This project developed a strategic research programme to deliver answers to key questions for strengthening management and conservation benefits from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) Marine Protected Area (MPA) management framework, focussing on the effect of the MPA on the pelagic ecosystem.
There has been little research regarding the expected impacts of large pelagic closures on highly mobile tuna and species and non target species that may be associated with any fisheries in the region. Thus the effectiveness of pelagic MPAs in protecting highly mobile species remains unclear. The majority of existing MPAs throughout the world have been primarily advocated to address specific, local-scale issues, whereas traditional fishery management has generally been employed to address regional-scale population issues. In order to address this issue this project convened a two day workshop of invited experts in order to establish the key researchable constraints and to develop a strategic research programme to address them. It built linkages amongst organisations involved in fishing and those with expertise in conservation. It engaged with key institutions in BIOT’s neighbouring countries affected by the new management framework. This was achieved through: establishing an advisory and working group(s); reviewing existing information on conservation and management, particularly in the context of pelagic systems. A workshop report and strategic programme were the outputs which were presented to the BIOT Science advisory group for implementation. Smaller elements of the programme have also been taken up by workshop participants.