Death or injury to marine species following capture in beach meshing (nets) and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs

Advice to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) on Amendments to the List of Key Threatening Processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
21 March 2005

1. Name and description of the threatening process

Name: 'Death or injury to marine species following capture in beach meshing (nets) and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs'

Summary of the threatening process

The objective of Shark Control Programs is to reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks at popular swimming beaches and thereby lower the likelihood of a shark attack. Beach meshing (nets) and drum lines are set off beaches along the coastline with the purpose of intercepting and culling sharks that are considered to be a threat to people. Mesh nets do not totally enclose beaches and therefore do not provide a complete barrier between sharks and people.

Beach meshing (nets) and drum lines are used in Shark Control Programs on the east coast of Australia. The Shark Control Program in New South Wales employs only beaching meshing while Queensland employs both beach meshing and baited drum lines. Mesh nets and drum lines are not used in Shark Control Programs in any other State or Territory.

Mesh nets and drum lines capture both target shark species, such as tiger sharks and bull whalers, and non-target marine species, such as turtles, cetaceans, rays, dugongs and grey nurse sharks. Target shark species are those that are euthanased if caught alive. Non-target marine species that are caught alive are released. A list of target shark species and non-target marine species captured in Shark Control Programs is provided at Attachment (i).

Past and present use of beach meshing (nets) and drum lines in Shark Control Programs

The New South Wales (NSW) Shark Control Program began in 1937 when mesh nets were employed on Sydney beaches. Beach meshing was subsequently introduced to Wollongong and Newcastle in 1949 and the Central Coast in 1987 (Reid and Krogh, 1992).

The amount of shark control equipment installed, and the amount of time it spends in the ocean, provides a measure of the catch effort. Since the NSW Shark Control Program began there have been changes to the catch effort, resulting from changes to the number of beaches included in the Program and to the number of months, and times per month, that mesh nets are installed. There have been no major changes to the catch effort in NSW since 1992 (NSW Fisheries).

In New South Wales, beach meshing is currently used on 49 beaches across approximately 200 km of coastline between Newcastle and Wollongong. Mesh nets are set from September to April and are completely removed from the water during the winter months of May to August. It is New South Wales policy that, from September to April, a mesh net is set on each beach a minimum of 13 times per month and that each mesh net remains in the water for a minimum of 12 hours on weekdays and 48 hours on weekends. In practice, two nets are often joined together thereby meshing a beach twice in one day. Consequently, mesh nets tend to be in the water on each beach for 9 days per month on average (Reid and Krogh, 1992; Dudley, 1997).

In NSW the mesh nets are 150 metres in length, 6 metres deep and have a mesh size of 50-60 cm. The bottom of the net rests on the ocean floor. The mesh nets are set parallel to the shore in approximately 10 metres of water, about 500 m from the shore (Dudley, 1997). Acoustic alarms, known as 'pingers', that are designed to reduce dolphin entanglement, have been deployed on all mesh nets since the 02/03 season. There was partial deployment of dolphin pingers in the two seasons prior to that (NSW Fisheries).

The Queensland (QLD) Shark Control Program was introduced to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns in 1962 and was extended to include Townsville and Mackay in 1963. Since then, the Program has been extended to include Rockhampton (Capricorn Coast) (1969), Bundaberg (1973), Rainbow Beach (1974), Tannum Sands (1983) and Point Lookout (1984) (QLD DPI, 2003). There have been frequent changes to the location and configuration of shark control equipment (mesh nets and drum lines) within each of these areas since the Queensland Shark Control Program was implemented in 1962 (Anon, 1998). The most recent major change to the configuration of shark control equipment occurred in 1992 and 1993, following a review of the operation and maintenance of shark meshing equipment in Queensland (Anon, 1992). In 1992 and 1993, mesh nets were replaced with drum lines in many areas, in order to reduce the catch of non-target marine species, such as dugongs, dolphins and whales.

In Queensland, mesh nets and/or drum lines are currently used on 84 beaches, within 10 districts (known as contract areas). The Queensland Government reports that a total of 338 drum lines are deployed across the 10 contract areas and a total of 37 mesh nets are deployed across 5 contract areas (Cairns, Mackay, Rainbow Beach, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast). Nets are replaced with drum lines during whale migration and turtle seasons in some areas (Anon, 1998). In Queensland, shark control equipment remains in the water the entire year round, except in Cairns and Rockhampton (Capricorn Coast) where equipment is seasonally removed (Anon,1998; Queensland Shark Control Program). Each piece of equipment used in the Shark Control Program is serviced every second day, weather permitting (QLD DPI, 2003). Regular servicing of equipment means that non-target marine species caught on shark control equipment are more likely to be released alive.

In Queensland the mesh nets are 186 metres in length, approximately 6 metres deep and have a mesh size of 50 cm (QLD DPI, 2003). The mesh nets were initially bottom-set but this was ceased early in the Program as many rays were caught low in the mesh nets (Dudley, 1997). The mesh nets are set adjacent to beaches, according to the prevailing tides and currents, and are placed at a distance offshore determined by the local topography (QLD DPI, 2003). Sonic 'warning' beacons (whale alarms) are routinely fitted to mesh nets on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts to counter the possibility of entanglement of migrating humpback whales. Testing with commercially available dolphin pingers is also underway in Cairns (Gribble et al, 1998).

The baited drum lines used in Queensland consist of a baited shark hook, which is suspended from a plastic buoy on 2 metres of chain (QLD DPI, 2003). The hook, chain and buoy are anchored to the ocean floor.

Capture of marine species in beach meshing (nets) and drum lines

Shark Control Programs capture both target shark species (shark species that are euthanased) and non-target marine species (species that are released alive). Mesh nets are not selective and catch a wide range of non-target species, including rays, dugongs, turtles, fish, cetaceans and grey nurse sharks. Drum lines catch target shark species, but catch lower numbers of non-target marine species than mesh nets. However, large numbers of marine turtles are still caught on drum lines. A full list of species currently captured in the New South Wales and Queensland Shark Control Programs is provided at Attachment (i).

Many shark species that are found alive on the mesh nets or drum lines are euthanased; these are referred to as target shark species. However in recent years, New South Wales and Queensland Shark Control Programs have identified non-target shark species which are released alive upon capture. Non-target shark species are released for conservation reasons, or because they are considered to be harmless to humans.

