Scientists from around the world will present the latest in marine conservation research and practice at nearly 40 symposia at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. The IMCC3 scientific program will also feature hundreds of additional contributed talks, speed presentations and poster presentations.
More information on symposia times and locations coming soon.
- Friday, 15 August Symposia
- Saturday, 16 August Symposia
- Sunday, 17 August Symposia
- Monday, 18 August Symposia
Impacts of ship noise on marine life: Research and outreach on the Pacific Northwest coast
Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, University of York, UK
The effects of acute anthropogenic noise on cetaceans have long been an established concern. More recently, effects on other marine life have been explored, revealing startling results: physiological changes in fish, massive acoustic trauma in cephalopods, internal bruising in crustaceans, deformities in bivalves. However, of perhaps greater consequence to marine organisms is low frequency noise which travels greater distances and is mostly associated with shipping. Ship traffic contributes to more than 80% of global freight transport and spans the entire global ocean. Thus, low frequency anthropogenic noise has become a chronic, globally widespread presence. It is also on the rise: over the last half century, low frequency noise in the ocean has increased by at least 20dB. We discuss current research in the Pacific Northwest on implications of ship noise on killer whales, deep-sea fish, and intertidal species, and explore spatial and temporal mapping of ship traffic. We also discuss the potential of large, underwater cabled observatories, such as Ocean Networks Canada's NEPTUNE, as tools for increasing scientific and public understanding of marine noise, aiding in outreach.
Ending overfishing in the Northeast Atlantic: Science and fisheries management under the new CFP
Kathryn Matthews and Markus Knigge, Pew Charitable Trusts
Northeast Atlantic fisheries have been heavily exploited for over a century. Although early results indicate some recovery under more conservative management, many remain depleted, and overfishing continues when Total Allowable Catches (TACs) are set in excess of the scientific advice. The EU’s new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) now commits to end overfishing by 2015 where possible and 2020 at the latest, and to rebuild stocks to Bmsy (but without a target date). The CFP also requires the setting of actual catch limits, as opposed to landing limits that resulted in large at-sea discards. To date, however, most of these efforts to end overfishing in the region exist only on paper. What remains to be done to implement these mandates and rebuild all stocks to sustainable levels? The panel will address key scientific and management issues for CFP implementation, including: (1) How can sufficiently precautionary TACs be set while also accounting for ecosystem needs, particularly with the data-poor stocks, shifting baselines, and mixed fisheries prevalent in this area? (2) What are the ramifications of transitioning from landing to catch quotas? (3) How should stocks without TACs be managed? (4) How can the scientific community best engage with the CFP management process? This discussion will provide crucial insight into how to implement a large-scale agreement at a variety of levels, particularly in the Northeast Atlantic.
Genetics and genomics for ocean conservation
Rebecca Goldburg and Polita Glynn, Pew Charitable Trusts
Modern genetic techniques, which allow the molecular identification of pieces of genetic material, have become important tools in conservation. By comparing DNA segments from small tissue samples, for example, laboratories can readily check the authenticity of seafood. Genomics—essentially the study of all of an organism’s genetic material—is now also becoming much more practical, thanks in large part to the plummeting cost and rapidly increasing speed of gene sequencing. Marine researchers are now using genomic and genetic techniques to evaluate and even predict coral reef tolerance to stressors, which may lead to the better design marine reserves resilient to climate change. Others are using genomics to develop new methods for estimating fisheries spawning stocks based on kinship among fish. However, many marine scientists and policy makers are still unaware of the potential these molecular methods. Speakers at this session will review current research applying genetics and genomics to marine conservation science, including potential application to policy and legal enforcement. The session will conclude with a discussion of these and other current or potential applications.
Building an evidence base for marine conservation: Evaluating the ecological and social impacts of MPAs
B. Pressey of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, G.G. Gurney of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are expanding rapidly, partly motivated by high-level policy commitments. Many important decisions are made each year about the location, configuration and management of MPAs. These decisions will strongly influence the future of marine biodiversity, ecosystem services, and related livelihoods. However, established and proposed MPAs are seldom evaluated for their impact. Evaluation of MPA impact involves comparing changes in social or ecological characteristics attributable to MPAs with changes expected in the counterfactual situation without MPAs. Evaluating impact is critical for building a strong evidence base for the design and management of MPAs, and includes predicting the impact of future potential management. Impact evaluation is also central to developing meaningful targets and measures of progress for marine conservation, extending policy beyond simplistic measures of success related to the extent of MPAs or representation of marine regions. The symposium brings together state-of-the-art approaches to evaluating the social and ecological impacts of MPAs using case studies from Oceania, Indonesia, the Philippines and globally. We will explore ways in which impact evaluation can inform policy.
