Marine spatial planning provides a comprehensive framework for building evidence-based shark risk management policies with sea-users

Type Article
Date 2020-09
Language English
Author(s) Shabtay Ateret1, Lagabrielle Erwann1, Plot Virginie2, Potin Gaël2, Guyomard David3
Affiliation(s) 1 : UMR ESPACE-DEV, Université de La Réunion, Saint-Denis, La Réunion, France
2 : UMR ENTROPIE, IRD-CNRS-Université de La Réunion, Saint-Denis, La Réunion, France
3 : Centre Sécurité Requin, La Réunion, France
Source Environmental Science & Policy (1462-9011) (Elsevier BV), 2020-09 , Vol. 111 , P. 18-26
DOI 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.05.014
WOS© Times Cited 5
Keyword(s) Marine spatial planning, Shark risk management, Human-wildlife interactions

Marine spatial planning (MSP), a process aimed at negotiating the spatial allocation of human activities at sea, has to integrate new challenges arising from growing human activities and their impacts on threatened marine ecosystems. Yet, human–wildlife interactions that result in threat to humans are rarely explicitly addressed in planning and almost not at all in MSP. Rare events of unprovoked shark bites can significantly impact local economies while leading to polarized social debates that often hinder the development of evidence-based shark risk public policy. Here, we suggest an approach for integrating shark risk and its management into MSP. The method addresses simultaneously the spatial, social, and ecological components of shark risk and its inherent uncertainties. The approach is applied on Reunion Island case study where shark risk management is implemented as a response to a rapid increase in the frequency of shark bite events over the past decade. Similar to other countries where shark risk management is implemented, sharks’ removal is in the heart of social debate in Reunion Islands (3860 shark fishing operations in 5 years) and data gaps provide a fertile ground for alternative discourses and social conflicts about shark risk. Through a structured public consultation involving 200 stakeholders we demonstrate how MSP can be used to address shark risk while considering multiple sea-uses and conservation objectives. The results suggest that the approach is ideal, both for integrating shark risk as a driver to the MSP process, and for developing a transparent, sustainable and evidence-based shark risk public policy as it places shark risk management within a broader social-ecological spectrum of stakes.

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