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Surely, 34% is enough? A systematic evaluation of the incremental protection of broad-scale habitats at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Beckley, L.E. and Lombard, A. (2009) Surely, 34% is enough? A systematic evaluation of the incremental protection of broad-scale habitats at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. In: AMSA2009 46th Annual Conference for the Australian Marine Sciences Conference, 5 - 9 July, Adelaide, Australia.

Abstract

Ningaloo Reef, in north-western Australia, is protected by the Ningaloo Marine Park (State Waters) which, in 2004, was expanded incrementally so that 34% of the park now comprises no-take sanctuary zones. Does this imply that all the inter-connected habitats at Ningaloo are actually protected at this level? To examine this, a systematic conservation planning exercise using existing broad-scale benthic habitat data (as a surrogate for overall biodiversity) and C-Plan software was conducted. Though subtidal and intertidal coral communities were found to be adequately protected, other connected habitats, particularly those in deeper waters seaward of the reef, did not attain the 34% level. Efficient incremental additions to the sanctuary zones to allow increased representation of these under-represented habitats, while taking into account existing data on recreational fishing, were explored. It is recommended that systematic conservation planning incorporating new biodiversity and social information (e.g. high resolution human usage data) be undertaken for the next iteration of the Ningaloo Marine Park management plan.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/12875
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