The edge

The ma g az i ne of CoastNet
Wint er 2008

Coastal industry

Structures and materials

Aquaculture in Nicaragua

Shipping and climate change

Coast and marine interpretation

3 Editorial 4 News



CoastNet – breathing new life into coastal matters
Winter 2008 Coastal Industry 8

Industrious coast From mineral extraction to marine renewables, it’s all happening on the coast.

The edge is a quarterly magazine, sent out to all CoastNet members. CoastNet is an international networking organisation that works with all coastal interests to promote the exchange of ideas, information and expertise to find long term solutions to coastal problems that benefit all. Our mission is to safeguard the world’s coast and those communities of people and wildlife that depend upon it for their future.
Editor: Lesley Smeardon Designed by: Cottier & Sidaway Printed by: Swan Print

Protecting the environment from shipping The International Maritime Organization highlights the work being carried out to reduce shipping pollution and emissions.

10 Shrimp farming in Nicaragua An historical look at the development of the shrimp farming industry in Nicaragua.


12 PEOPLE Jaws wide open Our new people section sees Paul Cox, Aquarium Manager at the National Marine Aquarium get to grips with the business of communicating the complexities of marine use and the impacts of climate change to the public. 14 Climate change, materials and materials use A look at how climate change is affecting materials and their structures.

Submissions To submit an article for publication, please email to the editor saving your submission as a word document. Alternatively, send to the address below. Letters can be sent to the editor but we are unable to acknowledge receipt. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions.


CoastNet: The Gatehouse, Rowhedge Wharf, High St, Rowhedge, Essex, CO5 7ET. Tel/Fax: 01206 728644 Email: Web:
CoastNet is governed by an independent Board of Management and serviced by a Secretariat. Registered charity no 1055763 Registered as a company limited by guarantee, company no 3204452 The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of CoastNet. © CoastNet, 2008


The edge Winter 2008

Much of the debate regarding the coast during the past two decades has rightly been environment led, as the protection of the environmental resource is fundamental to sustainable development. However, this environment focus has been at the expense of a thorough understanding of the coast’s social and economic dimensions. In this issue of the Edge, we consider the coast as a place for industry. The coast is important for many industries and absolutely essential for some. Thus, it is inevitable that we must give up some of our coastal environment to industrial development. We cannot protect it all. I was struck by a visit to the port of Dunkerque some years ago. A huge outer basin was the location for a whole host of industrial processes that required bulk goods, which of course came by sea. Surely a more environmentally and more economic route than by road, or even rail? For the foreseeable future globalisation will out-play localism and the volume of trade will increase. For the UK in particular, being an island, this will create continuing demands for port expansion. The energy sector is also an important user of the coast, traditionally for coal, gas and nuclear power stations, which need access to large volumes of water for cooling turbines. The future will almost certainly feature tidal, wave and offshore wind generators. As we have become more dependant on energy from outside Europe, energy security has risen up the agenda and we are likely to experience an everincreasing industrialisation of the sea to feed our energy needs. The challenge, of course, is to find the right balance. This will not be achieved through market mechanisms – this we know. Given the scale of infrastructure required to support some of these industrial activities, nor will it be achieved by local, regional or even national planning. We must work at a regional sea scale to plan for marine and coastal development. Only in this way can we ensure that the environment is not damaged unnecessarily through the development of overcapacity in the ports sector for example. Similarly, we must ensure that energy infrastructures are put to the most efficient and effective use and not duplicated in adjacent territorial waters. Finally, sediment supplies must not be disrupted to the detriment of the wider ecosystem processes. To some this will sound reminiscent of the command economy approach of the Soviet era. However, sustainable development requires government intervention as a counterbalance to market forces. My argument is simply to plead that these interventions be made at the most appropriate geographical scale, rather than be hostage to administrative boundaries.

Alex Midlen, Strategic Director

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Minister says protection of our seas is “greatest environmental challenge after climate change” at November’s 2007 APPG meeting. News in brief
q Norway plans world's first ship tunnel Norway has drawn up plans to build the world’s first shipping tunnel in the area of Stad on the southwest coast of Norway. The tunnel is predicted to save time and money for vessels passing through a coastal area known for its dangerous seas. (Source: q Fisheries summit is a “fair deal” says UK Fisheries Minister UK Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw has said the 2008 fishing quotas finalised at the annual summit in Brussels is a “fair settlement”. Originally, the European Commission had sought a 25 per cent cut to fishing days off the west coast of Scotland, and a 10 per cent reduction to fishing days in the North Sea. But a deal was reached to make cuts of 18 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, with an 11 per cent rise in the North Sea cod catch. Crews will also be “given back” days at sea for helping conservation measures. q Businesses warned over coastal flood risk A major new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that the risk of coastal flooding will soar over the next 50 years and claims US$35 trillion of assets will be at risk from coastal floods by 2070 unless businesses and governments embrace ‘smarter development’. q Group petitions EPA to address threat of ocean acidification In December, the Center for Biological Diversity formally petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to confront the threat of ocean acidification. The petition calls upon the EPA to strengthen the water quality standard for ocean pH and to publish guidance to help states protect US waters from carbon dioxide pollution.

