Marine and Coastal news round-up in the Western Indian Ocean Region (08 September 2017)

Date posted: 
Friday, September 8, 2017

Illegal and unregulated fishing in Seychelles impacting environment, economy

Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) in the waters of Seychelles is contributing to economic losses and environmental impacts with big implications for the island nation said Johnny Louys, a senior fisheries monitoring officer at the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA).

Although there have been limited studies on the effect of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing on the economy of Seychelles, Louys said that the consequences are evident. Fisheries contribute to Seychelles’ economy through license fees collected, port landings and transshipment of catches, fuel, port and other essential services. It is also one of the main foreign exchange earning sectors for the economy of the island nation

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Coral Reef Connected by Ocean Currents - Network Vital for their Conservation

Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. They occupy less than 0.2% of the world’s oceans, but support a treasure trove of life - around 35% of all known marine species are found on and around reefs. They are, however, under threat; climate change, ocean acidification and a range of human activities are all affecting these fragile ecosystems. Resilience to these threats is stronger when the reefs are better connected, sharing a flow of life and genes between them that helps to maintain healthier populations, but such connections are not easy to identify. By bringing together satellite observations, genetic population data and model simulations, a team led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) scientists has now traced this connectivity.

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Can corals survive climate change?

A group of international scientists, including scientists from Australia, have issued advice that more research is urgently required to determine whether corals can acclimatise and adapt to the rapid pace of climate change.  The paper titled: “Rapid adaptive responses to climate change in corals” is published today in Nature Climate Change. The paper is focused on stony, reef-building corals, which are the ‘ecosystem engineers’ of tropical coral reefs. These corals build the frameworks that provide shelter, food and habitat for an entire ecosystem. When corals are lost, the diversity and abundance of other reef organisms declines, until ultimately the ecosystem collapses.

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Increasing effective decision-making for coastal marine ecosystems

Marine restoration, rather than protection, might be the most cost-effective solution for coastal marine ecosystems suffering from human activities, a new study published in PLoS Biology has found. The University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions study examined how to best benefit coastal marine ecosystems on limited conservation budgets, to help managers better understand the trade-offs.  UQ Development Fellow Dr Megan Saunders said the researchers had developed some simple rules to guide decision-making for whether restoration or protection should occur in either marine or terrestrial environments to best benefit marine ecosystems.

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Marine protected areas in Costa Rica: How do artisanal fishers respond?

Costa Rica is considering expanding their marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve marine resources. Due to the importance of households’ responses to an MPA in defining the MPA’s ecological and economic outcomes, this paper uses an economic decision framework to interpret data from near-marine protected areas household surveys to inform this policy discussion. Because MPAs must change fishing behavior to produce conservation benefits, understanding the socioeconomic setting and fishers’ perceptions in developing MPA plans can lead to superior ecological and socioeconomic outcomes. The model and data suggest that the impact of expanding MPAs relies on levels of enforcement and non-fishing labor activities.

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Thomson Reuters: Entering Uncharted Waters – Ocean Conservation Key To The Future

To glimpse into the future in all its complexity, challenge and opportunity, we need only to explore the state of the world’s coasts, whose fate will be determined by the actions we take over the coming generation.  In Madagascar, a growing number of coastal communities have declared locally managed marine areas using customary laws to rebuild local fisheries and protect threatened marine biodiversity. This approach has proven to be a cost-effective, scalable and socially acceptable solution to the challenges facing Madagascar’s otherwise open access marine resources. Thousands of nautical miles away, the people of Koon island, Indonesia have long been applying traditional wisdom in managing their fishing resources.

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Opportunity with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat 

Consultancy opening for support to the Inception Phase of the UNDP-GEF project entitled ‘Western Indian Ocean Large Marine Ecosystems Strategic Action Programme Policy Harmonization and Institutional Reforms - SAPPHIRE.

Deadline for application: Thursday, 14 September 2017. 

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