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Selig E.R.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Turner W.R.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Troeng S.,Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans | Troeng S.,Lund University | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

In recent decades, many marine populations have experienced major declines in abundance, but we still know little about where management interventions may help protect the highest levels of marine biodiversity. We used modeled spatial distribution data for nearly 12,500 species to quantify global patterns of species richness and two measures of endemism. By combining these data with spatial information on cumulative human impacts, we identified priority areas where marine biodiversity is most and least impacted by human activities, both within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). Our analyses highlighted places that are both accepted priorities for marine conservation like the Coral Triangle, as well as less well-known locations in the southwest Indian Ocean, western Pacific Ocean, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, and within semi-enclosed seas like the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas. Within highly impacted priority areas, climate and fishing were the biggest stressors. Although new priorities may arise as we continue to improve marine species range datasets, results from this work are an essential first step in guiding limited resources to regions where investment could best sustain marine biodiversity. © 2014 Selig et al.

Lascelles B.G.,Global Seabird Programme | Langham G.M.,National Audubon Society | Ronconi R.A.,Dalhousie University | Reid J.B.,Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognised as a key component of an ecosystem-based approach to managing the marine environment more effectively and sustainably. Marine top predators, such as seabirds, may be used to identify and prioritize sites for marine conservation. Here we highlight the important role that seabird scientists can play in identifying candidate sites for MPAs; areas identified using at-sea surveys, seabird tracking, and species-habitat modelling. Prioritization of species and sites needs knowledge of ecological and habitat dynamics, threats and important areas at key stages of annual and life-cycle. The results need to be interpreted within the context of relevant policy mechanisms and agreements. The size and shape of candidate MPAs should be: (a) realistic for the key species and systems involved; (b) easy to monitor and enforce; and (c) where feasible involve reasonably long-term data sets. Designation of MPAs by relevant authorities and organisations will require effective advocacy (at local, national and international levels) and must be based on robust and defensible science. Site boundaries should also be sufficient flexibility to be modified, if necessary, in the light of future experience and data collection. The effectiveness of MPAs at the scale required for seabird conservation will need to build on existing experience and develop innovative, as well as traditional, marine spatial planning, monitoring and management techniques. To achieve this within the target timeframes outlined in a number of policy mechanisms will require the rapid development of new approaches, resources and partnerships. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Croxall J.,Global Seabird Programme | Small C.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Sullivan B.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | Wanless R.,BirdLife South Africa | And 6 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2013

Torres et al. (2013; Mar Ecol Prog Ser 473:275-289) use fine-scale data on tracked locations of one species of albatross and fishing vessels to make a variety of assertions on interactions between them, especially in relation to risk of bycatch. Some of these assertions are incorrect, and we seek to clarify the issues and perspectives involved. We argue that while a fine-scale approach can provide interesting insights into foraging behaviour, large-scale risk analysis is needed because management measures (e.g. for bycatch mitigation) need to operate across all vessels in a fishery and across all seabird species at risk from the fishing operation. In addition, an estimate of 10% time spent in close proximity to vessels cannot be used to infer low bycatch risk alone: such an inference would need comparison to bycatch rate data. The analysis also does not take into account a number of factors known to affect the nature and duration of the association of albatrosses with fishing vessels, which limits the conclusions that can be drawn. However, finescale studies can provide important insight into factors affecting individual bycatch events, and studies at fine and broad scales will be complementary. © Inter-Research 2013.

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