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Poor fisheries struggle with U.S. import rule



IN THEIR POLICY Forum “U.S. seafood import restriction presents opportunity and risk” (16 December, p. 1372), R. Williams et al. describe some possible effects of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rule requiring that seafood imported into the United States must come from fisheries that comply with the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Williams et al. point out that if fisheries are not adequately supported as they try to comply with the regulations, the rule could exacerbate difficulties experienced in poor fishing communities.....
10 MARCH 2017 • VOL 355 ISSUE 6329 1031SCIENCE
Poor fisheries struggle
with U.S. import rule
IN THEIR POLICY Forum “U.S. seafood
import restriction presents opportunity and
risk” (16 December, p. 1372), R. Williams
et al. describe some possible effects of the
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) rule requiring that
seafood imported into the United States
must come from fisheries that comply with
the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act
(MMPA). Williams et al. point out that if
fisheries are not adequately supported as
they try to comply with the regulations, the
rule could exacerbate difficulties experienced
in poor fishing communities. We are an
international group of marine mammal and
fisheries scientists funded by NOAA’s Office
of International Affairs to assess the risk
of marine mammal bycatch in small-scale
fisheries in Southeast Asia (1). Based on our
recent research trip to marine fisheries and
research institutes in Thailand, Vietnam,
and Malaysia, we believe that exporting
nations will have trouble achieving and
documenting compliance with the MMPA
within the 5-year grace period.
From our work with local authori-
ties, scientists, and fishing communities
in these developing nations, we believe
that the first hurdle will be galvanizing
action from government agencies, fishery
managers, and fishers. Conservation-driven
Edited by Jennifer Sills
policies will likely hold little weight with
these constituents, given the intense eco-
nomic needs in these countries. Because
top-down management approaches may
be met with resistance, the United States
needs to work closely with regional part-
ners to ensure that the benefits of MMPA
rule compliance are understood across all
levels, from management through to single
fish suppliers and fishers.
The second hurdle relates to the consid-
erable data requirements needed within
the 5-year grace period to fulfill MMPA
standards, such as the calculation of the
Potential Biological Removal of species at
risk. To our knowledge, this has only been
reported for one marine mammal species
in Southeast Asia (2). This knowledge gap
is compounded by the largely unreported
nature of marine mammal bycatches and
marine mammal population distributions
(3). A lack of robust quantitative data
should not, however, mean that manage-
ment (4) and data collection cannot begin
now. Local capacity strengthening should
guide regional monitoring programs and the
identification of at-risk locations over the
next 5 years.
Most of the countries exporting to the
United States are dominated by a small
number of fish products (5), which does
generate hope for future compliance.
Whether this compliance happens before
2022 remains questionable, given that clear
product identifications, certifications, and
traceability are also still widely lacking.
Low MMPA compliance after the grace
period could mean economic losses for these
exporting fisheries and an overall increase
in fishing effort to compensate for new
trades with less lucrative markets than the
United States. This will have clear negative
impacts on both marine mammal and fish
populations. Greater collaboration between
government fisheries and conservation
departments will be essential to codevelop
locally supported strategies that regulate
fisheries, specifically to design a suite of
approaches to measure and mitigate bycatch
of marine mammals.
Andrew F. Johnson,1* Marjolaine Caillat,2
Gregory M. Verutes,3 Cindy Peter,4
Chalatip Junchompoo,5 Vu Long,6 Louisa
S. Ponnampalam,7,8 Rebecca L. Lewison,9
Ellen M. Hines2
1Gulf of California Marine Program, Center for
Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Marine
Biology Research Division, The Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, La Jolla, San Diego CA 92093-0205,
USA. 2Department of Geography and Environment,
Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies,
San Francisco State University, Tiburon, CA 94920,
USA. 3National Audubon Society, San Francisco,
CA 94104, USA. 4Institute of Biodiversity and
Environmental Conservation, University Malaysia
Sarawak, Sarawak, Malaysia. 5Department of Marine
and Coastal Resources, Eastern Marine and Coastal
Resources Research Center, Rayong, Thailand.
