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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Case

SummaryThe Great Barrier Reef is a globally important marine ecosystem with vast environmental, cultural, social and economic value (McCook et al. 2010). The Great Barrier Reef encompasses seventy bioregions, represents around ten percent of all coral reefs in the world, and is home to more than 1600 fish species, 500 coral species, 40 mangrove species, and 27 vulnerable or endangered species (GBRMPA, 2009). The Great Barrier Reef covers about 345,000 km2, and includes islands (1%), coral reefs (7%), seagrass and sandy seabed (61%), continental slope (15%), and deep ocean (16%) (GBRMPA, 2009). Concerns about human impacts on the Great Barrier Reef have existed since the late 1800s. The 1975 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) Act established the marine park and the park’s authority (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, GBRMPA). The Act prohibited mining on the reef, enabled the planning and implementation of zones to differentiate uses of the park, such as fishing and tourism, and authorised GBRMPA to design a system of other permissions to regulate, enforce, sanction, and monitor access and use of the park including harvesting, shipping, and research (http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/about-us/legislation-regulations-and-policies/legislation). A formal co-management agreement was signed between Federal and State government in Australia (1979), which effectively enabled the joint management of the GBRMP by GBRMPA (a federal agency) and the Queensland state (Queensland Parks and Wildlife and Queensland Fisheries). From 1999 a systematic conservation planning approach called the Representative Areas Programme was undertaken to identify and implement a larger system of no-take zones that represented the diversity of bioregions and habitats encompassed in the GBRMP. It was implemented in 2004, and the proportion of no-take areas changed from about 5% to 33%. Yet despite considerable progress in marine governance, the reef continues to be affected by mainly external pressures (land-based impacts and climate change related disturbances). A summary of our analysis of this case is published in this paper: Evans, L. S., N. C. Ban, M. Schoon, and M. Nenadovic. 2014. Keeping the ‘Great’in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. International Journal of the Commons 8:396-427.
Statuspublic
TeamGreat Barrier Reef team
Start Date2014-06-19 15:38:05 -0400
Coding Complete?No
SectorFisheries (Stock-specific), Marine protected areas
ProjectSESMAD
Data Source(s)Secondary data
CountryAustralia
External BiophysicalImportant external biophysical processes include: Climate change (esp. periods of high ocean temperatures, which cause bleaching in corals) Cyclones Run-off from land, carrying nutrients and pollution into the GBR; highly affected by changes in land use.
External SocialDevelopment pressures are important external social influences. In particular, land-based developments in the past (land-clearing, sugar cane production, cattle ranching) have degraded the water quality running into the GBR, in turn affecting coral reefs and likely fish. Recent coal port development pressures (influenced by a change in federal government) are causing concern about the future of the GBR and potential cumulative effects, with UNESCO concerned about the GBRMP, threatening to add it to the list of UNESCO sites in danger.
SnapshotsTime periods coded are those before the re-zoning (1975-1999), and the time period after re-zoning (2004-2012). We omit the transition years (1999-2003) because many changes were made during that time.
TimelineSome key events are listed below. For a formated version of these, see Table 1 in Evans, L. S., N. C. Ban, M. Schoon, and M. Nenadovic. 2014. Keeping the ‘Great’in the Great Barrier Reef: large-scale governance of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. International Journal of the Commons 8:396-427. 1975 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act passed 1979 Co-management agreement signed between Federal and State government 1981 Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area established 1992-1993 Aboriginal native title recognised 1994 Fisheries Act passed 1997 Tropical Cyclone Justin 1998 El Niño Southern Oscillation coral bleaching 1999 Representative Areas Programme commences 2000 Queensland East Coast Trawl Fisheries Management Plan implemented 2001 Croker Decision extending Indigenous Australian’s rights to Sea Country 2002 Bleaching event 2003 Reef Water Quality Plan introduced 2004 Queensland Coral Reef FinFish Fishery Management Plan implemented 2004 New Zoning Plan for the GBRMP passed and implemented. Structural Adjustment Package agreed. 2006 Bleaching event in southern GBR 2007 Amendment to the GBRMP Act of 1975 2008 Reef Water Quality Partnership and Reef Rescue programme initiated 2009 Tropical Cyclone Hamish 2009 Queensland East Coast Inshore Finfish Fishery Management Plan 2010 Queensland East Coast Trawl Fisheries Management Plan updated 2011 Tropical Cyclone Yasi 2012 UNESCO report on the GBR World Heritage Area
Modeling IssuesThe system is complex, and to make coding tractable, we focused on the main aspects of the system that likely have the most influence on outcomes. We acknowledge that there are many more actors, resource components, etc that could be coded.
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Attached Components

