Helping protect endangered sharks

Parks Australia

Southern Cross University has completed a limited study on behalf of Parks Australia in the Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve to give us a better idea of how the reserve and management actions are contributing to protecting this important aggregation site for the east coast population of the critically endangered grey nurse shark. The reserve was first proclaimed in 2007 and is located in Commonwealth waters just south of Port Macquarie, NSW.

The study found preliminary evidence that the conservation benefits of the reserve included enhanced diversity, target fish abundances and grey nurse shark prey densities compared to areas open to fishing outside the reserve. On average 29 per cent greater species richness was found in the reserve compared to the surrounding reef area open to fishing with wrasses, breams, drummers and sharks and rays contributing strongly to this pattern. Four individual grey nurse sharks were observed in the reserve…

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