Novel solutions to conservation data gaps using historical ecology
R.H. Thurstan of University of Queensland, L. McClenachan of Colby College, J.N. Kittinger of Stanford University, J. Drew of Columbia University, J.M. Pandolfi of University of Queensland
Many marine environments suffer from a lack of high quality, long-term data. Marine historical ecologists often use innovative approaches to generate data from periods in time where few other data exist, thus these approaches have the potential to fill conservation data gaps in novel and creative ways. Examples of novel approaches include analysis of photographs documenting changes in the size and composition of recreational fish catches in periods where landings data were absent and seafood menus that were used to infer changes during a transitional period in resource availability. This symposium will highlight examples of creative solutions that have helped to fill gaps in the historical record and inform management efforts. It will provide an opportunity for presenters to demonstrate how alternative data sources can contribute to our knowledge of past environments as well as their direct applicability to management and policy. Our focus on novel historical research will focus explicitly on opportunities these perspectives offer for more effective management, and therefore contribute to the Congress theme, Making Marine Science Matter. The symposium will be combined with a focus group on how historical ecology can inform management, conservation and policy. These will promote the importance of historical data from two critical perspectives: the value of historic reference points when assessing contemporary trends and the potential for practical application of this knowledge.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Managing human legacies in a changing sea: Integrating historical ecology into marine conservation and management
Understanding audiences: How research into public perceptions of the sea can support marine conservation
Rebecca Jefferson of Plymouth University, Emma McKinley of University of Chichester
Engaging society with the marine environment is of increasing importance to marine conservation challenges. The public is often considered to be a single, homogeneous audience; however, research reveals a diversity of values, knowledge and attitudes. Understanding these perceptions enables agencies to develop appropriate engagement approaches with greater resonance with target audiences. The aim of this symposium is to bring together seven speakers who work in a range of fields around public perceptions research. The presenters will highlight their experiences and encourage dialogue around the value of understanding the audience to achieving marine conservation outcomes. The symposium is informed by a global review of marine public perceptions research which highlights a need for more focused research efforts, increased connectivity between researchers, and the application of findings into practice. This event supports these needs by connecting researchers and practitioners, developing research priorities and identifying opportunities to ensure marine conservation benefits. Key questions will be discussed during the focus group to identify further opportunities to support these developments.
*A focus group follows this symposium: How can research into public perceptions of the sea support marine conservation
End-to-end marine conservation: Case studies in successfully translating science into management action through communication and outreach
Christy Pattengill-Semmens of Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Brice Semmens of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Scott Heppell of Oregon State University, Selina Heppell of Oregon State University
Marine science in support of conservation goals and policy must be made to matter not only to managers and policymakers charged with making decisions but also to those affected by the decision making process. Through an exploration of three case studies we will demonstrate how conservation policy objectives have been achieved through the application of relevant scientific investigations. Each of the case studies will define: 1) a marine conservation issue that spurred scientific inquiry, 2) the research products that resulted, 3) the outreach and communication efforts made to link science with policy/management, and 4) the conservation actions taken to address the issue. Our case studies will be taxonomically, geographically, and conceptually diverse, documenting how marine science has been made to matter across biological, physical, and political systems. Each of these case studies emphasizes a direct application of science to conservation, and showcases science-influenced conservation planning, the engagement of citizens in the process, and the translation of science into outreach and policy action. The symposium will have seven speakers followed by a panel discussion. Following a symposium concepts overview talk, each of 3 case studies will have a science talk followed by an outreach-policy talk.
Tackling stakeholder uncertainty, education and effective participation in ocean planning
Kassandra Cerveny of Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Sean Cosgrove of Conservation Law Foundation
Comprehensive science-based ocean planning is a powerful tool to improve ecosystem health and build resilience against climate change while improving natural resource sustainability and providing economic opportunity for ocean users and coastal communities. Successful development of a comprehensive ocean plan requires vast engagement and support from a large and diverse set of stakeholders. Engaging stakeholders relies on making marine science matter in the context of how each stakeholder group uses, observes or appreciates ocean and coastal resources. Stakeholder perception of the state of ocean resources, management problems, and the goals of ocean planning determines how stakeholders might engage or disregard an ocean planning process. While many perspectives are determined by decided worldviews, the presenters have found unique and varied strategies for educating and engaging ocean user groups; scientists and policy makers; commercial fishermen; and, broader audiences of citizens, government officials, business people and elected officials on the science, policy and conservation opportunities in ocean planning.
From ad hoc regional systems of MPAs to ecological networks
J. Claudet of National Center for Scientific research (CNRS) and F. Guilhaumon of Research Institute for Development (IRD)
How to make an effective ecological network from an ad hoc regional system? This symposium aims at presenting and discussing ways to optimizing such MPA implementations, based on real world examples. This symposium is a continuation of two symposia on MPA networks that were held at IMCC1 and IMCC2, respectively. The aim of the first one was to present different types of MPA networks worldwide and discuss empirical ways of evaluation to assess if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In the second one, we presented a typology of MPA networks, spanning from ad hoc system of MPAs to ecological networks, going through representativity, management and social networks. In this symposium, we will focus on the Mediterranean Sea as a case study but methods and conclusions are no specific to the Mediterranean and the symposium can be appealing to a broad audience. Participants will firstly present an assessment of the existing regional system of MPAs in the Mediterranean, looking at different components of marine biodiversity. Then, examples will be discussed on how to reach the Aichi 10% target while aiming at maximizing different properties of networks: representativity of different biodiversity components, connectivity and efficiency through time taking into account potential climate change impacts on species distributions. Additional talks will show how these networks can be improved if over-imposed by management and social networks.
