Issues paper for the White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2013

About this document

This issues paper has been developed to support the new recovery plan and includes information on the biology and ecology of the white shark, the species' current conservation status, a description of the key threats endangering the species' survival in Australian waters and recommendations for future research. Some of the key findings of this paper are:

  • There is currently no reliable estimate of the total size of the Australian white shark population and therefore no robust measure of population trends or status. This lack of information makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of any actions undertaken to conserve the species.
  • Fishing pressure from the recreational and commercial sectors represents an ongoing, but largely unquantified, threat to the white shark in Australian waters. Mortalities as a result of the state government administered bather protection programs are also a potential threat.
  • The need remains to identify habitats, migratory paths and specific locations that are used to meet essential life cycle requirements of white sharks, such as mating, pupping, temporary residence sites during migration and feeding, and to minimise threats at these localities.

Despite significant advances in the knowledge base concerning the white shark in Australian waters over the past decade, continuation of research into their ecology and biology, as well as into causes of anthropogenic mortality, will assist in developing programs to aid the long-term recovery of this species.

Recovery plan