A project of Uni Pierre & Marie Curie/IRD & JCU in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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New Caledonia supports one of the world’s largest dugong population. However, conservation and management actions are hampered by a lack of knowledge on the status of the population and the species movement behaviour and habitat use.
The aim of this pilot project was to assess the feasibility of catching, tagging, and tracking dugongs with telemetric devices to determine the likelihood for a more extensive study on dugong movement behaviour and habitat use in New Caledonian waters.
This pilot project will lead to a greater understanding of movement and habitat use of dugongs in New Caledonia. This is a first step towards a better understanding of dugong movements in New Caledonia for management agencies, for future planning in relation to important dugong habitats and to inform whether current levels of protection are sufficient. Importantly, it will inform local-based management of dugongs and provide valuable information to aid the development of spatial management for dugong in New Caledonia.
The project is part of a PhD project directed by UPMC & JCU. This project is implemented throughout the Dugong 2010-2015 Action Plan in New Caledonia. The partners of the project are the French Marine Protected Area Agency, the North Province, the South Province, the Loyalty island Province, the New Caledonian Government, the French Government, the WWF and Opération Cétacés (NGO).