Marine conservation and seafood security: Linking sustainability with ethics
Mimi Elizabeth Lam of University of British Columbia, Carl Walter Matthias Kaiser of University of Bergen
Marine science has focused on the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture, but despite this, fisheries continue to decline, marine conservation is threatened, and global seafood security is jeopardized. We posit that to make today’s marine science matter, it must be combined with practical ethics to address societal goals and values. Ethics are the moral principles governing individual and group behavior and thus influence the equitable distribution of benefits and harms related to shared resources. Determining how marine resources are used, distributed, and conserved requires both rigorous science and practical ethics, as science-based assessments of the sustainability of resource management and policy decisions are often entangled with far-reaching ethical implications. We assemble an international and interdisciplinary panel from the natural and social sciences to explore the connections between the sustainability and ethics of seafood production systems. They will present research methodologies to evaluate the sustainability and ethics of seafood production, case studies to highlight the diversity of local ethics and global systems, and approaches to connect marine science with the public and policymakers. Framing fisheries and aquaculture sustainability around ethics is likely to have more salience with the public and policy-makers, as it considers not only marine ecosystems, but also the human communities affected by resource management and policy decisions.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Seafood security and food ethics: Transforming marine science into marine policy
Human-wildlife conflict: Complexity in the marine environment
Megan M. Draheim of Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, Julie-Beth McCarthy of Independent Researcher, E.C.M. Parsons of George Mason University Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Francine Madden of Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration (HWCC)
While human-wildlife conflict (HWC) has long been recognized as a serious conservation threat within the conservation community, there have been few opportunities for the sharing of lessons learned and best practices, both between the terrestrial and marine communities as well as cross-taxonomically within the marine community. HWC has classically been defined as a situation where wildlife impacts humans negatively, and where humans likewise negatively impact wildlife, but there is growing consensus that the conflict between people about wildlife is as important as the conflict between people and wildlife. HWC not only affects the conservation of one species in a certain area, but also impacts a community’s and individuals’ desires to support conservation programs in general. This symposium will explore the complexity of HWC in the marine environment through a series of case studies that highlight the use of the levels of conflict model, an analytical tool adapted by the Human-Wildlife Conflict Collaboration and derived from the peace-building field that has direct application to marine conservation work (www.humanwildlifeconflict.org). The talks will also explore complementary frameworks for understanding such situations. HWC is a frequent reason why marine conservation initiatives fail or flounder; this symposium highlights multiple ways to think about and address HWC when working with stakeholder groups on marine conservation issues.
Making citizen science matter
John A. Cigliano of Cedar Crest College, Heidi Ballard of University of California—Davis, Tina Phillips of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Jake Levenson of Conserve.IO, Sarah Foster of Project Seahorse
The number of projects that engage the public in scientific research (i.e, citizen science) has dramatically increased in recent years. Worldwide, marine-based citizen science projects exist that provide opportunities for individuals to engage in marine conservation-related activities, such as monitoring reef systems, categorizing whale calls, and tracking marine debris. While marine citizen science projects have had positive impacts on marine conservation through education and research, the use of citizen science to advance marine conservation lags behind its use for terrestrial and freshwater conservation. Moreover, using citizen science to influence management and policy in marine systems is still relatively uncommon outside of fisheries contexts. The purpose of this symposium is to provide evidence that citizen science is an effective and rigorous method for advancing marine conservation and management. The symposium will consist of an overview of citizen science and case studies of citizen science projects that have successfully fulfilled their conservation-related goals and outcomes. Discussion will focus on how to design and implement a marine citizen science program. The symposium will also set the foundation for an accompanying focus group that will bring together practitioners and researchers who are experienced in developing and running marine citizen science projects to generate guiding principles on how to make citizen science matter for marine conservation.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Making citizen science matter
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI)
D. Johnson of GOBI Secretariat/Seascape Consultants, Henning von Nordheim of BfN Germany
This symposium is by the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) Secretariat on the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). In particular we would like to provide information on the development of the EBSA process and future prospects; discuss the relationship between EBSAs and MPAs; and their potential as a basis for marine spatial planning in offshore areas. Given that the process of describing and identifying EBSAs was agreed by the CBD Conference of Parties in 2010 and, since then, Regional EBSA Workshops have taken place for more than 75% of the world’s oceans, this proposal fits well in the Congress theme of Advancing Marine Conservation through International Treaties. The timing of IMCC, following three Regional EBSA Workshops proposed for the Spring of 2014 and the technical meeting of CBD (SBSTTA 18) in June 2014, but before the next Conference of the Parties (CBD COP10), means that the session is highly topic- and policy-relevant (i.e. making marine science matter).
Assessing and managing data-limited fisheries and ecosystems
Rod Fujita, EDF
Most fisheries without scientific assessments also lack effective management, and are not living up to their conservation, economic, and social potential. The large amounts of data necessary to conduct a formal scientific assessment are often not available for fisheries, so they remain unassessed and many remain essentially unmanaged, continuing to underperform or even collapse. Similarly, if nothing is known about the effects of fisheries on ocean ecosystems, it is difficult to manage those effects. Marine Protected Areas can be effective, but are often difficult to scale up. New regulatory tools, such as ecosystem based harvest limits, are needed to protect ecological processes and structure at scales consistent with the large spatial scales over which fishing is often prosecuted. In this Symposium, we will present a framework for assessing and managing data-limited fisheries and ecosystems that allows scientists, managers, and stakeholders to choose appropriate data-limited methods and to apply the results in a systematic way in order to generate useful science-based guidance for adaptive management that can improve as information improves. Speakers will also describe a variety of such methods, including an exciting new tool based on an analysis of coral reef ecosystem health metrics and thresholds of fish abundance, and participants will engage in an exercise aimed at articulating performance indicators for a fishery of their choice for use in adaptive management.
