A new study has shown that expanding marine protected areas (MPAs) in South Florida could protect 100% of the core home range of bull, great hammerhead and tiger sharks in the region.
Scientists tracked the movements of 86 sharks tagged in South Florida and the northern Bahamas to determine the sharks’ core habitat use areas, or where they were spending most of their time. The researchers looked at where these areas fall in relation to zones where fishing is prohibited or where the sharks themselves are already fully protected in parts of the US and The Bahamas’ exclusive economic zones. Their results show that currently none of the bull sharks’ core use areas are protected from fishing and only 18% of the core use area of great hammerheads and 35% of the core use area of tiger sharks are protected. The region also includes important pupping and feeding grounds for several shark species. Securing their safety in these critical habitats is crucial for their sustainability.
Have you ever imagined a shark swimming through downtown? Biologists have found at least five species of sharks in Miami’s waterways. Neil hopes to learn how they use this space and how well they are coping with their urban lifestyles.