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Science not scenery! Selecting locations for ‘no take’ marine reserves in Western Australia

Fox, N.J. and Beckley, L.E. (2003) Science not scenery! Selecting locations for ‘no take’ marine reserves in Western Australia. In: Australian Marine Sciences Association Conference (AMSA2003), 9 - 11 July, Brisbane, Australia.


Along the extensive coastline of Western Australia, there are only six multiple use marine parks and one marine nature reserve. In 1994, a further 70 candidate areas suitable for protection were identified and form the basis of ongoing efforts by the Department of Conservation and Land Management to establish marine protected areas. These areas were selected using a ‘delphic’ approach, based on their conservation, scientific and recreational value. However, with the emerging science of marine reserves it is appropriate to revisit this selection by applying new methods such as iterative selection and mathematical modelling techniques. The paucity of relevant data at present precludes the use of mathematical modelling techniques but the use of less data intensive iterative selection techniques are feasible. A database of distribution ranges of neritic fish species based on the updated Zoological Catalogue of Australia augmented by Western Australian Museum records has been developed. The WA coast was divided into 250km sections and each fish species allocated to the sections on a presence/absence basis. The data have been interrogated for endemism, species richness and biogeographic patterns and results to date will be presented. Of the 2127 species of 215 families found in coastal and shelf waters of WA, 7% are WA endemics, 17% Australian endemics and 70% wide ranging Indo-Pacific species. This preliminary study is a prelude to undertaking iterative complementarity analysis to ascertain the most efficient selection of reserve sites to conserve neritic fish diversity of Western Australia.

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