Reef shark movements relative to a coastal marine protected area

  • Published source details Speed C.W., Meekan M.G., Field I.C., McMahon C.R., Harcourt R.G., Stevens J.D., Babcock R.C., Pillans R.D. & Bradshaw C.J.A. (2016) Reef shark movements relative to a coastal marine protected area. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 3, 58-66.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A study in 2008–2010 of an area of reef in a coastal marine park in the Indian Ocean, off western Australia (Speed et al. 2016) found that the time sharks spent inside a small protected area of the park where all fishing was prohibited for 20 years varied between three species and that immature sharks were more likely to remain in the protected area than adults, and thus receive more protection from fishing. Sicklefin lemon sharks Negaprion acutidens spent 98–99% of time in the no-fishing protected areas, blacktip reef sharks Carcharhinus melanopterus 0–99% and grey reef sharks Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos less than 1% of time. Immature sharks were located inside the no-fishing areas for 84–99% of time and adults 0–99%. In addition, immature sharks moved within smaller areas (0.6–8.5 km2) than adults (3.6–21.8 km2). Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing reef in Australia (260 km long) and is protected by the multiple-use Ningaloo Marine Park established in 1987. Commercial fishing is prohibited and there are 18 no-fishing marine protected areas (884 km2). Sharks were caught and tagged in the marine park at beaches inside (by handlines) and outside (by longlines) a no-fishing area (11.35 km2) in February 2008 and November 2009. A total of 56 acoustic receivers deployed inside and outside the no-fishing area recorded tagged shark location every 30 minutes for up to two years. The movement data for 12 sharks consistently detected for six months or more were analysed.

    (Summarised by: Rosslyn McIntyre)

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