Assessment of elasmobranch critical habitat in the Tropical Eastern Pacific
In brief: We are assessing the adequacy and extent of marine reserves of the ETP in protecting key nursery areas of sharks and rays.
Why? The tropical eastern Pacific represents
an area of extremely high marine biodiversity that supports productive fisheries, and acts as an important migratory corridor for many vulnerable species. The most significant elasmobranch conservation efforts of the zone focus on the emblematic islands of Cocos, Malpelo and Galápagos, neglecting the continental shelf, and the coastal ecosystems (mangroves, reefs, estuaries), that act as key habitats during certain life stages. The lack of effective regional agreement on conservation of pelagic and migratory shark and ray species severely impairs conservation efforts, and artisanal fisheries continue to do significant damage to migratory populations through their exploitation of crucial coastal habitat.
This study is about harnessing and collating the experience and knowledge of local fishers that have spent their lives on the water, and using it to guide marine management and conservation of biodiversity in the tropical eastern Pacific.
Check out the official blog here.