACT Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are globally underfunded. We present a five-step framework that can help practitioners prioritize actions that may improve financial sustainability, which was applied to six MPAs in Colombia, Bonaire, and Belize. Limited funds were found to directly undermine effectiveness towards conservation goals for five sites, with these impacts particularly significant for four. Annual budgets required increases from 6 % to 141 % to meet financial needs. Two sites had significant underlying weaknesses in their financial strategies that could lead to direct impacts if not addressed, with an additional three sites having more minor, but still observable, weaknesses in this manner. Staff salaries were the largest expense for all MPAs examined and also most frequently in need of additional funds. Opportunities to potentially eliminate these funding gaps were identified for all six MPAs through reallocating existing resources (n =2), improving in-place mechanisms (n = 6), or implementing one or more alternative mechanisms (n =6). Among several findings, some MPAs had the potential to increase tourism-based income by several million dollars per year, which would well exceed local financial requirements and could have substantial financial benefits on a network-wide scale. Some MPAs, including those with lower budgets, effectively leveraged partnerships and inter-institutional coordination to expand management capacity. Among alternative mechanisms that could be implemented, opportunities to leverage private-sector investments were especially common. Other MPAs around the world could likewise improve financial sustainability through analysis, evaluation, and execution of the full suite of options described herein.
Marine protected areas
Dutch, Papiamentu and Papiamento below
From the 21st to the 23rd of November 2022, the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) together with Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) hosted a workshop on Marine Management in Aruba. Delegates from both governments and park management organisations representing islands in the Dutch Caribbean came together for in-depth discussion on how to address the unique challenges our islands face when protecting the ocean. It is the first time such a workshop was organised for the Dutch Caribbean.
At the start of the workshop invited experts from Australia, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Colombia, the USA and Aruba presented examples of best practices and innovative approaches to ocean protection from around the world, which were used in problem solving exercises and round table discussions on an expansive mix of subjects such as marine park management, sustainable fisheries management, control and enforcement at sea, sustainable tourism and strategic stakeholder mapping. Minister Ursell Arends, the Minister of Integrity, Transport, Nature and Senior Affairs for the government of Aruba kicked-off the workshop, outlining the ambitious agenda that Aruba has for marine conservation, which includes establishing an ‘island-round’ marine park.
Minister Ursell Arends: “For many years, Aruba has prioritised our economic prosperity, at the expense of our nature. The ambition is to expand the current four-area marine park to an island-round marine park as part of a larger goal for Aruba’s eventual Marine Spatial Plan. Rather than prohibit activities, the island-round marine park model will create a roadmap for a sustainable balance between the human and economic activities of our maritime space and the conservation of marine life.”
As part of the workshop, participants were invited to hike through Parke Nacional Arikok to learn more about Aruba’s diverse flora and fauna. This hike served as a reminder of why it is vital to protect nature and also gave FPNA the chance to showcase the important work the team is doing to protect and conserve nature in Aruba.
“We were honoured to collaborate with DCNA to host the Marine Management workshop in Aruba and welcome key stakeholders and international experts to share knowledge and expertise on marine management with the different island representatives”, said Natasha Silva, Chief Conservation Officer, FPNA. Now more than ever, our oceans are under great threat, and from the workshop it is evident that we all have ambitious plans to protect and manage our island’s marine environment and beyond. Collaboration on local level and cross-island is key in implementing innovative approaches to protect our oceans for generations to come.
This was the first of a series of workshops that DCNA plans to host in the coming years, each time on a different island but all focused on sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of nature. This workshop was generously sponsored by the Oceans5 funders’ collaborative and supported by the Blue Marine Foundation and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
“It was great to see such a big diversity of participants who were all enthusiastic about collaborating with each other,” says Irene Kingma, Policy Advisor to DCNA. “As DCNA-secretariat, we play a facilitatory role towards our members, and capacity building and knowledge sharing is a central part in that.”
Marine Management Workshop hike in Parke Nacional Arikok together with Minister Ursell Arends led by Ranger Rambo Flanegin.
