Ateret Shabtay: Marine spatial planning provides a comprehensive framework for building shark risk management policies

Faculty Colloquium


Marine spatial planning (MSP), a process aimed at negotiating the spatial allocation of human activities at sea, has to integrate new challenges arising from growing human activities and their impacts on threatened marine ecosystems. Yet, human–wildlife interactions that result in threat to humans are rarely explicitly addressed in planning and almost not at all in MSP. Rare events of unprovoked shark bites can significantly impact local economies while leading to polarized social debates that often hinder the development of evidence-based shark risk public policy. Suggested approach for integrating shark risk and its management into MSP was developed: The method addresses simultaneously the spatial, social, and ecological components of shark risk and its inherent uncertainties. The approach was applied on Reunion Island case study where shark risk management is implemented as a response to a rapid increase in the frequency of shark bite events over the past decade.

Ateret Shabtay received her Ph.D in urban planning from the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning of the Technion in 2018, where she was developing an approach for integrating marine conservation principles into marine spatial planning. Specifically, she was studying the contribution of secured coastal infrastructures to marine conservation along the Israeli Mediterranean coast. After her graduation, she received a postdoc position at the University of Reunion (Reunion island, France), where she was working on marine spatial planning of the Southwestern Indian Ocean. The area is known for its great biodiversity alongside significant geopolitical and economic complexity. In the last six months, Ateret has been working as marine ecologist at the SPNI (Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel), where she is involved in various projects that promote marine conservation in the Israeli Mediterranean.

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