6Vietnam Marine Mammal Network and The School
of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Anglesey, LL59
5AB, UK. 7Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences,
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
8The MareCet Research Organization, Shah Alam,
Malaysia. 9San Diego State University,
San Di ego, CA 92182, US A.
*Corresponding author. Email:
1. NOAA Fisheries International Cooperation and Assistance
Program (NOAA-NMFS-FHQ-2016-2004689).
2. E. Hines et al., Front. Mar. Sci. 2, 63 (2015).
A fisherman casts his net
on a lake in Thailand.
DA_0310Letters.indd 1031 3/8/17 11:22 AM
Published by AAAS
3. R. R. Reeves et al., Endangered Species Res. 20, 71 (2013).
4. R. E. Johannes, TREE 13, 6 (1998).
5. National Marine Fisheries Service, Commercial
Fisheries Statistics (
Fossil data lacking for
insects and fungi
IN THEIR REVIEW “Merging paleobiol-
ogy with conservation biology to guide
the future of terrestrial ecosystems” (10
February, p. 594), A. D. Barnosky et al.
describe the value of using paleobiological
information for conservation manage-
ment. Paleobiological information can
be useful to understand how ecosystems
can be maintained or restored, but lack
of fossil data for many important taxa
(particularly insects and fungi) hampers a
full ecosystem approach.
Insects represent 80% of the described
species (and probably even more of the
undescribed species). They play vital roles
that exceed the function of vertebrates
in many ecosystems (1). Other neglected
taxa, such as fungi, are also crucial for
ecosystem function (2). Focusing on
paleobiological information alone would
neglect the majority of species. A simpli-
fied view on ecosystem function (using
taxon-free measures that ignore species
identities) may even justify the biotic
homogenization of ecosystems in different
locations. Replacing unique communities
of species by functional equivalents may
be easy, but would not halt biodiversity
loss. As Barnosky et al. suggest, tackling
the underlying drivers of biodiversity
loss (particularly controlling human
Insects, such as this mountain grasshopper
(Cophopodisma pyrenaea), are among the most
important primary consumers in many ecosystems,
but paleobiological information about them is lacking.
DA_0310Letters.indd 1032 3/8/17 11:22 AM
Published by AAAS
population growth) is crucial to reaching
global conservation targets.
Axel Hochkirch
Department of Biogeography, Trier University,
D-54286 Trier, Germany and IUCN SSC
Invertebrate Conservation Sub-Committee.
1. E. O. Wil son, Conserv. Biol. 1, 344 (1987).
2. D. A. Wardle et al., Science 304, 1629 (2004).
Mexicos ambiguous
invasive species plan
ON 7 DECEMBER 2016, the federal govern-
ment of Mexico published an Agreement
listing Exotic Invasive Species for Mexico
(1). However, the report contains inaccurate
information about the species and ambigu-
ous measures regarding the prevention,
control, and eradication of these species.
Presenting such imprecise information
could undermine the goals of the report.
The Agreement will not be effective until
it provides more information. For example,
it must accurately delineate both the native
ranges and the areas of invasion, particu-
larly for the 46 native taxa listed. It should
link to a database of synonyms that can
help policy-makers and wildlife law enforce-
ment agents deal with the dynamic nature
of taxonomy. It should provide temporal
baselines of invasion, including information
about when each species arrived in Mexico,
as well as degree of invasiveness (not all
exotic species become invasive) (2). The
current version of the list omits several very
damaging species. The Agreement does not
address conflict with other national and
international legislation (3–6). Finally, the
report should clearly specify a procedure for
dealing with exotic invasive species (7).
Two examples serve to illustrate these
issues. First, Boa constrictor, listed as
an exotic invasive, is suspected to have
been introduced in Cozumel Island, but is
native to both coasts of the country. Since
the place of invasion is not specified,
eradication measures might be errone-
ously implemented in its native range.
Alternatively, it could be invasive and
remain unchecked on Cozumel because
it is also on the Mexican official list of
threatened species (4) and in CITES
Appendix II (6).
