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

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 abundance, 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.

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