Actors

Name:
GBR fisheries managers
details
Past collaboration:
High (3)
The agency has demonstrated state-level collaboration within its agency that has enabled key changes to fisheries policy and management.
Costs of exit:
Not Applicable
Proportionality (of costs and benefits):
Not Applicable
Interest heterogeneity:
Low (1)
Consensus achieved through agreement and buying into organisational goals
Leadership:
Formal leader
Organisational leader
Leadership authority:
High (3)
Has power to make organisational and operational decisions
Actor group trust:
Not Applicable
Personal communication:
More than once a year (5)
Frequent communication over agency policies and management through meetings and workshops.
Remote communication:
More than once a year (5)
Frequent communication over agency policies and management through email, phone, etc.,
Leadership accountability:
Low (1)
Accountable to State government not employees
Actor group coordination:
Both formal and informal
They co-ordinate through formal stakeholder meetings and informal organisational networking and communication
Name:
GBR commercial fishers
details
Past collaboration:
Medium (2)
Collaboration within specific sectors, such as operators within the trawl fishery, may be high at particular times (e.g., when management changes are happening). However, collaboration across sectors (trawl and net, for example) are only really evident through membership of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) and various workshops, which are moderate / medium.
Costs of exit:
Yes
Exiting the fishery can be expensive due to the level of infrastructural investment involved. Boats, licenses etc., can be sold but this is sometimes difficult to do.
Proportionality (of costs and benefits):
No
Commercial fisheries feel highly regulated and invest a lot in monitoring. They feel that the governance system does not value the fishing industry as much as it does other industries like tourism. Therefore, commercial fishing is managed more closely than other sectors. Fish catches overall have declined since establishment of the GBRMP.
Interest heterogeneity:
Low (1)
In general, their interests in promoting economically viable fisheries would be homogenous. On occasion they are faced with different threats to their sectors but overall their interests would be similar.
Leadership:
Informal leader
Some members join the QSIA which has a few formal representatives promoting fisher interests. However, not all commercial fishing sectors join this group. There isn't a formal leader of the sector as a whole.
Leadership authority:
Medium (2)
The QSIA is formally recognised by government as the industry peak body and is included in policy consultations, thereby participating in arenas of decision-making. However no formal co-management arrangement between state and industry exists thereby limits fishers' leadership authority.
Actor group trust:
High (3)
Commercial fishing sectors do not generally compete with each other. Their interests vis-a-vis regulation, conservation, market changes tend to be similar. Therefore trust is assumed to be high. There are no research studies we are aware of that specifically investigate trust.
Personal communication:
More than once a year (5)
In meetings and workshops organised by the QSIA or government. And at landing sites and markets.
Remote communication:
More than once a year (5)
Leadership accountability:
Medium (2)
The staff of the QSIA are somewhat accountable to the commercial fishing sectors, although they cannot be formally voted in or out by the sector. And only some fishers are members of the association.
Actor group coordination:
Both formal and informal
Formal co-ordination through workshops organised by their member organisation (QSIA) and government. Informal co-ordination at landing sites and markets.
Name:
GBR government co-managers
details
Past collaboration:
High (3)
The co-management arrangements have been in place in policy, law and practice since designation of the MPA.
Costs of exit:
Not Applicable
Proportionality (of costs and benefits):
Not Applicable
Interest heterogeneity:
Low (1)
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are governed by parallel mandates with very similar objectives and targets for management. They are both essentially focused on protecting biodiversity of the reef.
Leadership:
Formal leader
Both agencies have formal Directors.
Leadership authority:
High (3)
The leaders of these organisations can make important decisions about organisational and operational issues related to the structure of the agency, staff and the activities that are prioritised and undertaken.
Actor group trust:
High (3)
GBRMPA and QPWS seemingly demonstrate high levels of consensus and trust.
Personal communication:
More than once a year (5)
Remote communication:
More than once a year (5)
Leadership accountability:
Low (1)
The leaders of these organisations are accountable to Federal and State governments respectively rather than to employees (members of the group).
Actor group coordination:
Formal
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are mandated under law to co-manage the GBR. Most of their active collaborations are agreed and formal in nature.
Name:
GBR recreational fishers
details
Past collaboration:
Medium (2)
These associations are not new. They are well established but do not have high representation hence their history of collaboration is medium.
Costs of exit:
No
Costs of existing recreational fishing would be relatively minimal. It is a recreational activity and costs of exit would depend on investment in boats and kit. However, there is a market for re-sale.
Proportionality (of costs and benefits):
Yes
There is low or no cost to being a recreational fisher. All that is required to be one is gear (fishing rod etc), maybe a boat. There is a fee to become a member of a recreational fishing association (e.g., Australian National Sportfishing Association), but membership is not required to fish recreationally. No recreational fishing license is needed.
Interest heterogeneity:
Low (1)
Recreational fishers range from those who fish once and year to those who fish much more regularly. However, they group as a whole have similar interests in terms of what they want from governance of the GBRMP.
Leadership:
Informal leader
The sports fishing groups have leaders. These leaders are voted in but the vast majority of recreational fishers are not part of these groups.
Leadership authority:
Medium (2)
The recreational fishers associations have low representation but are nonetheless recognised by the government and invited to participate in some decision-making over management of the recreational fishery and GBRMP.
Actor group trust:
Missing
Missing in case
Personal communication:
More than once a year (5)
Remote communication:
More than once a year (5)
Leadership accountability:
Medium (2)
Leaders are voted in and out by the associations' members. Most recreational fishers are not part of these associations though they could elect to become members.
Actor group coordination:
Both formal and informal
There are membership organisations through which some recreational fishers co-ordinate formally. However, for the majority co-ordination would be informal.

