|Red List Category & Criteria:
||Simpfendorfer, C., McAuley, R.B. & Harry, A.V.
||Lawson, J., Dulvy, N.K. & Kyne, P.M.
||Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Whiskery Shark (Furgaleus macki) is endemic to southern and western Australia, including northern Tasmania, with the greatest abundance in southwestern Western Australia where it is a target species in a demersal gillnet fishery. Its flesh is primarily sold domestically in Australia. This species was historically reduced to 20–52.1% of unexploited biomass, but the stock has shown preliminary signs of recovery. It is considered to be above acceptable levels and slowly increasing as the fishery is now tightly managed and regular monitoring occurs. Since the population has been stable for about three generations (~30 years) and the gillnet fishery is managed this species is assessed as Least Concern.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
- 2003 – Least Concern (LC)
- 2000 – Lower Risk/conservation dependent (LR/cd)
|Population:||The Whiskery Shark is found in greatest abundance off southwestern Australia from Albany to Kalbarri (Western Australia), and is rare off southeastern Australia (Victoria and Tasmania). There is no evidence supporting the existence of subpopulations. This species was historically reduced to 20–52.1% of virgin biomass within three generations (~30 years), although due to management changes the current population has stabilized in 2010–11 and is anticipated to increase.|
This shark is a commercially targeted species in Western Australia and its population has been documented as part of regular fisheries monitoring. Early longline fisheries captured small numbers of the Whiskery Shark in the 1940s and 1950s, but the introduction of multifilament gillnets in the 1960s increased catches. Concerns about mercury in sharks in the mid-1970s saw a reduction in catches for a few years. However, once these concerns were addressed and dedicated well-equipped shark fishing vessels entered the fishery, levels of fishing effort and catch rose dramatically. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Whiskery Shark was fished heavily, with catches exceeding 600 t in 1981–82 (Simpfendorfer et al. 2000b). The population was thought to have been reduced to below 30% of virgin biomass in 1997–98 (Simpfendorfer et al. 2000a). In the mid-1980s, Western Australia introduced management to the gillnet fishery, restricting effort levels and other management measures. Over the following two decades shark abundance remained relatively stable.
Since 2000, a range of further management actions have been introduced (Braccini et al. 2014). The most recent inferences from an age-based population model suggest that biomass in 2009–10 was 52.1% of virgin levels, which was calculated over roughly three generations (~30 years). The most recent model interpretation also suggests that biomass estimates at the commencement of mandatory catch and effort reporting were less certain than previously thought, and that the biomass may have only fallen as low as 45.4% of virgin biomass in 1995–96. The Whiskery Shark population is expected to continue to increase in response to management changes introduced in 2006–07 (Braccini et al. 2014). Current catches of around 100 t are well below those considered acceptable for this species (Braccini et al. 2014).
|Current Population Trend:||Increasing|
|♦ Continuing decline of mature individuals:||No|
|♦ Extreme fluctuations:||No||♦ Population severely fragmented:||No|