Second, there are several exotic invasive
fishes not listed in the agreement, such as
cichlids and carps that were introduced
for aquaculture under government initia-
tives (8). They are very profitable, with
~US$20 million in sales of carp alone
in 2014 (9). These fish should be added
to the Agreement’s list so that adequate
measures, such as their contained produc-
tion and environmental assessments of
the potentially threatened species, can be
implemented. This would allow the aqua-
culture efforts to continue while ensuring
that the fish do not cause damage to
native fish and endemic ambystomatid
salamanders (10).
These issues require urgent attention
for the Mexican government’s initiative to
be effective. We call on the authorities to
take action.
Leticia M. Ochoa-Ochoa,1*
Oscar A. Flores-Villela,1 César A. Ríos-
Muñoz,2 Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales,2
Martha Martínez-Gordillo3
1Museo de Zoología “Alfonso L. Herrera,” Facultad
de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de
México, Mexico City, 04510, Mexico. 2Laboratorio de
Arqueozoología, Instituto Nacional de Antropología
e Historia, Mexico City, 06060, Mexico. 3Herbario
de la Facultad de Ciencias, Facultad de Ciencias,
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,
Mexico City, 04510, Mexico.
*Corresponding author.
1. SEMARNAT, Diario Oficial de la Federación DCCLIX (3a.
Sec), 2-52 (2016);
go=5464456&fecha=07/12/2016 [in Spanish].
2. M. Vilà et al., Ecol. Lett . 14, 702 (2011).
3. SAGARPA, Diario Oficial de la Federación DCCLL (1a. Sec.),
91-65 (2016) [in Spanish].
4. SEMARNAT, Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059-
SEMARNAT-2010, Diario Oficial de la Federación
DCLXXXVII (2a. Sec) 1-77 (2010) [in Spanish].
5. SENASICA, Sistema Integral de Referencia para la Vigilancia
Epidemiológica Fitosanitaria (SAGARPA, Mexico City, 2017); [in Spanish].
6. CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, Appendices I, II and III
(CITE S, 2017) .
7. C A N S E I , Estrategia Nacional Sobre Especies Invasoras en
México, Prevención, Control y Erradicación (CONABIO-
CONANP-SEMARNAT, México, D.F., 2010) [in Spanish].
8. L. E. Amador-del-Ángel, A. T. Wakida-Kusunoki, in Especies
acuáticas invasoras en México, R. E. Mendoz a, P. Koleff, Eds.
(CONABIO, México, D.F., 2014), pp. 425–433 [in Spanish].
9. CONAPESCA, Anuario de Producción Base de Datos.
(CONAPESCA, 2015);
[in Spanish].
10. P. Frías-Alvarez, J. J. Zúñiga-Vega, O. Flores-Villela, Bio di v.
Cons. 19, 3699 (2010).
Erratum for the Letter “The promise of nega-
tive emissions” by K. S. Lackner and 45 addi-
tional signatories, Science 355, aam9284 (2017).
Published online 10 February 2017; 10.1126/science.
Erratum for the Report “Volcanic tremor and
plume height hysteresis from Pavlof Volcano,
Alaska” by D. Fee et al., Science 355, aam7405
(2017). Published online 20 January 2017; 10.1126/
DA_0310Letters.indd 1033 3/8/17 11:22 AM
Published by AAAS
... This provision requires foreign fisheries that export seafood to the U.S. to develop regulatory management that includes estimates of marine mammal abundance, bycatch assessments as well as the implementation of mitigation efforts, and the establishment of programs to monitor and report bycatch (Oceanic National and Administration Atmospheric [NOAA], 2016). SSF's may struggle to comply with these provisions, though building relationships between managers and other stakeholders is encouraged to guide initial regional programs and data collection (Johnson et al., 2017). Although not all fishers in the northern Peru region export to U.S. markets, the presence of conservation measures may have a spill-over effect on SSF practices and handling of bycatch (Williams et al., 2016). ...
... Historically, bycatch management and legislation in Peru has come from a top-down approach with a heavier focus on small cetaceans (Van Waerebeek et al., 1997, 2002. Engaging key stakeholders (i.e., the fishers) can help strengthen local capacity for assessing large cetacean entanglements (Johnson et al., 2017;Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2018). Overall, we received positive feedback from the map outputs from fishers, who expressed a specific interest in the temporal overlap of the species distributions and fishing areas. ...