At a packed November meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on marine and coastal issues, Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister responsible for the Marine Bill and ICZM, referred to the protection of our seas as “the greatest environmental challenge after climate change….. They may seem insurmountable issues. They cannot be. We must face up to the challenges.” Other speakers at the meeting reflected a range of marine users from the ports, submarine cables, and recreational angling sectors. Peter Barham of ABP, and representing the Sea Users Development Group, said its members recognised the need for change. “We need to protect the environment, and greater protection is needed.” However, he reiterated calls for

government to adopt a ‘light touch’ and risk-based approaches to regulation, cautioning that overregulation and duplication of efforts caused frustration and uncertainty. Bob Greenfield, of the UK Cable Protection Committee, expressed ‘cautious’ support for the Marine Bill, but stressed that the industry would resist the zoning of corridors for telecommunications cables. He drew attention to the value of e-commerce to the UK, which depends entirely on this submarine cable infrastructure. Leon Roskilly, of the Sea Anglers Conservation Network, strongly criticised the current management regime, referring to the “…slow and cumulative effect of years of poor management”. He emphasised the importance of the reform of sea fisheries committees to the success of the Bill.


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CoastNet to undertake ‘Holding Back the Tide’ project
much as 90 per cent of Asia’s mangrove has been destroyed by shrimp farming, according to Ben Brown of the Mangrove Action Project. (Source: newswatch) q Fast action needed to protect salmon from climate change, Canadian group says The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council has called upon the Canadian government to launch a massive effort to protect salmon from the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, according to Canadian newspaper, The Vancouver Sun. The conservation group says salmon are particularly vulnerable in freshwater rearing and spawning habitats – and is urging the biggest array of infrastructure and regulatory initiatives since the fisheries department launched a billion-dollar hatchery programme in the 1970s. q Fish populations linked to climate change in Australia A study along the Great Barrier Reef has linked climate fluctuations with changes in fish populations for the first time, according to ABC News. q Climate change seminar highlights challenges for Chilean fisheries A recent scientific seminar held in Santiago has pointed to the abundance of cuttlefish along the Chilean coast and the constant threat to hake and other commercial marine species as some of the possible consequences of global climate change. q UK organic fish farming scores highest on international aquaculture certification study The Soil Association’s organic fish farming standards scored 90 per cent, and took top place in a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study of 24 international aquaculture certification schemes. q New bid to save Scottish salmon The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) is spearheading a new campaign aimed at conserving wild salmon stocks in Scotland’s rivers by trying to close netting stations, according to Scottish newspaper, The Herald. The S&TA says the existence of this type of fishery is indefensible at a time of such uncertain marine survival because of factors related to climate change. q Shell to grow marine algae to convert into biofuel Shell has recently announced it will soon be growing marine algae to convert into biofuel. Shell will construct a demonstration facility on the Kona coast of Hawaii Island to harvest algae, which grows very rapidly and, they claim, can provide 15 times more oil a hectare than alternatives such as rape. q US’s two busiest shipping ports to take steps to become more environmentally friendly The ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles have begun implementing a new programme to reduce the emissions and air pollution from the ships and trucks that make these two facilities among the world’s mosttrafficked shipping hubs. Beginning in September 2008, the two ports will prohibit the entrance of any trucks built before 1989, when pollution controls were introduced in big rigs. (Source: q UNFAO considers tougher guidelines to regulate shrimp farming in Asia In a move to protect further areas of mangrove forest, The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is considering tougher environmental guidelines to regulate shrimp farming operations across Asia. Shrimp farming has been responsible for the destruction of extensive areas of mangrove forest, removing a valuable resource that provides natural coastal protection. As

CoastNet has recently been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake a project called ‘Holding Back the Tide’. The project will explore changes to the natural, social and cultural heritage through the collection of historical facts, oral history, visual evidence of change in a selection of rural and urban coastal areas in the East of England. Its aim is to assist communities in putting together their own lasting and living resource which will be accessible both locally, regionally and nationally through the development of a travelling, portable exhibition and CD. For more information please contact Theresa Redding, Network Manager, CoastNet (

