Fellow Marie-Morgane Rouyer gave a talk entitled Are Marine Protected Areas Well-Placed for the Conservation of Atlantic Migratory Seabirds? on 14 December 2021 at the 30th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2021).
Seabirds are among the most threatened birds, experiencing stressors of both terrestrial and marine origins throughout their annual cycle. At sea, seabirds are exposed to bycatch, overfishing, oil and light pollutions and windfarms, but the timing and location of exposure is not always clear. The recent advent of tracking technologies revealed species’ long-distance migratory journeys, revolutionizing our understanding of seabirds’ distributions across the ocean throughout the year. Yet, tracking data have often remained fragmented across populations and regions, hindering their translation into policy-relevant guidance at the scale of seabirds’ migrations. Here, we bring together tracking data from more than 8,000 individual seabirds distributed across the Atlantic Ocean, and present a case study on albatrosses, to evaluate the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at covering the most important areas for the conservation of migratory seabirds. We analyzed tracking data to uncover species’ distributions during the breeding and non-breeding seasons, which we then overlapped with spatial data on threats, as well as on the location of MPAs. We found that some of the most important areas for albatrosses, including places of high threat exposure, are not covered by MPAs. We recommend sites that would benefit from formal MPA designation, as well as urgent priorities for other targeted conservation efforts to mitigate at-sea threats and adequately conserve migratory seabirds across the Atlantic Ocean.
[Oral presentation] Rouyer, M.-M., Bhola N., Clark B., Pearmain L., Rodrigues, A.S.L., Dias M. (2021) Are Marine Protected Areas Well-Placed for the Conservation of Atlantic Migratory Seabirds? , 30th International Congress for Conservation Biology, online.