Review of Grey Nurse Shark tagging research
Brisbane, 8–9 September 2003
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2 October 2003
About the document
The east coast population of grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) is listed as critically endangered under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
A conservation-related research program by New South Wales Fisheries, with support from the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust, was set up to provide essential information for population assessment and management of this species. The program utilised fin tagging with cattle-ear (Roto-) tags that have subsequently shown a tendency to 'foul' with marine organisms, and in severe cases, this fouling causes skin abrasion and ulceration.
The Department of the Environment and Heritage, and other stakeholders expressed concern about the unexpected impacts that fin tags seem to be having on the welfare of the tagged individuals, resulting in the commissioning of this review.
The review committee recognises the importance of these programs in the management of threatened marine species and recommended that tagging programs be allowed to continue, with the use of less invasive procedures and low impact tagging technologies.