Benefits of marine protected areas for tropical coastal sharks

  • Published source details Yates P.M., Tobin A.J., Heupel M.R. & Simpfendorfer C.A. (2016) Benefits of marine protected areas for tropical coastal sharks. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 1063-1080.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all non-towed (static) fishing gear

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all non-towed (static) fishing gear

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2012–2014 of three coastal bays in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Coral Sea, Australia (Yate et al. 2016) found that prohibiting all non-towed fishing gears (commercial gillnets) resulted in higher abundance of sharks (Carcharhiniformes) than fished areas when sampled with longlines but not gillnets, and length was greater for some species in prohibited compared to fished areas. Overall shark abundance across bays was higher in longline samples in areas closed to gillnets compared to open (closed: 1.8, open: 1.3/100 hook hours), but not in gillnet samples (closed: 0.9–1.8, open: 0.6–1.4/100 m net hours). Length was greater for blacktips Carcharhinus tilstoni/Carcharhinus limbatus and pigeye Carcharhinus amboinensis in closed compared to open areas, and for Australian sharpnose Rhizoprionodon taylori in longline but not gillnet samples, and similar for scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini and spot-tail Carcharhinus sorrah (data reported as statistical results). Commercial gillnet fishing was prohibited within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park across 38% of the total area (date of implementation not reported), whilst being permitted in other areas. In January 2012 - March 2013, eight 0.9 km wide transects were sampled in one closed and one open area in each of three bays. A minimum of five longline and four gillnet samples were done in each area and bay over four days, eight times each. In total 277 longlines 800 m long and 209 gill nets ≤400 m long were deployed. Sharks were identified, length recorded then released.

    (Summarised by: Natasha Taylor)

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