Prioritizing ecologically significant and globally important marine conservation areas for vertebrates: synthesizing the best available knowledge to inform management and policy
Declines in marine predators intensified globally in the 1950’s, as industrial fleets targeted previously inaccessible populations of sharks, tunas, and billfishes. These spatially extensive fisheries continue to expand, while global catches continue to decline.
Given the difficulty of managing these fisheries sustainably, large no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been proposed for halting and reversing these declines. These MPAs require knowledge of the critical habitats that maintain these predators and that are relatively immune from the effects of human disturbances. This crucial knowledge is currently severely limited since based primarily on species geographic distributions obtained through fishery catches that remain biased with untargeted species, unfished areas and deliberate underreporting.
Here, PELAGIC planned to overcome this limitation by collecting the most up-to-date and complete information on the biogeography and habitat use of marine mammals, sharks and fishes. Then PELAGIC experts evaluated the current performance of the global system of MPAs for all vertebrates and proposed some options to optimize the design of future MPAs to insure the long-term persistence of vertebrates in the oceans.
© CESAB Pelagic
PELAGIC brings together specialists in modelling, marine biology and biogeography.
David MOUILLOT – University of Montpellier (France)
Clara PERON – University of Montpellier (France)
Helen BAILEY – University of Maryland (USA); Michael BODE – James Cook University (Australia); Phil BOUCHET – University of Western Australia (Australia); Dan COSTA – University of California (USA); François GUILHAUMON – IRD Montpellier (France); Pat HALPIN – Duke University Durham (USA); Kristin KASCHNER – University of Freiberg (Germany); Tom LETESSIER – Zoological Society of London (UK); Rebecca LEWISON – San Diego State University (USA); Jessica MEEUWIG – University of Western Australia (Australia); Valeriano PARRAVICINI – University of Perpignan (France); Laura POLLOCK – University of Grenoble-Alpes (France); Bob PRESSEY – James Cook University (Australia); Vincent RIDOUX – University of la Rochelle (France); Len THOMAS – University of St Andrews Scotland (UK); Wilfried THUILLER – CNRS Grenoble (France); Laurent VIGLIOA – IRD New Caledonia (France); Rob WILLIAMS – University of St Andrews Scotland (UK).
 Letessier TB, Mouillot D, Bouchet PJ, Vigliola L, Fernandes MC, Thompson C, Boussarie G, Turner J, Juhel J-B, Maire E, Caley MJ, Koldewey HJ, Friedlander AM, Sala E & Meeuwig JJ (2019) Remote reefs and seamounts are the last refuges for marine predators across the Indo-Pacific. PLoS Biology, 17, e3000366. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000366.
 Dunn DC, Ardron J, Bax N, Bernal P, Cleary J, Cresswell I, Donnelly B, Dunstan P, Gjerde K, Johnson D, Kaschner K, Lascelles BG, Rice J, von Nordheim H, Wood L & Halpin PN (2014) The Convention on Biological Diversity’s Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas: Origins, development, and current status. Marine Policy, 49, 137–145. doi: 10.1016/J.MARPOL.2013.12.002.
 Selig ER, Turner WR, Troëng S, Wallace BP, Halpern BS, Kaschner K, Lascelles BG, Carpenter KE & Mittermeier RA (2014) Global priorities for marine biodiversity conservation. PLoS ONE, 9, e82898. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082898.
 Williams R, Grand J, Hooker SK, Buckland ST, Reeves RR, Rojas-Bracho L, Sandilands D & Kaschner K (2014) Prioritizing global marine mammal habitats using density maps in place of range maps. Ecography, 37, 212–220. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00479.x.
 Magera AM, Mills Flemming JE, Kaschner K, Christensen LB & Lotze HK (2013) Recovery trends in marine mammal populations. PLoS ONE, 8, e77908. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077908.
Letessier TB, Mouillot D, Bouchet PJ, Vigliola L, Fernandes MC, Thompson C, et al. (2019) Remote reefs and seamounts are the last refuges for marine predators across the Indo-Pacific. PLoS Biol 17(8): e3000366. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000366
- Press Release: Les monts sous-marins éloignés de l’Homme comme derniers refuges des prédateurs marins
- French media: Sciences et Avenir
- International media: Science Daily