Recent expansion of marine protected areas matches with home range of grey reef sharks

Type Article
Date 2021-07
Language English
Author(s) Bonnin Lucas1, 2, Mouillot David2, 3, Boussarie Germain1, 2, Robbins William D.4, 5, 6, 7, Kiszka Jeremy J.8, Dagorn Laurent9, Vigliola Laurent1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire d’Excellence Labex Corail, UMR IRD-UR-CNRS ENTROPIE, Centre de Nouméa, IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), BP A5, 98800, Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia, France
2 : MARBEC, CNRS, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, Ifremer, IRD, France
3 : Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811, Australia
4 : Wildlife Marine, Perth, WA, 6020, Australia
5 : Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Perth, WA, 6102, Australia
6 : School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia
7 : Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Marine Science Program, Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Kensington, WA, 6151, Australia
8 : Institut of Environment, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, 3000 NE 151st Street, North Miami, FL, 33181, USA
9 : MARBEC, CNRS, Univ Montpellier, Montpellier, Ifremer, IRD, France
Source Scientific Reports (2045-2322) (Springer Science and Business Media LLC), 2021-07 , Vol. 11 , N. 1 , P. 14221 (11p.)
DOI 10.1038/s41598-021-93426-y

Dramatic declines in reef shark populations have been documented worldwide in response to human activities. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer a useful mechanism to protect these species and their roles in coral reef ecosystems. The effectiveness of MPAs notably relies on compliance together with sufficient size to encompass animal home range. Here, we measured home range of 147 grey reef sharks, Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, using acoustic telemetry in New Caledonia. The distribution of home range was then compared to local MPA sizes. We report a home range of 12 km2 of reef for the species with strong differences between adult males (21 km2), adult females (4.4 km2) and juveniles (6.2 km2 for males, 2.7 km2 for females). Whereas local historic MPA size seemed adequate to protect reef shark home range in general, these were clearly too small when considering adult males only, which is consistent with the reported failure of MPAs to protect sharks in New Caledonia. Fortunately, the recent implementation of several orders of magnitude larger MPAs in New Caledonia and abroad show that recent Indo-Pacific MPAs are now sufficiently large to protect the home ranges of this species, including males, across its geographical range. However, protection efforts are concentrated in a few regions and cannot provide adequate protection at a global scale.

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