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Arresting shark declines: who’s being killed (and where)?

Momigliano, P., Jaiteh, V., Stow, A. and Harcourt, R. (2012) Arresting shark declines: who’s being killed (and where)? In: ASFB & OCS 2012 Joint Conference & Symposium, 15 - 18 July, Adelaide, Australia.


Shark populations have experienced a dramatic worldwide decline due to overfishing, largely because they are targeted for their highly priced fins. Indonesia is the world’s highest harvester of shark fins, and the Arafura Sea particularly is a region of intensive shark fishing activity. Recent population genetic studies found high connectivity among Indonesian and Australian shark populations. Furthermore, Indonesian fishermen often venture into protected areas within Australian waters. This has resulted in conflicts over shared marine resources. Little is known about catch composition of the Indonesian shark fisheries, particularly in the Arafura Sea, and whether sharks are systematically poached in Australian waters. During my PhD I am planning to address these knowledge gaps by:
-Determining the catch composition of Indonesian shark fisheries in the Arafura Sea. This will be achieved by DNA
barcoding samples of dried shark fins collected from GPS tracked fishing vessels, as well as local fish markets.
- Investigating fine-scale population genetic structure in Western Australia, Northern Australia and Indonesia for one of
the main coral-reef associated target species: the grey reef shark (C. amblyrhynchos), identifying possible conflicts
among the two nations over shared marine resources.
- Determining provenance (region, country) of grey reef shark fins sold in local Indonesian fish markets via genetic
assignment tests, providing insight as to whether poaching in Australian waters is a common practice.

This project will increase our knowledge of these ecological important apex predators, and further develop the application of molecular genetics to monitor fin trade.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
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