In February and March 2013, a research expedition was undertaken in the Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA), with permission having kindly been granted by the Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The exhibition, which was sponsored by the Bertarelli Foundation, in partnership with Stanford University and the University of Western Australia, piloted an electronic tagging project to examine the feasibility of using remote technologies to monitor the movement of important pelagic species in the region. It was a great success, both in terms of results and also important lessons learned for future tagging projects.
Five different types of electronic tags were deployed in this study, with a total of 99 electronic tags placed on 95 animals, along with the installation of an acoustic receiver array around two northern atolls to detect animal movements. The Foundations believes that tagging is one of the keys to answering the questions of how large pelagics such as sharks and tuna are utilising the MPA, and how much protection the no-take MPA is providing. It is the Foundation’s hope that the findings of this expedition will help to inform work by marine biologists around the world.
A report on the expedition can be read here.