MPA fails to protect sharks and rays on Cocos Island

New research led by researchers at the University of Victoria raises serious concerns about the ability of marine protected areas (MPAs) to effectively protect wide-ranging iconic species, such as sharks and rays.

The study, published today in Conservation Biology, investigated 21 years of recordings of shark and ray sightings at Cocos Island, a UNESCO heritage site and marine protected area off Costa Rica.

Results reveal major declines in eight of the reserve’s 12 commonly observed shark and ray species. “The largest species, like hammerheads and manta rays, are simply moving in and out of protected areas as part of their natural migration patterns,” says Easton White, a co-author of the study and a UVic Fulbright student at the time.

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