Gap analysis and assessment of current information relating to marine and coastal environments in the




НазваниеGap analysis and assessment of current information relating to marine and coastal environments in the
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A REVIEW, GAP ANALYSIS AND ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT INFORMATION RELATING TO MARINE AND COASTAL ENVIRONMENTS IN THE SW REGION



PART A OF PROJECT C1-G1: A COASTAL AND MARINE MANAGEMENT PLANNING FRAMEWORK FOR THE SOUTH WEST CATCHMENTS COUNCIL





OCTOBER 2006



A. J. LIMBOURN AND M. B. WESTERA



School of Plant Biology

Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

The University of Western Australia

35 Stirling Highway

CRAWLEY WA 6009







NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY

Local councils and management agencies in the south west (SW) are under increasing pressure to manage resources in an ecologically sustainable manner, to account for the pressures of population growth in the region, and to maintain a healthy natural environment. This is particularly so in the marine and coastal zones where mitigating natural hazards, enhancing recreational use and protecting ecosystem health can cause conflict. To better manage the marine and coastal zones an understanding of current knowledge of marine and coastal resources is essential. Equally important is identifying gaps in knowledge. This information can then be used in local decision making when there is a level of uncertainty due to incomplete scientific knowledge, changing public perceptions, indeterminate policy application or other issues. Through identifying gaps in existing knowledge, strategies may be developed to ensure that decisions are well founded and defensible rather than based on personal judgement or political will.




In July 2006 the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) commissioned a project to carry out a review, gap analysis and assessment of current information relating to coastal and marine environments in the South West Natural Resource Management (NRM) region. The project included: a detailed search for literature and information from relevant libraries; liaison with stakeholders, government departments and researchers; and collation of references into a database. Over 500 articles were located of varying levels of relevance to marine and coastal resource management. The literature was reviewed and this report was compiled detailing: the current knowledge and condition of coastal and marine “assets” (where information was available); and gaps in knowledge. The second phase involved an assessment of knowledge gaps to determine priority actions for SWCC. The main sources of information were scientific journals, government reports, newspapers, brochures and websites and most articles located have been provided to SWCC to be held in a database. Much of the past work was in response to targeted management or development issues. There was some focus on important nearshore habitats such as seagrass and reef communities, and on fishes that are sought by commercial and recreational fishers.




Some specific areas were identified for on-ground works, planning and capacity building. However, the main finding of the work was that there is limited information that spans logical time scales and can be used to make sound management decisions. For example, to protect biodiversity it is necessary to first understand which species of plants and animals exist in certain areas (habitats), in what numbers, and how this changes over a number of years. If there are natural fluctuations in these species over time, perhaps due to drought or changes in ocean currents, then these must be understood so that managers can separate natural changes from human-induced changes. It is not usually necessary to monitor every species as this would not be cost effective, however certain species may respond to changes and be suitable key indicators of change (such as seagrass or coral).




This project is to be followed by a series of workshops where input will be sought from the SW community, and stakeholders in marine and coastal management, to compile a strategic action planning and investment framework for coasts and marine management in the SW region. This report is designed to stimulate discussion and collaboration between stakeholders at the planned workshops which will be coordinated by the South West Catchments Council in November 2006. Workshop participants should read Section 7 of this report “Summary of knowledge gaps and setting priorities” and give thought to how they might contribute their valued local knowledge to the decision making process. For example, a participant with knowledge of local fisheries, coastal areas that are suffering from erosion or marine ecotourism could contribute information to the workshops. To gain more information on knowledge gaps, workshop participants are also encouraged to read sections of this report that they find relevant to their areas of expertise (please see table of contents).




The authors have attempted to make this report readable to wide audience including interested members of the community, scientists and marine and coastal managers. However, some of the content is necessarily technical in order to describe marine and coastal processes and scientific work that may warrant discussion in the proposed workshops. A glossary and a list of acronyms have therefore been included in the appendices. The authors also note that every effort was made to locate available information. In some cases however, literature may not have been listed at libraries or at websites and was therefore not located. Workshop participants or other interested readers are encouraged to highlight any oversights with regard to current or past projects or documents on the marine and coastal environment of the South West NRM region. These should be communicated directly to the Coastal and Marine Program Coordinator for South West Catchments Council.












TABLE OF CONTENTS


1 INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................................................7

Acknowledgements.....................................................................................................................................................8

2 METHODOLOGY...........................................................................................................................................9

2.1 SEARCHES FOR LITERATURE AND INFORMATION....................................................................................9

2.2 HOW TO USE THE ENDNOTE LIBRARY....................................................................................................9

2.2.1 PDF documents and Links..........................................................................................................10

3 THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT - OVERVIEW OF EXISTING INFORMATION..............................11

3.1 SEAGRASS COMMUNITIES.....................................................................................................................11

3.1.1 Knowledge gaps - Seagrass communities...................................................................................11

3.2 REEF ASSOCIATED BENTHIC COMMUNITIES..........................................................................................12

3.2.1 Corals..........................................................................................................................................12

3.2.2 Algae (seaweeds).........................................................................................................................13

3.2.3 Rocky shores...............................................................................................................................14

3.2.4 Knowledge gaps - Reef associated benthic communities............................................................14

3.3 SANDY BOTTOM COMMUNITIES............................................................................................................15

3.3.1 Knowledge gaps - Sandy bottom communities............................................................................15

3.4 FISHES.................................................................................................................................................15

3.4.1 Knowledge gaps - fishes..............................................................................................................18

3.5 INVERTEBRATES..................................................................................................................................18

3.5.1 Crustaceans (crabs & lobsters)...................................................................................................18

3.5.2 Echinoderms (sea urchins & seastars)........................................................................................19

3.5.3 Molluscs (abalone & shells)........................................................................................................19

3.5.4 Sponges and ascidians (sea squirts)............................................................................................19

3.5.5 Knowledge gaps - Invertebrates..................................................................................................20

3.6 MARINE MAMMALS, BIRDS AND REPTILES............................................................................................20

3.6.1 Whales, doplphins and seals.......................................................................................................20

3.6.2 Seabirds.......................................................................................................................................21

3.6.3 Marine turtles..............................................................................................................................21

3.6.4 Knowledge gaps - Marine mammals, birds and reptiles.............................................................22

3.7 VULNERABLE MARINE COMMUNITIES..................................................................................................22

3.7.1 Knowledge gaps – Vulnerable marine communities...................................................................22

3.8 VULNERABLE MARINE SPECIES............................................................................................................23

3.8.1 Knowledge gaps – Vulnerable marine species............................................................................25

3.9 THE CAR MARINE RESERVE SYSTEM...................................................................................................26

3.9.1 Marine Conservation Reserves...................................................................................................27

3.9.2 Fish Habitat Protection Areas....................................................................................................28

3.9.3 Knowledge gaps - The CAR marine reserve system....................................................................28

3.10 MARINE ECOSYSTEM PROCESSES.........................................................................................................29

3.10.1 The Leeuwin Current...................................................................................................................29

3.10.2 The Capes Current......................................................................................................................30

3.10.3 Knowledge gaps - Marine ecosystem processes..........................................................................30

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