Stock structure of exploited shark species in north-eastern Australia. Report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Project 2007/035. Fishing & Fisheries Research Centre Technical Report No. 12

Welch, D.J., Ovenden, J., Simpfendorfer, C., Tobin, A., Morgan, J.A.T., Street, R., White, J., Harry, A., Schroeder, R., and Macbeth, W.G. (2011) Stock structure of exploited shark species in north-eastern Australia. Report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Project 2007/035. Fishing & Fisheries Research Centre Technical Report No. 12. Report. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

The project has provided management and other stakeholders with information necessary to make informed decisions about the management of four of the key exploited shark species caught in the Queensland inshore net fishery and northern New South Wales line fishery. The project has determined that spatial management of milk sharks within Queensland, and scalloped hammerhead, common black tip and Australian black tip sharks within Queensland and New South Wales is appropriate. The project has determined that both black tip shark species are likely to require co-operative management arrangements between Queensland and New South Wales. For scalloped hammerheads separate stocks between the two jurisdictions were identified from the fisheriesdependent samples, however genetic exchange across borders is likely to be facilitated by movement of adult females and perhaps larger males to a lesser extent. This information will greatly assist compliance with the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) for shark fisheries in north-eastern Australia by providing the necessary basis for robust assessment of the status of stocks of the study species, thereby helping to deliver their sustainable harvest. It also helps to achieve objectives of the Australian National Shark Plan.

The project provides the appropriate spatial framework for future monitoring and assessment of the study species. This is at a time when shark fisheries are receiving close attention from all sectors and when monitoring programs are being implemented, aimed at better assessment of stock status.

This project has provided the crucial information for developing an appropriate monitoring design as well as the necessary basis for making statements about stock status.

The project has addressed research priorities identified by the Queensland Fisheries Research Advisory Board, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Fisheries. Previously management has assumed a single stock for each species on the east coast of Queensland, and management of shark fisheries in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland has been independent of one another.

The project has been able to enhance and develop links between research, management and industry. Strong positive relationships with commercial fishers were crucial in the collection of samples throughout the study area and fisheries managers were part of the project team throughout the study period. During the project the study area was extended to include both Queensland and NSW waters, creating mutualistic and positive links between the States’ research and management agencies. Extension of project results included management representatives from NSW and Queensland, as well as the Northern Territory where similar shark fisheries operate and similar species are targeted.

The project was able to provide significant human capital development opportunities providing considerable value to the project outcomes. Use of vertebral microchemistry and life history characteristics as stock determination methods provided material for two PhD students based at James Cook University: Ron Schroeder, vertebral chemistry; and Alastair Harry, life history characteristic.

The project has developed novel research methods that have great capacity for future application, including:

• Development of a simple and rapid genetic diagnostic tool (RT-HRM-PCR assay) for differentiating among the black tip shark species, for which no simple morphological identifier exists; and

• Development of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS) methods for analysing and interpreting microchemical composition of shark vertebrae.

The study has provided further confirmation of the effectiveness of using a holistic approach in stock structure studies and justifies investment into such studies.

Item ID: 20808
Item Type: Report (Report)
Keywords: scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini, milk shark, Rhizoprionodon acutus, Australian black tip shark, Carcharhinus tilstoni, common black tip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus, stock structure, spatial dynamics, population genetics, life history, microchemistry, fisheries, management
Additional Information:

Report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation, Project 2007/035. Fishing & Fisheries Research Centre Technical Report No. 12

ISBN: 978-0-9808178-5-0
Projects and Grants: Fisheries Research & Development Corporation Project No. 2007/035
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2012 06:22
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
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