DE DUTCH CARIBBEAN NATURE ALLIANCE (DCNA) EN FUNDACION PARKE NACIONAL ARUBA (FPNA) ORGANISEREN MARIEN BEHEER WORKSHOP OP ARUBA
Van 21 tot en met 23 november 2022 organiseerde de Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) samen met Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) een workshop over Marien Beheer op Aruba. Afgevaardigden van zowel regeringen als parkbeheerorganisaties, die eilanden in het Nederlands Caribisch gebied vertegenwoordigen, kwamen samen voor een diepgaande discussie over hoe de unieke uitdagingen waarmee onze eilanden worden geconfronteerd bij het beschermen van de oceaan, kunnen worden aangepakt. Het is de eerste keer dat een dergelijke workshop wordt georganiseerd voor het Nederlands Caribisch gebied.
Aan het begin van de workshop presenteerden uitgenodigde experts uit Australië, Jamaica, het Verenigd Koninkrijk, Colombia, de VS en Aruba voorbeelden van beste praktijken en innovatieve benaderingen van oceaanbescherming van over de hele wereld, welke werden gebruikt bij probleemoplossende oefeningen en rondetafelgesprekken over een uitgebreide mix van onderwerpen zoals marien parkbeheer, duurzaam visserijbeheer, controle en handhaving op zee, duurzaam toerisme en het in kaart brengen van strategische belanghebbenden. Minister Ursell Arends, de minister van Integriteit, Transport, Natuur en Hogere Zaken voor de regering van Aruba, trapte de workshop af en schetste de ambitieuze agenda die Aruba heeft voor het behoud van de zee, waaronder de oprichting van een ‘eiland-rond’ marien park.
Minister Ursell Arends: “Voor vele jaren heeft Aruba onze economische welvaart geprioriteerd ten koste van onze natuur. De ambitie is om het huidige mariene park bestaande uit vier gebieden uit te breiden tot een eiland-rond marien park als onderdeel van een groter doel voor het Aruba’s uiteindelijke Mariene Ruimtelijk Plan. In plaats van het verbieden van activiteiten, zal het eiland-ronde mariene parkmodel een routekaart creëren voor een duurzame balans tussen de menselijke en economische activiteiten van onze maritieme ruimte en het behoud van zeeleven.”
Als onderdeel van de workshop werden deelnemers uitgenodigd om door Parke Nacional Arikok te wandelen om meer te leren over Aruba’s diverse flora en fauna. Deze wandeling diende als een herinnering aan waarom het van vitaal belang is om de natuur te beschermen en het gaf FPNA ook de kans om het belangrijke werk te laten zien dat het team uitvoert om de natuur op Aruba te beschermen en te behouden.
“We waren vereerd om samen te werken met de DCNA om de Marien Beheer Workshop op Aruba te organiseren en de belangrijkste belanghebbenden en internationale experts te verwelkomen om kennis en expertise over Marien Beheer te delen met de verschillende eilandvertegenwoordigers”, zei Natasha Silva, Hoofd Natuurbeheer, FPNA. Onze oceanen worden nu meer dan ooit bedreigd en uit de workshop blijkt dat we allemaal ambitieuze plannen hebben om het mariene milieu van onze eilanden en daarbuiten te beschermen en te beheren. Samenwerking op lokaal en eiland overschrijdend niveau is essentieel bij het implementeren van innovatieve benaderingen om onze oceanen voor toekomstige generaties te beschermen.
Dit was de eerste van een reeks workshops die de DCNA van plan is de komende jaren te organiseren, telkens op een ander eiland maar allen gefocust op duurzaam beheer van natuurlijke bronnen en het beschermen van de natuur. Deze workshop werd genereus gesponsord door het Oceans5 financiers’ collaboratief en ondersteund door de Blue Marine Foundation en het Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
“Het was geweldig om zo’n grote diversiteit aan deelnemers te zien die allen enthousiast waren over het samenwerken met elkaar” zegt Irene Kingma, beleidsadviseur van DCNA. “Als DCNA-secretariaat spelen we een faciliterende rol richting onze leden en capaciteitsopbouw en het delen van kennis zijn daarbij een centraal onderdeel.”
