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Managing Bay and Estuarine Ecosystems for Multiple Services

Managers are moving from a model of managing individual sectors, human activities, or ecosystem services to an ecosystem-based management (EBM) approach which attempts to balance the range of services provided by ecosystems. Applying EBM is often difficult due to inherent tradeoffs in managing for different services. This challenge particularly holds for estuarine systems, which have been heavily altered in most regions and are often subject to intense management interventions. Estuarine managers can often choose among a range of management tactics to enhance a particular service; although some management actions will result in strong tradeoffs, others may enhance multiple services simultaneously. Management of estuarine ecosystems could be improved by distinguishing between optimal management actions for enhancing multiple services and those that have severe tradeoffs. (Click link below for more).

Needles, L.A., Lester, S.E., Ambrose, R., Andren, A., Beyeler, M., Connor, M.S., Eckman, J.E., Costa-Pierce, B.A., Gaines, S.D., Lafferty, K.D., Lenihan, H.S., Parrish, J., Peterson, M.S., Scaroni, A.E., Weis, J.S., Wendt, D.E. Managing Bay and Estuarine Ecosystems for Multiple Services. Estuaries and Coasts. 38(1): 35-48. 2015.


Integrating Scientific Guidance into Marine Spatial Planning

Marine spatial planning (MSP), whereby areas of the ocean are zoned for different uses, has great potential to reduce or eliminate conflicts between competing management goals, but only if strategically applied. The recent literature overwhelmingly agrees that including stakeholders in these planning processes is critical to success; but, given the countless alternative ways even simple spatial regulations can be configured, how likely is it that a stakeholder- driven process will generate plans that deliver on the promise of MSP? Here, we use a spatially explicit, dynamic bioeconomic model to show that stakeholder-generated plans are doomed to fail in the absence of strong scientific guidance. While strategically placed spatial regulations can improve outcomes remarkably, the vast majority of possible plans fail to achieve this potential. Surprisingly, existing scientific rules of thumb do little to improve outcomes. Here, we develop an alternative approach in which models are used to identify efficient plans, which are then modified by stakeholders. Even if stakeholders alter these initial proposals considerably, results hugely outperform plans guided by scientific rules of thumb. (Click link below for more).

Rassweiler, A., Costello, C., Hilborn, R., Siegel, D.A. Integrating scientific guidance into marine spatial planning. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  281: 20132252. 2014.


Securing Ocean Benefits for Society in the Face of Climate Change

Benefits humans rely on from the ocean– marine ecosystem services– are increasingly vulnerable under future climate. This paper reviews how three valued services have, and will continue to, shift under climate change:(1) capture fisheries, (2) food from aquaculture, and (3) protection from coastal hazards such as storms and sea-level rise. Climate adaptation planning is just beginning for fisheries, aquaculture production, and risk mitigation for coastal erosion and inundation. A few examples are highlighted, showing the promise of considering multiple ecosystem services in developing approaches to adapt to sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and rising sea temperatures. Ecosystem-based adaptation in fisheries and along coastlines and changes in aquaculture practices can improve resilience of species and habitats to future environmental challenges. Opportunities to use market incentives– such as compensation for services or nutrient trading schemes– are relatively untested in marine systems.  Relocation of communities in response to rising sea levels illustrates the urgent need to manage human activities and investments in ecosystems to provide a sustainable flow of benefits in the face of future climate change. (Click link below for more).

Ruckelshaus, M., Doney, S.C., Galindo, H.M., Barry, J.P., Chan, F., Duffy, J.E., English, C.A., Gaines, S.D., Grebmeier, J.M., Hollowed, A.B., Knowlton, N., Polovina, J., Rabalaism, N.N., Sydeman, W.J., Talley, L.D. Securing Ocean Benefits for Society in the Face of Climate Change. Marine Policy. 40: 154-159. 2013.


Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification

Widespread concern over global fish stocks has prompted an increase in research and initiatives aimed at rebuilding ailing fisheries and incentivizing sustainable fishing practices. This promising focus on solutions coincides with a burgeoning consumer and retailer demand for environmentally friendly products. Sustainability certification, labeling, and consumer guides help eco-minded consumers identify products that meet their standards. These tools offer an immense opportunity to incentivize sustainability. Yet, while the growing number of seafood certification programs and consumer seafood guides fuel and inform demand, the pace of change is slow. One key barrier to progress is the significant lag between the implementation of reforms and the recovery of fish stocks. Without preemptive credits within certification protocols for conservation actions that can be expected to benefit the stock over time, the incentives for reforms may be limited. (Click link below for more).

Plos Biology logo croppedLester, S. E., Costello, C., Rassweiler, A., Gaines, S. D., Deadon, R. Encourage Sustainability by Giving Credit for Marine Protected Areas in Seafood Certification. PLoS Biology, 2013.


Status and Solutions for the World's Unassessed Fisheries

Recent reports suggest that many well-assessed fisheries in developed countries are moving toward sustainability. We examined whether the same conclusion holds for fisheries lacking formal assessment, which comprise >80% of global catch. We developed a method using species’ life-history, catch, and fishery development data to estimate the status of thousands of unassessed fisheries worldwide. We found that small unassessed fisheries are in substantially worse condition than assessed fisheries, but that large unassessed fisheries may be performing nearly as well as their assessed counterparts. Both small and large stocks, however, continue to decline; 64% of unassessed stocks could provide increased sustainable harvest if rebuilt. Our results suggest that global fishery recovery would simultaneously create increases in abundance (56%) and fishery yields (8 to 40%). (Click link below for more).

science.jpg Costello, C., Ovando, D., Hilborn, R., Gaines, S.D., Deschenes, O., Lester, S.E. Status and Solutions for the World's Unassessed Fisheries. Science. 338(6106): 517-520. 2012.


Conservation incentives and collective choices in cooperative fisheries

Cooperatives are increasingly proposed as solutions for sustainable fisheries management. While individual case studies and economic theory suggest that cooperatives may manage fisheries effectively under some conditions, there is little empirical evidence comparing the actions of cooperative fisheries across a diverse set of environments. This study applies a standardized survey method to collect data from a set of cooperatively managed fisheries from around the globe, documenting their social, economic, and ecological settings as well as the cooperative behaviors in which they engage and they role they play in conservation. (Click link below for more).

Ovando, D. A., Deacon, R. T., Lester, S. E., Costello, C., Van Leuvan, T., Mcllwain, C., Strauss, K., Arbuckle, M., Fujita, R., Gelcich, S., and Uchida, H. Conservation incentives and collective choices in cooperative fisheries. Marine Policy, 2012.


Evaluating tradeoffs among ecosystem services to inform MSP

A central challenge for natural resource management is developing rigorous yet practical approaches for balancing the costs and benefits of diverse human uses of ecosystems. Economic theory has a long history of evaluating tradeoffs in returns from different assets to identify optimal investment strategies. There has been recent progress applying this framework to the delivery of ecosystem services in land use planning. However, despite growing national and international interest in marine spatial planning, there is a lack of parallel frameworks in the marine realm. (Click link below for more).

Lester, S. E., Costello, C., Halpern, B.S., Gaines, S. D., White, C., and Barth, J.A. Evaluating tradeoffs among ecosystem services to inform marine spatial planning. Marine Policy, 2012.


An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean

The ocean plays a critical role in supporting human well-being, from providing food, livelihoods and recreational opportunities to regulating the global climate. Sustainable management aimed at maintaining the flow of a broad range of benefits from the ocean requires a comprehensive and quantitative method to measure and monitor the health of coupled human–ocean systems. We created an index comprising ten diverse public goals for a healthy coupled human–ocean system and calculated the index for every coastal country. (Click link below for more).

