Australia launches study of sharks, rays, and sawfish
17th February 2003 (ENS) - Federal and state marine research agencies and the fishing industry have joined in a three year study aimed at ensuring the sustainability of shark, ray and sawfish species in the waters off northern Australia.
The study will assess the effects of commercial fishing on shark, ray and sawfish species which are often taken as bycatch. They will also investigate the status of sharks targeted by northern fisheries, to identify those most in need of protection. Results of the study will underpin a national approach to the risk assessment of Australian sharks, rays and sawfishes, and contribute to regional, national and international plans for their conservation and management.
The study, funded by the Fisheries Research Development Corporation, involves CSIRO Marine Research and research agencies from Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
In each state, trained observers will accompany fishing boats to identify and record the catch, and to collect biological information and samples
for genetic analysis. Commercial fishers would be
trained to record these details on an ongoing basis.
"Sharks, rays and sawfish are vulnerable to fishing as
they grow slowly and produce fewer young than most
bony fishes," said John Salini of CSIRO Marine Research.