Marien Beheer Workshop wandeling in Parke Nacional Arikok samen met Minister Ursell Arends onder leiding van Ranger Rambo Flanegin.
DUTCH CARIBBEAN NATURE ALLIANCE (DCNA) I FUNDACION PARKE NACIONAL ARUBA (FPNA) A ORGANISÁ TAYER NA ARUBA TOKANTE MANEHO MARINO
For di 21 te ku 23 di novèmber 2022 Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) huntu ku Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) a organisá un tayer na Aruba tokante Maneho Marino. Delegashonnan di tantu gobièrnunan komo organisashonnan di maneho di parke ku ta representá e islanan den Karibe Hulandes, a bini huntu pa un debate profundo tokante kon por atendé ku e desafionan úniko ku nos islanan ta konfrontá den kaso di protekshon di oséano. Ta promé biaha ku ta organisá un semehante tayer pa Hulanda Karibense.
Na komienso di e tayer ekspertonan invitá for di Oustralia, Jamaica, Reino Uní, Colombia, Merka i Aruba a presentá vários ehèmpel di ‘best practices’ i aserkamentu inovativo di protekshon di oséano prosedente di tur parti di mundu, ku nan ta usa den kaso di ehersisio pa solushoná problema i diskushon di mesa rondó tokante un meskla di tópiko, manera maneho di parke marino, maneho sostenibel di piskamentu, supervishon i mantenshon di lei riba laman, turismo sostenibel i inventarisashon di stakeholdernan stratégiko. Minister Ursell Arends, minister di Integridat, Transporte, Naturalesa i Asuntunan di Adulto Mayor pa gobièrnu di Aruba, a habri e tayer i a duna un diskripshon di e agènda ambisioso ku Aruba tin pa preservashon di laman, entre otro un parke marino rònt di e isla.
Minister Ursell Arends: ‘Pa hopi aña kaba Aruba ta pone nos prosperidat ekonómiko na promé lugá, a kosto di nos naturalesa. Nos ambishon ta pa ekspandé e parke marino aktual ku kuater área pa logra un parke marino rònt di henter nos isla komo parti di un meta mas grandi pa e Plan Espasial Marino final di Aruba. Na lugá di prohibí aktividat, e modelo di parke marino rònt di nos isla lo krea un plan pa un ekilibrio duradero entre aktividatnan humano i ekonómiko den nos espasio marítimo i preservashon di bida bou di laman.’
Komo parti di e tayer a invitá e partisipantenan pa hasi un kaminata den Parke Nacional Arikok pa haña sa mas tokante e variedat di flora i founa di Aruba. E kaminata akí a rekordá tur hende dikon ta esensial pa protehá naturalesa i a duna FPNA e oportunidat tambe pa mustra e trabou importante ku e tim ta hasi pa protehá i preservá naturalesa na Aruba.
‘Nos a sinti nos honrá pa traha huntu ku DCNA pa organisá e tayer di Maneho Marino na Aruba i yama bon biní na e stakeholdernan i ekspertonan internashonal importante pa kompartí konosementu i ekspertisio tokante maneho marino ku e representantenan di e diferente islanan’, segun Natasha Silva, Chief Conservation Officer di FPNA. Awor akí mas ku nunka nos oséanonan ta bou di menasa serio, i for di e tayer a resultá ku nos tur tin plannan ambioso pa protehá i manehá e medio ambiente di nos isla i pafó di esaki. Kolaborashon riba nivel lokal i entre e islanan ta esensial na momentu di implementashon di aserkamentunan inovativo pa protehá nos oséanonan pa generashonnan di futuro.