Governance Systems

Name:
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999
details
Type of formal governance:
Management plan
The Act is implemented through a management plan.
End Date:
1999
This snapshot of the GBR encompasses the beginning of the park until a re-zoning effort was started in 1999.
Begin date:
1975
The 1975 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) Act established the marine park and the park’s authority (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, GBRMPA).
Governance trigger:
slow continuous change
Ongoing concerns about biodiversity declines motivated the creation of the marine park. The potential of oil and gas exploration around the reef also motivated the development of the park.
Governance system description:
 
Governance scale:
State-based policy
Sub-regional scale. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is in the state of Queensland, thus a sub-national scale.
Centralization:
Highly centralized (4)
This is a government act, highly centralized.
Metric diversity:
 
MPA primary goal (in practice):
["Biodiversity conservation"]
MPA motivation:
["Ecological value"]
MPA protection:
["Reducing threats"]
MPA internal natural boundaries:
Low (1)
The Coastal MPA and GBRMPA are adjacent to land they are not protected by deep water or sand.
Distance to markets:
Less than 10km (1)
National and international markets are distributed through the GBR region though certain markets (e.g., Bowen) are preferred.
MPA budget:
$US
PA IUCN strict zones:
4 %
MPA connectivity:
Partially (2)
The initial zoning plan did not deliberately consider connectivity in its design or coverage of areas, but did have a range of no-take areas distributed through the broader MPA.
PA CAR principles:
Yes (3)
MPA migratory benefit:
Yes
MPA migratory life history:
t
Breeding and foraging grounds for turtles, dugong, shark
MPA threats to migratory sp:
["Bycatch", "Habitat destruction", "Other"]
Indigenous fishers can catch turtles for subsistence purposes. Commercial fishers target some species of shark. Shark are also killed in nets, on hooks or culled to reduce the threat they pose to humans swimming off beaches.
MPA migratory threats and redux:
 