Coastal Wiki
Since October, CoastNet has been working with a multinational team to continue to develop the Coastal Wiki, created as part of the EU-funded Encora project. The task was to create an organisational structure for the many diverse articles that had been created to provide an overview of coastal management. Articles were also reviewed for style and consistency, so as to provide some quality assurance for readers. CoastNet’s role has been to develop the organisational structure, in the form of categories (in a panel on the right hand side of the page on the home page). The coastal wiki is potentially a great advance in providing a more timely transfer of knowledge from the academic sector to policy makers, and vice versa. Find the Coastal Wiki at coastalwiki/Main_Page

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Industrious coast
Our oceans and coastal landscapes are home to a huge array of industries competing for the use of the sea. These range from fishing, aquaculture, coastal tourism, maritime transport and extractive industries such as oil and gas and marine aggregates.
With so many industries vying for the right of coastal and/or marine space, a massive challenge for the proposed EU Integrated Maritime Policy will be to address those competing uses of the sea in a way that ensures a sustainable future. For the construction industry, addressing its huge impact, in terms of emissions, on climate change and the materials used in construction will be important for the future. There are small signs that some areas of the industry are making progress. The ‘Make it Right’ project, for example, supported by movie star Brad Pitt, is now rebuilding 150 coastal homes in New Orleans following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 utilising the most sustainable construction practices possible.

Mineral extraction and construction
Mineral extraction from the seabed is big business. The UK’s marine aggregate industry alone provides around 20 million tonnes of sand and gravel each year for construction uses in the UK and Europe. Primarily used to manufacture concrete, it is also used for general building and in beach replenishment. The construction industry is responsible for an incredible 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and demand for building and construction continues to grow. Coastal construction remains as popular as ever, even though the associated effects of climate change (storms, flooding, erosion) continue to hit the coast the hardest.

Sebastien Dupray from HR Wallingford discusses the impact of climate change on materials used in both natural and man made structures on page 14.

Marine renewables
Marine renewables, in the form of wave, tidal and wind energy, have the potential to contribute significantly to worldwide energy demand.


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With climate change concerns reaching a critical mass, the pressure on marine spatial planning to accommodate demand from this sector is likely to grow significantly in future years. Projects, such as the one led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), to quantify and spatially map the potential wave, tidal and offshore wind resource at a regional scale across the UK Continental Shelf, should help to assist decision makers in licensing marine renewable technologies.

Kyoto Protocol and remain largely unregulated. According to a recent report in The Independent, the global shipbuilding industry is “in the midst of its biggest boom ever with the numbers of tankers and bulk carriers expected to increase by 50 per cent by 2012”. There seems little indication that the shipping industry, and by association ports, will do anything other than grow over the new few years. This is not surprising given that ships and tankers (around 90,000 in total) currently transport over 90 per cent of all goods traded worldwide.

Coastal tourism also presents an opportunity to engage the public on issues related to the marine and coastal landscape. Marine conservation has typically been a focus, but increasingly more integrated issues, such as the impact of climate change and coastal industry on the oceans, as well as the part lifestyle choices can have on both, are being explored.

Offshore oil and gas
Sixty per cent of the world’s petroleum production comes from global offshore operations. The International Energy Agency in its World Outlook series predicts world energy demand will increase by up to 50 per cent by 2030 and with such an increase in energy demand, offshore operations are moving into deeper waters, some reaching depths of over 8,000 feet. This continues to have impacts on the marine environment as demand makes extraction in less accessible places a profitable concern.

Paul Cox, from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, UK discusses marine interpretation in this wider context. On page 12.

Overfishing, pirate fishing, quotas, marine protected areas, sea pollution and now global warming are just some of the absolutely crucial issues surrounding the fishing industry today. With more than 75 per cent of all fisheries either fully exploited or heading for meltdown according to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the long suffering marine fishing industry in 2002 still represented 63 per cent (84.4 million tonnes) of total world fish production. What has changed is the increasing share of world production by marine and inland water aquaculture.

The International Maritime Organisation gives its perspective on shipping on page 8.

Tourism and leisure industry
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world and the coastal zone is, for many countries, the focus of their tourism industry. Climate change and its associated impacts: increased storminess, flooding, sea level rise, heatwaves and coastal erosion will all have an impact on the coastal landscape and the tourism industry. Some small island states, almost wholly dependent economically on tourism, are particularly at risk from the threat of climate change.

Shipping and ports
Carbon emissions from shipping, traditionally seen as small in comparison to other forms of transport, are growing fast although these are not yet included in the

By 2004, according to the UN FAO’s State of world fisheries and Aquaculture 2006, aquaculture accounted for approximately 43 per cent of total world fish production. The same report also put the aquaculture industry as the fasting growing animal food-producing sector, with a worldwide average growth rate of 8.8 per cent per year since 1970. China is by far the largest region, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of total production in 2004, but there are many other countries that have begun to develop an aquaculture industry.