Full-text available
Uncertainties about the magnitude of bycatch in poorly assessed fisheries impede effective conservation management. In northern Peru, small-scale fisheries (SSF) bycatch negatively impacts marine megafauna populations and the livelihoods of fishers which is further elevated by the under-reporting of incidents. Within the last decade, accounts of entangled humpback whales (HBW) ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) off the northern coast of Peru have increased, while Eastern Pacific leatherback turtles (LBT) ( Dermochelys coriacea ) have seen over a 90% decline in nesting populations related in large part to bycatch mortality. By leveraging the experience and knowledge of local fishers, our research objectives were to use a low-cost public participation mapping approach to provide a spatio-temporal assessment of bycatch risk for HBW and LBT off two Peruvian fishing ports. We used an open-source, geographic information systems (GIS) model, the Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA), as our platform. Broadly, ByRA identifies high bycatch risk areas by estimating the intersection of fishing areas (i.e., stressors) with species habitat and evaluating the exposure and consequence of possible interaction between the two. ByRA outputs provided risk maps and gear risk percentages categorized as high, medium, and low for the study area and seven subzones for HBW in the austral winter and LBT in the austral summer. Overall, the highest bycatch risk for both species was identified within gillnet fisheries near the coast. Bycatch risk for most gear types decreased with distance from the coast. When we separated the ByRA model by port, our map outputs indicate that bycatch management should be port specific, following seasonal and spatial variations for HBW, and specific fishing gear impacts for HBW and LBT. Combined with direct bycatch mitigation techniques, ByRA can be a supportive and informative tool for addressing specific bycatch threats and marine megafauna conservation goals. ByRA supports a participatory framework offering rapid visual information via risk maps and replicable methods for areas with limited resources and data on fisheries and species habitat.
... Otherwise, if these investments are not made, it could have little effect other than inflicting economic hardship on fishing communities, many of which are already poor and struggling. Similarly, after assessing the risk of marine mammal bycatch in small-scale fisheries in Southeast Asia, Johnson et al. (2017) concluded that export countries will have trouble achieving and documenting compliance with the rule within the 5-year exemption period. ...
Full-text available
Bycatch in marine fisheries is the leading source of human-caused mortality for marine mammals, has contributed to substantial declines of many marine mammal populations and species, and the extinction of at least one. Schemes for evaluating marine mammal bycatch largely rely on estimates of abundance and bycatch, which are needed for calculating biological reference points and for determining conservation status. However, obtaining these estimates is resource intensive and takes careful long-term planning. The need for assessments of marine mammal bycatch in fisheries is expected to increase worldwide due to the recently implemented Import Provisions of the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act. Managers and other stakeholders need reliable, standardized methods for collecting data to estimate abundance and bycatch rates. In some cases, managers will be starting with little or no data and no system in place to collect data. We outline a comprehensive framework for managing bycatch of marine mammals. We describe and provide guidance on (1) planning for an assessment of bycatch, (2) collecting appropriate data (e.g., abundance and bycatch estimates), (3) assessing bycatch and calculating reference points, and (4) using the results of the assessment to guide marine mammal bycatch reduction. We also provide a brief overview of available mitigation techniques to reduce marine mammal bycatch in various fisheries. This paper provides information for scientists and resource managers in the hope that it will lead to new or improved programs for assessing marine mammal bycatch, establishing best practices, and enhancing marine mammal conservation globally.
... Countries with relevant fisheries exporting to the United States have 5 yr from January 2017 to document their compliance. In many of these countries there are significant data gaps on marine mammal distribution and abundance and bycatch rates, especially in developing countries (Williams et al. 2016, Johnson et al. 2017). The MMPA rule and similar regulations from the European Union (e.g. ...
