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Title: Monitoring tourist pressure on whale shark (rhincodon typus) behaviour in South Ari MPA, Maldives
Other Titles: Dissertation for the degree of MSc in Marine Systems and Policies Felipe : monitoring tourist pressure on whale shark (Rhincodon typus) behaviour in South Ari MPA, Maldives
Authors: Leston, Felipe Alberto Lei
Issue Date: 1-Aug-2016
Publisher: The University of Edinburgh
Citation: Leston, F. A .L. (2016). Monitoring tourist pressure on whale shark (rhincodon typus) behaviour in South Ari MPA, Maldives (Master thesis). School of GeoSciences : The University of Edinburgh
Abstract: Whale sharks, the largest fish and shark, occur throughout all tropical and warm temperate oceans. They have been hunted traditionally for a number of years, and together with the estimation of a declining population is considered by the IUCN as vulnerable. Nowadays, fishing and finning of whale sharks are almost stopped, however, new challenges appear with the increasing wildlife tourism activities, where people can swim with these gentle giants, originating another potential negative impact on whale sharks. The South Ari MPA in the Maldives, one of the few places with a year-round population of whale sharks, does not have any formal management plan, only a Code of Conduct issued in 2009 when the MPA was declared. However, the lack of any kind of enforcement in the area causes regulations to be ignored. By video analyzing each whale shark encounter in South Ari and record tourist and whale shark behaviour underwater, results suggest a low tourist compliance to regulations. Therefore, whale sharks are under a big anthropogenic pressure due to the unmanaged tourism activities. Moreover, shark behaviour observed suggest that South Ari MPA could be a recovery area for whale sharks after performing deep dives, and disturbing them during the recovery phase would have detrimental effects on the population of whale sharks in the Maldives. The results obtained and the different management measures recommended, have the potential to improve our understanding of whale shark ecology and the management in South Ari MPA.
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Dissertations by other Maldivians

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