Do marine protected areas in the Red Sea afford protection to dugongs and sea turtles?

Rouphael, Tony, Abdulla, Ameer, Attum, Omar, Marshall, Nadine, and Ghazali, Usama (2013) Do marine protected areas in the Red Sea afford protection to dugongs and sea turtles? Journal of Biodiversity and Endangered Species, 1 (1). 1000102. pp. 1-6.

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Dugongs (Dugong dugon) and most sea turtles are threatened by gill nets and other human activities worldwide. In the Red Sea these animals are potentially isolated from populations in other areas of the world. This isolation would make recovery following major population decline in the Red Sea unlikely. Protected areas are promoted as a management tool to safeguard these animals from human activities. Elba National Park, Egypt, supports populations of dugongs and sea turtles, as well as a growing fishing industry. We undertook a survey of fishers to determine if dugongs and sea turtles formed bycatch in Elba National Park. Specifically, we quantified the proportion of fishers operating in Elba National Park who had caught these animals as bycatch in fishing nets and the proportion of fishers who perceived that sea turtle eggs were still collected. This study indicates that at least one protected area in the Red Sea is not achieving conservation objectives relating to these animals. Nine and eighty percent of fishers reported having caught dugongs and sea turtles in nets, respectively. Seven percent of fishers perceived that people still collected turtle eggs. Elba National Park is failing to protect these animals for reasons including: it is managed solely as an IUCN Category VI Protected Area; fishers lack awareness of laws pertaining to these animals; and fishers are highly resource dependent. Potential management strategies to reduce bycatch include the establishment of IUCN Category 1a Protected Areas in important dugong and sea turtle habitat, encouraging fishers to adopt fishing gear that poses less risk to megafauna and raising awareness among fishers of the protected status of dugongs and sea turtles.

Item ID: 32567
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2332-2543
Keywords: bycatch; dugongs; Egypt; fishing nets; protected areas; sea turtles; Red Sea
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© 2013 Rouphael AB, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: IUCN Global Marine Programme, USAID
Date Deposited: 12 May 2014 23:59
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960609 Sustainability Indicators @ 100%
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