Save our Unique Sharks
Largely unknown & uniquely Australian deep-water sharks and rays are being driven to extinction in Australia’s largest fishery, the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF).
Now’s our chance to tell the Australian Government to put in place rules to prevent us from losing our true-blue Aussies before we even get a chance to know them.
True-blue Aussie sharks and rays, found nowhere else in the world, are silently battling extinction and we’re at risk of losing them before we get to know them.
The south-eastern waters of Australia are globally recognised as an extinction-risk hotspot for some of the world’s most unique species1,2. Australia’s largest fishery operates in this ‘hotspot’, the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF).
Right now, the Australian Government is reviewing the fishing rules in the SESSF. Join us today, it’s our chance to tell Fisheries Minister Jonno Duniam that our Aussie shark and rays urgently need his help in their battle against extinction.
Eastern Angelshark – listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist. Image: MarineThemes
60% of Australia’s endemic sharks and rays are found in the deep, near pitch-black waters along Australia’s continental shelves and slopes3.
Fished miles offshore and from unfathomable depths, scientists know very little about their biology because they’re so hard to get to. These animals are often only seen when landed on deck after being hauled up from the deep in a trawl net.
Here’s a snapshot of what we know about our Aussie battlers and the strife they’re in:
Whitefin swellshark 4,5
Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List
Average range of 1,390 to 2,657 individuals harvested each year.
There are no fishing rules for this species
Grey skate 6
Endangered on IUCN Red List
Poorly identified, often reported under the generic, label ‘skate & ray’ category in logbooks.
No fishing rules in place for this species
Eastern Angelshark 7,8
Vulnerable on IUCN Red List.
Estimated 60% decline in population numbers.
Poorly identified, often reported under the generic label, ‘mixed angel sharks’ in logbooks.
Flesh is valued at over $400,000 per annum in Victoria and New South Wales markets.
No fishing rules in place for this species.
To save our Aussies battling against extinction we need the following to happen:
1. Protect our threatened endemic species as ‘no take’ species under law.
2. Improve Bycatch Reduction Devices (‘escape hatches’) to minimise their catch in first place
3.For those that are caught,
4. Improve training on handling and release of animals to maximise animal survival
a. Improve training for accurate reporting in fishery logbooks
b. Australia has talent, resources and is forecasted to be successful if we act now. Join us in encouraging action now. We can save our unknown Aussie battlers.
Australia has talent, resources and is forecasted to be successful if we act now.
Join us in encouraging action now. We can save our unknown Aussie battlers.
On behalf of our unique Aussie battlers, thank you.
Dr. Leonardo Guida,
Australian Marine Conservation Society
Humane Society International
1 Stein RW et al. (2018) ‘Global priorities for conserving the evolutionary history of sharks, rays and chimaeras’ Nature Ecology & Evolution 2, 288–298.
2 Heupel MR (2019) Shark Action Plan Policy Report. report NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub.
3 Last PR, White WT (2011) ‘Biogeographic patterns in the Australian chondrichthyan fauna’ Journal of Fish Biology 79, 1193–1213. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.03095.x
4 Daley R, Gray C (2020) ‘On-the-water management solutions to halt the decline and support the recovery of Australia’s endemic elasmobranchs.’ (Self published: Australia).Average of recorded retained catch from observer records in years 2010-2019. Total harvest weight converted to individuals using a conservative estimate of 4kg per shark.
5 Reported landed annual catch from Commonwealth fisheries catch disposal records | Datasets | data.gov.au. Total harvest averaged in years 2010-2019 converted to individuals using a conservative estimate of 4kg per shark.
6,7 Daley R, Gray C (2020) ‘On-the-water management solutions to halt the decline and support the recovery of Australia’s endemic elasmobranchs.’ (Self published: Australia).
8 Raoult V (2016) ‘The biology and fisheries of angel sharks and sawsharks in south-eastern Australia.’ (PhD Thesis: Macquarie University)