Since 1992 in Queensland, Grey Nurse Sharks found alive on the mesh nets or drum lines have been released (Queensland Shark Control Program). In 2003, the Queensland Shark Control Program reduced the number of shark species that are euthanased upon capture (Queensland Shark Control Program). The target shark species that are currently euthanased upon capture are Great White Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks (all species), Mako Sharks, Bull Whalers, Dusky Whalers, Longnose Whalers, Pigeye Whalers, Sandbar Whalers, Sharptooth Sharks, Silky Whalers and Tiger Sharks (Queensland Shark Control Program).

Since 1996/7, New South Wales has had a policy to release Grey Nurse Sharks, Angel Sharks and Port Jackson Sharks, although it is understood that contractors have been releasing these species since the early 1980's (NSW Fisheries). Since 1996/7 there has also been a policy in New South Wales to release Great White Sharks whenever possible (NSW Fisheries). The target shark species (or groups of species) that are currently euthanased upon capture in NSW are Whaler Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks, Mako Sharks, Sevengill Sharks and Thresher Sharks (NSW Fisheries).

The total number of sharks (including target and non-target species) caught in the New South Wales and Queensland Shark Control Programs from 1993/4 - 2002/3 was 9321, which equates to an average of 932 sharks per year.

Comprehensive national data on the number of other marine species caught in Shark Control Programs is available from 1995/6. During the period 1995/6 - 2002/3, the total number of marine animals (excluding sharks) that were caught in Shark Control Programs was 2580, an average of 323 per year. Of the 2580 marine animals caught over the 8-year period, 1597 were released alive and 855 died, an average of 107 mortalities each year. Condition was not recorded for 128 individuals.

Beach meshing (nets) and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs have resulted in the capture and mortality of a number of marine species that are listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including:

  • Grey Nurse Shark (east coast population) (Carcharias taurus) - critically endangered
  • Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) - endangered
  • Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) - endangered
  • Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) - vulnerable
  • Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) - vulnerable
  • Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) - vulnerable
  • Flatback Turtle (Natator depressus) - vulnerable
  • Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) - vulnerable
  • Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae) - vulnerable
  • Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)- vulnerable

There is also concern that Shark Control Programs could be having a negative impact on the following native marine species, which are not currently listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999:

  • Dugong (Dugong dugon)
  • Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaecella brevirostris)
  • Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis)
  • Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
  • Rays (several species)

The New South Wales and Queensland Shark Control Programs have initiated a number of measures to try to reduce the impact of Shark Control Programs on non-target marine species. As mentioned previously, acoustic alarms (or 'pingers') designed to reduce dolphin entanglement have been deployed on all mesh nets in NSW and are being trialled in Queensland. Sonic 'warning' beacons (whale alarms) to counter possible whale entanglements are also fitted to some mesh nets in Queensland (Gribble et al, 1998).

The Queensland Shark Control Program has developed a Code of Practice with regard to the capture of non-target species, which has been incorporated into the Program's contracts. In addition 'Marine Rescue Squads', involving representatives of the Shark Control Program, government agencies and several non-government organisations, have been progressively established since 1993 to handle the safe release of large marine mammals (Gribble et al, 1998). The Queensland Shark Control Program is also funding a range of research projects, one of which is examining the use of different hook sizes and patterns, and different types of bait, to reduce the impacts of drum lines on non-target species.

2. How judged by TSSC in relation to the EPBC Act criteria Section 188(4) of the EPBC Act states

A threatening process is eligible to be treated as a key threatening process if:

  1. it could cause a native species or an ecological community to become eligible for listing in any category, other than conservation dependent; or
  2. it could cause a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community to become eligible to be listed in another category representing a higher degree of endangerment; or
  3. it adversely affects 2 or more listed threatened species (other than conservation dependent species) or 2 or more listed threatened ecological communities.

A. Could the threatening process cause a native species or an ecological community to become eligible for listing as Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable?

There is concern that Shark Control Programs may have a negative impact on several native marine species, including the Dugong (Dugong dugon), Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaecella brevirostris), Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis), Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and several Ray species.

Catch data from the Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs is used to analyse the impact of the Shark Control Programs on each of these species. Both historical catch data and recent catch data are presented (where available), but recent catch data (1993-2003) has primarily been used to assess the current impact of the nominated threatening process on each species.

Recent catch data for the Queensland Shark Control Program (1992 - 2003) was provided by the Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. Catch data from the NSW Shark Control Program was provided by NSW Fisheries (1950/1-2002/3 for shark species and 1995/6-2002/3 for non-shark species).

Dugong (Dugong dugon)

Dugongs are long-lived herbivorous marine mammals, which have a low reproductive rate and a high investment in each offspring (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001a). Dugongs are found in northern Australian waters, from Shark Bay in the west to Moreton Bay in the east (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001a). Aerial population surveys indicate that the total Dugong population is approximately 85 000 individuals, although this is thought to be an underestimate (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001a). Long-term Dugong data is insufficient to determine population trends in most areas of Australia, however catch data from the Queensland Shark Control Program has been used to estimate population changes in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

A study by Marsh et al (2001) estimated that the Dugong population in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area has declined at an average rate of 8.7% per year between 1962 and 1999. The causes of this long-term decline are thought to include habitat loss, overkill from traditional hunting, incidental by-catch in commercial fishing and capture in Shark Control Programs.

Early catch data indicates that only 5 Dugongs were captured in NSW between 1950 and 1993 (Krogh and Reid, 1996). In Queensland, 837 Dugongs were caught between November 1962 and June 1991, equating to an average of almost 30 Dugongs captured each year (Anon, 1992). Condition was not recorded for the majority of Dugongs captured, therefore it is not possible to calculate the mortality rate.

Fewer Dugongs have been captured in recent years, which is thought to be due to the overall decline in Dugong population and the replacement of mesh nets with drum lines in many areas. Between 1993/4 and 2002/3 in Queensland, 17 Dugongs were captured in mesh nets, resulting in 16 mortalities, an average mortality of 1.6 Dugongs per year. No Dugong captures have been recorded in New South Wales since comprehensive by-catch data was collected in 1995/6. Their rarity in NSW means that dugong mortality in the NSW Shark Control Program is likely to remain low (Krogh and Reid, 1996).

To examine the impact of Shark Control Programs on Dugongs in the southern Great Barrier Reef region, Gribble et al (1998) compared catch data from six Shark Control Program contract areas (Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Tannum Sands, Bundaberg) with regional Dugong population estimates. During 1994-1995, Dugong catch within the southern Great Barrier Reef Region was 1.5 individuals per year and the regional population was estimated to be 1750 ± 257 individuals. Hence, mesh nets resulted in the loss of less than 0.1% of the southern Great Barrier Reef population in one year.