Social-ecological fit:
Low (1)
The GBRMP and Authority were specifically designed to protect the reef. There was good institutional fit even in the initial phases of zoning although this did also improve considerable following re-zoning in 2004.
Governance knowledge use:
["Scientific knowledge"]
Name:
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-current
details
Type of formal governance:
Management plan
The Act is implemented through a management plan.
End Date:
Current
This snapshot describes the GBRMP governance system after re-zoning, from 2004-current (Coded in 2014)
Begin date:
2004
The year in which the re-zoning took place
Governance trigger:
slow continuous change
Concerns about ongoing threats to biodiversity, and the threat of climate change, prompted the rezoning of the marine park.
Governance system description:
And Act created specifically to manage this marine park
Governance scale:
State-based policy
Sub-regional scale. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is in the state of Queensland, thus a sub-national scale.
Centralization:
Highly centralized (4)
This is a government act, highly centralized.
Metric diversity:
High: Many metrics for success (3)
MPA primary goal (in practice):
["Biodiversity conservation"]
MPA motivation:
["Ecological value"]
MPA protection:
["Reducing threats"]
MPA internal natural boundaries:
Low (1)
The coastal MPA and GBRMPA are adjacent to the coast and are not separated by deep water or sand.
Distance to markets:
Less than 10km (1)
MPA budget:
49500000 $US
AUD $54 million in 2014
PA IUCN strict zones:
33 %
http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/14122/area_statement_082010_updated_WebVersion.pdf
MPA connectivity:
Yes (3)
Connectivity was specifically taken into account in re-zoning the GBRMP. Information about connectivity is fairly limited, though (as in most marine systems).
PA CAR principles:
Yes (3)
Representative Areas Program specifically used these principles to re-zone the GBR
MPA migratory benefit:
Yes
MPA migratory life history:
t
It covers breeding and foraging grounds for turtles, dugong and shark
MPA threats to migratory sp:
["Bycatch", "Habitat destruction", "Other"]
Turtles can be caught for subsistence use by indigenous fishers Certain sharks are caught in the inshore net fishery. They are also killed as a result of measure to protect bathers (nets, baited hooks, culling).
MPA migratory threats and redux:
By having established 33% of park in no-take areas
Social-ecological fit:
Low (1)
The area governed by the GBRMP Act encompasses the marine portion of the Great Barrier Reef. It does not incldue the adjacent land, however.
Governance knowledge use:
["Scientific knowledge"]
GBRMPA employs scientists, and collaborates with AIMS and universities, to generate and use scientific information
MPA IUCN somewhat strict zones:
67 %
http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/14122/area_statement_082010_updated_WebVersion.pdf
MPA IUCN sustainable zones :
62 %
http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/14122/area_statement_082010_updated_WebVersion.pdf

Environmental Commons

Name:
GBR target fish
details
Productivity:
Moderately Productive (2)
Most species would be moderate to highly productive. However, some can be very slow growing taking years to mature and reproduce hence the evaluation here that the resource is moderately productive.
Commons aggregation:
Population
For some target fish species distinct sub-populations are identified within the GBR
Biotic:
Yes
Commons unit size:
Small (2)
0.1m
Commons mobility:
Medium (2)
Varies by species. Compared to sessile resources, like coral or trees, and global migratory species or pollutants target fish are considered to be moderately mobile. ~10km (as opposed to 1km or 100Km)
Commons spatial extent:
345000
If we consider the target fish within the GBR Marine Protected Area.
Environmental medium:
Oceanic
Commons heterogeneity:
Moderate (2)
Intra annual predictability:
Moderate (2)
Inter annual predictability:
Moderate (2)
Technical substitute:
No
Commons boundaries:
Somewhat unclear boundaries (2)
Some species are habitat-associated species and tend to mirror patterns in habitat cover. However, the resource is mobile horizontally and vertically and often crosses administrative boundaries (e.g., zoning) so is considered to have somewhat unclear boundaries.
Commons renewability:
Renewable (1)
Renewable within a years (as opposed to months or decades).
Commons accessibility:
Somewhat accessible (2)
Given boats, gears, and tracking technologies target fish are somewhat accessible to fishers.
Commons indicator:
["Status of species targeted by fisheries"]
Name:
GBR coral cover
details
Productivity:
Very productive (3)
Commons spatial extent:
345000
Coral makes up 7% but is found across north-south and inshore-offshore components of the GBRMP.
Environmental medium:
Oceanic
Commons heterogeneity:
High (3)
Corals cluster together in reefs, in a patchwork of reef and non-reef areas.
Intra annual predictability:
High (3)
Inter annual predictability:
High (3)
Technical substitute:
No
Can get artificial reef structures, but can't substitute coral
Commons boundaries:
Clear boundaries (3)
Commons renewability:
Renewable (1)
But takes decades to renew because coral reefs are slow-growing
Commons accessibility:
Somewhat accessible (2)
Boats are required to get to the reef. Some areas near shore are more accessible than offshore reefs.
Name:
GBR Green Turtle
details
Productivity:
Poorly productive (1)
Green Turtles are long-lived, slow-growing, and late-maturing. Few offspring survive to adulthood. Therefore, the annual growth rate is slow (3.8-11% per year), and recovery following disturbance may take several decades (Chaloupka et al 2008).
Commons aggregation:
 
