Shark Futures

Research for the sustainable management of the NSW whaler shark fishery


Victor Peddemors


Jenny Ovenden
Dean Blower
Paul Butcher
Shane McGrath

Funding body

Supported by funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) on behalf of the Australian Government ( 2010/062)


The main outcome planned for this project is to improve the ability of managers to set sustainable total allowable catch limits for whaler shark species off NSW while still enabling a profitable industry. Through completing the final pieces of the fisheries management puzzle, this project will act as a test-case to apply risk-based methods for data-poor species that may lead to development of suitable models for future national and/or international data-poor shark fisheries.

The objectives are

  1. Genetically resolve the effective population size of dusky and sandbar sharks targeted in the fishery
  2. Determine the short-term and distance movements of sandbar and dusky sharks to assist in the development of potential spatial management options like time-area (spatio-temporal) closures
  3. Develop a fishing technique that will decrease mortality of unwanted species, particularly threatened and protected species, to minimize environmental impact of the fishery
  4. Assess the effectiveness of the I&I NSW shark field ID-guide through ground-truthing on-board shark identification between fishers and observers, plus via genetic testing
  5. Educate the fishers targeting sharks about field identification of the shark species they are catching to ensure an accurate long-term database to monitor fishing of the shark populations in NSW
  6. Evaluate assessment methods and management indicators for the main shark species that may provide a model for future national and/or international data-poor shark fisheries
  7. Provide scientific data-based advice for management to ensure the future sustainability of shark populations.


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