Pelagic MPAs: The devil you know

Game, Edward T., Grantham, Hedley S., Hobday, Alistair J., Pressey, Robert L., Lombard, Amanda T., Beckley, Lynnath E., Gjerde, Kristina, Bustamante, Rodrigo, Possingham, Hugh P., and Richardson, Anthony J. (2010) Pelagic MPAs: The devil you know. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 25 (2). pp. 63-64.

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[Extract] Kaplan et al.[1] support the need to consider Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as one tool in the management of pelagic threats. However, they suggest that two challenges, defining 'targeted' MPAs and enforcement, are more significant than we recognized. Using the example of skipjack tuna, the authors argue that defining 'targeted MPAs' (we assume for a particular species) can be problematic given the lack of site fidelity of some pelagic animals. One way to combat the lack of site fidelity in pelagic animals, as we outline in our paper [2], is to implement temporally variable MPAs [3]. We contend that while the distribution of pelagic animals might not be static, they are commonly predictable based on an understanding of the environmental drivers, including for skipjack tuna [4] and [5]. We agree that for management of single stocks, MPAs might not be the best tool. However, the focus of our paper was not the conservation of individual commercial species, but rather pelagic habitats and ecosystems. In this sense, 'targeted' MPAs are better defined based on important pelagic features (e.g. eddies, thermal fronts, upwelling cells, etc.), which often exhibit a high degree of either spatial or temporal predictability [6] and [7].

Item ID: 16307
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
ISSN: 1872-8383
Date Deposited: 03 May 2011 07:08
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961303 Protected Conservation Areas in Marine Environments @ 100%
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