Return of the Grey Nurse Sharks

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

The critically endangered Grey Nurse Sharks have been steadily making their way back into Julian Rocks for the winter time.

The Grey Nurse shark is one of the most critically endangered shark species and believed to be the first protected shark in the world. It was declared ‘vulnerable’ in the waters of New South Wales (Australia) in 1984 and later throughout the world. In 1996 the species was listed globally ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and declared ‘vulnerable’ in Commonwealth waters of Australia.

The Grey Nurse sharks are particularly vulnerable to these threats due to their late maturation and low breeding success. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 6–8 years and give birth to 1 or 2 young every second year, thus the population grows very slowly. Furthermore their limited distribution and specific habitats make it difficult for them to migrate to other areas. Beach nets, unfortunately, cause the death of hundreds of sharks that are caught in the nets and cannot escape. This also occurs in trawls and fishing nets.

Photo © Ashly McMahon

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