Completive outreach in the 21st century: Why we need conservation marketing
Andrew Wright of George Mason University, Diogo VerÃ¬ssimo of Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) University of Kent, Kathleen Pilfold of Edmonton Alberta
Conservation efforts generally rely on public support. In turn, public support requires issue awareness and the subsequent willingness to act upon it. Conservation outreach seeks to support policy action by influencing public behavior to benefit a given cause. Conservation practitioners are struggling more and more to achieve this in a world with increasing demands on the public’s attention by the now-constant availability of entertainment. These problems are further confounded by the discovery that the perceptions of the public may make people less open to appeals from conservation practitioners directly (Bashir et al. 2013). Those seeking to influence the perceptions and behavior of the public must thus seek new methods and techniques for reaching the public. Similarly, conservation advocates must be creative in how they solicit social change to avoid being considered militant activists to the detriment of their own efforts. Marketing professionals use techniques to convince the public to buy particular products by developing relationships or creating positive associations with the particular item or service. Despite their malevolent reputation in conservation circles, the same techniques (proven for consumer product marketing) can be used to influence public behavior regarding conservation matters. This is likely to be even more important in advancing marine conservation efforts to which the public typically relate less than they do with more visible terrestrial problems.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Building an SCB working group on conservation marketing
Sustaining small-scale fisheries: Investigating the consequences of decreased access to fish
Katherine Seto of University of California Berkeley, Jack Kittinger of Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions
One of the predominant challenges in ocean conservation is that of sustaining the benefits of marine fisheries in the face of rapidly changing oceans and declining global stocks. While three billion people rely on fish for at least 15% of their protein, these benefits are particularly critical to coastal developing states, where 100% of individuals who are dependent on marine fisheries for their livelihoods are found. Although small-scale fishers are often characterized as the most vulnerable, very little work has been done to empirically understand the impacts of declining fish availability on these communities. These knowledge gaps also have a wide range of implications for conservation and sustainability (e.g. switching to alternative livelihoods vs. increasing fishing effort or technology). In this symposium, we will explore how theories of access, property rights, and governance can be used to illuminate the social and ecological constraints to fisheries sustainability. This symposium seeks to synthesize lessons learned from various small-scale fisheries systems in order to understand how fishers and their communities are responding to changes in access and rights to marine resources. By investigating the adaptations, trade-offs, and spillover effects of declining access in small-scale fisheries, we can better understand pathways toward social and ecological sustainability.
Fuelling the future of marine spatial planning: Integrating energy extraction and marine conservation science
Tessa Mazor of University of Queensland, Johanna Polsenberg of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Salit Kark of University of Queensland
Marine environments around the globe have long been over exploited as sources of energy extraction. Now, the ever growing demand for energy is destroying or putting at risk extensive areas that are critical for long-term marine biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning. While, many of the negative impacts of offshore extraction on biodiversity are well known, the challenge remains to incorporate this information into marine spatial plans and actions. In particular, the competition for marine spaces creates conflict and divisions between stakeholders such as governments, the private sector and conservationists that can be mediated with innovative and integrated planning approaches. This symposium addresses ways of integrating energy extraction, specifically offshore oil and gas and wind-farm developments, into marine spatial planning. It brings together a diverse range of researchers and practitioners to present novel approaches for reaching conservation goals while maintaining the objectives of other stakeholders. A key discussion point will be the potential for collaboration between marine conservation and the energy industry. To make marine science matter it must be planned and conveyed in a relevant and realistic manner in which conservation goals can be achieved in the face of numerous anthropogenic pressures.
Interactions between birds and wind turbines: Understanding collision risks in the marine environment
Liz Humphreys of British Trust for Ornithology, Ian Davies of Marine Scotland, Sjoerd Dirksen of Bureau Waardenburg, Lucy Wright of British Trust for Ornithology, Aonghais Cook of British Trust for Ornithology, Karen Krijgsveld of Bureau Waardenburg, Ruben Fijn of Bureau Waardenburg
The risk of collision with operating turbine blades is considered to be one of the most important effects in assessing the potential impacts of offshore wind farms upon bird populations. Understanding those factors which determine the likelihood of a direct bird strike is paramount to quantifying possible mortality rates through collision risk modeling (CRM). Birds may either alter their flight paths around wind farms or actively divert away from rotating blades and this is collectively known as avoidance behavior. CRM is particularly sensitive to the avoidance rates used, and improved estimates are critically required to better inform recommendations. This is of particular concern to industry as the calculated risk of birds colliding with turbines has contributed to the delay in the consent process or, in some cases, has resulted in applications being turned down. This symposium will bring together the current state of knowledge in terms of quantifying avoidance, other key assumptions in CRM, and the range of CRM approaches that are available and how this information is assessed by the relevant regulatory bodies.