The estimated impact of Shark Control Programs on the national population is even lower. Given that the total Australian Dugong population is estimated at 85 000 individuals, the current mortality rate of 1.6 Dugongs per year in Shark Control Programs causes the loss of less than 0.002% of the total population annually. Therefore, it is considered that Shark Control Programs alone will not cause the Dugong to become eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Dolphins

In New South Wales, Common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins are captured in the Shark Control Programs, but the recorded captures are not species differentiated.

The Queensland Shark Control Program has documented dolphin captures since the early years of the Program, but species identification has only been recorded in recent years. Irrawaddy Dolphins have been reliably identified since 1992 (Gribble et al, 1998) and captures of Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins and Common Dolphins have been recorded since 1996. There are still some captures of dolphins where the species is not identified, but the number of unidentified individuals is small. Between 1996/7 and 2002/3, a total of 14 unidentified dolphins were captured, resulting in the mortality of 12 individuals. This is equivalent to an average mortality of less than 2 unidentified dolphins each year.

Despite the absence of species differentiated historical data, it is possible to analyse the current impact of Shark Control Programs on the majority of dolphin species using catch data from the past 7 to 10 years.

Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaecella brevirostris)

Irrawaddy Dolphins are found in northern Australian waters, off the coasts of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. Irrawaddy Dolphins are not highly migratory and are thought to form discrete, localised populations (GBRMPA, 2000). Very little is known about the biology of Irrawaddy Dolphins, but they have long gestation periods (14 months), a high investment in each offspring, and are thought to live for up to 28 years (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001b).

The Irrawaddy Dolphin is listed as rare under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. Information on the Irrawaddy Dolphin population size is scarce; the minimum population estimate for areas surveyed off the Northern Territory is 1227 ± 301, but this is uncorrected for animals below the surface (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2001b). There is no data on the population rate of change, however there is anecdotal evidence that Irrawaddy Dolphins are less common in the Great Barrier Reef region than they were previously (GBRMPA, 2000).

Due to the fact that Irrawaddy Dolphins occupy shallow coastal habitats, they are particularly susceptible to threats from human activities. Past threats include indigenous hunting and live capture for oceanaria in Queensland, while current threats include overfishing of prey species, capture in barramundi nets and capture in mesh nets used in Shark Control Programs. Potential threats include organochlorine pollution, habitat destruction and degradation, and pathogen-induced mass mortalities (Bannister et al, 1996).

Over the past ten years (1993/4 to 2002/3), 8 Irrawaddy Dolphins were caught in mesh nets in the Queensland Shark Control Program, and no captures were recorded in New South Wales. Of the 8 Irrawaddy Dolphins captured, 3 individuals were released alive and 5 individuals died, which equates to an average mortality of 1 Irrawaddy Dolphin every 2 years.

Without population estimates, it is difficult to assess the effect of Shark Control Program mortalities on the Irrawaddy Dolphin. Although Shark Control Program mortalities could reduce local populations of this species, Irrawaddy Dolphins occupy a large range in Australian waters and it is considered current Shark Control Program mortalities (1 Irrawaddy Dolphin every 2 years) are not likely to impact on the population as a whole. Hence, it is considered that Shark Control Programs will not cause the Irrawaddy Dolphin to be eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin (Sousa chinensis)

Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins are found in shallow, coastal waters in northern Australia, extending southwest to Exmouth Bay in Western Australia and southeast to the Queensland-New South Wales border (GBRMPA, 2000). Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins are thought to live for more than 40 years and reach sexual maturity at 10-13 years, although little more is known about their reproductive biology (Bannister et al, 1996).

The Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin is listed as rare under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992. There is no data on the absolute abundance of the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin in Australia (Bannister et al, 1996). However, a total of 100 Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins have been identified in Moreton Bay (Queensland) and approximately 40 individuals have been identified in the Great Sandy Strait (Queensland) (Vang, 2002 (cited in Queensland Government submission)). Moreton Bay and the Great Sandy Straight have been identified as key localities for the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin. Aerial surveys indicate that the number of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins may be declining in Australian waters (GBRMPA, 2000).

Threats to the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin include habitat destruction and degradation (including noise pollution), capture in drift-nets, trawl-nets and Shark Control Programs, illegal sport-fishing, live capture and overfishing of prey species. Potential threats include organochlorine pollution and pathogen-induced mass mortalities (Bannister et al, 1996).

Between 1996/7 and 2002/3, 16 Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins were caught in the Queensland Shark Control Program; 14 in mesh nets and 2 for which equipment was not recorded. All captured Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins died, resulting in an annual average mortality of 2.3 individuals per year. No Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin captures have been recorded in New South Wales.

Without total population estimates, it is difficult to assess the effect of Shark Control Program mortalities on the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin. Although Shark Control Program mortalities could reduce local populations of this species, Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins have a wide distribution in Australian waters and it is considered current Shark Control Program mortalities (2.3 Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphins per year) are not likely to impact on the population as a whole. Hence, it is considered that Shark Control Programs will not cause the Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin to be eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

The Bottlenose Dolphin is recognised as the species, Tursiops truncatus, although there are several subspecies. The subspecies T. t. truncatus and T. t. aduncus are both found in Australian waters (Bannister et al, 1996). T. t. truncatus is usually found in colder, deeper waters and occurs in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. T. t. aduncus is generally found in warmer inshore waters, and occurs in Northern New South Wales, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, as far south as Perth (Bannister et al, 1996).

Accurate population estimates are not available for any Bottlenose Dolphin community in Australia, but they are common in several localities (Bannister et al, 1996). Bottlenose Dolphins have been photo-identified in several locations, providing minimum population estimates, including: Moreton Bay (Queensland) - 334; inshore waters off North Stradbroke Island (Queensland) - 321, south-eastern Shark Bay (WA) - over 300, Cockburn Sound (WA) - at least 150; Adelaide (SA) - at least 140 (Bannister et al, 1996). The relative importance of these populations to the total Australian population is not known. However, the local population numbers indicate that the total population is in the order of thousands, rather than hundreds. There have been no estimates of the rate of population change for Bottlenose Dolphins (Bannister et al, 1996).

Current threats to the Bottlenose Dolphin include habitat destruction and degradation, noise pollution and potentially organochlorine pollution, incidental capture in trawl-nets, drift-nets, aquaculture nets and mesh nets used in Shark Control Programs, illegal sport-fishing and overfishing of prey species (Bannister et al, 1996).

