Furgaleus macki 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Triakidae

Scientific Name: Furgaleus macki (Whitley, 1943)
Common Name(s):
English Whiskery Shark
Fur macki Whitley, 1943
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 2 May 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 2 May 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-19
Assessor(s): Simpfendorfer, C., McAuley, R.B. & Harry, A.V.
Reviewer(s): Lawson, J., Dulvy, N.K. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): 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:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Whiskery Shark is distributed from North West Cape in Western Australia to eastern Victoria, including northern Tasmania (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):220
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Whiskery Shark is most commonly found in rocky reef seagrass areas on the continental shelf, from inshore to a depth of 220 m (Last and Stevens 2009). The following life history data is from Simpfendorfer and Unsworth (1998) and Simpfendorfer et al. (2000a). Mature females produce litters of 4 to 29 (mean 19) young every second year. Gestation period is 7–9 months. The young are born at 25 cm total length (TL), males and females mature at around 110 cm TL, and reach a maximum of 150 cm TL. The age at maturity is 4.5 years for males and 6.5 years for females. Maximum age is probably 15 years. Generation length is ~11 years.
Generation Length (years):11

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Whiskery Shark flesh is consumed fresh and is primarily sold domestically in Australia (Simpfendorfer and Donohue 1998). The fins may be dried and exported to Asia for use in shark fin soup but are relatively small so are likely to be low value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Whiskery Shark has been caught by commercial gillnet fisheries in Western Australia since the 1940s (Simpfendorfer and Donohue 1998) and commercial fishing is the main threat to the species. Historically, catches of the Whiskery Shark in Western Australia exceeded 600 t in the 1980s, but catch is currently around 100 t (Braccini et al. 2014) (see Population section). Smaller quantities (up to a maximum of approximately 50 t) are also caught by commercial gillnet fisheries in South Australian waters (Walker and Gason 2009). The Whiskery Shark is also caught by recreational fishers but the levels are negligible compared to commercial quantities (Ryan et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Management measures in the Western Australian gillnet fishery are in part aimed at conserving Whiskery Shark, which is one of the main target species. These measures include effort controls, mesh size restrictions, and spatial and temporal closures (Braccini et al. 2014).

Citation: Simpfendorfer, C., McAuley, R.B. & Harry, A.V. 2016. Furgaleus macki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T39351A68623545. . Downloaded on 22 May 2018.
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