Aerial surveys and the potential biological removal technique indicate that the Torres Strait dugong fishery is unsustainable

Marsh, Helene, Lawler, Ivan R, Kwan, Donna, Delean, Steve, Pollock, Kenneth, and Alldredge, Matthew (2004) Aerial surveys and the potential biological removal technique indicate that the Torres Strait dugong fishery is unsustainable. Animal Conservation, 7. pp. 435-443.

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Abstract

The globally significant dugong population of Torres Strait supports an important indigenous fishery for meat and oil. The fishery is protected by the Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea. A time series of aerial survey estimates from 1987–2001 confirms that there is considerable temporal variability in the size of the dugong population in the region and adds to a growing body of evidence from other aerial surveys and satellite tracking that dugongs undertake large-scale movements associated with temporal and spatial changes in the distribution of their seagrass food. The magnitude of these effects on both the size of the population and the catch cannot be disaggregated from the effects of population depletion from overharvesting. The Potential Biological Removal method was used in conjunction with the aerial survey data to estimate sustainable anthropogenic mortality from all causes for a range of empirically-derived estimates of dugong life-history parameters. These estimates of a sustainable harvest are so far below the current harvest that it must be unsustainable. Governments should heed the Islanders’ requests for assistance in implementing co-management of the fishery as a matter of urgency.

Item ID: 332
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-1795
Keywords: Dugong, Sustainable hunting, Population estimate
Additional Information:

© 2004 Cambridge University Press : Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher : This journal is available online - use hypertext links above. See also the companion paper in the same journal issue: Robert Heinsohn1,∗, Robert C. Lacy2, David B. Lindenmayer1, Helene Marsh3, Donna Kwan3 and Ivan R. Lawler3 Unsustainable harvest of dugongs in Torres Strait and Cape York (Australia) waters: two case studies using population viability analysis Animal Conservation (2004) 7, 417–425

Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2006
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 70%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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