Over the past 7 years (between 1996/7 and 2002/3), 25 Bottlenose Dolphins were captured in mesh nets and drum lines used in the Queensland Shark Control Program, resulting in 19 mortalities. This is equivalent to an average mortality of 2.7 Bottlenose Dolphins each year. The actual mortality rate may be higher, as the Queensland Government has stated that many Bottlenose Dolphins could have been misidentified as 'Common Dolphins'. Between 1996/7 and 2002/3, an average of 3.3 Common Dolphins died each year in the Queensland Shark Control Program.

In New South Wales, 23 Common and Bottlenose Dolphins died in Shark Control Programs between 1996/7 and 2002/3, equivalent to average mortality rate of 3.3 dolphins each year. Assuming that half the dolphins captured were Bottlenose Dolphins, the mortality rate in New South Wales is approximately 1.7 individuals each year.

The current mortality rate of Bottlenose Dolphins in both Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs is in the order of 5 individuals per year. Without accurate population estimates, it is difficult to assess the effect of Shark Control Program mortalities on the Bottlenose Dolphin. However, given that the Australian Bottlenose Dolphin population is likely to be in the order of thousands of individuals, and the species has a wide distribution in Australian waters, it is considered that the Shark Control Program mortalities will not cause the Bottlenose Dolphin to become eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Rays

A wide range of ray species (including rays, sawfish, stingray and stingaree species) are caught in the Queensland Shark Control Program. The species, and groups of species, captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program are presented in Attachment (i). In New South Wales, data on ray captures is available from 1995/6, although the captures are not species differentiated.

A total of 1040 rays were captured in mesh nets and drum lines in Queensland between 1995/6 and 2002/3. Of the 1040 individuals captured, 662 individuals were released alive, 333 individuals died and condition was not recorded for 45 individuals.

Over the same 8-year period in New South Wales, 530 rays were captured in mesh nets. Of the 530 individuals captured, 319 individuals were released alive and 211 died in the mesh nets.

Hence, relatively large numbers of rays are captured and killed in mesh nets and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs. A total of 544 rays died in Queensland and New South Wales between 1995/6 and 2002/3, which is equivalent to an average mortality rate of 68 individuals per year.

Although a large number of rays are captured in mesh nets and drum lines, shark and ray experts consider that Shark Control Programs alone are not likely to cause a ray species to become eligible for listing as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Conclusion: The TSSC considers that the threatening process is not eligible under this criterion as the process is not likely to cause a native species or an ecological community to become eligible for listing as Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable.

B. Could the threatening process cause a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community to become eligible to be listed in another category representing a higher degree of endangerment?

C. Does the threatening process adversely affect 2 or more listed threatened species (other than conservation dependent species) or 2 or more listed threatened ecological communities?

There are ten listed threatened species which are currently captured in mesh nets and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs. For each of these listed threatened species, the assessment against criteria B and C is presented together.

Catch data from the Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs is used to analyse the impact of the Shark Control Programs on each of the threatened species. Both historical catch data and recent catch data are presented (where available), but recent catch data (1993-2003) has primarily been used to assess the current impact of the nominated threatening process on each species.

Recent catch data for the Queensland Shark Control Program (1992 - 2003) was provided by the Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries. Catch data from the NSW Shark Control Program was provided by NSW Fisheries (1950/1-2002/3 for shark species and 1995/6-2002/3 for non-shark species).

Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus)

The Grey Nurse Shark (east coast population) is listed as critically endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. In the Recovery Plan for the Grey Nurse Shark, Shark Control Programs were identified as one of the threats to the species.

The Grey Nurse Shark population is estimated to be less than 500 individuals and is believed to be restricted in its range to southern Queensland and New South Wales. There are concerns that the numbers have fallen to such a depressed level it is difficult for individuals to find mates with which to reproduce (Environment Australia, 2002a). Grey Nurse Sharks have late reproductive maturity (4-6 years) and produce only 1-2 pups every 2 years (Otway and Parker, 1999). Consequently, the annual rates of population increase are very low, making the species highly vulnerable to non-natural sources of mortality.

Large numbers of Grey Nurse Sharks were caught and killed in mesh nets and drum lines in the early years of the Shark Control Programs. In Queensland, a total of 90 Grey Nurse Sharks were caught between 1962 and 1972 (Environment Australia, 2002a) and 90 individuals were caught over the same period in New South Wales (1962/3 - 1971/2). This is equivalent to an average of 18 Grey Nurse Sharks killed each year.

Fewer Grey Nurse Sharks have been caught in mesh nets and drum lines in recent years, which is considered by experts to be representative of reductions in population size. Over the last 10 years (from 1993/4 - 2002/3), 19 Grey Nurse Sharks were captured in mesh nets and drum lines in New South Wales and Queensland (11 individuals were caught in mesh nets and 8 were caught in drum lines.) Of the 19 captured Grey Nurse Sharks, 7 individuals were released alive and there were 11 mortalities, an average of approximately 1 mortality each year. (Condition was not recorded for 1 individual.) In addition to the recorded mortality of one Grey Nurse Shark per year, there may be post-release mortality of some individuals that are captured and released alive from mesh nets and drum lines.

The Recovery Plan states that, due to their small population and slow reproductive rate, any killing, taking or injuring of a Grey Nurse Shark is likely to have a significant impact on the population.

Assessment against criterion B: Although the loss of small numbers of Grey Nurse Sharks is likely to have an impact on the population, it is considered that the current mortality rate in mesh nets and drum lines, even taking into account the uncertainty of post-release mortality, is not likely to cause the Grey Nurse Shark to become eligible for listing as extinct in the wild.

Assessment against criterion C: The number of Grey Nurse Sharks currently killed in mesh nets and drum lines is low but, due to their small population and slow reproductive rate, any mortalities are likely to adversely affect the species and may result in further population decline. Hence, it is considered that the death of Grey Nurse Sharks in mesh nets and drum lines is likely to have an adverse effect on the species.

Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

The Great White Shark is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Great White Sharks are particularly vulnerable to non-natural sources of mortality as they have late reproductive maturity (10 years for males and 18 years for females), long gestation periods (exceeding 12 months) and produce only 2-10 pups every 2-3 years (Cavanagh et al, 2003). The current population of the Great White Shark is difficult to assess due to a number of factors (including lack of data and poorly known stock structure and movement patterns) but available data suggests that there has been a decline in the abundance and size of Great White Sharks in Australian waters (Environment Australia, 2002b). There are a number of sources of Great White Shark mortality in Australian waters (other than natural sources), namely by-catch in commercial fishing, recreational fishing, shark control programs and illegal trade in fins, jaws and teeth (Environment Australia, 2002b).

