Sharks are relatively long lived, slow to mature and have low rates of reproduction. These characteristics make many shark species vulnerable to harvesting by commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation and shark control activities.

Several Australian shark species are listed as threatened under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Department of the Environment has the task of developing and implementing plans for the recovery of nationally listed species.

This project is supporting the recovery planning process by reviewing the state of knowledge for Australian sharks, and the feasibility of filling knowledge gaps. Scientists are working with the Department to prioritise research, assess new monitoring tools and explore management approaches that are flexible, adaptive and scalable.

For example, a case study will be developed for using close-kin mark-recapture to efficiently monitor and review an example management scenario. This builds on work by the National Environmental Research Program (forerunner of the NESP) that demonstrated new ways to provide abundance, survival and connectivity data.

The project will provide the basis for further work with the Department in relation to management, monitoring, and research options for threatened elasmobranchs and other vulnerable marine animals (such as turtles, marine mammals and sea snakes) in 2016.