We provide a case study to demonstrate how a key ecosystem function of coral reefs (habitat provision) co-benefits both sharks and humans. Spawning grounds of the blackmouth catshark Galeus melastomus were discovered using seabed and video surveys on the Mingulay Reef Complex, a seascape of cold-water coral reefs off western Scotland. Spawning habitats were environmentally similar across years. Shark abundance of G. melastomus, a species valued by the recreational sea angling industry, was significantly higher nearer reef habitats. Our case study demonstrates how a local coral vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) helps maintain key life stages of shark populations and provides socioeconomic benefits. Evidence for co-benefits between corals, sharks and humans provides a compelling case for identifying and protecting coral VMEs.
- Cold-water corals
- coral reefs
- Ecosystem Function
- Sea Angling
Henry, L-A., Moreno Navas, J., Hennige, S. J., Wicks, L., Vad, J., & Roberts, M. (2013). Cold-water coral reef habitats benefit recreationally valuable sharks. Biological Conservation, 161, 67-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2013.03.002