Centrophorus moluccensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Squaliformes Centrophoridae

Scientific Name: Centrophorus moluccensis Bleeker, 1860
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Endeavour Dogfish, Smallfin Gulper Shark
Centrophorus scalpratus McCulloch 1915
Taxonomic Notes: There is taxonomic uncertainty regarding the Endeavour Dogfish (Centrophorus moluccensis) and it may represent a species-group (Compagno et al. 2005). It is probably confined to the Indo-West Pacific region including eastern and western Australia; the identity of the South African population needs to be validated (see Last and Stevens 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-05-08
Assessor(s): Graham, K. & Kyne, P.M.
Reviewer(s): Simpfendorfer, C. & Harrison, L.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M.
There is taxonomic uncertainty regarding the Endeavour Dogfish (Centrophorus moluccensis) and it may represent a species-group. It has been reported from sporadic locations through the Indo-West Pacific region, including eastern and western Australia, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and southern Africa. The likely narrow outer continental shelf and upper slope habitat of the species (125–820 m depth range), probable late age at maturity and very low fecundity (maximum of one or two pups every two years) make Endeavour Dogfish extremely vulnerable to rapid population depletion by commercial fishing (particularly trawling) and would also prevent any quick recovery after such depletion. The Eastern and Western Australian subpopulations are treated in separate assessments.

The Eastern Australian subpopulation has been severely depleted over about 20% of its distribution. This part of its range is still continually fished and there is no evidence that the numbers of Endeavour Dogfish have recovered on these trawl grounds. North of this area, recent surveys have recorded relatively high catch rates and deepwater fishing effort off northern New South Wales and Queensland is very low. The Eastern Australian subpopulation has been assessed as Near Threatened (i.e., not ≥ 30% reduction over the range of the subpopulation).

The very low level of deepwater commercial fishing off Western Australia (WA), coupled with the stringent trip limits imposed on participants in the WA deepwater fisheries, results in the Western Australian subpopulation of Endeavour Dogfish being considered healthy and stable, and qualifies for an assessment of Least Concern.

Overall though, taxonomic uncertainty precludes an assessment beyond Data Deficient at the global level.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The global distribution of the Endeavour Dogfish is uncertain due to taxonomic issues. It has been reported from sporadic locations through the Indo-West Pacific region, including eastern and western Australia, New Caledonia, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan (Last and Stevens 2009). Its occurrence off South Africa remains to be taxonomically validated.

In Australia, the species is recorded from the outer continental shelves and upper slopes of both the east and west coasts. In the east (Eastern Australian subpopulation), it has been recorded from about Townsville (~19°S) in northern Queensland to the approaches of Bass Strait off eastern Victoria (~38°S), and on the west coast of Western Australia (WA) (Western Australian subpopulation) from the Kimberley region (~15°S) to Albany (~35°S).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia); Indonesia; Japan; New Caledonia; Philippines; Taiwan, Province of China
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – western central; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):820
Upper depth limit (metres):125
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no estimates of the global population of the Endeavour Dogfish, and no information from outside of Australia. The population status off eastern and western Australia is dealt with in separate subpopulation assessments.

In eastern Australia, the species has been severely impacted by commercial fishing in the southern 20% of its east coast range (off southern New South Wales (NSW)) (Andrew et al. 1997, Graham et al. 1997, 2001), with a northward contraction of its range suggested (Graham and Daley 2011). Significant numbers were caught in a 2009 targeted longline survey off northern NSW and smaller numbers in the area off Sydney that has been closed to trawling to conserve gulper sharks (Williams et al. 2012). However, only a single specimen was caught south of Sydney (off Jervis Bay; 35°00’S), consistent with its disappearance from the far south coast of NSW. Currently, with total annual fishing mortality unlikely to exceed 1% of the total subpopulation number, a level considered sustainable for Australian gulper sharks by Forrest and Walters (2009), the Eastern Australian subpopulation is considered stable although remaining severely depleted over about 20% of its range.
There is no information about the abundance of Endeavour Dogfish off Western Australia, but with very little or no deepwater fishing in the region, it is assumed that the Western Australian subpopulation is healthy and stable.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Available information about the habitat and ecology of Endeavour Dogfish comes mostly from eastern Australia. Graham and Daley (2011) discuss in detail the depth distribution, biology and stock structure of Endeavour Dogfish off southeastern Australia where it mainly inhabits the upper continental slope in depths of 300–600 m but is occasionally caught on the outer shelf (125–200 m) at night. Maximum reported depth is 820 m (Compagno et al. 2005, Last and Stevens 2009). Its diet consists mostly of mesopelagic teleost fishes (particularly myctophids), cephalopods and crustaceans although the Endeavour Dogfish seems to be essentially demersal in habit. Maximum size is 100 cm total length (TL), with females mature at ~85 cm TL and males at ~70 cm TL; size at birth is ~34 cm TL (Graham and Daley 2011). It has a very low fecundity of one to two pups every two (or possibly three) years, high longevity and probable late age at first maturity (>20 years). Taking these attributes into account, Forrest and Walters (2009) estimated that the annual Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of gulper sharks from southeastern Australian waters was in the order of 1%, indicating that any recovery of over-fished stocks would be very slow.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No information is available from outside of Australia.