Esaki ta e promé di un seri di tayer ku DCNA ke organisá den e añanan binidero, kada biaha na un otro isla, pero tur ku enfoke riba maneho sostenibel di rekursonan natural i protekshon di naturalesa. E laso di kolaborashon di Oceans5-financiers a spònser e tayer akí generosamente ku sosten di Blue Marine Foundation i Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
‘Tabata fantástiko pa mira un diversidat asina grandi di partisipante kaminda tur tabata hopi entusiasmá pa traha huntu ku otro’, segun Irene Kingma, konsehero di maneho di DCNA. ‘Komo sekretariado di DCNA nos tin un ròl fasilitario den direkshon di nos miembronan, kaminda desaroyo di kapasidat i kompartimentu di konosementu ta para sentral.’
Kaminata relashoná ku e tayer di Maneho Marino den Parke Nacional Arikok huntu ku minister Ursell Arends bou di guia di bòswagter Rambo Flanegin.
DUTCH CARIBBEAN NATURE ALLIANCE (DCNA) Y FUNDACION PARKE NACIONAL ARUBA (FPNA) TA ORGANISA TAYER DI MANEHO MARINO NA ARUBA
Di dia 21 pa 23 di november di aña 2022, Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) hunto cu Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA) a organisa un tayer tocante Maneho Marino na Aruba. Delegado di tanto gobierno como organisacionnan di maneho di parke cu ta representa e islanan di Caribe Hulandes a bini hunto pa un debate profundo tocante con pa aborda e desafionan unico cu nos islanan ta enfrenta ora di proteha ocean. Ta pa di prome biaha cu a organisa un tayer di e tipo aki pa Caribe Hulandes.
Na comienso di e tayer experto invita di Australia, Jamaica, Reino Uni, Colombia, Merca y Aruba a presenta ehempel di miho practica y acercamento innovado pa proteccion di e oceannan di henter mundo, cu a wordo uza den ehercicio di resolucion di problema y discusion di mesa rondo tocante un combinacion expansivo di tema manera maneho di parke marino, maneho sostenibel di pesca, control y aplicacion den lama, turismo sostenibel y mapeo di parti interesa strategico. Minister Ursell Arends, Minister di Transporte, Integridad, Naturalesa y Asuntonan di Adulto Mayor di gobierno di Aruba, a inaugura e tayer y a describi e agenda ambicioso cu Aruba tin pa conservacion marino, cu ta inclui e establecimento di un parke marino “rond di e isla”.
Ministro Ursell Arends: “Durante hopi aña caba, Aruba a priorisa nos prosperidad economico, a costa di nos naturalesa. E ambicion ta pa expande e parke marino actual di cuater area pa un parke marino rond di e isla como parti di un meta mas amplio pa e eventual Plan Espacial Marino di Aruba. Na luga di prohibi actividnan, e modelo di parke marino rond di e isla lo crea un hoja di ruta pa un sostenibel entre e actividadnan humano y economico di nos espacio maritimo y conservacion di bida marino”.
Como parte di e tayer, a invita e participantenan pa hike door di Parke Nacional Arikok pa siña mas tocante e diversidad di flora y fauna di Aruba. E hikeaki a sirbi como un recordatorio di pakico ta vital pa proteha naturalesa y tambe a duna FPNA oportunidad di mustra e importante trabou cu e ekipo ta haciendo pa proteha y conserva naturalesa na Aruba.
“Nos a sinti nos honra pa traha hunto cu DCNA pa organisa e tayer di Maneho Marino na Aruba y duna bonbini na interesadonan importante y expertonan internacional pa comparti conocemento y experencia tocante maneho marino cu e diferente representantenan di e islanan”, Natasha Silva, Directora di Conservacion di FPNA a bisa. Awor mas cu nunca nos oceannan ta bou di un gran menasa, y di e tayer ta evidente cu nos tur tin plan ambicioso pa proteha y administra e medio ambiente marino di nos isla y eyfo. E colaboracion riba nivel local y mas afo di nos islanan ta esencial den implementacion di acercamento innovado pa proteha nos oceannan pa e generacionnan binidero.