One such country is Nicaragua and Agnés Saborío Coze, Director of the Centre of Aquatic Ecosystems Research, takes an historic look at the development of sustainable shrimp farming in Nicaragua. See page 10.

Ship building
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Protecting the environment from shipping
With shipping responsible for transporting more than 90 per cent of the world’s trade, Natasha Brown, from the International Maritime Organization, looks at the industries efforts to limit its pollution and emissions. There’s no avoiding the fact that the modern world is utterly dependent on motorised transport systems that run largely on fossil fuels. Their use inevitably carries an environmental burden, primarily through the emission of greenhouse gases. These emissions are now widely accepted as being significant contributory factors towards global warming and climate change.
The shipping trade
Rail and road transport, aviation and shipping all produce emissions. These different modes of transport perform different functions, with the primary function of shipping being to transport huge volumes of cargo, unitised or in bulk, across the world’s oceans. In fact, the shipping industry is responsible for the carriage of more than 90 per cent of world trade and is arguably the life blood of the global economy. agency with responsibility for safety and security at sea and prevention of marine pollution by ships. Since it began in 1959, the IMO has adopted 50 international treaties which include a wide range of measures to prevent and control pollution caused by ships and to mitigate the effects of any damage that may occur as a result of maritime operations. convention covering the prevention of pollution by ships, whether from operational or accidental causes. MARPOL’s six annexes set out regulations dealing with pollution from ships by oil; by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk; harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form; sewage, garbage; and the prevention of air pollution from ships. In conjunction with other measures, MARPOL has laid the foundation for substantial and continued reductions in pollution from ships despite the massive increase in world seaborne trade. The IMO is currently undertaking a review of the existing MARPOL Annex VI, which sets limits on sulphur oxide

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution Without shipping, it would simply not from Ships
be possible to conduct intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials or the import and export of affordable food and manufactured goods. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that, over the last four decades, total seaborne trade has more than quadrupled, from less than six thousand billion tonnemiles in 1965 to over 27 thousand billion tonne-miles in 2004. Today, world trade continues to grow and the international shipping industry has responded to the demand for its services. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is the United Nations specialised The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, universally known as MARPOL, was adopted by IMO in 1973 and today, much expanded and updated, remains the most important international

The average number of ship-source oil spills over 700 tonnes has shrunk from over 25 annually in the 1970s to just 3.7 per year in the 2000s.


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(SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship exhausts; prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances; provides regulations for emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from tankers and puts a global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil. When its revision is completed, the Annex will also cover particulate matter.

included in the revised Annex VI. It is anticipated that the revised Annex VI would enter into force in 2010. Concurrently, IMO has an action plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from ships, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), which is not covered in the current Annex VI. It is cooperating closely with international shipping and other relevant UN bodies, in particular the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, in this work, to ensure that the issue is tackled on a truly international level, thereby avoiding unhelpful unilateral action on a regional or national level.

database to make the huge volume of CO2 indexing data accessible for comparison and further studies by Member States and the shipping industry. The MEPC has observed that identical ships in seemingly similar trades produce different results. The difference may result from different weather conditions or from operational differences concerning the specific utilisation of individual ships involved in the trials. Issues such as the length of time spent waiting in port areas, the length of ballast voyages, and whether the ship is fully laden or not, can all make a difference. The central database will be accessible to the public in the first part of 2008. Enhancements in the efficiency of engine and propulsion systems and improved hull designs have already led to increased fuel efficiency. Larger ships and a more rational utilisation of individual vessels have also contributed significantly to reducing the amount of energy needed to transport a given unit of cargo. Nevertheless, IMO continues to work on further reducing harmful emissions from shipping, a transport industry vital to world trade and development. There is today a growing concern for our environment and a genuine fear that, if we do not change our ways, the damage we will inflict on our planet will render it incapable of sustaining the economy we have grown accustomed to. The edge Winter 2008

Emissions reductions from shipping
A cross government/industry scientific group of experts, established by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos in July 2007 has reviewed the environmental, human health and shipping and petroleum industry impacts of applying any of the proposed fuel options to reduce SOx and particulate matter generated by shipping and the consequential impact on other emissions, including CO2 emissions from ships and refineries. The final report was completed in midDecember 2007 and submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) and the Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) SubCommittee, so that its conclusions can aid the decisions on what should be

Greenhouse Gas Indexing Scheme
In the first years of the new millennium, the MEPC’s work focused on the development of a GHG Indexing Scheme for ships, in order to establish a common approach for trials on voluntary CO2 emission indexing, to enable shipowners to evaluate the performance of their fleet with regard to CO2 emissions. As the amount of CO2 emitted from a ship is directly related to the consumption of bunker fuel oil, CO2 indexing will also provide useful information on a ship’s performance with regard to fuel efficiency. The MEPC has now received results from hundreds of trials conducted over several years and, at its 56th session in July 2007, decided to establish a central


