Shark populations recover better in human exclusion zones: Deakin study

By Deakin University

Decades after their implementation, no-take marine reserves are coming up short in their ability to nurture the Great Barrier Reef’s shark populations back to natural levels, according to new research from a Deakin University ecologist.

The research, published today in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, found that after decades of protection, shark populations on the Great Barrier Reef were only properly recovering in human exclusion zones.

But traditional ‘no take’ marine reserves – where humans can enter but must not fish or remove anything they find – were failing to rebuild shark populations back to natural levels.

Researcher Dr Justin Rizzari, a Lecturer in Fisheries Science at Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said shark numbers were more than double in human exclusion zones compared to traditional no-take marine reserves, despite fishing being banned in both areas.

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