There are two genetically distinct stocks (Northern and Southern) of Green Turtle in the GBR (GBRMPA 2014).
Biotic:
Yes
Commons unit size:
Medium (3)
On average, adult Green Turtles are generally in the range of 105cm long, and often weigh around 130 kg.
Commons mobility:
High (3)
Green turtles may travel over hundreds or thousands of kilometers. Turtles in the GBR have been known to travel as far away as Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia (GBRMPA [online]).
Commons spatial extent:
 
Green Turtles are found throughout tropical oceans around the world. Exact migration routes are unknown, but turtles found in the GBR may travel long distances to Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea , and Indonesia (GBRMPA [online]).
Environmental medium:
 
Green turtles spend the vast majority of their lives at sea, but use beaches for nesting.
Commons heterogeneity:
Moderate (2)
In a summary report, Dobbs (2007) suggests that all of the GBR is potential foraging habitat for Green Turtles. However, some foraging areas are more important than others, and nesting sites show strong patchiness towards multiple key areas (Limpus et al 2003).
Intra annual predictability:
Moderate (2)
Turtles typically arrive at nesting grounds around the same time each year, and show strong site fidelity by returning to the same beach to nest (Limpus et al 2003). Predictability of turtle locations during the rest of the year is less predictable.
Inter annual predictability:
Moderate (2)
Since turtles are a long-lived species with slow reproduction, we might expect the population to have similar numbers of turtles each year. Nesting data indicates that there are considerable fluctuations in the number of nesting turtles each year, and these fluctuations show correlation with the Southern Oscillation Index (i.e. El Nino) (Limpus et al 2003, Chaloupka et al 2008). However, since females do not nest every year, it is difficult to suggest overall population numbers from the number of turtles which prepared to nest in a given year.
Technical substitute:
No
Commons boundaries:
Somewhat unclear boundaries (2)
Green turtles are known to migrate to foraging areas and to nesting beaches, but where exactly various populations of turtles spend their time is not well known. One telemetry study has shown that most turtles have their own ‘home-range’ (Gredzens et al 2014), and turtles show strong site fidelity to their nesting beaches (Limpus et al 2003).
Commons renewability:
Renewable (1)
Commons accessibility:
Very accessible (3)
Nesting areas and foraging sites within the GBR can easily be accessed by common boats.
Commons indicator:
["Status of highly migratory species"]
Green turtles may travel over hundreds or thousands of kilometers. Turtles in the GBR have been known to travel as far away as Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia (GBRMPA [online]).

Component Interactions

Governance Interaction

GBR 2004-current: Green Turtle

Primary:
GBR Green Turtle (Environmental Common)
Commons User:
GBR commercial fishers (Actor)
Governs:
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-current (Governance System)
Governing Organization:
GBR government co-managers (Actor)
Governing Organization:
GBR fisheries managers (Actor)

Governance Interaction

GBR 2004-current Interactions for target fish

Commons User:
GBR recreational fishers (Actor)
Governing Organization:
GBR government co-managers (Actor)
Governing Organization:
GBR fisheries managers (Actor)
Commons User:
GBR commercial fishers (Actor)
Governs:
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-current (Governance System)
Primary:
GBR target fish (Environmental Common)

Governance Interaction

GBR 1975-1999 Interactions for coral cover

Governing Organization:
GBR government co-managers (Actor)
Primary:
GBR coral cover (Environmental Common)
Governs:
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999 (Governance System)
Commons User:
GBR recreational fishers (Actor)

Governance Interaction

GBR 2004-current Interactions for coral cover

Commons User:
GBR commercial fishers (Actor)
Governing Organization:
GBR government co-managers (Actor)
Commons User:
GBR recreational fishers (Actor)
Governs:
GBR Marine Park Act 2004-current (Governance System)
Primary:
GBR coral cover (Environmental Common)

Governance Interaction

GBR 1975-1999 Interactions for target fish

Primary:
GBR target fish (Environmental Common)
Commons User:
GBR commercial fishers (Actor)
Governs:
GBR Marine Park Act 1975-1999 (Governance System)