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Marine Reserve Design and Evaluation Using Automated Acoustic Telemetry: A Case-study Involving Coral Reef-associated Sharks in the Mesoamerican Caribbean

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A non-overlapping acoustic receiver array was used to track the movements of two common shark species, nurse Ginglymostoma cirratum (n=25) and Caribbean reef Carcharhinus perezi (n=5), in and around Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), off the coast of Belize, between May and October, 2004. Although both species exhibited partial site fidelity in that they were most likely to be detected near the area of original capture, both species also moved widely throughout the 10 by 30 km atoll. One Caribbean reef shark was detected by a monitor at Lighthouse Reef, 30 km from Glover's Reef across deep (>400m) open water. The mean minimum linear dispersal (MLD) was 10.5 km for Caribbean reef sharks and 7.7 km for nurse sharks, with many individuals traveling more than the 10 km width of the no-take "conservation zone" of the marine reserve. Although most sharks were tagged within the conservation zone, individuals were detected outside this part of GRMR on average 48 days out of the 150 days of observations. However, of 7 nurse sharks tagged near the center of the conservation zone, 4 were never detected outside of this part of the reserve. In general, this study suggests that effective conservation of these large roving predators requires an ecosystem-based management approach including a zoned management plan, similar to that used at GRMR, in which a fairly large no-take reserve, incorporating diverse habitats and the connections between them, is surrounded by a larger area in which fishing is regulated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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