Habitat partitioning and vulnerability of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Habitat partitioning and vulnerability of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Sharks present a critical conservation challenge, but little is known about their spatial distribution and vulnerability, particularly in complex seascapes such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). We review (1) the distribution of shark species among the primary habitats of the GBRMP (coral reefs, inshore/shelf, pelagic and deep-water habitats) (2) the relative exploitation of each species by fisheries, and (3) how current catch rates interact with their vulnerability and trophic index. Excluding rays and chimaeras, we identify a total of 82 shark species in the GBRMP. We find that shark research in the GBRMP has yielded little quantitative information on most species. Reef sharks are largely site-fidelic, but can move large distances and some regularly use non-reef habitats. Inshore and shelf sharks use coastal habitats either exclusively or during specific times in their life cycle (e.g. as nurseries). Virtually nothing is known about the distribution and habitat use of the GBRMP’s pelagic and deep-water sharks. At least 46 species (53.5 %) are caught in one or more fisheries, but stock assessments are lacking for most. At least 17 of the sharks caught are considered highly vulnerable to exploitation. We argue that users of shark resources should be responsible for demonstrating that a fishery is sustainable before exploitation is allowed to commence or continue. This fundamental change in management principle will safeguard against stock collapses that have characterised many shark fisheries. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries Springer Journals

Habitat partitioning and vulnerability of sharks in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Life Sciences; Freshwater & Marine Ecology; Zoology
ISSN
0960-3166
eISSN
1573-5184
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11160-013-9324-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Sharks present a critical conservation challenge, but little is known about their spatial distribution and vulnerability, particularly in complex seascapes such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). We review (1) the distribution of shark species among the primary habitats of the GBRMP (coral reefs, inshore/shelf, pelagic and deep-water habitats) (2) the relative exploitation of each species by fisheries, and (3) how current catch rates interact with their vulnerability and trophic index. Excluding rays and chimaeras, we identify a total of 82 shark species in the GBRMP. We find that shark research in the GBRMP has yielded little quantitative information on most species. Reef sharks are largely site-fidelic, but can move large distances and some regularly use non-reef habitats. Inshore and shelf sharks use coastal habitats either exclusively or during specific times in their life cycle (e.g. as nurseries). Virtually nothing is known about the distribution and habitat use of the GBRMP’s pelagic and deep-water sharks. At least 46 species (53.5 %) are caught in one or more fisheries, but stock assessments are lacking for most. At least 17 of the sharks caught are considered highly vulnerable to exploitation. We argue that users of shark resources should be responsible for demonstrating that a fishery is sustainable before exploitation is allowed to commence or continue. This fundamental change in management principle will safeguard against stock collapses that have characterised many shark fisheries.

Journal

Reviews in Fish Biology and FisheriesSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 27, 2013

References

  • Movements and environmental preferences of the shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus, in the southeastern Pacific Ocean
    Abascal, FJ; Quintanos, M; Ramos-Cartelle, A; Mejuto, J
  • Retained fishing gear and associated injuries in the east Australian grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus): implications for population recovery
    Bansemer, CS; Bennett, MB
  • Sex-and maturity-based differences in movement and migration patterns of grey nurse shark, Carcharias taurus, along the eastern coast of Australia
    Bansemer, CS; Bennett, MB
  • Shifting baselines and the decline of pelagic sharks in the Gulf of Mexico
    Baum, JK; Myers, RA
  • Movements and swimming behaviour of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in Australian waters
    Bruce, BD; Stevens, JD; Malcolm, H
  • A fuzzy logic expert system to estimate intrinsic extinction vulnerabilities of marine fishes to fishing
    Cheung, WWL; Pitcher, TJ; Pauly, D

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