Sharks, rays and marine protected areas: a critical evaluation of current perspectives

MacKeracher, Tracy, Diedrich, Amy, and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2018) Sharks, rays and marine protected areas: a critical evaluation of current perspectives. Fish and Fisheries, 20 (2). pp. 255-267.

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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly advocated for the conservation and management of sharks and rays. However, substantial uncertainty remains regarding which species can benefit from MPAs. Meanwhile, area-focused protection targets have spurred recent and rapid gains in the creation of large MPAs, many of which carry vague objectives set by a diverse group of stakeholders with potentially different notions of "success." Here, we capture and critically evaluate current views on the use of MPAs for shark and ray conservation. Through interviews with scientists, MPA managers, fisheries experts, conservation practitioners, advocates and policy experts (n = 53), we demonstrate a variety of perspectives regarding: (a) the effectiveness of MPAs as a tool for shark and ray conservation; (b) which factors influence the success of MPAs for sharks and rays; and (c) the desired outcomes of these MPAs. While MPAs created specifically for sharks and rays were viewed to be slightly more effective than regular MPAs as a tool for shark and ray conservation, both were generally considered insufficient in isolation. Despite greater emphasis on social success factors (e.g., local support) over biophysical success factors (e.g., size), biological outcomes (e.g., increased abundance) were prioritized over social outcomes (e.g., livelihood benefits). We argue that a stronger focus on achieving social outcomes can enhance the potential for MPAs to benefit sharks and rays. In revealing current thinking regarding the drivers and indicators of MPA success for sharks and rays, the results of this study can inform efforts to conserve and manage these species.

Item ID: 56119
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1467-2979
Keywords: effectiveness, factors, marine protected areas, outcomes, shark and ray conservation, success
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors. Fish and Fisheries. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Funders: Shark Conservation Fund
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 04:32
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 100%
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