Hemiscyllium hallstromi 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Orectolobiformes Hemiscylliidae

Scientific Name: Hemiscyllium hallstromi
Species Authority: Whitley, 1967
Common Name(s):
English Papuan Epaulette Shark
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. and Van der Laan, R. (eds). 2016. Catalog of Fishes: genera, species, references. Updated 31 March 2016. Available at: (Accessed: 31 March 2016).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-18
Assessor(s): Dudgeon, C.L., Heupel, M.R., Kyne, P.M. & Allen, G.
Reviewer(s): Lawson, J. & Dulvy, N.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Papuan Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium hallstromi) is a poorly known species endemic to the Gulf of Papua (Papua New Guinea). The species has a limited distribution with most records from the Port Moresby region, although records extend to the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea. The species is likely to be exposed to threats in the Gulf of Papua region including industrial and artisanal fisheries, river-borne pollutants and sedimentation from mining run-off, dynamite fishing, oil exploration and pipeline development, and localised sewerage effluent from Port Moresby. Furthermore, a prawn trawl fishery operates in the Gulf of Papua and there are extensive artisanal reef fisheries in which sharks are caught with gill and drive nets. As for other Hemiscyllium  species, it is likely to be restricted to shallow water regions (<30 m depth). Given the continental shelf is narrow (<20 km width) across its known distribution, the Papuan Epaulette Shark has a limited extent of occurrence (<20,000 km²). This restricted extent of occurrence, limited number of locations (<10 locations) and inferred continuing decline in quality of habitat due to habitat degradation, result in an assessment of the Papuan Epaulette Shark as Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Papuan Epaulette Shark is known to occur in the Western South Pacific, in Papua New Guinea (Gulf of Papua to Milne Bay; Allen et al. 2013). As for other Hemiscyllium species, the Papuan Epaulette Shark is likely to be restricted to shallow waters (<30 m depth, Allen and Erdmann 2008) resulting in a restricted coastal distribution given the narrow continental shelf (<20 km width) along the southern edge of Papua New Guinea east of Port Moresby. A single report of this species from the Torres Strait (Heupel and Kyne 2003) is unconfirmed and more likely to be the Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) (G. Allen, unpubl. data).
Countries occurrence:
Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group))
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Number of Locations:3
Lower depth limit (metres):30
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Little is known about the population size in this range and no scientific data are currently available.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species lives in shallow, coastal, tropical waters on seagrass beds and occasional rock and coral outcrops (G. Allen, unpubl. data). The Papuan Epaulette Shark reaches a maximum size of 77 cm total length (TL). Males mature between 48 to 64 cm TL (Compagno 2001). The biology of this species is almost entirely unknown. It is likely to be oviparous as for other Hemiscyllium sharks (Compagno 2001).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No information available on utilization. Hemiscyllium species regularly enter the aquarium trade, but it is unknown if that is the case for this species (Compagno 2001). This species may be taken in artisanal reef gillnet fisheries (Dalzell et al. 1996).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a very attractive species for public and private aquaria, however, it is unknown if this species is used by the aquarium industry (Compagno 2001). This small, localized population is susceptible to habitat degradation and overfishing. Threats in the Gulf of Papua region include industrial and artisanal fisheries (Dalzell et al. 1996), river-borne pollutants and sedimentation from mining run-off (Kirsch 1996), dynamite fishing, oil exploration and pipeline development, and localized sewerage effluent from Port Moresby (Convention on Biological Diversity 2010). A prawn trawl fishery consisting of about nine vessels operates in the Gulf of Papua (W. White, pers. comm., 2015). Detailed species composition data for the bycatch is not currently available, but this is currently being investigated (L. Baje, National Fisheries Authority, pers. comm., 2015). There are extensive artisanal reef fisheries in which sharks are caught with gill and drive nets (Dalzell et al. 1996). Most records for this species come from Loloata Island which is adjacent to Port Moresby (G. Allen, unpubl. data). There is a narrow shelf in this region spanning from Port Moresby to the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea (ranging from 50 km wide in the Gulf west of Port Moresby, to almost no shelf at the eastern tip; Mutter 1975) so the species is restricted close to shore and is most likely to be affected by reef fisheries, pollutants, and coastal habitat degradation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Currently there are no conservation measures in place for this species. Based on its restricted distribution and high risk of overfishing, habitat degradation, and pollution a more detailed assessment of distribution and the impact of these threatening processes on population size and trend is needed. The Gulf of Papua prawn trawl fishery is managed under national Papua New Guinean laws and regulations, and there are some seasonal closures in place; although bycatch reduction devices are not currently in place, there are plans to implement in the near future (L. Baje, National Fisheries Authority, pers. comm., 2015).

Citation: Dudgeon, C.L., Heupel, M.R., Kyne, P.M. & Allen, G. 2016. Hemiscyllium hallstromi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41875A70709453. . Downloaded on 28 October 2016.
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