From 1962/3 to 1971/2 (representing the first 10 years of the Queensland Shark Control Program), 247 Great White Sharks were caught and killed in Queensland (Anon, 1992) and 108 were caught and killed in New South Wales, representing a national average of 36 Great White Shark mortalities each year.

Fewer Great White Sharks have been caught in Shark Control Programs in recent years. Over the 10-year period from 1993/4 - 2002/3, 143 Great White Sharks were captured in mesh nets and drum lines in New South Wales and Queensland (60 Great White Sharks were caught on drum lines and 83 were caught in mesh nets), an average of 14 individuals each year. Of the 143 individuals, 138 died or were euthanased, an average of 13.8 mortalities each year.

All Great White Sharks captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program are euthanased. Since 1996/7 in New South Wales, Great White Sharks have been released alive whenever possible (NSW Fisheries). A total of 5 Great White Sharks were released alive between 1996/7 and 2002/3, representing 16% of the catch in New South Wales and 5% of the national catch.

Great White Shark captures have decreased over time, while the catch effort in New South Wales and Queensland Shark Control Programs has increased. (The catch effort is a measure of the amount of shark control equipment installed and the time it spends in the ocean). In New South Wales, most of the Great White Sharks were caught soon after the mesh nets were installed (i.e in the early years of the Program), with further catches resulting from Great White Sharks moving into the area for opportunistic feeding and breeding, or colonisation of vacant territories (Reid and Krogh 1992; Environment Australia, 2002b). The decline in Great White Shark captures per unit catch effort could reflect the reduction in the overall abundance of Great White Sharks in Australian waters, or localised population depletion around areas where shark control equipment is installed (Environment Australia, 2002b).

The White Shark Recovery Plan (2002) identifies Shark Control Programs as one of the threats to the species. However, without accurate information on the Australian Great White Shark population size, it is difficult to determine the significance of the current mortality rate from Shark Control Programs (14 individuals per year) to the population. Shark Control Programs are only the cause of approximately 12% of the human-induced White Shark mortalities in Australia (Malcolm, Bruce and Stevens, 2001), and therefore experts consider that the death of Great White Sharks in mesh nets and drum lines is unlikely to be significant on its own.

Assessment against criterion B: While Shark Control Programs are recognised as one of the threats to the Great White Shark, it is considered that the current mortality rate in mesh nets and drum lines is not likely, on its own, to cause the Great White Shark to be eligible for listing as endangered.

Assessment against criterion C: The capture and death of Great White Sharks in Shark Control Programs is undesirable. However, the current mortality rate of 14 Great White Sharks per year, which represents only 12% of the human induced mortality, is not likely to be significant on its own. The current mortality of Great White Sharks is not high enough for mesh nets and drum lines to be considered as having an adverse effect on the species.

Marine Turtles

There are six species of marine turtles recognised in Australia; the Loggerhead Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Flatback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and Green Turtle. All six species are listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In Australia, Marine Turtles are mostly distributed through the sub-tropical and tropical waters of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, although the Leatherback Turtle is often also found in temperate waters (Environment Australia, 2003).

Marine turtles are long-lived, take 30-50 years to mature and adults do not breed every year (Environment Australia, 2003). These life history characteristics make marine turtles vulnerable to a range of threats that can impact on their respective populations.

Comprehensive population data is not available, but it is thought that marine turtle populations have undergone a significant decline in Australian waters (Environment Australia, 2003). Research on nesting Loggerhead Turtles has revealed a large population decline in recent years. Major Loggerhead Turtle breeding populations occur in eastern and western Australia and studies on the eastern population have shown that approximately 3500 Loggerhead Turtle females nested on the Queensland coast in the 1976 and 1977 nesting seasons, whereas only 300 nested in 1997 (Environment Australia, 2003). The total size of marine turtle populations is difficult to quantify because they spend most of their lives in the marine environment, they are highly migratory, the hatchlings disperse throughout the oceans and only females return to beaches for nesting, with not all females nesting each year (Environment Australia, 2003).

The threats to marine turtles identified in the Recovery Plan include by-catch in fisheries, predation of turtle eggs by native and introduced animals, unknown levels of harvest by indigenous Australians and people in neighbouring countries of the Asia/Pacific region, coastal development, deteriorating water quality, marine debris, loss of habitat and shark control activities (Environment Australia, 2003).

Analysing the impact of Shark Control Programs on Marine Turtles

Marine turtle catch data was not species differentiated in the early years of the Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs, therefore it is difficult to assess the long-term trends in catches of individual marine turtle species in mesh nets and drum lines.

Comprehensive species differentiated catch data has only been recorded since 1995/6 in New South Wales and since 1996/7 in Queensland, although Queensland recorded catch data for some marine turtle species in earlier years (Loggerhead Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle). There are still some captures of marine turtles where the species is not identified, but the number of unidentified individuals is small. Between 1995/6 and 2002/3, an average of 10 unidentified marine turtles were captured each year, and an average of 1 unidentified marine turtle died every 2 years.

Despite the absence of historical data, it is possible to analyse the current impact of Shark Control Programs on individual marine turtle species at a national scale using catch data from the past 7 to 8 years.

Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta)

The Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta) is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

From 1995/6 - 2002/3, a total of 350 Loggerhead Turtles were caught in mesh nets and drum lines, an average of 43.8 Loggerhead Turtles per year. The majority of Loggerhead Turtles (345) were caught in Queensland. While the use of baited drum lines in Shark Control Programs has been shown to reduce the catch of many non-shark species, it has not been the case for marine turtles. Of the 350 Loggerhead Turtles caught in Shark Control Programs over the 8-year period, 273 individuals were caught on drum lines.

A large proportion of Loggerhead Turtles caught in mesh nets and on drum lines are released alive. Between 1995/6 and 2002/3, 332 Loggerhead Turtles were released alive and 18 died, equating to an average mortality of 2.3 individuals each year. Loggerhead Turtles caught on drum lines are more likely to be released alive (98% of all captures) than those caught in mesh nets (83% of all captures).

