Conservation of sharks, rays and chimaeras is an increasing priority worldwide, as evidence of overexploitation of some species becomes apparent. The Marine Biodiversity Hub delivered two publications that strengthen the knowledge base available to support decision making about shark conservation and management in Australia.
The Action Plan for Australian Sharks and Rays 2021 assessed the national extinction risk of Australia’s 328 shark, ray and chimaera species, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature listing criteria. The assessments considered all available information on species’ taxonomy, distribution, population status, habitat and ecology, major threats, use and trade, and conservation measures. They reveal that sharks and their relatives are faring better in Australia than in the rest of the world, with a relatively low level of threatened species. Roughly one in eight species is threatened with extinction.
The Shark Action Plan Policy Report 2018 provides a national perspective of the status of Australia's shark species relative to conservation and management policies of the Northern Territory, Queensland and Australian governments. The report identified 12% of assessed species as threatened: one of the lowest threat rates for regional or national level assessments for shark species.
The Department of the Environment uses this fundamental knowledge to identify at-risk species and ensure the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 is as up to date as possible in protecting threatened shark species.