Full-text available
Marine mammal bycatch poses a particular challenge in developing countries, where data to document bycatch and its effects are often lacking. Using the Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA) toolkit, based on InVEST open-source models, we chose 4 field sites in Southeast Asia with varying amounts of data on marine mammals and fishing occurrence: Trat province in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, the Sibu-Tinggi Islands and Kuching Bay, Malaysia, and Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve in southwestern Vietnam. These field sites have similar species of coastal marine mammals, small-scale and commercial fisheries, and support for research from universities and/or management. In Thailand and Kuching, results showed changing patterns of fishing and Irrawaddy dolphin Orcaella brevirostris habitat use across seasons, showing how bycatch risk could change throughout the year. Risk maps for dugongs Dugong dugon in peninsular Malaysia highlighted patterns of bycatch risk concentrated around a mainland fishing pier, and revealed high risk in a northern subregion. In Vietnam, first maps of bycatch risk for the Irrawaddy dolphin showed the highest risk driven by intensive use of gillnets and trawling gear. ByRA pinpointed areas of spatial and seasonal bycatch exposure, and estimated the consequence of bycatch on local species, providing managers with critical information on where to focus bycatch mitigation and meet new global standards for US Marine Mammal Protection Act and other international regulation (e.g. Official Journal of the European Union 2019; Regulation 2019/1241) compliance. The toolbox, a transferable open-source tool, can be used to guide fisheries management, marine mammal conservation, spatial planning, and further research.
... ByRA outputs are spatially and temporally explicit, utilize existing data sources (e.g., Ponnampalam et al., 2014;Peter et al., 2016), community perspectives, and the human dimension of marine megafauna conservation (Hines et al., 2005;Teh et al., 2015). To date, the tool has been applied for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) and dugongs (IUCN, 2017a,b) in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand as the implementation of a new trade policy looms for these and other nations that currently export wild-caught seafood to the United States Johnson et al., 2017). ...
Full-text available
Conservation of marine megafauna is nested within an intricate tapestry of multiple ocean resource uses which are, in turn, embedded in a dynamic and complex ecological ocean system that varies and shifts across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Marine megafauna conservation is often further complicated by contemporaneous, and sometimes competing, social, economic, and ecological factors and related management objectives. Advances in emerging technologies and applications, such as remotely-sensed oceanographic data, animal-based telemetry, novel computational analyses, innovations in structured decision making, and stakeholder engagement and policy are supporting complex systems and complexity-aware approaches to megafauna conservation and research. Here we discuss several applications that focus on megafauna fisheries bycatch and exemplify how complex systems and complexity-aware approaches that inherently acknowledge and account for the complexity of ocean systems can advance megafauna conservation and research. Emerging technologies, applications and approaches that embrace, rather than ignore, complexity can drive innovation and success in megafauna conservation and research.
Kuching Bay is a significant area for artisanal fishing activities as well as an Important Marine Mammal Area (IMMA) for coastal cetaceans. A total of 286 fishers from eight fishing communities were interviewed between 2011 and 2019 to determine the nature and extent of cetacean-fishery interactions in the area. The main types of fishing gears recorded were gillnets, trammel nets, trawl nets, longlines, handlines and crab traps, with the use of gears varying by season and target species. Depredation, net damage, and entanglements in fishing gear were the most frequently reported negative interactions with cetaceans. Thirty-six percent of fishers reported having experienced a cetacean entanglement in their fishing gear at least once. More than half (58.1%) of the respondents who experienced bycatch were able to disentangle and release the animals alive. The more conservative calculated bycatch rate of 0.36 cetaceans per fisher over a fishing career indicates that a minimum estimated average of 19 cetaceans are involved in bycatch annually in Kuching Bay, with as many as nine of these incidents likely resulting in mortality. However, a less conservative method yields a bycatch rate of 0.57 per fisher, and estimated an average of 30 bycaught cetaceans per year. Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) were reported to be at the highest risk (72.9% of reported incidents), with an estimated minimum of seven individuals caught and killed per year. Despite the negative interactions, 77.2% of respondents reported a generally positive attitude toward cetaceans based on their value for tourism and as indicators of fish presence and a healthy ecosystem. Mutualistic relationships between fishers and cetaceans were documented, with 53% of respondents reporting that they feed discarded fish to cetaceans. The results of this study can be used to guide effective mitigation measures, which should focus on training fishers in safe handling and release of entangled cetaceans, and, more importantly, methods to prevent interactions with gillnets.
