Fiji’s largest marine reserve benefits reef sharks
To provide more information about whether sharks benefit from no-take marine reserves, we quantified the relative abundance and biomass of reef sharks inside and outside of Namena, Fiji’s largest reserve (60.6 km2). Using stereo baited remote underwater video systems (stereo-BRUVs), we found that the abundance and biomass of sharks was approximately two and four times greater in shallow and deep locations, respectively, within the Namena reserve compared to adjacent fished areas. The greater abundance and biomass of reef sharks inside Namena is likely a result of greater prey availability rather than protection from fishing. This study demonstrates that marine reserves can benefit sharks.
KeywordsBaited video Marine reserve Relative abundance Biomass Reef sharks Fiji
This study was conducted with funding to the Wildlife Conservation Society from the Niarchos Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2007-31847), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (540.01) and the University of Western Australia (UWA) Marine Science Honours program. The authors would like to thank Stacy Jupiter, Glenn Almany, Sean Wilson, Dianne McLean and Peter Barnes for their helpful comments. Thank you to the Navatu village, Wayne Moy, Daniel Egli and Apimeleki Sautu for assistance in the field.
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