Recreational impacts on the fauna of Australian coastal marine ecosystems

School of Natural Sciences, College of Health and Science, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, South Penrith DC 1797, Australia.
Journal of Environmental Management (Impact Factor: 2.72). 11/2010; 91(11):2096-108. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.06.012
Source: PubMed


This paper reviews recent research into the ecological impacts of recreation and tourism on coastal marine fauna in Australia. Despite the high and growing importance of water-based recreation to the Australian economy, and the known fragility of many Australian ecosystems, there has been relatively limited research into the effects of marine tourism and recreation, infrastructure and activities, on aquatic resources. In this paper we have reviewed the ecological impacts on fauna that are caused by outdoor recreation (including tourism) in Australian coastal marine ecosystems. We predict that the single most potentially severe impact of recreation may be the introduction and/or dispersal of non-indigenous species of marine organisms by recreational vessels. Such introductions, together with other impacts due to human activities have the potential to increasingly degrade recreation destinations. In response, governments have introduced a wide range of legislative tools (e.g., impact assessment, protected area reservation) to manage the recreational industry. It would appear, however, that these instruments are not always appropriately applied.

    • "According to the United States 2011 census, in 2010, coastal counties accounted for <10% of land area (excluding Alaska), but 39% of the population ; a 39% increase since 1970 (US census data; NOAA 2012). This overlap of human and wildlife spatial usage in coastal regions drives unintentional interactions such as manatee strikes (Jett et al. 2013) and fisheries bycatch (Lewison et al. 2014), but also can promote intentional interactions such as wildlife tourism (Hardiman & Burgin 2010, Velando & Munilla 2011, Curtin 2013, Le Boeuf & Campagna 2013, Mustika et al. 2013). Marine wildlife tourism is a multi-million dollar industry worldwide. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human−wildlife interactions can be incidental or direct through activities such as wildlife tourism. In the presence of anthropogenic activities, some animals exhibit behavioural alterations such as increased vigilance or spatial displacement. Thus, chronic exposure could be adverse to individual fitness through loss of energy or time. Pinnipeds are exposed to human activities in the aquatic environment and on land, but the degree of exposure varies across a species’ geographic distribution. For example, breeding colonies of grey seals Halichoerus grypus along the mainland coast of England are exposed to anthropogenic disturbance in the forms of tourism and military activities; however, many offshore colonies are relatively undisturbed. Due to the recent expansion of mainland colonies, the impacts of human presence during the breeding season are of urgent interest for managers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test for any behavioural adjustments associated with anthropogenic presence by comparing the activity budgets of individual male grey seals at a mainland colony with activity budgets from 2 isolated colonies. We found no evidence of differences in the male activity budgets for time spent in non-active behaviours across colonies, and of the 3 colonies, males on the mainland spent the least amount of time alert. This indicates that as capital breeders, selection for conservation of energy is potentially overriding short-term costs of local stressors or that males at the mainland colony have habituated to human presence. Our results demonstrate the importance of understanding species- and life-history-stage-specific selection pressures when considering management actions.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Marine Ecology Progress Series
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    • "within the continental shelf boundary) and often around the 30 m depth contour (Jenner et al., 2001). Recreational activities along the west Australian coastline, such as marine tourism, are mainly concentrated close to the shore (Hardiman and Burgin, 2010). Likewise, the main fisheries of Western Australia, western rock lobster (Panulirus cygnus), abalone (Haliotis spp.) and prawns (Penaeus spp.), occur in zones relatively close to the coastline and in embayments (Kangas et al., 2006a, b; de Lestang et al., 2012; Hart et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Whales migrate long distances and reproduce on a finite store of energy. Budgeting the use of this limited energy reserve is an important factor to ensure survival over the period of migration and to maximize reproductive investment. For some whales, migration routes are closely associated with coastal areas, exposing animals to high levels of human activity. It is currently unclear how various forms of human activity may disturb whales during migration, how this might impact their energy balance and how this could translate into long-term demographic changes. Here, we develop a theoretical bioenergetic model for migrating humpback whales to investigate the optimal migration strategy that minimizes energy use. The average migration velocity was an important driver of the total energy used by a whale, and an optimal velocity of 1.1 m s−1 was determined. This optimal velocity is comparable to documented observed migration speeds, suggesting that whales migrate at a speed that conserves energy. Furthermore, the amount of resting time during migration was influenced by both transport costs and feeding rates. We simulated hypothetical disturbances to the optimal migration strategy in two ways, by altering average velocity to represent changes in behavioural activity and by increasing total travelled distance to represent displacement along the migration route. In both cases, disturbance increased overall energy use, with implications for the growth potential of calves.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Conservation Physiology
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    • "Recreational motorboats are a very effective transmission vehicle for aquatic invasive biota, mainly through the transport of alien fish species, plants and invertebrates (Hardiman and Burgin, 2010; Belz et al., 2012). This transport is usually facilitated by overland travel from one water body to another and may be either deliberate in the case of fishes, or inadvertent in the case of plants and invertebrates (Boltovskoy et al., 2006; Kerfoot et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: A considerable amount of research has been conducted on the impacts of recreational boating activities on fishes but little or no synthesis of the information has been undertaken. This review shows that motor boats impact on the biology and ecology of fishes but the effects vary according to the species and even particular size classes. Direct hits on fishes by propellers are an obvious impact but this aspect has been poorly documented. Alterations in the wave climate and water turbidity may also influence fishes and their habitats, especially submerged and emergent plant beds. Sound generated by boat motors can also influence the communication and behaviour of certain species. Pollution arising from fuel spillages, exhaust emissions and antifouling paints all have detrimental effects on fishes. Finally, the use of recreational boats as vectors of aquatic invasive organisms is very real and has created major problems to the ecology of aquatic systems.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Marine Pollution Bulletin
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