Esaki tabata e prome di un serie di tayer cu DCNA ta plania di realisa den e proximo añanan, cada biaha na un diferente isla, pero tur dirigi riba maneho sostenibel di e recursonan natural y proteccion di naturalesa. E tayer aki a wordo patrocina generosamente pa colaboracion di Oceans5-financiers y apoya pa Blue Marine Foundation and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
Fundacion Blue Marine y Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
“Tabata tremendo pa mira un diversidad asina grandi di participante cu tabata entusiasma pa traha hunto”, Irene Kingma, consehero di maneho di DCNA a bisa. “Como secretaria di DCNA, nos ta desempeña un papel facilitado pa nos miembronan, na unda desaroyo di capacidad y intercambio di conocimento ta central”.
Hike di e Tayer di Maneho Marino den Parke Nacional Arikok hunto cu Minister Ursell Arends dirigi pa e Ranger Rambo Flanegin.
Published in BioNews 60
The Bonaire National Marine Park was established in 1979. The marine park protects 2,700 hectares of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Seventy-five IUCN Red List critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable species, and 15 CITES Appendix I species, are recorded in the marine park. The marine park includes two Ramsar sites: Lac Bay (the largest semi-enclosed bay in the Dutch Caribbean) and Klein Bonaire (an uninhabited satellite island located approximately 700 m offshore). Bonaire’s coral reefs are considered some of the healthiest in the Caribbean.
The marine park forms the cornerstone of the island economy. Bonaire is consistently ranked in the top five diving destinations in the Caribbean. Year-round trade winds increasingly attract wind- and kitesurf enthusiasts. Nature-based tourism is the largest economic sector on the island accounting for over 38% of the economy and more than half of all jobs.
But success comes at a price. The pace of economic growth since the constitutional change in 2010 has been unprecedented. Rapid population growth and increasing number of tourists are driving land conversion and coastal development. The pressure on the Bonaire National Marine Park has never been greater, and the task of balancing economic development with nature conservation never more acute.
The management plan provides specific recommendations for the period 2022-2028, centered around six conservation strategies:
1. Optimize protection of key habitats and species.
2. Improve sustainable recreation.
3. Encourage sustainable fishing.
4. Control invasive species and disease.
5. Support restoration of key habitats and species.
6. Influence policy and legislation to improve park management.
This management plan was developed in close co-operation with local stakeholders. The plan is organized in eight chapters. This document also serves as the management plan for the Ramsar sites Lac Bay and Klein Bonaire.
Coral reefsare experiencing large scale degradation. Motivated by the need for regular data monitoring and forquantification of the state and change of benthic and pelagic organisms,the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Networkprotocolwas executed on 18 dive sites in fished and unfished areasaround the island of Saba in the Saba National Marine Park (SNMP) in the Dutch Caribbean from March to May 2019. Pictures of the benthos were taken andanalysed with the Coral Point Count Excel extension software and fish biomass was calculated through the Bayesian length-weight-relationship. Although considerablybelow the Caribbean-wide average, coral cover around the island seems to be slowlyrecoveringfrom past diseasesand hurricane events. Coral species richnesspositively correlates with reef fish density and Serranidae species richness. As in other parts of the Caribbean, macroalgae in the SNMP arerapidly spreadingand increasingly competefor space with habitat-providing gorgonians, sponges and other benthic organisms. Incontrast toexpectations, fish density and biomass continue to increase, evenin zones where fishing is allowed. This mightbe explained by the higher availability of macroalgae that serve as food for variousherbivorous fish species, which in turn are, amongst others, the prey of predatory fish and thosehigher up in the trophic cascade. However, with the exception ofthe commercially important fish family Lutjanidae all key fish species have declinedin average size in recent years. Another findingis the increase of coral diseases. The results indicate the need for further species-specific research in order to identify the factorsthat arecausing the degradation ofthe reefs in the SNMP. A better understandingofthe interactions, ecological roles and functions of benthic and fish communities is therefore essential for the protection of reefs, that are of high value to Saba. The results of this study contribute to the adaptive management of the Saba Conservation Foundation that manages the SNMP.
