Evidence-based marine protected area planning for a highly mobile endangered marine vertebrate

Schofield, Gail, Scott, Rebecca, Dimadi, Alexandra, Fossette, Sabrina, Katselidis, Kostas A., Koutsoubas, Drosos, Lilley, Martin K.S., Pantis, John D., Karagouni, Amalia D. and Hays, Graeme C. (2013) Evidence-based marine protected area planning for a highly mobile endangered marine vertebrate Biological Conservation, 161 . pp. 101-109. DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.004.

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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) now form an important part of marine conservation and fisheries management; hence, there is broad interest in developing procedures that optimize their design. We used data collected over a 10-year period (2003–2012) from direct surveys and >100 adult male and female loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta ) tracked with devices, includ ing GPS loggers and Fastloc GPSArgos, to consider the optimum design for a MPA at a globally important breeding area, where there is already an existing national marine park aiming to protect the population (Zakynthos, Greece). Turtles primarily used areas very close to shore (approx. 7 km in length by 1 km in width, within the <10 m isobath) for breeding and foraging activity at different times of the year. We calculated that this small nearshore coastal zone encompassed 72% of all turtle GPS locations recorded in the MPA, and is therefore important for conservation management. We developed an index to evaluate the suitabili ty of the existing and proposed conserv ation zones based on (1) home range area use by turtles in these zones versus (2) zone size, so that the benefit to turtles could be maximized while minimizing the negative impacts to other stakeholders (e.g., boat operators). With this evidence-based approach, we propose a modification to the existing MPA that might both enhance local economic tourism activities and better safeguard this key sea turtle breeding population. The approaches used here will have general application for the design of MPAs used by mobile species that can be tracked.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000320418000011
Keywords: Decision support; Ecology; Natural resource management; Phenology; Policy; Systematic conservation planning; Sea turtle
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.004
ISSN: 0006-3207
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2013 13:02
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2017 10:32
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/21157

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