Title:

Development of a Stock Status Report Card for Rays and Sharks

Project Number:

2020-105

Organisation:

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Principal Investigator:

Colin Simpfendorfer

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$302,955.00

Program(s):

Environment

Need

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, conservation advocates, scientists and the public 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 have a very different status. Australia’s abilities both in management of sharks and rays, and the science that underpins it, are recognised as world-leading. Despite this, there remain challenges for our sharks and rays, but they may not always be those that are faced by other nations in our region. Available information is often 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 is thus critical to identifying and addressing the challenges that face this group in Australian waters, and for demonstrating the successes of Australia’s management of this group. With the publication of the Shark Report Card these deficiencies have been partly addressed. However, that project covered only a small portion of the ray species that occur in Australian waters. This project is a step in synthesizing this knowledge and developing a report card for Australia’s rays that is a companion to the Shark Report Card.

Objectives

1. Compile and synthesise information on the status, and interaction of fisheries, for all species of Australian rays

2. Produce accounts for each ray species that are compatible with the Shark Report Card and the Status of Australian Fish Stocks

3. Update the Shark Report Card for species that have had a material change in their status since the completion of the original version

4. Communicate the results of the Shark and Ray Report Card to relevant stakeholders