Full-text available
Bycatch, the undesirable and non-intentional catch of non-target species in marine fisheries, is one of the main causes of mortality of marine mammals worldwide. When quantitative conservation objectives and management goals are clearly defined, computer-based procedures can be used to explore likely population dynamics under different management scenarios and estimate the levels of anthropogenic removals, including bycatch, that marine mammal populations may withstand. Two control rules for setting removal limits are the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) established under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Removals Limit Algorithm (RLA) inspired from the Catch Limit Algorithm (CLA) developed under the Revised Management Procedure of the International Whaling Commission. The PBR and RLA control rules were tested in a Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) framework. A key feature of PBR and RLA is to ensure conservation objectives are met in the face of the multiple uncertainties or biases that plague real-world data on marine mammals. We built a package named RLA in the R software to carry out MSE of control rules to set removal limits in marine mammal conservation. The package functionalities are illustrated by two case studies carried out under the auspices of the Oslo and Paris convention (OSPAR) (the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) Marine Mammal Expert Group (OMMEG) in the context of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The first case study sought to tune the PBR control rule to the conservation objective of restoring, with a probability of 0.8, a cetacean population to 80% of carrying capacity after 100 years. The second case study sought to further develop a RLA to set removals limit on harbor porpoises in the North Sea with the same conservation objective as in the first case study. Estimation of the removals limit under the RLA control rule was carried out within the Bayesian paradigm. Outputs from the functions implemented in the package RLA allows the assessment of user-defined performance metrics, such as time to reach a given fraction of carrying capacity under a given level of removals compared to the time needed given no removals.
Full-text available
Fisheries bycatch has been identified as the greatest threat to marine mammals worldwide. Characterizing the impacts of bycatch on marine mammals is challenging because it is difficult to both observe and quantify, particularly in small-scale fisheries where data on fishing effort and marine mammal abundance and distribution are often limited. The lack of risk frameworks that can integrate and visualize existing data have hindered the ability to describe and quantify bycatch risk. Here, we describe the design of a new geographic information systems tool built specifically for the analysis of bycatch in small-scale fisheries, called Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA). Using marine mammals in Malaysia and Vietnam as a test case, we applied ByRA to assess the risks posed to Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) and dugongs (Dugong dugon) by five small-scale fishing gear types (hook and line, nets, longlines, pots and traps, and trawls). ByRA leverages existing data on animal distributions, fisheries effort, and estimates of interaction rates by combining expert knowledge and spatial analyses of existing data to visualize and characterize bycatch risk. By identifying areas of bycatch concern while accounting for uncertainty using graphics, maps and summary tables, we demonstrate the importance of integrating available geospatial data in an accessible format that taps into local knowledge and can be corroborated by and communicated to stakeholders of data-limited fisheries. Our methodological approach aims to meet a critical need of fisheries managers: to identify emergent interaction patterns between fishing gears and marine mammals and support the development of management actions that can lead to sustainable fisheries and mitigate bycatch risk for species of conservation concern.
Full-text available
Natural resource policies enacted to protect environmental integrity play an important role in promoting sustainability. However, when resources are shared ecologically, economically, or through a common, global interest, policies implemented to protect resource sustainability in one domain can displace, and in some cases magnify, environmental degradation to other domains. Although such displacement has been recognized as a fundamental challenge to environmental and conservation policy within some resource sectors, there has been little cross‐disciplinary and cross‐sectoral integration to address the problem. This suggests that siloed knowledge may be impeding widespread recognition of the ubiquity of displacement and the need for mitigation. Here, we connect research across multiple disciplines to promote a broader discussion and recognition of the processes and pathways that can lead to displaced impacts that countermand or undermine resource policy and outline a number of approaches that can mitigate displacement.