Although a large proportion of captured Loggerhead Turtles are released alive, post-release mortality has been observed. The Queensland Government has reported that most of the marine turtles captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program since 1993 have been tagged to census the catch and assess the survivorship of released individuals. Tagging has revealed that previously captured marine turtles are occasionally recovered as beach-washed dead turtles on adjacent beaches. The tagging data has also revealed that multiple catches of the same Loggerhead Turtle are common. Turtles with repetitive injuries from hooking on drum lines are constantly in poor condition, and when in poor health turtles are unlikely to initiate breeding cycles. The tagging data suggests that hooking injuries do affect breeding, as no Loggerhead Turtle captured on the drum lines has been subsequently recorded at known breeding sites.

In addition to the recorded mortality of Loggerhead Turtles in Shark Control Programs, the Queensland Government estimates that a comparably low number of individuals suffer post-release mortality. The Queensland Government also estimates that there is a reduction in the breeding rate of less than 10 adults captured and released from mesh nets and drum lines each year.

Due to the scarcity of population data, it is difficult to determine the impact of the current Shark Control Program mortality rate on the Loggerhead Turtle. However in the Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia, Shark Control Programs were identified as having a low or uncertain impact on marine turtle populations (Environment Australia, 2003). It is estimated that more than 300 Loggerhead Turtles are killed each year as a result of commercial and recreational fishing, indigenous take and boat strike (Anon, 1998). Assuming that up to15 Loggerhead Turtles are killed or have reduced breeding capacity as a result of capture in Shark Control Programs, this represents less than 5% of the human-induced mortalities.

Assessment against criterion B: While the mortality of Loggerhead Turtles in Shark Control Programs is of concern, it is considered that the death or injury of Loggerhead Turtles in mesh nets and drum lines is not likely, on its own, to cause the species to be eligible for listing as critically endangered.

Assessment against criterion C: While large numbers of Loggerhead Turtles are captured in Shark Control Programs each year, the recorded mortality rate (2.3 individuals per year) is low. When estimated post -release mortalities and reductions in breeding capacity are taken into account, Shark Control Programs still only account for a small percentage of the annual loss of Loggerhead Turtles. Therefore, it is considered that death or injury to Loggerhead Turtles in mesh nets and drum lines is not likely to be significant on its own. The number of Loggerhead Turtles affected by the Shark Control Programs is not high enough to be considered an adverse effect on the species.

Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Flatback Turtle (Natator depressus)

The Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Flatback Turtle (Natator depressus) are all listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Between 1996/7 and 2002/3, 3 Olive Ridley Turtles were caught in mesh nets in the Queensland Shark Control Program. Of the 3 captures, 2 Olive Ridley Turtles were released alive and condition was not recorded for 1 individual. There have been no captures of Olive Ridley Turtles in New South Wales since species differentiated by-catch data was recorded in 1995/6. Hence, there have been no recorded mortalities of Olive Ridley Turtles in Shark Control Programs in the past 7 years.

Between 1996/7 and 2002/3, 22 Hawksbill Turtles were captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program. Of the 22 captures, 17 Hawksbill Turtles were released alive and there were 5 mortalities, an average of less than one Hawsbill Turtle mortality each year. Over the same 7-year period, 4 Flatback Turtles were captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program, resulting in only 1 mortality. There have been no captures of Hawksbill Turtles or Flatback Turtles in New South Wales since species differentiated by-catch data was recorded in 1995/6.

Between 1995/6 and 2002/3, 10 Leatherback Turtles were caught in Shark Control Programs. Seven individuals were released alive and there were 3 mortalities, which equates to an average of less than one Leatherback Turtle mortality every 2 years. Over the same 8-year period, 106 Green Turtles were caught in Shark Control Programs, an average of approximately 13 captures each year. 78 individuals were released alive, and there were 28 mortalities, which equates to an average of 3.5 Green Turtle mortalities each year.

Assessment against criterion B: As there have been no confirmed mortalities of Olive Ridley Turtles in recent years, it is considered that Shark Control Programs are not likely to cause the species to be eligible for listing as critically endangered.

Without accurate population data, it is difficult to assess the significance of Shark Control Program mortalities to the other marine turtle species. However, given the low rate of mortality in mesh nets and drum lines, and the wide distribution of Marine Turtles in Australian waters, it is considered that Shark Control Programs are not likely, on their own, to cause the Hawksbill Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle or Flatback Turtle to be eligible for listing as endangered.

Assessment against criterion C: Without accurate population data, it is difficult to assess whether Shark Control Program mortalities are having an adverse effect on each of the marine turtle species. However, the Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia identified Shark Control Programs as having a low or uncertain impact on marine turtle populations (Environment Australia, 2003).

As there have been no recorded mortalities of Olive Ridley Turtles in the past 8 years, it is considered that Shark Control Programs do not have an adverse effect on this species. Given that the Hawksbill Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Green Turtle and Flatback Turtle have a wide distribution in Australian waters, and the current mortality rates in mesh nets and drum lines are low, it is considered that Shark Control Programs do not have an adverse effect on any of these species.

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae)

The Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae) is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Humpback Whale populations along the west and east coast of Australia were greatly reduced by commercial exploitation up until the early 1960s. Recent point estimates of population size indicate between 1400 and 1900 Humpback Whales migrate along the east coast of Australia, where only 570 were present in 1963 (Bannister et al, 1996). The population of Humpback Whales is still increasing along the east coast of Australia (Gribble et al, 1998).

Eight Humpback Whales were captured in Shark Control Programs off the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast during 1962-1995, resulting in 3 mortalities (Gribble et al, 1998). Between 1996 and 2003, a further 10 Humpback Whales were caught in mesh nets in the Queensland Shark Control Program, resulting in only one mortality. Hence, since the start of the Queensland Shark Control Program there has been a mortality rate of approximately 1 Humpback Whale every 10 years. Since 1995/6, only one Humpback Whale was captured in the New South Wales Shark Control Program and it was released alive.

There is the potential for accidental entanglements in mesh nets to increase as the Humpback Whale population increases, but experts consider that the current mortality rate of Humpback Whales in Shark Control Programs is not threatening to the species.

Assessment against criterion B: Given the increasing population, and the low mortality rate of Humpback Whales caught in mesh nets, it is considered that Shark Control Programs will not cause the Humpback Whale to be eligible for listing as endangered.

Assessment against criterion C: The catch of Humpback Whales in mesh nets is undesirable and efforts to reduce incidents of entanglement, by fitting whale alarms to mesh nets, should be continued. However, given the increasing population and low mortality rate of Humpback Whales caught in mesh nets, it is considered that Shark Control Programs do not have an adverse effect on the species.

Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)

The Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) is listed as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In Australia, Whale Sharks occur mainly off the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern Western Australia coasts. Whale Sharks are highly migratory, but small aggregations are known to occur near the coast of central Western Australia during the winter (Last and Stevens, 1994). Estimates of population size are difficult, due to the fact that they are large animals, migrate large distances and are rarely encountered (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2002). However, harpoon fisheries operating in several countries have observed a decrease in Whale Shark catches, and populations have apparently been depleted (Cavanagh et al, 2003). Whale Sharks are also caught as incidental by-catch in other fisheries (Cavanagh et al, 2003).

Five Whale Sharks were captured during the first 22 years of the Shark Control Program in Queensland (1962/3 to 1983/4) (Paterson, 1986). Over the past 10 years (1993/4 - 2002/3), only one Whale Shark was captured and killed in Shark Control Programs in Australia.

Assessment against criterion B: It is considered that the capture of Whale Sharks in mesh nets and drum lines is not likely to cause the species to become eligible for listing as endangered.

Assessment against criterion C: Due to the fact that only one Whale Shark has been captured over the past 10 years, it is considered that Shark Control Programs do not have an adverse effect on the species.

Conclusion for criterion B: The TSSC considers that the threatening process is not eligible under this criterion as the process is not likely to cause a listed threatened species or a listed threatened ecological community to become eligible to be listed in another category representing a higher degree of endangerment.

Conclusion for criterion C: The TSSC considers that the threatening process has an adverse effect on only one listed threatened species, the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus). Therefore, the TSSC considers that the threatening process is not eligible under this criterion as the process is not likely to adversely affect two or more listed threatened species or two or more listed threatened ecological communities.

Conclusion - The threatening process does not meet s188(4)(a), s188(4)(b) or s188(4)(c) of the EPBC Act.

3. Recommendations

  1. TSSC recommends that the threatening process 'Death or injury to marine species following capture in beach meshing (nets) and drum lines used in Shark Control Programs' is not eligible for inclusion as a key threatening process in the list referred to in section 183 of the EPBC Act.
  2. TSSC recommends that the Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs continue to investigate and implement new methods that reduce the impact of Shark Control Programs on threatened and non-target marine species.

Attachment (i): List of marine species currently captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program (Table A) and New South Wales Shark Control Program (Table B)

The list of species captured in the Queensland Shark Control Program was compiled using catch data provided by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries for the period 1992-2003. The list of species captured in the New South Wales Shark Control Program was compiled using catch data provided by New South Wales Fisheries for the period 1950/1-2002/3 (shark species) and 1995/6-2002/3 (non-shark species).

* indicates that the common name is inclusive of several species

† indicates that the shark species is a 'target shark species' and is currently euthanased upon capture

A. Queensland Shark Control Program
Common name Species name
Sharks
Blind Sharks Family Brachaeluridae
Blind Shark Brachaelurus waddi
Grey Nurse Sharks Family Odontaspididae
Grey Nurse Shark Carcharias taurus
Hammerhead Sharks Family Sphyrnidae
Great Hammerhead †
Scalloped Hammerhead †
Smooth Hammerhead †
Winged Hammerhead †
Sphyrna mokarran
Sphyrna lewini
Sphyrna zygaena
Eusphyra blochii
Horn Sharks Family Heterodontidae
Port Jackson Shark Heterodontus portusjacksoni
Hound Sharks Family Triakidae
School Shark Galeorhinus galeus
Longtail Carpet Sharks Family Hemiscylliidae
Grey Carpet Shark Chiloscyllium punctatum
Mackerel Sharks Family Lamnidae
Great White Shark †
Mako Shark †
Carcharodon carcharias
Isurus oxyrinchus
Nurse Sharks Family Ginglymostomatidae
Tawny Shark Nebrius ferrugineus
Sawsharks Family Pristiophoridae
Tropical Sawshark * Pristiophorus sp.
Weasel Sharks Family Hemigaleidae
Fossil Shark
Weasel Shark
Hemipristis elongata
Hemigaleus microstama
Whale Sharks Family Rhincodontidae
Whale Shark Rhincodon typus
Whaler Sharks Family Carcharhinidae
Australian Blacktip Shark
Australian Sharpnose Shark
Bignose Whaler
Blacktip Reef Whaler
Blue Shark
Bronze Whaler
Bull Whaler †
Common Blacktip Whaler
Creek Whaler
Dusky Whaler †
Graceful Whaler
Grey Reef Whaler
Hardnose Whaler
Long Nose Whaler †
Mangrove Whaler
Milk Shark
Pigeye Whaler †
Sandbar Whaler †
Sharptooth Shark †
Silky Whaler †
Sliteye Shark
Spot-tail Shark
Spot-tail Whaler
Tiger Shark †
Whaler Shark *
Whitetip Reef Shark
Carcharhinus tilstoni
Rhizoprionodon taylori
Carcharhinus altimus
Carcharhinus melanopterus
Prionace glauca
Carcharhinus brachyurus
Carcharhinus leucas
Carcharhinus limbatus
Carcharhinus fitzroyensis
Carcharhinus obscurus
Carcharhinus amblyrhinchoides
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos
Carcharhinus macloti
Carcharhinus brevipinna
Carcharhinus cautus
Rhizopriondon acutus
Carcharhinus amboinensis
Carcharhinus plumbeus
Negaprion acutidens
Carcharhinus falciformis
Loxodon macrorhinus
Carcharhinus sorrah
Carcharhinus sorrah
Galeocerdo cuvier
 
Triaenodon obesus
Wobbygong Sharks Family Orectolobidae
Tasselled Wobbygong Eucrossorhinus dasypogon
Zebra Sharks Family Stegastomatidae
Zebra Shark Stegastoma fasciatum
Unknown Shark *
Rays, Sawfishes, Stingarees, Stingrays
Cownose Rays Family Rhinopteridae
Australian Cownose Ray Rhinoptera neglecta
Devil Rays Family Mobulidae
Devil Ray *
Manta Ray
 
Manta birostris
Eagle Rays Family Myliobatididae
Eagle Ray *
Bull Ray
White-spotted Eagle Ray
 
Myliobatis australis
Aetobatus narinari
Electric Ray *  
Ray *  
Sawfish Family Pristidae
Sawfish *
Narrow Sawfis
Queensland Sawfish
 