Dynamic ocean management: Supporting ecological and economic sustainability of marine resources
S.M. Maxwell of Stanford University, R. Lewison of San Diego State University, L.B. Crowder of Stanford University
Dynamic ocean management is a new approach to management of marine resources that explicitly takes the dynamic movements of the oceanographic environment, marine animals and human users into account. Many highly mobile marine species and human users follow dynamic ocean features such as fronts and eddies that change in space and time. This implies that static spatial management, such as marine protected areas with stationary boundaries, may be less effective than protections that incorporate dynamic movements through time. Therefore, to narrow the geographic and temporal scope of regulations, protected zones may need to function in near-real time and be dynamic like the processes and species they aim to protect. Further, advances in remote sensing and ship-board technology have made it possible to regulate and communicate to users the changing locations of dynamic boundaries. In this symposium, we aim to (1) launch the concept of dynamic management to the larger marine conservation community, (2) explore examples of dynamic management that exist in fisheries and shipping industries around the world, (3) codify key elements for effective adoption by managers with an emphasis on economic considerations, and (4) explore the feasibility of dynamic management in the form of mobile marine protected areas. We will explore how dynamic management can be a key tool to increasing both ecological and economic sustainability of marine resources and coastal marine communities across sectors.
Integrating law and science to inform and improve the practice of cumulative effects assessments
Megan Mach of Center for Ocean Solutions, Sarah Mooney of Center for Ocean Solutions, Rebecca Martone of Center for Ocean Solutions
Humans rely on the ocean for many services, including food, transportation, and energy, but obtaining those benefits often results in adverse impacts to marine systems. Accurately accounting for such impacts can be challenging because it is difficult to quantify the cumulative effects of multiple human activities on marine communities and subsequent social and economic changes. Despite a common consensus that identifying and quantifying cumulative effects is critical to environmental sustainability, a disconnect among legal requirements, scientific approaches, and current impact assessment methods, hinders practitioners’ abilities to improve cumulative effects assessments. In this symposium we seek to foster a dialogue between scientists, lawyers, and practitioners to discuss options to better align the state of the law and science with management actions regarding cumulative effects. A focus group following the symposium will engage scientists and practitioners to develop a clarified definition of ecological significance for use in marine management. The focus group will also work towards establishing a working definition of baseline that is informed by science, is usable under current law, and can be implemented in practice. This joint symposium and focus group will provide a unique opportunity for scientists to collaborate with practitioners and legal experts, and to explore solutions to the barriers posed by current approaches to cumulative effects assessments.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Using the current state of science and law to inform the determination of baselines and ecological significance for cumulative effects assessments
Marine animals in conservation: Ethics and welfare
Amanda Lombard, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and University of Cape Town
Animal welfare considerations, and the ethics we apply in conservation activities, are becoming increasingly important issues as humans place greater pressures on natural systems for resources, research, education and recreation. While adverse human impacts on ecosystems and populations receive considerable attention, the welfare of individuals is often ignored, or it is argued that individual sacrifice is ethically justified as a means to achieving improved conservation of populations. Public interest in marine conservation, however, is often raised by the plight of an individual marine creature. Individual animals in the marine realm face many challenges to their welfare, and this Symposium aims to explore the nature of these challenges, and to provide recommendations for integrating marine animal welfare science into our marine activities.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Marine animals in conservation: Ethics and welfare
Exploring the science/policy interface: Gaps and opportunities for improved high-seas governance
Governance of the highs seas remains one of the more challenging, yet imperative aspects of marine conservation, particularly with growing impacts of climate change and ocean acidification, on-going overfishing on the high seas and proposals for deep sea bed mining. While progress has been made through international laws and agreements, there is currently a large gap in the existing framework where there is no governance mechanism for high seas marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments or access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources. Full implementation of existing instruments has yet to be achieved and efforts to fill the governance gaps are hampered by political will. We will present the case for a new high seas agreement to protect biodiversity as well as mechanisms for such an agreement to ensure that existing processes are held to account when they fail. The panelists will speak directly to how scientists can engage in the policy process and the role of science in implementing existing agreements. This discussion will feed directly into ongoing meetings at the United Nations through the work of the Open Ended Ad Hoc Working Group on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, which will take a decision in 2015 on the negotiation of an new agreement for protecting high seas biodiversity.
Novel methods, new results and science-based solutions to tackle marine debris impacts on wildlife (This is a two-part symposium)
Thomas Good of NOAA Fisheries, Britta Denise Hardesty of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Chris Wilcox of Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation
There is an exponentially increasing amount of human-associated rubbish in our oceans. This marine debris results in a wide range of issues from introduction of adsorbed PCBs into food webs to entanglement and subsequent mortality of threatened seabirds, fish, turtles and mammals in derelict fishing gear. While there has been a major effort afoot to publicize these issues, there remains a paucity of data and scientific research to underpin solutions to the problems. This symposium will cover research in three major areas: 1) integrated ecological and oceanographic models to that measure risk to wildlife and predict impact, 2) literature reviews and field studies that measure both the scope and intensity of the threat across species, and 3) analysis of wildlife indicators as regulatory standards for plastic concentration in the environment. The symposium speakers will focus particularly on the importance of using science to inform or underpin decision making.