Full-text available
Effective conservation of coastal marine mammals is largely dependent on reliable knowledge of their abundance, as well as the ecological and human factors driving their distribution. In developing countries, lack of resources and capacity frequently impedes research needed to estimate abundance and to determine the ecological requirements of coastal marine mammals and the impact of threats related to coastal development and fisheries. Over the course of 5 years, we developed practical research methods and trained local scientists in Thailand to use accepted line transect distance sampling methods for abundance assessment. The study focused on a little-known coastal and freshwater species found throughout Southeast Asia, namely the Irrawaddy dolphin, which has been sighted regularly along the coast of the eastern Gulf of Thailand. During 5 years of line transect boat surveys in Trat Province, the eastern-most province in Thailand, we found an average of 423 dolphins distributed within 12 km of the coast. Compared to other abundance estimates of coastal Irrawaddy dolphins in Southeast Asia, this is a relatively large number. This population could extend into the northern coast of Cambodia, where surveys are currently being planned. The Thai government has begun talks with Cambodia about a transboundary marine protected area that would include areas in both countries where coastal Irrawaddy dolphins are found. Collaboration between scientists in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam is further needed to determine dolphin movement and habitat use across borders.
Full-text available
Since the 1970s the role of fishery bycatch as a factor reducing, or limiting the recovery of, marine mammal populations has been increasingly recognized. The proceedings of a 1990 International Whaling Commission symposium and workshop summarized fishery and bycatch data by region, fishery, and species, and estimated the significance of the 'impacts' of bycatch in passive gear on all cetacean species and subspecies or geographically defined populations. A global review of pinniped bycatch in 1991 concluded that incidental mortality in passive gear had contributed to declines of several species and populations. Here we update the information on cetacean gillnet bycatch, assess bycatch data on marine mammals other than cetaceans (i.e. pinnipeds, sirenians, and 2 otter species), determine where important data gaps exist, and identify species and populations known or likely to be at high risk from bycatch in gillnets. We found that at least 75% of odontocete species, 64% of mysticetes, 66% of pinnipeds, and all sirenians and marine mustelids have been recorded as gillnet bycatch over the past 20-plus years. Cetacean bycatch information in some areas has improved, facilitating our ability to identify species and populations at high risk, although major gaps remain. Understanding of the scale of pinniped and sirenian bycatch has also improved, but this bycatch remains poorly documented, especially at the population level. This study reveals how little is known about marine mammal bycatch in gillnets in much of the world. Even as other significant threats to marine mammals have become better documented and understood, bycatch remains a critical issue demanding urgent attention if there is to be any hope of preventing further losses of marine mammal diversity and abundance, and of protecting, or restoring, ecological health.
On 7 December 2016, the federal government of Mexico published an Agreement listing Exotic Invasive Species for Mexico ([ 1 ][1]). However, the report contains inaccurate information about the species and ambiguous measures regarding the prevention, control, and eradication of these species.
Hearing a volcanic plume Monitoring remote eruptions—such as that of Pavlof Volcano, Alaska, in 2016—is challenging. Fee et al. found that the height of the ash plume during the Pavlof eruption could be inferred from sound waves detected by distant infrasound arrays and measurements of seismic tremor. The use of sound waves for monitoring is uncommon but well suited for remote eruptions, especially when we lack visual or satellite observations. Science , this issue p. 45
  • P Frías-Alvarez
  • J J Zúñiga-Vega
  • O Flores-Villela
P. Frías-Alvarez, J. J. Zúñiga-Vega, O. Flores-Villela, Biodiv. Cons. 19, 3699 (2010).
1126/science.aam9400 ERRATA Erratum for the Letter The promise of negative emissions " by K. S. Lackner and 45 additional signatories
10.1126/science.aam9400 ERRATA Erratum for the Letter " The promise of negative emissions " by K. S. Lackner and 45 additional signatories, Science 355, aam9284 (2017).
  • M Vilà
M. Vilà et al., Ecol. Lett. 14, 702 (2011).
Diario Oficial de la Federación DCLXXXVII (2a. Sec)
  • Norma Oficial
SEMARNAT, Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059- SEMARNAT-2010, Diario Oficial de la Federación DCLXXXVII (2a. Sec) 1-77 (2010) [in Spanish].
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, Appendices I, II and III (CITES
CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, Appendices I, II and III (CITES, 2017).