Global Protection of the Reef Shark

Scientists from Curtin University and Mote Marine Laboratory have demonstrated that marine protected areas (MPAs), which limit reef shark fishing, can double conservation benefits. According to findings published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, combining fishing bans in MPAs with national fishing restrictions significantly increases the chances of rebuilding reef shark populations, which have globally decreased by 63%.

The study utilized remotely operated cameras (BRUVs) to observe sharks on reefs across 58 countries. It found that complete protection is more effective when it covers entire reefs and is supported by national fishing regulations. Such a comprehensive approach to managing marine ecosystems is crucial for the protection of reef sharks, which play a significant role in coral reefs and are a tourist attraction in many cultures.

The Global FinPrint project, aimed at studying reef shark populations, has gathered over 20,000 hours of visual material from various reef ecosystems. Cameras placed on reefs not only document current populations but also help assess the effectiveness of different protection strategies. Long-term observation enables tracking changes in these predators’ populations, which is key to understanding the impact of human activity on these sensitive ecosystems.

Furthermore, these studies show how fisheries management and MPAs can work together to ensure the survival of species crucial to the health of coral reefs. Effective protection of these areas not only safeguards reef sharks but also supports the entire marine ecosystem, including reef-dependent species that play an important role in local economies, primarily in tourism and fishing. Therefore, using scientific findings to plan marine protection is not only an ecological necessity but also an economic imperative.

Thanks to funding from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Global FinPrint has become a key tool in global marine conservation efforts. The results obtained help governments formulate more effective conservation laws, essential for achieving international goals like the initiative to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. In this way, science joins forces with policy to secure the future of marine biodiversity.

About the author

Picture of Grzegorz Bubak

Grzegorz Bubak

My fascination with marine aquariums began over two decades ago when I stumbled upon an article about this topic in a magazine. Since then, the underwater world has become my obsession and passion, shaping my everyday life. I started my adventure with marine aquariums with soft corals, which were my first step into this fascinating world. Over time, captivated by the diversity and beauty of SPS corals, I decided to focus on their cultivation, which continues to fill me with constant wonder.

Thanks to my experience and passion for marine aquariums, I am ready to share my knowledge and expertise with other enthusiasts in this field. I am happy to be part of the Reef Pedia community, which serves as an invaluable source of information for all marine aquarium lovers.