Globally, sharks and rays are under increasing pressure, with a quarter of the known species threatened with an elevated risk of extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species
Given the global threats to sharks, and the concerns about the status of this group of key marine predators, it is important that the status of this group in Australian waters is considered to ensure that there is a broad understanding of their status to make sure that environmental managers, policy makers, advocacy groups and the public can act to address any concerns. This Report Card for Australia’s Sharks is designed to fulfil this purpose. It reports the status of all species of sharks and shark-like rays to provide a snapshot of the health of Australia’s stocks.
The Australian Shark Report Card presents a systematic assessment of the status of all of Australia’s sharks, as well as rays with shark-like bodies (sawfishes, wedgefishes, guitarfishes, giant guitarfish, and banjo rays; also referred to as shark-like rays). Importantly, the Report Card covers all Australian sharks, the majority of which are probably unknown to most Australians. In doing so, the Report Card provides a scientifically robust account of what is happening to Australia’s shark resources, identifying the species and stocks that are currently healthy and likely to be healthy into the future, and those species that are in decline and need further management intervention and conservation.
Summary Status of Australia's Shark Stocks
While the results of this assessment demonstrate that Australia has done a good job managing its sharks, it is important that these efforts are maintained.
Management of fisheries falls to state, Territory and Commonwealth fisheries agencies. However, the Department of the Environment and Energy also plays an important role through the EPBC and Wildlife Trade Operation certification processes that ensures fisheries management meets Australia’s Ecologically Sustainable Development guidelines.
There is also some coordination of the management of sharks through:
Australia’s National Plan of Action for Sharks (Shark Plan) that is currently in its second iteration.
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s International Plan of Action for Sharks which aims to ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use.
The results of this Report Card should contribute to all of these management processes to enable the best possible management of Australia’s sharks.