Halpern, B.S., Longo, C., Hardy, D., McLeod, K.L., Samhouri, J.F., Katona, S.K., Kleisner, K., Lester, S.E., O'Leary, J., Ranalletti, M., Rosenberg, A.A., Scarborough, C., Selig, E.R., Best, B.D., Brumbaugh, D.R., Chapin, F.S., Crowder, L.B., Daly, K.L., Doney, S.C., Elfes, C., Fogarty, M.J., Gaines, S.D., Jacobsen, K.I., Karrer, L.B., Leslie, H.M., Neeley, E., Pauly, D., Polasky, S., Ris, B., St Martin, K., Stone, G.S., Sumaila, U.R., and Zeller, D. An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean. Nature. 488: 615-622. 2012.


Other SFG Publications

Fisheries Management and Marine Conservation

Cabral, R.B., Mamauag, S.S. and Aliño, P.M. Designing a marine protected areas network in a data-limited situation. Marine Policy. 59:64-76. 2015.

J. Wilson, White, A. Scholz, A. Rassweiler, C. Steinback, L. Botsford, S. Kruse, C. Costello, S. Mitarai, D. Siegel, P. Drake and Christopher A. Edwards. A comparison of approaches used for economic analysis in marine protected area network planning in California. Ocean and Coastal Management. 2013.

Costello, C., Gaines, S., and Gerber, L. Conservation Science: A market approach to saving the whales. Nature. 481: 139-140. 2012.

Rassweiler, A., Costello, C., and Siegel, D.A. Marine protected areas and the value of spatially optimized fishery management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109(29): 11884-11889. 2012.

White, C., Halpern, B.S., and Kappel, C.V. Ecosystem service tradeoff analysis reveals the value of marine spatial planning for multiple ocean uses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109(12): 4696-4701. 2012.

White, C., C. Costello, B. E. Kendall, and C. J. Brown. The value of coordinated management of interacting ecosystem services. Ecology Letters DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01773.x. 2012.

Kay, M., H Lenihan, C Guenther, J. Wilson, C. Miller, S. Shrout. Collaborative assessment of California spiny lobster population and fishery responses to a marine reserve network. Ecological Applications. 22(1), 322–335. 2012.

Kay, M. C. and J. R. Wilson. Spatially explicit mortality of California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) across a marine reserve network. Environmental Conservation doi:10.1017/S0376892911000695. 2012.

Hamilton SL, Wilson JR, Ben-Horin T, Caselle JE. Utilizing Spatial Demographic and Life History Variation to Optimize Sustainable Yield of a Temperate Sex-Changing Fish. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24580. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024580. 2011.

Watson, J.R., D.A. Siegel, B.E. Kendall, S. Mitarai, A. Rassweiller, and S.D. Gaines. 2011. Identifying critical regions in small-world marine metapopulations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 108: 17583-17584, E907-E913.

C. White and C. Costello. Matching spatial property rights fisheries with scales of fish dispersal. Ecological Applications, 21(2):350–362, 2011.

Halpern, B. S., S. E. Lester and J.B. Kellner. Spillover from marine reserves and the replenishment of fished stocks. Environmental Conservation. 2010. doi:10.1017/S0376892910000032.

White, C., J. Watson, K.A. Selkoe, D.A. Siegel, D.C. Zacherl and R.J.Toonen. Ocean Currents Help Explain Population Genetic Structure. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. 2010. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.2214

Halpern, B. S., S. E. Lester and K. McLeod. Placing marine protected areas onto the ecosystem-based management seascape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107(43): 18312-18317. 2010.

Gaines, S.D., C. White, M.H. Carr and S.R. Palumbi. Designing marine reserve networks for both conservation and fisheries management . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107(43): 18286-18293. 2010.

Costello, C., A. Rassweiler, D. Siegel, G. DeLeo, F. Micheli, and A. Rosenberg. The value of spatial information in MPA network design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 170(43): 18294-18299. 2010.