From the inception of the upper slope trawl fishery off southeastern Australia in the 1970s, gulper sharks (including Endeavour Dogfish) were harvested for human consumption but numbers on the trawl grounds off central New South Wales (NSW) were quickly reduced to extremely low levels (Graham et al. 2001). Currently, small quantities of gulper sharks, including Endeavour Dogfish, continue to be taken as bycatch by trawlers (central NSW) and drop-line operators off southern Queensland and NSW with annual landings since 2002 estimated to be less than 5 tonnes.

There is no known exploitation of Endeavour Dogfish from Western Australian waters.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No information is available from outside of Australia.

Off eastern Australia, commercial fishing activities provide the only threat to Endeavour Dogfish with its core depth (300–600 m) coinciding with the most heavily fished depths by trawlers that operate on the upper slope off New South Wales (NSW) south of Newcastle. In the period 1975–2000, Endeavour Dogfish off central and southern NSW were severely impacted by trawling, reducing the relative abundance of Endeavour Dogfish to <5% of historical levels (Graham et al. 2001, Daley et al. 2002, Wilson et al. 2009). Commercial fishing continues to impact on this portion of the population and in 2010, the stock status for the three species of upper slope gulper sharks (Endeavour Dogfish, Harrisson’s Dogfish (C. harrissoni) and Southern Dogfish (C. zeehaani)) on southeastern Australian grounds was assessed as ‘overfished’ and ‘subject to overfishing’ (Stobutzki et al. 2011). Fishing pressure is considerably lower off southern Queensland and northern NSW and is believed to have minimal impact on Endeavour Dogfish.
Deepwater commercial fishing activities in the range of Endeavour Dogfish off Western Australia are minimal and overall fishing mortality is likely to be low.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No information is available from outside of Australia.

Trips limits exist for Australian deepwater fisheries that take gulper sharks as bycatch, and spatial management measures designed to protect gulper sharks off eastern Australia have been implemented. See the separate subpopulation assessments for eastern and western Australia for details.

Classifications [top]

11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.1. Hard Substrate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:Yes
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Very Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Andrew, N.L., Graham, K.J., Hodgson, K.E. and Gordon, G.N.G. 1997. Changes after twenty years in relative abundance and size composition of commercial fishes caught during fishery independent surveys on SEF trawl grounds. NSW Fisheries Final Report Series No. 1 FRDC Project No. 96/139

Compagno, L., Dando, M. and Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, London.

Daley, R., Stevens, J.D. and Graham, K. 2002. Catch analysis and productivity of the deepwater dogfish resource in southern Australia. Report by CSIRO Marine Research and NSW Fisheries to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

Forrest, R.E. and Walters, C.J. 2009. Estimating thresholds to optimal harvest rate for long-lived, low-fecundity sharks accounting for selectivity and density dependence in recruitment. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66: 2062–2080.

Graham, K.J. and Daley, R.K. 2011. Distribution, reproduction and population structure of three gulper sharks (Centrophorus, Centrophoridae) in south-east Australian waters. . Marine and Freshwater Research 62: 583–595.

Graham, K.J., Andrew, N.L. and Hodgson, K.E. 2001. Changes in the relative abundances of sharks and rays on Australian South East Fishery trawl grounds after twenty years of fishing. Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 549-561.

Graham, K.J., Wood, B.R. and Andrew, N.L. 1997. The 1996-97 survey of upper slope trawling grounds between Sydney and Gabo Island (and comparisons with the 1976-77 survey). Kapala Cruise Report No. 117, December 1997. NSW Fisheries, Cronulla, Australia.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Second Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

Stobutzki, I., Ward, P., Vieira, S. Moore, A., Sahlqvist, P., Leatherbarrow, A., Patterson, H., Barnes, B., Noriega, R. and Rodgers, M. 2011. Commonwealth trawl and scalefish hook sectors. In: J. Woodhams, I. Stobutzki, S. Vieira, R. Curtotti and G.A. Begg (eds), Fishery status reports 2010: status of fish stocks and fisheries managed by the Australian Government, pp. 125–192. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

Williams, A., Daley, R., Green, M., Barker, B. and Knuckey, I. 2012. Mapping the distribution and movement of gulper sharks, and developing a non-extractive monitoring technique, to mitigate the risk to the species within a multi-sector fishery region off southern and eastern Australia. FRDC Final Report Project 2009/024. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Australia.

Wilson, D.T., Patterson, H.M., Summerson, R. and Hobsbawn, P.I. 2009. Information to support management options for upper-slope gulper sharks (including Harrisson’s dogfish and southern dogfish). Final Report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation Project No. 2008/65. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.

Citation: Graham, K. & Kyne, P.M. 2013. Centrophorus moluccensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42838A16726230. . Downloaded on 20 September 2017.
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