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Global opportunities and challenges for Shark Large Marine Protected Areas
- Mizrahi, Me'ira, Duce, Stephanie, Pressey, Robert L., Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Weeks, Rebecca, Diedrich, Amy
- Biological conservation 2019 v.234 pp. 107-115
- developing countries, governance, issues and policy, laws and regulations, marine protected areas, overfishing, principal component analysis, sharks, socioeconomic factors
- Legislation to ban the targeted fishing of sharks is frequently employed within developing coastal nations. These Shark Large Marine Protected Areas (SLMPAs) are established primarily to alleviate the direct threats that humans pose to sharks through activities such as overfishing and destructive fishing practices. However, despite the anthropogenic nature of these threats, socioeconomic factors are often given less consideration than their ecological counterparts when designating SLMPAs. In this paper, we identified and examined relevant national-level socioeconomic data to determine the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing SLMPAs, focussing on least developed and low income countries. We aimed to use these socioeconomic data to identify nations where SLMPAs are more likely to be successful in providing conservation benefits to sharks. We used principal component analysis to develop two national-level indices that represent these anticipated opportunities and challenges for implementing SLMPAs across 87 coastal nations. The Opportunity Index identifies those nations in which socioeconomic conditions such as adaptive capacity, and strong and fair governance, are favourable for SLMPAs to provide conservation benefits to sharks. The Challenge Index identifies those nations that may not yet be in a position developmentally to support communities to adapt to a loss of access to resources associated with SLMPAs, or to manage and enforce broad scale restrictive legislation. In combination with biophysical considerations, the Challenge and Opportunity indices presented here can support policy makers in deciding whether, and in what cases, SLMPAs are the most appropriate measure to provide conservation benefits to sharks.