Northern Australia has two large species of hammerhead sharks, the scalloped hammerhead and the great hammerhead. Scalloped hammerheads are listed as “Conservation Dependent” under Australian law, meaning that governments, industries, and communities need to consider how to better manage this species. Managers therefore need to know how both species move between state and international waters and how much populations overlap, so that threats can be identified and appropriate management actions put in place.
Since December 2016, a team from the National Environmental Science Program Marine Biodiversity Hub has been tagging and tracking hammerhead sharks to find out how the sharks are moving through northern Australian waters. The tagging team includes scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Western Australian Fisheries, Northern Territory Fisheries and James Cook University (JCU). Commercial and charter fishers have been advising the team on where to find the sharks, and Indigenous rangers from the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, Yuku Baja Muliku, and Yirrganydji Traditional Owners joined some of the tagging expeditions in Queensland.