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Marine-Related Learning Networks: Shifting the Paradigm Toward Collaborative Ocean Governance

Formal and semi-formal networks are emerging as effective, collaborative, and adaptable approaches for addressing complex, rapidly evolving ocean governance issues. One such group of networks, which we refer to as marine-related learning networks, play multifaceted roles within ocean governance systems by facilitating knowledge creation, exchange, and dissemination, and by building the capacity of individuals and institutions to address problems and improve coastal and ocean governance.

Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

Over the last decades scientists have discovered that seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves – “blue carbon” ecosystems – are among the most intensive carbon sinks in the biosphere. By sequestering and storing significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, blue carbon ecosystems help mitigate climate change. But conversion and degradation of these ecosystems can also release billions of tons of CO2  and other greenhouse gases into the ocean and atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

eDNA metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool for marine protected areas

Monitoring of marine protected areas (MPAs) is critical for marine ecosystem management, yet current protocols rely on SCUBA-based visual surveys that are costly and time consuming, limiting their scope and effectiveness. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is a promising alternative for marine ecosystem monitoring, but more direct comparisons to visual surveys are needed to understand the strengths and limitations of each approach.

Effects of whale-based tourism in Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga: Behavioural responses of humpback whales to vessel and swimming tourism activities

Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga, is a well-established whale-watching destination in the South Pacific. Between July and October, the waters around the archipelago represent one of the most important breeding grounds for Oceania humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). The Tongan government allows tourist swimming activities with whales and tour operators strongly promote the practice of swimming-with-whales, focusing primarily on mother-calf pairs.

Mitochondrial DNA Profiling to Combat the Illegal Trade in Tortoiseshell Products

Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are exploited for their beautiful shell known as tortoiseshell or bekko, making them extremely vulnerable in the illegal global trade of tortoiseshell products. In this study, we developed an effective, standardized method using a commercially available kit to extract DNA and obtain informative mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences (~800 bp) from hawksbill turtle products in order to trace the sample back to a likely stock origin.

Gender equality is diluted in commitments made to small-scale fisheries

Gender equality is a mainstream principle of good environmental governance and sustainable development. Progress toward gender equality in the fisheries sector is critical for effective and equitable development outcomes in coastal countries. However, while commitments to gender equality have surged at global, regional and national levels, little is known about how this principle is constructed, and implemented across different geographies and contexts. Consequently, progress toward gender equality is difficult to assess and navigate.

Coral reef conservation in Solomon Islands: Overcoming the policy implementation gap

This policy gap analysis identifies threats to coral reefs, evaluates the effectiveness of the existing legal framework to address these threats, and formulates recommendations to strengthen community-based natural resource management in Solomon Islands. Coral reefs are of crucial importance for food security and rural livelihoods in the archipelago. Logging is a major, yet often overlooked, threat to coral reefs in the country. Large-scale logging operations cause massive erosion, which has a detrimental effect on water quality.

How far have we come? A review of MPA network performance indicators in reaching qualitative elements of Aichi Target 11

Effective networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are explicitly recognized and called for in international biodiversity conservation strategies such as the Aichi Targets. While various indicators have been proposed to assess effectiveness of individual MPAs, no comprehensive set of indicators exists for MPA networks, particularly for Aichi Target 11. The qualitative elements of this target recognize the value of social, economic, governance, and ecological factors in achieving effective biodiversity conservation.

Locally-managed marine areas: multiple objectives and diverse strategies

Community-based management and co-management are mainstream approaches to marine conservation and sustainable resource management. In the tropical Pacific, these approaches have proliferated through locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs). LMMAs have garnered support because of their adaptability to different contexts and focus on locally identified objectives, negotiated and implemented by stakeholders. While LMMA managers may be knowledgeable about their specific sites, broader understanding of objectives, management actions and outcomes of local management efforts remain limited.

Occurrence and abundance of meso and microplastics in sediment, surface waters, and marine biota from the South Pacific region

Data on the occurrence and abundance of meso and microplastics for the South Pacific are limited and there is urgent need to fill this knowledge gap. The main aim of the study was to apply a rapid screening method, based on the fluorescence tagging of polymers using Nile red, to determine the concentration of meso and microplastics in biota, sediment and surface waters near the capital cities of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. A spatial investigation was carried out for sediment, biota and water as well as a temporal assessment for sediment for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018).