Shrimp farming in Nicaragua
Agnés Saborío Coze, Director of the Centre of Aquatic Ecosystems Research of the Central American University, takes a historical look at the development of a sustainable shrimp farming industry in Nicaragua.
In 1988, with support from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, the first evaluative approach of adequate land for shrimp farming activity along the Pacific coast was implemented. The results indicated an area of approximately 39,250 hectares, of which 72 per cent (28,150 hectares) was concentrated in the Estero Real, close to the Gulf of Fonseca. The rest of the land was distributed close to the Esteros of Aserradores, Padre Ramos and Río Tamarindo (Tamarindo River) in the Pacific coast. These numbers were verified by a second study in 1992 and in 1994 with the support of Pradepesca, an EU project. During the first half of the eighties there were a few isolated shrimp growing initiatives in salinas and enclosing systems that were abandoned because of political instability and technical problems. It wasn’t until 1987 that some cooperatives managed to develop 100 hectares of rustic ponds. By 1990, these increased to an area of around 1,000 hectares, obtaining a yield of 250 pounds per hectare per year.
HONDURAS Estero Real

The noughties
By 2001, the industry increased yields through the use of new production systems, both technically and economically. At the beginning of the 1990s, semi-intensive culture increased the stocking rate between 8 and 10 post larvae per square metre, with a 10 per cent daily renewal of water. After the white spot virus outbreak, water stopped being pumped into the ponds and stocking rates increased. Some farms have undertaken intensive culture with aeration / ventilation and a harvesting rate of 50 post larvae per square metre, obtaining good results. Some enterprises have also started using aerators and increased and improved water filtration. All these changes translate into larger and better productive results. Trend moves towards larger producers The shrimp industry has continued to grow since 2001 although there has been a decrease of small producers and a tendency to concentrate productive areas between few large producers. The

Padre Ramos Gulf of Fonseca Rio Tamarindo


Since 1990, the thriving shrimp activity worldwide increased national and foreign investor interest in shrimp farming, with some investors applying for land concessions. At the begining of 1998 there were 8,299 hectares in production. However, in October, the tropical storm that hit Nicaragua as a result of Hurricane Mitch, reduced productive hectares by 25 per cent, equalling a loss of 2,108 hectares that year. In 1999 shrimp farming, already reduced due to the previous years effects of Hurricane Mitch was further hit by an outbreak of white spot virus, harmless to humans but with devastaing effects on shrimp populations.











1988 – Study looks at land suitability for shrimp farming on the Pacific Coast.

1990 – Potential of shrimp farming in Nicaragua attracts both national and foreign investment.

1998 – Hurricane Mitch hits Nicaragua devastating the fledgling shrimp industry losing 25 per cent of productive shrimp farming land.

1999 – Outbreaks o virus though Central Nicaraguan shrimp i reducing production


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reasons for this are diverse: the disruption caused by Hurricane Mitch, the appearance of various diseases that required a certain degree of management and technical knowledge as well as the low market price of shrimp. By 2006, 68 per cent of land was managed by businesses with 32 per cent still in cooperative hands. Production areas stood at: • 52.5 per cent semi-intensive • 27.1 per cent extensive • 21 per cent artisanal. Estero Real Management Plan In 2006, the Estero Real Management Plan was approved by the Government of Nicaragua, declaring the area where 90 per cent of all shrimp farms are located a Protected Area and an International Ramsar Site. The plan outlines a commitment by the shrimp farming industry and the government to create a Good Practice Management Guide to regulate cultivation. In 2007 the government, shrimp producers and the Central American University extended the proposal and the Technical, Social and Environmental Code of Responsible Conduct for shrimp farming in Nicaragua was approved. The code outlines good practices for each part of the shrimp production chain, considering food health, human rights, workers rights and environmental protection. Additionally it establishes the monthly monitoring of water quality of the entire Estero Real. Shrimp production has been increasing anually, with the exception of 1998 due to the effects of Hurricane Mitch, from a production of 415,000 kilos in 1990 to 23,893,000 kilos in 2006. Larger producers, however, now dominate. The shrimp cooperatives, for example, represented 100 per cent of production at the end of the 1990s, 33 per cent in 1995 but only four per cent by 2006. Exports are the mainstay for the industry with USA receiving 42 per cent of production, the European Union (mostly to Spain, France, Germany and the UK), 54 per cent and four per cent to Central America. Comparing shrimp culture with shrimp fishing in both oceans the results are very revealing. While shrimp farming has grown in the past few years by 144 per cent in volume and 89 per cent in value, shrimp fishing has decreased in the same period by 30 per cent in volume and in value. These numbers highlight the great value that aquaculture now has in Nicaragua, as an activity that generates food, employment and foreign currency if we develop it in harmony with people and the environment. Agnés Saborío Coze is currently Director of the Centre of Aquatic Ecosystems Research of the Central American University.

