Shark Futures: A report card for Australia's sharks and rays
James Cook University (JCU)
With growing concerns for the status of shark and ray populations world-wide, and increasing pressure to ensure Australia’s 320 species are effectively managed and conserved, there is a need for decision makers in government to have access to comprehensive and accurate information. One of the greatest challenges for the sharks and rays is that more than any other taxa they exist across the spectrum of interests from sustainable fisheries resources to threatened species requiring conservation. Further complicating the assessment and management of these species is the fact that many species ranges extend beyond Australia’s territorial waters, where management is implemented differently and populations may be in very different states. Australia’s abilities both in management of its sharks and rays, and the science that underpins it, are recognised as world-leading. Despite this there remain many challenges that face our sharks and rays, but they may not always be those that are faced by other nations in our region. Currently the available information is fragmentary and difficult to access, and most assessment is focused on only a few species targeted by fisheries. The growing information needs of initiatives such as Shark-Plan 2, CITES, CMS, ESD, WTO and EPBC listing struggle to be met because of the lack of a synthesis of information across this group. Locally relevant information on the status of sharks and rays, and the synthesis of knowledge about them, will thus be critical to addressing the challenges that face this group in Australian waters.
1. To synthesise available information on sharks and rays in Australian waters
2. To produce a report card on the status of Australia’s sharks and rays