Shark and ray numbers are declining globally, and more than 1/3 of all species are believed to be threatened with extinction. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can potentially play a key role in protecting and conserving shark and ray populations – but for MPAs to be effective their planning, design and management need to reflect the unique characteristics of these species.
MPAs for sharks and rays need clear goals, objectives and conservation targets. They must incorporate the considerable scientific knowledge on shark and ray movement, biology and habitat use alongside socioeconomic and cultural considerations; and they must be well managed and enforced in the long term.
This Guide has been produced to provide practical, science-based advice on how to maximize the effectiveness of both new and existing shark and ray MPAs, to ensure these animals are protected now and far into the future.