Fisheries Research Articles

Risk-based weight of evidence assessment of commercial sharks in western Australia

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Journal Title

Ocean and Coastal Management




Fishing impacts; Risk-based; Weight of evidence assessment; EBFM


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


Sharks are generally taken in multispecies fisheries worldwide so in many cases it is logistically infeasible and cost prohibitive to assess the impact on all species caught. Risks of fishing impacts to the sustainability of shark species were assessed using a weight of evidence risk-based framework. Whiskery (Furgaleus macki), gummy (Mustelus antarcticus), dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus), and sandbar (C. plumbeus) sharks provide a good case study as they are the main (~80% of the catch) shark species taken in Western Australia (WA) and represent the range of life history strategies of other shark species typically caught. Based on the available lines of evidence for stock status (spatial and temporal time series of catch, effort, catch rates, size composition and population modelling), the 2015–16 risk level for the four species was scored as medium―i.e. it is unlikely (5–20% chance) that there is a high level of stock depletion. The status of each of the four species was scored as ‘acceptable’ with risk control measures in place, indicating that no additional restrictions are required.



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