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Publications by: John N. ("Jack") Kittinger
Reinventing residual reserves in the sea: are we favouring ease of establishment over need for protection?
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
Devillers, R., R. L. Pressey, A. Grech, J. N. Kittinger, G. J. Edgar, T. Ward, and R. Watson.
Kyle S. Van Houtan and Jack N. Kittinger
Biodiversity conservation is often limited by short-term records of abundance, geographic distribution, and population dynamics. Historical information can provide a context for assessing current population status and defining recovery, especially for populations recovering from chronic human overexploitation. Here we analyze three decades (1948–1974) of commercial landings from a green turtle fishery in the Hawaiian Islands. While this turtle fishery was small in scale – with a limited effort, productivity, and revenue – we find dramatic declines in catch per unit effort and a spatial progression that strongly suggest rapid local population depletion. Additional analyses of economic data, restaurant menus, and expert interviews indicate the fishery was driven by limited, local demand. The seemingly incommensurate scale of the fishery and its impacts reveal the Hawaiian green turtle population was already significantly depleted when commercial fishery began. We describe how historical studies can inform conservation management, including population assessments.
Improving ocean management through the use of ecological principles and integrated ecosystem assessments
The US National Ocean Policy calls for ecosystem-based management (EBM) of the ocean to help realize the vision advanced in the 2010 Executive Order on the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes. However, no specific approach for incorporating EBM into planning was provided. We explore how a set of ecological principles and ecosystem vulnerability concepts can be integrated into emerging comprehensive assessment frameworks to transition to ecosystem-based ocean planning. We examine NOAA's IEA framework to demonstrate how these concepts could be incorporated into existing frameworks. Although our discussion is focused on US ocean policy, comprehensive ecological assessments are applicable to a wide array of management strategies and planning processes.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Kyle S. Van Houtan, Loren McClenachan, and John N. Kittinger.
Global fisheries declines have alerted ecologists that long-term ecosystem assessments require diverse information sources. Non-traditional sources of information on past marine ecosystems have included photographs, newspapers, artwork, and living memory. To date, this information has been taken primarily from historical harvest records, but a secondary and largely untapped wealth of data exists on consumption. We analyzed 376 menus from 154 different restaurants in Hawaii, dated from 1928 to 1974, to supplement official fishery landing records and to infer changes in the availability of marine resources. The menus capture many of the marked shifts reflected in fishery landings, and perhaps additional changes in market supply and in public preference. When compiled and interpreted in the appropriate socioeconomic context, menus have great potential as a window to the past.
John N. Kittinger, Kyle S. Van Houtan, Loren E. McClenachan, and Amanda L. Lawrence.
Historical ecology research is valuable for assessing long-term baselines, and is increasingly applicable to conservation and management. In this study, we describe how historical range data can inform key aspects of protected species management, including evaluating conservation status and recovery, and determining practical management units. We examine contemporary (1973–2012) and historical (1250–1950) data on nesting beach distributions for green sea turtles Chelonia mydas in the Hawaiian Islands. This research suggests that assessing recovery without historical data on spatial patterns may overlook important ecological dynamics at the population or ecosystem level, which can result in improper or inadequate conservation assessments and recovery targets.
Alan M. Friedlander, Janna M. Shackeroff, and John N. Kittinger.
The Hawaiians of old depended on the sea for survival and, as a result, developed a sophisticated understanding of the natural processes regulating resource abundance and effective strategies to manage those resources. After Western contact, sociopolitical upheaval led to the breakdown of the traditional Hawaiian fisheries management system, though practice and knowledge continued. Even today, subsistence fishing is culturally and economically important to many communities throughout Hawai‘i, but declining resources over the past century have raised concerns about their sustainability. To confront this issue, a number of communities are currently strengthening local influence and accountability for local marine resources through revitalization of local traditions and resource knowledge. This renaissance of traditional community-based management and rediscovery of traditional techniques offers great promise for improving the condition of Hawai‘i's coastal marine environment and the management of its fisheries.
John N. Kittinger
The Asia-Pacific region is home to a diversity of coastal cultures that are highly reliant on the ocean and its resources for sustenance, livelihoods, and cultural continuity. Small-scale fisheries account for most of the livelihoods associated with fisheries, produce about as much fish as industrialized fisheries, and contribute substantially to the economies of countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet these resource systems and their human communities face numerous local and global threats, and social vulnerability to these pressures places at risk the livelihoods, food security, well-being, and traditional lifestyles of coastal communities and cultures of the Asia-Pacific region. This article and special issue provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities for small-scale and traditional fisheries and the role of human dimensions research in the sustainable governance of these resource systems.
John N. Kittinger
Comanagement of natural resources involves shared management authority and responsibility between resource users or community groups at local levels and central government authorities. In data-poor, small-scale fisheries systems, community-based planning efforts can be informed by participatory research approaches that involve community members and stakeholder groups in the design, development, and implementation of research. This article draws upon research in Maunalua Bay, O'ahu , Hawai'i, to illustrate the utility of participatory assessments in communities, institutions, and organizations as they transition toward comanagement arrangements. Participatory resource assessments hold promise for building local social adaptive capacity, bringing together disparate stakeholder groups, and building place-based natural resource management plans reflective of local contexts and community priorities.
Emerging frontiers in social-ecological systems research for sustainability of small-scale fisheries
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Small-scale fisheries (SSF) account for most of the livelihoods associated with fisheries worldwide and support food security for millions globally, yet face critical challenges from local threats and global pressures. Here, we describe how emerging concepts from social-ecological systems thinking can illuminate potential solutions to challenges facing SSF management, with real-world examples of three key themes: (1) external drivers of change; (2) social-ecological traps; and (3) diagnostic approaches and multiple outcomes in SSF. The purpose of this article is to aid practitioners by moving a step closer toward making these theoretical concepts operational and to stimulate thinking on how these linkages can inform a transition toward sustainability in small-scale fisheries.
Final Report to Conservation International's Hawai'i Fish Trust
Understanding the complex ways in which nearshore fisheries ecosystems subsidize human well-being remains a critical knowledge gap in sustainability research. This project explores the social and ecological factors that mediate the connection between coastal resource use and local food security in several Hawaiian communities. The purpose of this project is to quantify and examine the connections between nearshore marine ecosystems, ecosystem services, and community wellbeing, and explore how these relationships affect local food security from nearshore fisheries. The overarching goal of this research is to inform community and regional-scale efforts to increase resource security and sustainable food systems, and community resiliency to social and environmental change.