Anoxypristis cuspidate
Pristis clavata
Sharkfin Guitarfishes Family Rhincobatidae
Shark Ray
White-spotted Guitar Ray
Rhina ancylostoma
Rhyncobatus djiddensis
Shovelnosed Rays Family Rhinobatidae
Shovelnosed Ray *
Eastern Shovelnosed Ray
Giant Shovelnosed Ray
 
Aptychotrema rostrata
Rhinobatos typus
Stingrays Family Dasyatididae
Reticulate Whipray Himantura uarnak
Stinagarees Family Urolphidae
Cetaceans
Dolphins Family Delphinidae
Bottlenose Dolphin
Common Dolphin
Irrawaddy Dolphin
Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin
Spinner Dolphin
Unknown Dolphin *
Tursiops truncatus
Delphinius delphis
Orcaella brevirostris
Sousa chinensis
Stenella longirostris

 
Whale *  
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
Marine Turtles
Turtle *
Flatback Turtle
Green Turtle
Hawksbill Turtle
Leatherback Turtle
Loggerhead Turtle
Olive Ridley Turtle
 
Natator depressus
Chelonia mydas
Eretmochelys imbricata
Dermochelys coriacea
Caretta caretta
Lepidochelys olivacea
Other marine species
Australian Fur Seal
Barramundi
Black Kingfish
Blue Groper
*Bonita
Catfish *
Cobia
Cod *
Conga Eel *
Crayfish *
Crocodile *
Dugong
Fish *
Lobster *
Mackerel *
Marlin *
Mud Crab *
Puffer Fish *
Queenfish
Queensland Groper
Sand Crab
Snapper
Swordfish
Toad Fish
Tuna *
Yellowtail Kingfish
Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus
Lates calcarifer
Rachycentron canadum
Achoerodus
sp.
Hyperglyphe antarctica
Arius
sp.
Rachycentron canadum

Conger
sp.
Engaeus sp.
Crocodylus sp.
Dugong dugon




Scylla
sp.

Scomberoides commersonnianus
Epinephelus lanceolatus
Ovalipes australiensis
Pagrus auratus
Xiphias gladeus


Seriola lalandi
B. New South Wales Shark Control Program
Common name Species name
Sharks
Angel Sharks * Family Squatinidae
Grey Nurse Sharks Family Odontaspididae
Grey Nurse Shark Carcharias taurus
Hammerhead Sharks * † Family Sphyrnidae
Horn Sharks Family Heterodontidae
Port Jackson Shark Heterodontus portusjacksoni
Mackerel Sharks Family Lamnidae
Great White Shark
Mako Shark †
Carcharodon carcharias
Isurus oxyrinchus
Sevengill Sharks * † Family Hexanchidae
Thresher Sharks * † Family Alopiidae
Whaler Sharks * † Family Carcharhinidae
Tiger Shark † Galeocerdo cuvier
Wobbygong Sharks * Family Orectolobidae
'Other' Sharks *  
Rays, Sawfishes, Stingarees, Stingrays
Rays *  
Cetaceans
Dolphin (Common, Bottlenose)
Whale *
Delphinius delphis, Tursiops truncatus
 
Marine Turtles
Turtle *
Green Turtle
Leatherback Turtle
Loggerhead Turtle
 
Chelonia mydas
Dermochelys coriacea
Caretta caretta
Other
Australian Fur Seal
Teleost Fish *
Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus
 

Publications used to assess the nomination

  • Anon (1992) Review of the operation and maintenance of shark meshing equipment in Queensland waters: Report of the Committee of Enquiry. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  • Anon (1998) The Queensland Shark Control Program: Report of the Committee of Review 1998. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  • Bannister, J. L., Kemper, C. M. and Warneke, R. M. (1996) The Action Plan for Australian Cetaceans. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra.
  • Cavanagh, R. D., Kyne, P. M., Fowler, S. L., Musick, J. A. and Bennett, M. B. (eds) (2003). The Conservation Status of Australasian Chondrichthyans: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Australia and Oceania Regional Red List Workshop, Queensland, Australia, 7-9 March 2003. The University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (2001a). Dugon dugon Dugon, Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (2001b). Orcaella brevirostris Irrawaddy Dolphin, Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (2002). Rhincodon typus Whale Shark, Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.
  • Dudley, S. F. J. (1997) A comparison of the shark control programs of New South Wales and Queensland (Australia) and KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), Ocean & Coastal Management, 34: 1-27
  • Environment Australia (2002a) Recovery Plan for the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus) in Australia. Environment Australia, Canberra.
  • Environment Australia (2002b). White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Recovery Plan. Environment Australia, Canberra.
  • Environment Australia (2003). Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia. Environment Australia, Canberra.
  • GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) (2000) Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: policy document. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia.
  • Gribble, N. A., McPherson, G. and Lane, B. (1998) Effect of the Queensland Shark Control Program on non-target species: whale, dugong, turtle and dolphin: a review, Mar. Freshwater Res., 49: 645-51
  • Krogh, M. and Reid, D. (1996) Bycatch in the Protective Shark Meshing Programme off South-eastern New South Wales, Australia, Biological Conservation, 77: 219-226.
  • Last, P. R. and Stevens, J. D. (1994) Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO Australia.
  • Malcolm, H., Bruce, B. D. and Stevens, J. D. (2001) A review of the biology and status of White Sharks in Australian waters: report to Environment Australia, Marine Species Protection Program. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.
  • Marsh, H., De'ath, G., Gribble, N. and Lane, B. (2001) Shark Control Records Hindcast Serious Decline in Dugong Numbers off the Urban Coast of Queensland. Research Publication No. 70, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia.
  • Otway, N. M. and Parker, P. C. (1999) A review of the biology and ecology of the Grey Nurse Shark (Carcharias taurus) Rafinesque 1810. NSW Fisheries Research Report Series 1. NSW Fisheries, Sydney.
  • Paterson, R. (1986) Shark prevention measures working well, Aust. Fish., 45(3): 12-18
  • QLD DPI (Queensland Government Department of Primary Industries) (2003) Queensland Shark Control Program - bringing safety to the beach, http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/fishweb/2920.html [Accessed 4 December 2003]
  • Reid, D.D. and Krogh, M. (1992) Assessment of Catches from Protective Shark Meshing off New South Wales Beaches between 1950 and 1990, Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 43, 283-96
  • Vang, L. (2002) Queensland progress report on cetacean research, January 2001 to December 2001, with statistical data for the calendar year 2001. Report to Environment Australia into the International Whaling Commission (IWC 54, 2002). Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.