Marine Spatial Planning for the Falkland Islands

Sub-projects emerging from the MSP project

Part of the MSP project is to identify data gaps and proposed sub- or new projects to fill in these gaps and provide further tools and mapping. During the workshops, several data gaps were identified.

Key areas for marine megafauna
The sub-project is led by Dr Amélie Augé in collaboration with Dr Maria Dias and Ben Lascelles from BirdLife International (Ocean Tracking Wanderer Database). A large effort of collating all tracking and sighting information on seabirds and pinnipeds has been made while the team, along with numerous data providers and local experts, is developing a methodology to produce a protocol repeatable and easily explained to stakeholders and decision makers.

Whale recovery and sighting hotspots around the Falkland Islands

The sub-project is run by Veronica Frans under the supervision of Dr Amélie Augé. The project aims to 1) map the current recovery and distribution of large whales around the Falkland Islands and 2) estimate distribution and detect potential recovery of the whale populations around the Falkland Islands. This project will start filling some of the cetacean knowledge gap and produce the first comprehensive whale sighting hotspot map, knowledge that will be critical to support efficient MSP. Species distribution modelling will then be applied to the sightings combined with environmental data to produce a predictive map of whale suitable habitats. This sub-project is funded by the Environmental Studies Budget. Preliminary results are described in the news item linked below:

Mapping historical whale sightings to manage the future

Cultural coastal values in the Falkland Islands

The sub-project is run by Denise Herrera under the supervision of Dr Amélie Augé and Dr Kate Sherren (Dalhousie University, Canada). This project is a pilot study to develop a methodology to map coastal cultural values using interviews with members of the community to elicit valued areas of the coastal (terrestrial and marine) area of the Falkland Islands. In-person interviews are conducted with a sample of community members, born in the islands or long-term residents, in Stanley and throughout camp. A map of cumulative cultural values will be produced. Preliminary results are described in the news item linked below:

Hotspots of cultural coastal values identified for marine spatial planning-2

Recreational boating areas

The sub-project was run by Dr Amélie Augé. This project aimed to map the areas by eliciting knowledge from local sailors. There are a few local sailboats and a number of visiting sailboats in particular during the summer months. However, recreational boating is low around the Falklands compared to most populated, warmer areas; it may increase in the future with an increase in tourism and improvements in facilities. The Falkland Islands Yacht Club helped gathering knowledge of favoured areas for boating and areas inaccessible, never used.

Map of recreational boating area around the Falklands

Marine biosecurity risks areas shipping and tourism

The sub-project is conducted by Dr iLaria Marengo in collaboration with Dr Amélie Augé. This project is using MSP data (shipping traffic, tourism activities) and knowledge, and the powers of GIS analyses and mapping to predict the coastal marine areas with the highest biosecurity risks from biofouling, and the environmental sensitive areas potentially most at risk from invasive species. For more information on this work, see the news article linked below:

Mapping areas at risk of marine invasion from biofouling

Kelp beds

The sub-project is undertaken by Junichi Sugishita (Otago University, New Zealand) and consists of manual mapping of kelp beds using Google Earth. Kelp beds are a very important coastal habitat for many marine species, including some commercial fish, but have only been mapped in details in a few small areas to date. Modelling-based mapping using high resolution satellite images that must be bought is prohibitively expensive for large areas. Therefore, manual mapping (however tedious) will provide a layer depicting the current distribution of coastal kelp beds throughout the Islands, critical data for MSP and a range of other studies

Map of Kelp Beds Falklands 2016

Spatially-explicit cetacean stranding database

Screen shot of strandings database
Screen shot of strandings database

The Falkland Islands Government Environmental Planning Department (EPD) had created a cetacean stranding database; however, location data were including only sporadically as site description instead of GPS locations. The database was transformed in a GIS database by Dr Amélie Augé. Stranding events were given geographic locations based on the site descriptions, topographic maps and local residents’ input to understand local names given. EPD was provided the spatially-explicit cetacean stranding database and can now simply add new stranding with exact locations, which will be a useful tool for MSP, for recording new information, conducting analyses and monitoring potential impacts of maritime development.

Developing a research proposal to fill in dolphin distribution data gap

An important part of MSP is to identify the priority data gaps to fill that will significantly improve the spatial management decisions made. One of these priority data gap identified during data exploration and the MSP workshops (in particular the workshop on Key areas for marine megafauna, above), was the lack of information on the distribution and habitat use and needs of the coastal dolphins found around the Falkland Islands: the Commerson’s dolphin, Cephalorhynchus commersonii, and Peale’s dolphin, Lagenorhynchus australis. Therefore, it was agreed that the MSP project would lead on a research proposal to apply for funds to conduct research in that field. A pilot survey that covered sampled areas of the coasts in early 2014 conducted by Falklands Conservation gave some preliminary knowledge to help develop a research proposal. A Darwin Plus proposal was submitted in September 2015. The PI, Paul Brickle and Amélie Augé (who will lead the research), and all the research partners on the application, are delighted to announce that the proposal submitted to Darwin Plus has been successful; see current research projects for more information.

PO Box 609, Stanley Cottage North
Ross Road, Falkland Islands
Stanley, FIQQ 1ZZ
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