Evaluating marine protected areas for the conservation of tropical coastal sharks

Knip, Danielle M., Heupel, Michelle R., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2012) Evaluating marine protected areas for the conservation of tropical coastal sharks. Biological Conservation, 148 (1). pp. 200-209.

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Global declines in shark populations have created uncertainty in the future status of many species and conservation efforts are urgently needed. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are used increasingly as conservation tools around the world, but how they benefit mobile and wide ranging species like sharks remains unclear. To evaluate the degree of protection MPAs may provide for sharks, we used an array of acoustic receivers to examine the movements and spatial use of two tropical coastal species within two MPAs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. Juvenile pigeye (Carcharhinus amboinensis) and adult spottail (Carcharhinus sorrah) sharks were fitted with acoustic transmitters from 2009 to 2010. Both species displayed long-term use of MPAs, with some individuals detected for longer than 600 days. The mean percentage of time C. amboinensis and C. sorrah spent inside MPAs was 22% and 32%, respectively. MPA use varied seasonally, with C. amboinensis spending a higher percentage of time inside MPAs in summer (mean = 28%) and C. sorrah spending a higher percentage of time inside MPAs in winter (mean = 40%). Although sharks used large areas inside MPAs, most individuals tended to use only half of the available protected space. In addition, all sharks made excursions from MPAs and individuals exited and re-entered at consistent locations along the MPA boundaries. These results demonstrate that MPAs have conservation benefits for shark populations by providing protection across different species and life stages, and tracking studies can be used to help tailor MPA design to maximize effectiveness.

Item ID: 22151
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: conservation benefits, mobile species, movement, MPA, passive acoustic monitoring, shark populations
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 16:08
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 70%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 30%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
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