The Latin American context
The cultivation of marine shrimp in the region dates back to the 1960s and is now cultivated in over 18 countries in and the Caribbean. A large percentage of shrimp farmed in Latin America is produced for export, primarily to American markets, but increasingly to Europe and Japan. Initially shrimp farming affected mangrove areas in countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Ecuador but now some mangrove recovery has taken place due to better regulatory frameworks and incentives for restoration through replanting and maintenance measures. There have also been efforts in the Central American countries to improve the management of fisheries and aquaculture according to specific regional objectives, principles and strategies which reinforce their integration policy. In Brazil a Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing and good practices for handling shrimp was introduced. Elsewere, initiatives include: good practices in aquaculture production in Colombia; qualification in good practices on handling and quality assurance of hydrobiological products in Costa Rica, and Environmental Regulation for Aquaculture (RAMA) in Chile.
Source: Regional review on aquaculture development: Latin America and the Caribbean, 2005. UNFAO.











of the white spot l America, affects industry, further n.

2001 – New production techniques are introduced, such as improved water filtration and the use of aerators, improving shrimp harvest rates.

2006 – A shift towards large producers shifts percentage of land in cooperative hands to 32 per cent with 68 per cent of land managed by large enterprises. Government approves the Estero Real Management Plan, protecting the area where 90 per cent of all shrimp farms are located.

2007 – Technical, Social and Environmental Code of Responsible Conduct for Shrimp Farming in Nicaragua approved.

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ple eo P

Jaws wide open
Paul Cox, Aquarium Manager of the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, talks to Lesley Smeardon about the Aquarium’s work in communicating climate change and the complexities in the way we use ocean resources.
understanding, and the other bringing climate change back to the individual level with clear practical applications.

Paul Cox

“If you take the sharks away, you may as well close down the aquarium”, Paul Cox jokingly replies when asked to name the biggest draw of Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium. “The ‘shark challenge’ we face is to take the excitement that these creatures generate and turn it into interest in other marine animals and ocean life”, he adds. As for the sharks, Cox says, “In the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a real change in the way kids see sharks. There’s now a lot more understanding of the more benign nature of these animals as well as the threats they face.” This development of understanding is, of course, what Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium is all about. From sharks to sea urchins, climate change to coastal industries, cutting through the misunderstandings, developing greater knowledge and making the connections between oceans and visitors, are the communication challenges for much marine interpretation. These other issues are now making their way increasingly on to the agendas of aquariums and maritime museums everywhere. As part of two European projects the Aquarium has been able to take the issue of climate change, pretty much a constant in the media now, and look at it from two different perspectives; one looking at bridging high science with common

High science, common understanding
The EUR-OCEANS network of excellence is first and foremost about getting scientists working on climate change to communicate with each other, to share knowledge, equipment and data. Perhaps an obvious idea, but by no means easy to implement, the project, set up by the European Commission in 2005, involves around 500 scientists from 60 research institutions in 25 European Countries. The project work is long term, fairly laborious in nature, often about building complex ecosystem models and making them more and more predictive and, initially uninteresting to the public. That’s where the Aquarium’s outreach group comes in, of which Paul’s team at the Plymouth Aquarium

is part. “We’re one of eight aquariums working on the public outreach side of EUR-OCEANS”, Paul says. “We’re charged with trying to disseminate to the public what EUR-OCEANS is about and get them engaged in the concept of climate change.” The outreach project’s aim is to establish a baseline of understanding of the work going on by providing first hand accounts of the research through the production of a series of films. “Our team went to Svalbard in the Arctic, invited by the Norwegian Polar Institute”, Paul explains. “We spent about seven days on the research vessel ‘Lance’ travelling from the capital Longyearbyen up the west coast, talking to scientists, looking at what they were doing; essentially looking at the effect of changing water temperature on plankton and how the effects work their way up the food chain. One of the main things we

An arcade style exhibit looks at the impacts of marine aggregates and links to construction.


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Pe op le

The climate kitchen, aimed at Key stage 2-3, shows children how they can minimise their own impact on climate change.
wanted to get across to the public was the importance of research longevity; the need for scientists to keep coming back to accumulate long term data. The film we made tried to get this point across.” The great thing about presenting this information at the aquarium is that people are often already very receptive. The shark factor comes into play once again. “We’re able to engage people quite easily at the aquarium”, says Paul. “Once we’ve got people’s attention, they’re pretty receptive and we can talk about a number of different subjects.”