White, C. Density Dependence and the Economic Efficacy of Marine Reserves. Theoretical Ecology. 2:127–138. 2009.

science.jpgLynham, J., C. Costello, S. Gaines, R.Q. Grafton and J. Prince. Diverse fisheries require diverse solutions response . Science. 323 (5912): 338-339. 2009.


Costello, C., S. Gaines and J. Lynham. Can catch shares prevent fisheries collapse? Science. 321: 1678-1681. 2008.

White, C., B. Kendall, S. Gaines, D. Siegel and C. Costello. Marine reserve effects on fishery profit. Ecology Letters. 11(4): 370-379.  2008.


Fisheries Economics, Law, and Policy

Deacon, R., D. Parker and C. Costello. Reforming Fisheries: Lessons from a  Self-selected Cooperative. Journal of Law and Economics. Volume 56 Issue 1, 83-125. 2013.

Deacon, R. Fishery Management by Harvester Cooperatives. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy. Volume 6, Issue 2 (Summer 2012) 258-277.

Deacon, R. and D. Ovando. Fishery Cooperatives as a Management Institution. Encyclopedia of Resource, Energy, and Environmental Economics, Elsevier.

Deacon, R. Pathways to Fishery Reform: Accounting for Political Economy. In Donald R. Leal, ed., Political Economy of Natural Resource Use: Lessons for Fishery Reform. World Bank: Washington DC., (2011): 119-142.

Deacon, R., D. Finnoff and J. Tschirhart. Regulated Incomplete Ownership, Capacity Restrictions and Rent Dissipation. Resource and Energy Economics. Volume 33, Issue 2, (May 2011): 366-380.

Deacon, R., N. Parker and C. Costello. Improving efficiency by assigning harvest rights to fishery cooperatives: evidence from the Chignik Salmon Co-op.Arizona Law Review.  50(2): 479-509. 2008.

Costello, C. and S. Polasky.Optimal harvesting of stochastic spatial resources. Journal of Environmental Economics & Management. 56: 1-18. 2008.

Costello, C. and D. Kaffine.Natural resource use with limited tenure property rights.Journal of Environmental Economics & Management. 55(1): 20-36. 2008.

Costello, C. and R. Deacon. Efficiency gains from fully delineating rights in an ITQ fishery. Marine Resource Economics. 22: 347-361. 2007.


Reports and Policy Briefs

Costello, C., B.P. Kinlan, S.E. Lester and S.D. Gaines. The economic value of rebuilding fisheries. Report to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In press. 2010.

Deacon, R. Creating Marine Assets: Property Rights in Ocean Fisheries, PERC Policy Series, No. 43, Property and Environment Research Center, Bozeman MT, January 2009.

Kinlan, B.P., S.E. Lester, C. Costello and S.D. Gaines. Bio-economic modeling of management reform and value increases in the New England sea scallop fishery .  Report to Environmental Defense Fund. September 1, 2009. 133 pp.

Ng, M. Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Recreational Catch Share Analysis. Report to Environmental Defense Fund.  May 5, 2009. 29 pp.

Costello, C., S.D. Gaines, B.P. Kinlan and J. Lynham. 2008. Bio-economic rapid assessment tool for fisheries reform in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Report to Environmental Defense Fund.  August 15, 2008. 69 pp.



Photo credits:

  1. Cortes, Philippines - Gavin MacDonald, SFG
  2. Cortes Meeting - Michaela Clemence, SFG
  3. Turneffe, Belize - Gavin MacDonald, SFG
  4. Halibut – Gerick Bergsma, 2010 Marine Photobank
  5. Anchovies – Jill Matsuyama, Flickr
  6. Catch - Katherine Siegel, SFG
  7. Indonesian boat – Dawn Dougherty
  8. Salmon farm – Tom Crowley, Marine Photobank
  9. Kelp – NOAA