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Assessing the effectiveness of Curieuse Marine National Park in the protection of the critical early life stages of sicklefin lemon sharks (Negaprion acutidens)

Duration: January 2019 – June 2020 (18 months)

Description: The National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA; Seychelles Fishing Authority 2007) confirmed that shark stocks in Seychelles have followed a pattern of decline over the past few decades as seen in the majority of shark populations worldwide. This, coupled with the paucity of information regarding Negaprion acutidens, highlights the need for long-term studies of this species’ populations.

Identifying and understanding the use of critical habitats specific to the early life stages of a species is fundamental to their effective conservation and management. Protection of nursery grounds represents an important component of shark management in a broad context, but the utilisation of these coastal areas by N. acutidens during early life stages puts them at high risk from anthropogenic threats such as fishing. In addition N. acutidens is known to occur within mangrove habitats, which due to coastal development, have significantly reduced in size within Seychelles inner islands. Curieuse Marine National Park (CMNP), is home to one of the largest remaining mangrove areas found within the inner islands of Seychelles and supports a valuable nursery ground for N. acutidens.

The project aims to gain a greater understanding of the movements of neonate N. acutidens within Curieuse Marine National Park and the efficacy of the park size in their protection. Through the involvement of local partners the project aims to build on the sense of stewardship felt for the marine protected areas of Seychelles and promote the protection of their valuable biodiversity.

Funding body: SeyCCAT

Partners: GVI Seychelles, Seychelles National Parks Authority