Keywords: GCRMN, Reef Health Index, marine protected area, fish-benthos interaction, macroalgae, herbivory, trophic cascade, fishing, coral disease, Caribbean
ABSTRACT: Effectiveness of a marine protected area (MPA) in supporting fisheries productivity depends upon replenishment patterns, both in supplying recruits to surrounding fished areas and having a sustainable spawning stock in the MPA. Surveys for queen conch Strombus gigas were made in 2011 at 2 locations in the Exuma Cays, The Bahamas, for direct comparison with surveys conducted during the early 1990s at Warderick Wells (WW) near the center of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) and at a fished site near Lee Stocking Island (LSI). There was no change in adult conch density and abundance in the shallow bank environment at LSI where numbers were already low in 1991, but numbers declined 91% in the deeper shelf waters. At WW, the adult population declined 69% on the bank and 6% on the island shelf. Unlike observations made in the 1990s, queen conch reproductive behavior near LSI is now rare. Average age of adult conch (indicated by shell thickness) at LSI decreased significantly during the 20 yr period between surveys, while average age increased at WW and juvenile abundance decreased. These results show that the LSI population is being overfished and the WW population is senescing because of low recruitment. In 2011, the ECLSP continued to be an important source of larvae for down- stream populations because of abundant spawners in the shelf environment. However, it is clear that the reserve is not self-sustaining for queen conch, and sustainable fishing in the Exuma Cays will depend upon a network of MPAs along with other management measures to reduce fishing mortality.
Virtually all marine conservation planning and management models in place or proposed have in common the need for improved scientific rigour in identifying and characterising the marine habitats encompassed. An emerging central theme in the last few years has been the concept of representativeness, or representative systems of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The habitat classification and mapping needed to incorporate considerations of representativeness into MPA planning must logically be carried out at the same scale at which management occurs. Management of highly protected areas occurs almost exclusively at local scales or finer, independent of the reservation model or philosophy employed.
Moreton Bay, on Australia’s east coast, was selected for studies at the local scale to map and classify macrobenthic habitats. In a site scale (1 km) trial for the major habitat classification study, remote underwater videography was used to map and characterise an unusual assemblage of epibenthic invertebrates on soft sediments. The assemblage included congregations of the comatulid crinoid Zygometra cf. Z. microdiscus (Bell) at densities up to 0.88 individuals.m-2, comparable to those found in coral reef habitats. There was no correlation between the distribution of this species and commonly used abiotic surrogates depth (6 – 18 m), sediment composition and residual current. This site scale trial is the first quantitative assessment of crinoid density and distribution in shallow water soft-sediment environments. The high densities found are significant in terms of the generally accepted picture of shallow-water crinoids as essentially reefal fauna. The findings highlight the conservation benefits of an inclusive approach to marine habitat survey and mapping. Assemblages such as the one described, although they may be of scientific and ecological significance, would have been overlooked by common approaches to marine conservation planning which emphasise highly productive or aesthetically appealing habitats.
Most habitat mapping studies rely solely or in part on abiotic surrogates for patterns of biodiversity. The utility of abiotic variables in predicting biological distributions at the local scale (10 km) was tested. Habitat classifications of the same set of 41 sites based on 6 abiotic variables and abundances of 89 taxa and bioturbation indicators were compared using correlation, regression and ordination analyses. The concepts of false homogeneity and false heterogeneity were defined to describe types of errors associated with using abiotic surrogates to construct habitat maps. The best prediction by abiotic surrogates explained less than 30% of the pattern of biological similarity. Errors of false homogeneity were between 20 and 62%, depending on the methods of estimation. Predictive capability of abiotic surrogates at the taxon level was poor, with only 6% of taxon / surrogate correlations significant. These results have implications for the widespread use of abiotic surrogates in marine habitat mapping to plan for, or assess, representation in Marine Protected Areas. Abiotic factors did not discriminate sufficiently between different soft bottom communities to be a reliable basis for mapping.
Habitat mapping for the design of Marine Protected Areas is critically affected by the scale of the source information. The relationship between biological similarity of macrobenthos and the distance between sites was investigated at both site and local scales, and for separate biotic groups. There was a significant negative correlation between similarity and distance, in that sites further apart were less similar than sites close together. The relationship, although significant, was quite weak at the site scale.