As well as marine aggregates, the aquarium also has a floor dedicated to renewable energy looking at the potential power and energy of the sea. The ocean power exhibition gives students a chance to try and harness tidal power, among other things.
“Climate change is now on everyone’s radar but this comes with much misunderstanding. I had a conversation with a 10 year old the other day who told me that the Gulf Stream was going to shut down because of global warming. But then, after demonstrating such sophisticated knowledge, children can often make completely unrelated links between ozone and climate change. Climate Lab is about presenting the basics, showing there is uncertainty, but most importantly showing children what they can do individually to reduce their own impact.” stadiums – a very important fact for eight year old boys!” Paul comments. “It also highlights some of the dangers of dredging and the marine areas that might be most vulnerable to this.” A second phase of the project is due to start in January 2008, taking a roadshow out to local schools looking specifically at sustainability and the connectedness we all have to the sea. “It’s important to show how the issue is a balancing act with development, growth and jobs on one hand, and the need to safeguard the marine environment on the other”, Cox adds. Such a project also helps children realise that there are naturally grey areas in life, with no clear right or wrong approach. So how do the children cope with the grey areas? “Children are pretty receptive, accepting there are different opinions on issues”, Paul replies. “That said, though, they always want to have answers. They kind of need to come down on one side of the fence.” While sharks may be the initial draw for anyone visiting aquariums around the country, it’s very likely that the public will leave with a lot more understanding about the ocean than how long sharks have lived on the planet for or how powerful their jaws are. Unable to resist, that’s 400 million years and the most powerful on the planet! The edge Winter 2008

An ocean resource Up front and personal
Along with the perhaps more difficult job of communicating EUR-OCEANS, the team started work on building a unique web-based teaching resource, Climate Lab, which came out of a project (‘PENCIL’) whose aim was to strengthen links between science centres and schools. The project started in 2002 when interest in climate change was not so intense. Now of course there is a danger that the public are suffering from climate fatigue, believing they know enough about the subject, with already very firm opinions on the subject. “The interesting thing is how much people think they know about climate change compared to how much they actually do know”, Paul explains. Another area of communication work at the National Marine Aquarium is to explore the many conflicting uses that the oceans are being used for and the need to find a balance between all of these. Take marine aggregates for example – an industry, that in the UK alone, takes out 20 million tonnes of sand and gravel used in construction and building. “We set up a recent aggregates exhibition as part of a project called ‘Mineral Wealth, Seabed Health’. This looks at the connectedness of land and sea, demonstrating to children how aggregates dredged from the marine landscape end up being used in the very fabric of our every day life; in our roads, buildings and even our football


Climate change
Climate change is now a recognised phenomenon that will significantly affect the coastal environment. It is not exactly clear, however, how this phenomenon and materials in the coastal environment relate to one another, in particular the effects of sea level rise, changing storm severity and changes in water temperature on materials. What is known is that material properties and behaviours are influenced strongly by the form of structures in which they are embodied. climate change. There will also be impacts of climate change on the structures themselves in terms of their future stability and performance.

materials and materials use
Sébastien Dupray and Jonathan Simm from HR Wallingford look at how climate change is affecting materials and their structures
Materials in the coastal environment
The relationship between structure and material is complex and has been attracting the attention of coastal engineers and materials specialists for years. The following key considerations for materials in the coastal environment with regards to climate change might be considered: availability, impacts of transport, durability, buildability, adaptability, environmental balance. These considerations may apply both to natural coastal material (such as sand/pebble/cobbles on beaches or from dredging), to raw conventional construction materials (such as natural quarried rock, timber, concrete, steel, binders) as well as to recycled/ secondary materials.

Selecting the most appropriate maintenance strategy
The concept of performance-based asset management (widely supported at HR Wallingford) means that selecting the most appropriate maintenance strategy is strongly emphasised. • The ‘do nothing’ option critically relies on the hypothesis made regarding long term material properties and deterioration. • The ‘repair’ option may be required to ensure further deterioration of the material does not occur, but would generally require detailed consideration of material compatibilities especially when older structures are repaired with products of a newer generation. The composition of cementitious product, for example, has dramatically changed over the centuries and the use of recent repair products should be considered with care. • The ‘upgrade’ or ‘demolish and build new’ option would in some cases be an option to address sea level rise in particular in low lying coastal areas. Due to the, sometimes intensive, use of space in coastal areas, many works would be limited to the footprint of the previous structure. This may require the use of innovative forms of construction, as well as material types such as composites. In addition, combination of soft and hard types of approaches would certainly be increasingly frequent to limit the use of the scarcer materials to places where it is the only alternative.

