Project number: 2009-023
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $72,031.00
Principal Investigator: Matt Koopman
Organisation: Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 14 Feb 2009 - 29 Dec 2010


Information on gulper shark species in the SESSF is generally poor. Difficulty in the identification of this group of dogsharks down to the species level by Industry has compromised the value of commercial catch and effort data for gulper sharks. Their low productivity, combined with poor information has the potential to make gulper sharks the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ of SESSF operators, with the possibility of endangered species listing to significantly impact on upper slope fishing by all sectors.

In targeted surveys where commercial vessels have carried scientific observers skilled in the identification of gulper sharks, larger numbers of Harrisons, Southern and Endeavour dogfish have been identified in the catch. This reporting improves the information that is available on their distribution and abundance. With appropriate training in identification and sampling, Industry members could provide potentially crucial information to inform the assessment of the threatened species nomination for these species. Without such information, the assessment could largely rely on two ‘snapshot estimates’ from research surveys conducted by the Fisheries Research Vessel ‘Kapala’ off NSW, the last of which took place during the mid 1990s. Given the impending assessment completion date (30th September 2010), there is an urgent need to increase awareness and identification skill of Industry members to collect meaningful catch and effort data on gulper shark species.


1. Increase gulper shark identification skills of SESSF Industry members to facilitate the collection of meaningful catch and effort data in commercial logbooks.
2. Scientifically verify the veracity of industry identification of gulper sharks through DNA samples
3. Improve our understanding of the distribution and abundance of gulper sharks in the SESSF.
4. Facilitate ongoing Industry monitoring of gulper sharks.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9808289-4-8
Author: Matthew Koopman

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