Rank correlograms showed that similarity was high at scales of 10 km or less, and declined markedly with increasing distance. There was evidence of patchiness in the distributions of some biotic groups, especially seagrass and anthozoans, at scales less than 16 km. In other biotic groups there was an essentially monotonic decline in similarity with distance. The spatial agglomeration approach to habitat mapping was valid in the study area. Site spacing of less than 10 km was necessary to capture important components of biological similarity. Site spacing of less than 2.5 km did not appear to be warranted.
Macrobenthic habitat types were classified and mapped at 78 sites spaced 5 km apart. The area mapped was about 2,400 km2 and extended from estuarine shallow subtidal waters to offshore areas to the 50 m isobath. Nine habitat types were recognised, with only one on hard substrate. The habitat mapping characterised several habitat types not previously described in the area and located deepwater algal and soft coral reefs not previously reported. Seagrass beds were encountered in several locations where their occurrence was either unknown or had not previously been quantified. The representation of the derived habitat types within an existing marine protected area was assessed. Only two habitat types were represented in highly protected zones, with less than 3% of each included The study represents the most spatially comprehensive survey of epibenthos undertaken in Moreton Bay, with over 40,000 m2 surveyed. Derived habitat maps provide a robust basis for inclusion of representative examples of all habitat types in marine protected area planning in and adjacent to Moreton Bay. The utility of video data to conduct a low-cost habitat survey over a comparatively large area was also demonstrated. The method used has potentially wide application for the survey and design of marine protected areas.
Quantifying the probability of larval exchange among marine populations is key to predicting local population dynamics and optimizing networks of marine protected areas. The pattern of connectivity among populations can be described by the measure- ment of a dispersal kernel. However, a statistically robust, empirical dispersal kernel has been lacking for any marine species. Here, we use genetic parentage analysis to quantify a dispersal kernel for the reef fish Elacatinus lori, demonstrating that dispersal declines exponen- tially with distance. The spatial scale of dispersal is an order of mag- nitude less than previous estimates—the median dispersal distance is just 1.7 km and no dispersal events exceed 16.4 km despite intensive sampling out to 30 km from source. Overlaid on this strong pattern is subtle spatial variation, but neither pelagic larval duration nor direc- tion is associated with the probability of successful dispersal. Given the strong relationship between distance and dispersal, we show that distance-driven logistic models have strong power to predict dispersal probabilities. Moreover, connectivity matrices generated from these models are congruent with empirical estimates of spatial genetic structure, suggesting that the pattern of dispersal we uncovered re- flects long-term patterns of gene flow. These results challenge as- sumptions regarding the spatial scale and presumed predictors of marine population connectivity. We conclude that if marine reserve networks aim to connect whole communities of fishes and conserve biodiversity broadly, then reserves that are close in space (<10 km) will accommodate those members of the community that are short- distance dispersers.
Consumer-mediated indirect effects at the community level are difficult to demonstrate empirically. Here, we show an explicit indirect effect of overfishing on competition between sponges and reef-building corals from surveys of 69 sites across the Caribbean. Leveraging the large-scale, long-term removal of sponge predators, we selected overfished sites where intensive methods, primarily fish-trapping, have been employed for decades or more, and compared them to sites in remote or marine protected areas (MPAs) with variable levels of enforcement. Sponge-eating fishes (angelfishes and parrotfishes) were counted at each site, and the benthos surveyed, with coral colonies scored for interaction with sponges. Overfished sites had >3 fold more overgrowth of corals by sponges, and mean coral contact with sponges was 25.6%, compared with 12.0% at less-fished sites. Greater contact with corals by sponges at overfished sites was mostly by sponge species palatable to sponge preda- tors. Palatable species have faster rates of growth or reproduction than defended sponge species, which instead make metabolically expensive chemical defenses. These results validate the top-down conceptual model of sponge community ecology for Caribbean reefs, as well as provide an unambiguous justification for MPAs to protect threatened reef-building corals.
