White sharks are listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and actions to assist their recovery and long-term viability are prescribed in a national recovery plan for the species.
A priority action is to develop an effective means of estimating the size of white shark populations and monitor their status (population trend). This would provide a scientific basis for assessing recovery actions, and for local policies governing human-shark interactions: an issue of significant public concern.
This project is working to provide a national assessment of white shark population size, and develop national strategies for population monitoring.
Advances being made in this research - measuring key biological parameters using close kin mark recapture, electronic tagging and targeted surveys, and combining these in population models - will significantly improve our understanding of white shark populations in Australia.
- Paper in Scientific Reports: Genetic relatedness reveals total population size of white sharks in eastern Australia and New Zealand (link is external)
- Article in The Conversation: World-first genetic analysis reveals Aussie white shark numbers(link is external)
- Fact sheet: Assessing the size of Australia's white shark populations
- Technical report: A national assessment of the status of white sharks
- Related NERP project 2.5 - White shark population and abundance trends
Satellite tracking of white sharks by CSIRO highlights extensive movements between South Australia and north-western Western Australia, and along the east coast including to New Zealand, but limited movements east and west through Bass Strait. Image: CSIRO