Opportunities for improving global marine conservation through international treaties
Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak, University of British Columbia
The speed and scale of human impacts on marine species, such as climate change and exploitation for international markets, coupled with lack of enforcement, make it especially difficult to protect marine species beyond areas of national jurisdiction. Yet as the number of multilateral treaties continues to grow, the declining state of the world’s oceans suggest that these treaties are largely failing to fulfill their missions and achieve meaningful protection. This panel combines scholars and policy practitioners to explore opportunities to improve conservation through international agreements, such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Panelists will examine a range of issues, including loopholes in the treaties, phrases such as common but differentiated responsibilities, consensus and rational use that have been disagreed over or misinterpreted, and other factors that have inhibited conservation. We will look to past successes in international environmental treaties, such as the Montreal Protocol to identify new incentives to ratify or (free-ride) agreements. The growth of international treaties represents the widespread interest in conserving global oceans. However, overcoming existing problems with their implementation is essential for success.
Coral reef conservation priorities given changing global and local realities: Focus on the Coral Triangle
Maria Beger of University of Queensland, Alan White of The Nature Conservancy, Alison Green of The Nature Conservancy, Jennifer McGowan of University of Queensland
The emergence of novel marine communities is an inevitable outcome of global and local change. Coral reef ecosystems are at the forefront of transformation, driven by the global degradation of coral cover, extinctions, and species range shifts and by many local destructive uses. The resulting changed coral reef ecosystems are defined by new species and abundance combinations, also transforming the productivity, accessibility and values of coral reefs, and it is likely that people will gain fewer benefits from altered reefs due to the associated lower fish diversity and productivity. Correspondingly, our management and conservation efforts need to be adapted, as many broadly designed coral marine reserve networks require re-evaluation within an ecological and social context of altered reef ecosystems. We focus on the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) as a multi-lateral coral reef conservation initiative, which has the potential to address the plight and conservation of coral reefs from a broader planning and design perspective. Marine reserve networks can influence rates of transformation. This symposium (and focus group) aims to develop ideas that can expand and refine existing conservation efforts to think about future steps towards adapting coral reef conservation. Particular focus will be on developing a set of socio-economic conservation objectives and design principles to match ecological objectives.
Managing impacts of deep-sea resource exploitation
P.P.E. Weaver of Seascape Consultants, L. Menot of Ifremer, V.K. Gunn of Seascape Consultants
The deep ocean below 200 meters is the largest habitat for life on Earth. It covers two-thirds of the planet but less than 1% has been sampled, hence we remain largely ignorant of how deep-ocean ecosystems change in space and time, both naturally and in response to human activities. Nonetheless, there is accelerating economic interest in the deep ocean. Increasing global demand for energy and mineral resources has led to industrial extraction deeper and further offshore than ever before. The EU-funded project MIDAS addresses fundamental environmental issues relating to the exploitation of deep-sea mineral and energy resources. These new industries will have significant impacts on deep-sea ecosystems, in some cases extending over hundreds or thousands of square kilometers. MIDAS will assess the nature and scales of the potential impacts. Knowledge of the impacts will be used to address the key biological unknowns, such as connectivity between populations, impacts of the loss of biological diversity on ecosystem functioning, and how quickly the ecosystems will recover. The symposium will provide an overview of the objectives and recent progress made by the project and how these will be used to guide recommendations for best practice. European and international regulatory organizations will be engaged to take these recommendations into legislation.
Foreign scientists in small island developing states: The challenges of performing relevant research, impacting policy and informing practice
E.J. Hind of The School for Field Studies, S. Alexander of University of Waterloo
Small island developing states (SIDS) are some of the most vulnerable to impacts of overfishing, climate change, invasive species and ocean acidification. They are also often the least equipped to mitigate such impacts. Marine research and management institutions in SIDS regularly suffer from underfunding, low staffing, and a lack of training/resources with which to support monitoring and enforce policy. It is logical then that they would welcome the presence of foreign scientists equipped with some of the materials and expertise needed to better manage marine environments. This symposium probes that assumption. Participants will first hear from scientists from SIDS or who work in them as foreign residents or visitors. Each will tell of how the marine research undertaken in SIDS by foreign researchers is not always effective, either due to the challenge of integrating into intimate scientific communities, a lack of scientific communities to integrate with, research schedules allowing little time for collaboration and outreach, or restricted knowledge of local research needs founded on limited capacity to communicate with stakeholders. The second half of the symposium will be a guided discussion, asking participants to share their experiences of multinational research collaborations in SIDS and contribute recommendations for overcoming such barriers and improving future collaborations. The recommendations will be published as a letter in a peer-reviewed conservation journal.
The other 95%: Bringing marine invertebrates into marine protected area science
Kyle M. Gillespie, University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool with many benefits, however, reports of their successes are largely based on recovery of fish â€“ a small fraction of all ocean taxa. The other 105% of marine animal life “the invertebrates” are almost completely overlooked in MPA science. This is especially true for non-coral species, where preliminary evidence indicates that recovery patterns do not mirror those of fish. These taxa are essential in the proper functioning of ecosystems and of major significance in global seafood markets and small scale fisheries. A handful of scattered and infrequent studies that have tracked recovery patterns in select species, yet most non-coral invertebrates are absent from MPA literature. This dearth of information on recovery dynamics and community and population trends is impeding the ability of MPA managers to track and improve the conservation of most ocean species. This symposium will integrate the experiences of leading MPA biologists to put invertebrates on the radar screens of MPA practitioners. Speakers will be asked to explicitly address an agenda that focuses on tracking biological change in species outside of fish and corals, the current knowledge on how invertebrates drive recovery processes and the best practices for integrating invertebrate recovery patterns into MPA management. Through this discussion we hope to begin to overcome the conservation challenges facing this under-represented yet crucial 95%.
