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Improving spatial resolution of human usage data for better Marine Protected Area planning

Beckley, L.E. (2006) Improving spatial resolution of human usage data for better Marine Protected Area planning. In: Australian Marine Science Association Conference, 9 - 13 July, Cairns, Australia.


Marine Protected Area planning for the vast state of Western Australia suffers from poor spatial information about human use of marine resources. For example, although well-maintained and continuous data sets on commercial fishing catch and effort exist, they are recorded in ~12 000 km2 blocks (1o x 1o grid). Creel survey data for boat-based recreational fisheries are usually collected using ~80 km2 blocks (5nm x 5nm). Spatial information on non-extractive usage (e.g., SCUBA diving, snorkelling, whale watching, bird watching etc) is rarely collected. Consequently, when Marine Protected Areas are planned, although there may be locality-specific biodiversity data and habitat maps for the region, there is usually considerable uncertainty as to the fishing effort and the number of people that actually use particular areas of the marine environment. But, progress is being made, and a series of examples will be presented to illustrate how collection of spatial data on human use of marine resources can be used to better inform the marine conservation planning process, and allow some resolution of conflict amongst stakeholder groups. This presentation will make the case for a priori collection of high resolution spatial data on human use of marine resources in areas designated for marine biodiversity conservation, so that modern reserve planning software can be effectively used, the issue of displaced activities can be objectively assessed and more intact ecosystems can be conserved.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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