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Furgaleus macki

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES CARCHARHINIFORMES TRIAKIDAE

Scientific Name: Furgaleus macki
Species Authority: (Whitley, 1943)
Common Name/s:
English Whiskery Shark
Synonym/s:
Fur macki Whitley, 1943
Fur ventralis Whitley 1943
Furgaleus ventralis (Whitley, 1951)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2003
Date Assessed: 2003-04-30
Assessor/s: Simpfendorfer, C.A. & McAuley, R. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003)
Reviewer/s: Shark Specialist Group Australia & Oceania Regional Group (Shark Red List Authority)
Justification:
This species is endemic to southern and western Australia, with the greatest abundance in south-western Western Australia where it is a target species in a demersal gillnet fishery. The population has decreased to approximately 26% of virgin levels, but has been relatively stable since the mid 1980s. The fishery is tightly managed and regular assessments of Furgaleus macki are undertaken. Since the population has been stable for about three generations and the gillnet fishery is managed this species is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is distributed form North-West Cape in Western Australia to eastern Victoria (Last and Stevens 1994). Its distribution also includes northern Tasmania. It is found in greatest abundance in south-western Australia from Albany to Kalbarri.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There is no evidence supporting the existence of subpopulations. Regular stock assessments are carried out for this species as it is targeted by gillnet fishing in Western Australia (see Threats for results of stock assessment).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The whiskery shark is most commonly found in rocky reef seagrass areas on the continental shelf. Its diet is highly specialized, with cephalopods making up approximately 95% of food eaten (Simpfendorfer et al. 2001). Mature females produce litters of 4 to 29 (mean 19) young every second year (Simpfendorfer and Unsworth 1998). The young are born at 25 cm, males and females mature at around 110 cm, and reach a maximum of 150 cm. The age at maturity is 4.5 years for males and 6.5 years for females (Simpfendorfer et al. 2000). Maximum age is probably 15 years.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Whiskery sharks have been caught in commercial fisheries in Western Australia since the 1940s (Simpfendorfer and Donohue 1998). Early longline fisheries captured small numbers 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. The late 1970s and early 1980s saw the whiskery shark population reduced to less than 30% of virgin levels (Simpfendorfer et al. 2000). In the mid-1980s Western Australia introduced management to the gillnet fishery, restricting effort levels and other management measures. Since then whiskery shark abundance has remained relatively stable at 25 to 30% of virgin over a period of 20 years. Whilst management has not yet rebuilt the stock to the 40% of virgin biomass target, the final phase of effort reductions in the target fishery was not implemented until 2000/01. Early indications are that there have been significant and steady increases in CPUE in the center of the species' range (and an overall increase) for the last 4 to 5 years and that a 'pulse' of young adult whiskery sharks are currently recruiting into the fishery. Continued management of the fishery, including several effort reductions, has maintained whiskery shark abundance at this lower level and should do for the foreseeable future.

In addition to catches in Western Australia this species is also caught in the Southern Shark Fishery, especially in Western Australia. Catches in this fishery, however appear to be low and pose no threat to the population.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Management measures in the Western Australian gillnet fishery are in part targeted at conservation of whiskery sharks. These measures include effort controls and mesh size restrictions. At present there are no other conservation measures in place.
Citation: Simpfendorfer, C.A. & McAuley, R. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Furgaleus macki. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 April 2014.
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