Catalyzing fisheries sustainability through certification, eco-labeling schemes
Nicolas Gutierrez of Marine Stewardship Council, David Agnew of Marine Stewardship Council, Simon Bush of Wageningen University, Jake Rice of the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Marked-based incentives have been conceived to promote the development of sustainable fishing practices and reduce impacts on ecosystems. Of these, certification and eco-labeling has been the most prominent and fastest growing, requiring fisheries to comply with a set of provisions designed to achieve healthy stocks, minimize environmental impacts and promote effective management. These voluntary certification schemes may strengthen stakeholder engagement in management and governance, information gathering and marine conservation. Also, sustainability standards may be used as the gold standard for fisheries best practices by governments and NGOs, shaping national and international policies. However, this growth has led to a debate around the actual effectiveness of certification in promoting sustainable fish stocks and other direct and indirect consequences of using fisheries certification as a market-based instrument for marine conservation. Since this debate is gaining momentum, additional clarity is needed on the ecological impacts of fisheries certification and its relevance for marine conservation. The following topics will be presented: (a) ecological, economic, and political effects of certification; (b) role of certification in shaping marine conservation policies; (c) Needs and opportunities for improvements in certification; (d) Characteristics of eco-labeling schemes as indicators of fisheries sustainability.
Applying conservation agreements, PES schemes, and incentives: Lessons learned from a busy three years
Linwood Pendleton of Duke University, Christopher LaFranchi of OneReef Worldwide Stewardship, Jason Scorse of Monterey Institute of International Studies
At the IMCC2 meeting in Canada, we discussed emerging options for capturing the value of marine natural capital. Payment for environmental services, tools that incorporate incentives, and long-term conservation agreements are designed to help address above mentioned circumstances. Three years later, we have real world experience about the options proposed in our last meeting. We will review those experiences. What are the latest theories on how to develop these tools? What has been discovered through efforts to pioneer their use? This symposium convenes a diverse group of practitioners, scientists and economists to investigate the evidence so far.
Avoiding the reinvention of the LMMA "fish hook:" Experiences of clan marine management from Timor Leste and the East Papua New Guinea
N.M. Esters, Conservation International
Case studies from Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste critique the approach of using independent local trainers in facilitating, through a participatory process, the establishment of LMMAs in their countries. It then looks at the next generation approach, supporting trainers selected from communities using LMMAs to assist other communities in articulating their marine resource management needs in a desired future. However will time and money run out if we continue these approaches, of progressing sustainable marine management practice, community by community, island by island, in the face of increasing population pressure and climate change impacts? With these challenges in mind, Conservation International is initiating new ways of working in Timor-Leste and PNG to develop far reaching and more sustainable localized marine management efforts. Practitioners in Timor-Leste have established sites wherein local marine management has been set up in accordance with customary law (tara bandu) and are working to embed this approach of community marine management within the broader national governance structures, regulations and laws. Whilst in PNG, practitioners are initiating ways to spread the reach of experiences, learned over the last decade in marine management, through the development of self guided interactive visual materials. These approaches have elements and principles that can be applied to any coastal community as a way forward in sustainable marine management.
Certification of beach environmental quality: Achieving marine conservation through policy for sustainable tourism
Marko Tosic, Camilo Mateo Botero, Seweryn Zielinski and Andrea Carolina Yanes: Playascorp Corporation E.U.
Legal obligation and funding are two of the principal limiting factors which can hinder or mobilize the application of scientific tools towards the achievement of marine conservation. These two important factors are typically rooted in the existence of policy, which can generate actions needed for marine conservation. Such actions can include the implementation of environmental quality monitoring programs which provide data needed for effective ecosystem management, or the implementation of coastal management plans which mitigate stresses on the marine environment. Policy for sustainable tourism can effectively mobilize such actions as it relates to beach certification. An environmental monitoring program and management plan are two of the requirements involved to certify a beach’s environmental quality, and thus policy relating to such certification has the potential to effectively mobilize actions for the achievement of marine conservation. In this symposium, the concept of beach certification policy is outlined in order to demonstrate how efforts to strengthen legislation can result in the generation of legal obligations and funding, which are typically channeled through public entities, such as a governmental coastal environmental authority, or private touristic developments, such as hotels. Benefits which can be achieved in marine conservation are shown with applications of science and management utilizing practical examples from Colombia.
