Evaluating spatial management options for tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) conservation in US Atlantic Waters

Alexia Morgan, Hannah Calich, James Sulikowski, Neil Hammerschlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There has been debate in the literature over the use and success of spatial management zones (i.e. marine protected areas and time/area closures) as policy tools for commercially exploited sharks. The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is a highly migratory predator found worldwide in warm temperate and tropical seas, which is caught in multiple US fisheries. We used a spatially explicit modelling approach to investigate the impact of varying spatial management options in the Western North Atlantic Ocean on tiger shark biomass, catch, and distribution, and impacts to other species in the ecosystem. Results suggest that under current management scenarios, tiger shark biomass will increase over time. Model outputs indicate that protecting additional habitats will have relatively minimal impacts on tiger shark biomass, as would increasing or decreasing protections in areas not highly suitable for tiger sharks. However, increasing spatial management protections in highly suitable habitats is predicted to have a positive effect on their biomass. Results also predict possible spill-over effects from current spatial protections. Our results provide insights for evaluating differing management strategies on tiger shark abundance patterns and suggest that management zones may be an effective conservation tool for highly migratory species if highly suitable habitat is protected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3095-3109
Number of pages15
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • marine protected areas
  • spatial modelling
  • tiger shark

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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