Structures taken in a broad sense, ie artificial structures such as sea defences or natural structures such as beaches, may be looked at by the function for which they are designed or they naturally display. The primary functions of sea defence, coast protection or beach, for example, might include limitation or control of overtopping, protection from the aggressiveness of the sea, along with environmental and amenity functions. As a consequence, their position, their geometry, their components and their materials deserve specific consideration since they control the stability and the performance of the existing or planned structure. The anticipated material deterioration rates are an important consideration, especially in situations where normal deterioration rates may be affected by

The effect of climate change on materials
Climate change will directly affect materials. The increase in air and water temperature will definitely modify bacteriological and chemical reaction processes leading to increased deterioration of some rock minerals, corrosion of steel, alteration of concrete, for example. It would also modify the biological environment of these materials, allowing populations of marine borers to develop in new areas where previously they presented no threat for timber structures. Although these trends have been identified, the challenge is now to assess their degree and geographical extent.

The impact of materials on climate change
As important as the impact of climate change is on materials, materials


The edge Winter 2008

use during extraction, design and construction also has an impact on climate change. For both artificial and natural structures, there is concern about the availability of suitable materials to allow structures stability and performance. A large number of glacial relic beaches around the UK coasts, for example, are made of stone sizes which are no longer available from marine sources. The sustainability of maintaining these beaches as defences should be studied with reference to various scenarios of sourcing including the use of dredged materials, raw or recycled/secondary materials. Shortages of beach sand/pebble can be overcome by using local quarried stone or even local stabilised wastes, such as glass cullet or tyre balls, instead of further exploiting marine sediments. While carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are associated with materials production, studies have shown that the majority of emissions associated with construction relate to the transport of materials to the site. A hierarchy of sourcing (available/reclaimed or recycled/primary) and transport (on site/locally sourced/transported from further afield by train, ship or road) options is generally used to compare supply scenarios.

This may require designers to consider supply-based design approaches rather than more conventional demand-based design approaches. Northern Europe has shown that such approaches are possible, but this may require innovative design approaches for some coastal structures. A possible drawback is that local or recycled materials may be of poorer durability. Deterioration rates and anticipated changes of properties with time will therefore need to be considered in the design as well as in the asset management scheme to allow for regular and easy repair.

associated with climate change (or not) would then be limited, also limiting the amount of repairs. The environmental balance of the material in use, as well as its use in construction, has now become an indicator as part of the decision making process, in particular with reference to CO2 emissions. The awareness of the industry as well as its efforts to reduce the CO2 footprint of material production and construction have been increasing although better understanding of these issues is still needed.

Climate change will affect structures and materials. Some anticipated effects on material deterioration have already been identified although further research is still required to define them in engineering terms. More challenging is without doubt the need to consider in more depth, the material aspects of construction during the design. In particular, the holistic study of materials should grow and take into account availability, impacts of transport, durability, buildability, adaptability and environmental balance aspects.

Location, location, location
In many cases, poor durability of structures is due, not to the material quality itself, but to inadequate consideration of the aggressive nature of the dynamic coastal environment in which structures are to be built and maintained. Early consideration of buildability during design is essential to ensure that materials will be placed and used in conditions that allow them to perform at their best. The risks of structure/material degradation

Dr Sébastien Dupray is senior civil engineer of the French Institute for Maritime and Fluvial Works (CETMEF), currently seconded as a project manager to HR Wallingford.

Jonathan Simm is Technical Director for Engineering at HR Wallingford.

HR Wallingford provides analysis, advice and support in engineering and environmental hydraulics and in the management of water and the water environment. The edge Winter 2008


CoastNet events
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Location: The Resource Centre, London Date: Thursday 28 February 2008 This conference sets out to answer some of the pertinent questions throughout the EU surrounding Strategic Environmental Assessment including: • How do we deal with in-combination and cumulative impacts? • What is SEA and what does, or can it achieve? Is it a truly holistic approach? • Does SEA provide better environmental performance? • Does SEA have a role to play in providing more integrated planning in marine and coastal regions? • Is SEA enough, or is a more centralised planning process required, such as holistic spatial plans for the coastal zone? • Do we have the information and tools required to properly undertake SEA in coastal regions? From experience to date what difficulties have been encountered, and what are future needs? • Is there or should there be cross border cooperation in SEA in marine regions, for example in the North Sea, Irish Sea or English Channel? • Do we have anything to learn from approaches elsewhere? For further details or to book, please contact Christine Punter on 01206 728644, or by email:
NB There will also be opportunities for exhibition stands – please contact us for further information.

CoastNet emails:
Alex Midlen; Theresa Redding; Lesley Smeardon; Manuela de los Rios; Christine Punter; Events; General;

This publication is partially funded through the Corepoint project under the Interrreg 3B Programme. Corepoint aims to establish North West Europe as an internationally recognised region of excellence in coastal management by encouraging full implementation of ICZM, highlighting best practice, providing education by influencing national spatial policies – for further details please see

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