Benefits of marine protected areas for tropical coastal sharks

Yates, Peter M., Tobin, Andrew J., Heupel, Michelle R., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2016) Benefits of marine protected areas for tropical coastal sharks. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems , 26 (6). pp. 1063-1080.

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1. Coastal sharks face increasing pressure from anthropogenic impacts and environmental change. Estimated population declines in some species have created uncertainty about the effectiveness of existing management approaches. In particular, there are scarce data on the benefits of marine protected areas (MPAs) for sharks, including whether they can be used to conserve multiple sympatric species comprising diverse life histories and habitat use patterns.

2. This study used fishery-independent longline and gill-net surveys to investigate the effects of sub-bay-sized MPAs (c. 100-300km(2)) on the abundance and community structure of tropical coastal sharks. In addition, tag-recapture data from fishery-dependent and fishery-independent sources were used to investigate the movements of individuals across MPA boundaries.

3. Species composition varied significantly between management zones, and overall shark abundance on longlines was higher inside MPAs.

4. Length-frequency distributions of blacktip (Carcharhinus tilstoni/Carcharhinus limbatus) and pigeye (Carcharhinus amboinensis) sharks inside MPAs included a greater proportion of sharks larger than c. 800 mm compared with those in open zones, although results varied between gear types for pigeye sharks.

5. Tagging and recapture locations indicated repeated and potentially long-term use of MPAs by individuals of some species.

6. Although the potential benefits of MPAs were not equal for all species, coastal MPAs may increase the survival of young sharks to maturity, or shelter parts of breeding stocks, and therefore do not necessarily need to be large to provide benefits.

Item ID: 47482
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1099-0755
Keywords: coastal, intertidal, ocean, conservation, distribution, marine protected area, fish, fishing, elasmobranch
Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 07:36
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410406 Natural resource management @ 30%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 30%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300502 Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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