Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Orectolobiformes Orectolobidae

Scientific Name: Orectolobus parvimaculatus
Species Authority: Last & Chidlow, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Dwarf Spotted Wobbegong
Taxonomic Notes: Orectolobus parvimaculatus has probably been confused in the literature with the larger O. maculatus (e.g., Whitley 1964; Compagno 1984, 2001; Last and Stevens 1994; Compagno et al. 2005; Hoese et al. 2006; Last and Chidlow 2008).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Huveneers, C. & McAuley, R.B.
Reviewer(s): Valenti, S.V. & Pollard, D. (Shark Red List Authority)
The Dwarf Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus parvimaculatus) is a recently described, small (to at least 94 cm total length) wobbegong shark, endemic to Australia. This species is known from 33 specimens taken as bycatch of commercial gillnet and trawl fisheries from the inner continental shelf off south-western Australia, between Shark Bay and Mandurah, at depths of 9–135 m. Its biology and habitat are poorly known and it is not possible to assess it beyond Data Deficient. Further research is required on the species’ biology, occurrence and capture in fisheries.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Eastern Indian Ocean: an Australian endemic, known only from the inner continental shelf off southwestern Australia from Shark Bay (26°54′S, 113°00′E) to Mandurah (32°26′S, 115°41′E) (Last and Chidlow 2008).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Lower depth limit (metres): 135
Upper depth limit (metres): 9
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Unknown but is much less frequently observed in gillnet and trawl bycatches than other orectolobids (especially O. hutchinsi).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Found on the continental shelf at depths of 9–135 m. The species reaches at least 94.3 cm total length (TL). Male specimens were mature by 70.6 cm TL and female specimens by 87.6 cm TL. The smallest early postnatal juvenile known measured 20.8 cm TL (Last and Chidlow 2008).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Orectolobus parvimaculatus is a component of the bycatch of a commercial fishery that targets sharks, primarily with demersal gillnets off the southern and lower west coasts of Western Australia. Wobbegongs were also briefly targeted by a few vessels using demersal longlines in the same fishery until the use of that gear was restricted in 2006. That fishery’s mean annual wobbegong catch was about 45 tonnes year-1 (range 35–68 tonnes) between 1999 and 2006 (McAuley 2007 unpublished data). Although wobbegong catches are generally not reported to individual species, small wobbegongs (<150 cm) are selectively discarded alive (Chidlow et al. 2007, McAuley unpublished data). Thus, O. parvimaculatus is believed to be a minor component of those aggregated catches.

Smaller orectolobids also occur in commercial rock lobster pots throughout temperate coastal Western Australian waters (Chidlow et al. 2007). However, as all sharks and rays are now commercially protected throughout Western Australia, wobbegongs cannot generally be retained by State-managed commercial fishing vessels unless they are operating in the managed shark fishery.

The retained catch of wobbegongs by recreational fishers off the west coast of Australia has been estimated at approximately 1,000 animals year-1 (Sumner and Williamson 1999). Assuming the species composition of recreational wobbegong catches is similar to that of the commercial gillnet fishery, O. parvimaculatus is also likely to be a minor component of recreational catches.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: All sharks and rays are commercially protected under Western Australian law. This regulation essentially restricts the retention of all shark and ray products by commercial fishing vessels other than those operating in the State’s managed shark fishery.

Relative to the area known to be occupied by O. parvimculatus, shark fishing effort (mainly demersal gillnet) is sparsely distributed and managed within specific regional limits via time-gear input controls. The managed shark fishery’s catches and fishing effort are routinely monitored through analyses of statutory daily/trip logbook data and the fishery’s target stocks are subject to regular stock assessments.

The use of commercial shark fishing gear (large mesh gillnets and demersal longlines) is prohibited north of 26°30’ S latitude to 120' E longitude off the north coast, which may includes the northern extent of the species’ range.

The use of metal snoods (gangions) is commercially prohibited throughout Western Australian waters (except for a small amount of demersal longline effort in the managed shark fishery and pelagic mackerel troll lines).

Recreational fishers are subject to a daily bag limit of two sharks per person.

This species is potentially protected in the following Australian Marine Protected Areas, Marine Parks and nature reserves:
Shark Bay Marine Park, WA
Jurien Bay Marine Park, WA
Hamelin Pool Marine Nature Reserve, WA
Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, WA
Marmion Marine Park , WA

Citation: Huveneers, C. & McAuley, R.B. 2009. Orectolobus parvimaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161651A5473026. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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