An unanticipated outcome of the benthic survey component of this study
was that overfished sites had lower mean macroalgal cover (23.1% vs. 38.1% for less-fished sites), a result that is contrary to prevailing assumptions about seaweed control by herbivorous fishes. Because we did not quantify herbivores for this study, we interpret this result with caution, but suggest that additional large-scale studies comparing intensively overfished and MPA sites are warranted to examine the relative impacts of herbivorous fishes and urchins on Caribbean reefs.
Ecological studies have rarely been performed at the community level across a large biogeographic region. Sponges are now the primary habitat-forming organisms on Caribbean coral reefs. Recent species-level investigations have demonstrated that preda- tory fishes (angelfishes and some parrotfishes) differentially graze sponges that lack chemical defenses, while co-occurring, palatable species heal, grow, reproduce, or recruit at faster rates than defended species. Our prediction, based on resource allocation theory, was that predator removal would result in a greater proportion of palatable species in the sponge community on overfished reefs. We tested this prediction by performing surveys of sponge and fish community composition on reefs having different levels of fishing intensity across the Caribbean. A total of 109 sponge species was recorded from 69 sites, with the 10 most common species comprising 51.0% of sponge cover (3.6–7.7% per species). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling indicated that the species composition of sponge communities depended more on the abundance of sponge-eating fishes than geographic location. Across all sites, multiple-regression analyses revealed that spongivore abundance explained 32.8% of the variation in the proportion of palatable sponges, but when data were limited to geographically adjacent locations with strongly contrasting levels of fishing pressure (Cayman Islands and Jamaica; Curaçao, Bonaire, and Martinique), the adjusted R2 values were much higher (76.5% and 94.6%, respectively). Overfishing of Caribbean coral reefs, particularly by fish trapping, removes sponge predators and is likely to result in greater competition for space between faster-growing palatable sponges and endangered reef-building corals.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an important tool for marine conservation and management; monitoring plays a critical role in managing these MPAs. Monitoring provides the essential information required to
make management decisions and determine if the decisions are working. Without monitoring, managers are essentially operating in the dark! This book was written in response to requests from many managers of MPAs from around the world who asked for advice on how to design and implement monitoring programs that can help them manage their MPAs more effectively.
The goals of this book are to:
- Demonstrate how monitoring can play a major role in the effective management of MPAs;
- Provide advice on which monitoring programs to use to facilitate effective management; and
- Demonstrate how monitoring has played an important role in the effective management of MPAs using case studies from around the world.
Coral reefs around the world are at risk from many threats including global warming causing coral bleaching, over-fishing or destructive fishing, pollution by sediments, nutrients and toxic chemicals, coral mining
and shoreline development, and unregulated tourism. Monitoring the ecology of the reefs and the socio- economics of the people is the only way to understand the extent, nature and causes of the damage, and to identify ways to address these threats.
How can monitoring assist in the effective management of MPAs? Monitoring assists through the following tasks:
- Resource Assessment and Mapping
- Resource Status and Long-Term Trends
- Status and Long-Term Trends of User Groups
- Impacts of Large-Scale Disturbances
- Impacts of Human Activities
- Performance Evaluation and Adaptive Management
- Education and Awareness Raising
- Building Resilience into MPAs
- Contributing to Regional and Global Networks
This book will provide practical advice on how to design and implement ecological and socio-economic monitoring programs aimed at addressing these issues. Many useful references are included at the back along with Internet sites.
We have used case studies from around the world to illustrate how others have used monitoring to assist them in managing MPAs. There are many useful lessons from these case studies and all contain recommendations for other MPA managers.
The book provides information on many of the organisations involved in coral reef monitoring and management, along with the recommendations on coral reef monitoring and information processing from the recent ITMEMS2 (International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium, 2003) meeting, which featured MPA managers from all over the world.
This is Version 1 of the book being released at the World Parks Congress in Durban South Africa, September 2003. Our intention is to keep it alive and continually update it. This copy will be lodged on the www.reefbase.org, www.gcrmn.org and www.aims.gov.au websites where we want to continually update it for use by MPA managers to improve their management and conservation of coral reefs.