Connecting people and ecosystems: How recognizing, demonstrating and capturing ecosystem service values can support conservation and development
Steven Lutz of GRID-Arendal, Jackie Alder of UNEP, Tundi Agardy of Forest Trends, Christian Neumann of GRID-Arendal, Marianne Kettunen of IEEP
Ecosystem services in the coastal and marine environment are receiving growing scientific and political attention. Science has helped us assess ecosystem services, anticipate future outcomes regarding ecosystem services delivery, and place economic value on coastal and marine habitats for the myriad services they provide. Paralleling significant effort being currently focused on economic valuation, we will explore other ways that ecosystem service information can be incorporated into marine spatial planning, MPA design, and ecosystem-based management more generally. Collectively, this information can be a powerful tool to reconcile the fields of environmental conservation and economic and social development, as ecosystems are now understood as Green Capital, a prerequisite to sustainable development. The symposium and focus group will draw on experience and approaches of a broad range of projects and initiatives: TEEB for Oceans & Coasts, Forest Trends Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program, Blue Solutions (a project by GIZ, GRID-Arendal, IUCN and UNEP), the Global Environment FacilityĶs (GEF) Blue Forests Project, the IEEP’s Assessment Guide Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas. The symposium and focus group aim to provide guidance as to how to design, implement and communicate science on marine and coastal ecosystem services, so it becomes a significant driver for coastal and marine conservation and the overall well-being of coastal communities.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Connecting people and ecosystems: How recognizing, demonstrating and capturing ecosystem service values can support conservation and development
The modeling and assessment of whale-watching impacts
Leslie New, U.S. Geologic Survey
In our symposium, we will discuss the specific research questions and hypotheses that will most benefit our understanding of the impacts of whale-watching on large cetaceans. We will achieve this through presentations addressing the behavioral and physiological effects of this potential source of disturbance, current modeling techniques to aid assessment, and the most recent technological innovations for data collection and analysis. The goal is to build a strong scientific platform from which to assess the potential effects of whale-watching, as well as address those issues most important for the conservation and management of the species of concern. In uniting these objectives, we aim to make marine science matter by specifically linking cutting edge science to its practical application. Our symposium is aimed at diverse interest groups, including, but not limited to, conservation organizations, whale-watching companies, scientists and policy makers. In the symposium, we can present our audience with the information they need to understand our topic and approach, and provide people with a brief opportunity to interact, primarily with the speakers. However, to truly develop actionable outputs in order to our make science matter, it is important that we give our diverse audience a chance to fully interact with one another so that there can be a unified approach to the assessment of whale-watching impacts.
*A focus group follows this symposium: A discussion of the needs for modeling and assessment to understand whale-watching impacts
Complementing MPAs in the management of small-scale fisheries: Other tools and approaches
Jennifer Selgrath and Kyle Gillespie: Project Seahorse, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada
We need effective approaches for management and conservation to make resource users like small-scale fisheries more sustainable in the > 1010% of the ocean that remains unprotected. Community established marine protected areas (MPAs) have become the conservation tool of choice in many coastal regions, particularly in developing countries where small-scale fisheries predominate. MPAs have led to many successes, but key MPA limitations (e.g. small size, limited overflow of biomass, inadequate enforcement) have made large scale conservation difficult to achieve in the absence of other management tools. Conservation and management efforts would benefit from a forum to think broadly about alternative approaches to MPAs and to complement and support the scattered efforts to implement other management measures. There are enormous opportunities for the sharing and development of alternative management practices. During the Complementing MPAs symposium (and focus group), we will integrate the experiences of leading conservation practitioners and academics working in small-scale fisheries management around the world. Speakers will be asked to explicitly address an agenda that focuses on three areas of fisheries management in a small-scale, resource limited context: fishing gear, institutions, and spatial measures (beyond MPAs). We will discuss the problems faced and best practices for developing and implementing tenable and innovative management approaches.
*A focus group follows this symposium: Complementing MPAs in the management of small-scale fisheries: Other tools and approaches
The real fisheries catch of the world: The sum of national reconstructions
D. Zeller, D. Pauly and D.M. Knip: Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
What do we know about global fisheries? Essentially, all we know is what member countries choose to report to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). However, research conducted over the last 10 years by the Sea Around Us project of the University of British Columbia shows that the FAO data are profoundly deficient, such that policy decisions based on its numbers are fundamentally misleading. For example, while the FAO suggests a world catch of 70-80 million tonnes with a slow decline since the 1990s reflecting a period of stability, the Sea Around Us project shows that catch have been rapidly declining since the 1980s, a feature previously masked by over-reporting from China. In addition, most countries tend to under-report their small-scale fisheries catch, which are underestimated by 30-60% for developed countries and 100-500% for developing countries. Overall, there are many countries in the world whose catch is 2-5 times higher than they report to the FAO, as assessed by careful reconstructions of their historic catch from independent sources. The Sea Around Us project has performed such reconstructions for all maritime countries of the world, providing a complete picture of the real fisheries catch of the world, which will be presented in this symposium. This new knowledge of global fisheries catch will contribute to the conservation of marine ecosystems and help ensure the food security of the 1 billion people living in coastal communities.
Advancing the integration of connectivity processes into marine conservation planning
Rebecca Weeks and Bob Pressey: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Explicit consideration of connectivity in marine conservation planning has been impeded by a paucity of empirical data, and a lack of specific, quantitative objectives. New empirical data, acquired through novel techniques such as genetic parentage and seascape analysis, have advanced our understanding of complex ecological connectivity processes. We are now in a position to advance conservation planning theory and develop new tools for spatial conservation prioritization that move beyond ensuring representation of static biodiversity features to also consider dynamic connectivity processes. Approaches include those that define patch-specific connectivity objectives (e.g. for larval recruitment to individual marine protected areas) and network analytical approaches. These new tools can be used to test the efficacy of rules of thumb in achieving quantitative, ecologically informed objectives, with lessons for the many areas without empirical connectivity data. Finally, improved understanding of ecological connectivity processes can be applied to explore interactions with policy and governance networks for resource management. This symposium will demonstrate how we can make marine science matter by developing innovative approaches to integrate cutting-edge connectivity science into conservation planning for marine reserve networks. The research presented is grounded in real conservation and management initiatives in Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Australia and Solomon Islands.