Australian Eastern Grey Nurse Shark

Grey Nurse Shark at Fishrock Cave
des's picture

I support the conservation and protection of the Grey Nurse Shark found on the East Coast of Australia. During the early 1960's and through to the late 1970's they were hunted relentlessly through ignorance. The mentality was that we must rid ourselves of this ocean menance that is threatening our beaches. It wasn't until Scuba Divers alerted the government to the fact the Grey Nurse Shark is completly harmless and in 1984 the Grey Nurse Shark became protected as an Endangered species.

In 2003 ten aggregation sites along the NSW coast were declared as 'critical habitat' as these sites are essential for the survival of the species. Several other significant aggregation sites also occur in Commonwealth waters off the NSW coast. Special fishing and diving rules apply in critical habitats zones. Many critical habitat sites have also been protected in marine parks and aquatic reserves, resulting in recent changes to fishing and diving rules. See Grey nurse shark critical habitat, Department Primary Industries, Fishing and Aquaculture.

Successive NSW governments have failed to fully protect the Grey Nurse shark from being caught and harmed by fishing gear. The latest NSW Liberal National Party government even lifted fishing restrictions at Green Island and Fishrock, South West Rocks.

Video by Madison Stewart, Injured GNS at Julian Rocks, 2nd April 2012

To help protect these placid, labradors of the sea please take a moment and write to Katrina Hodgkinson NSW Department Primary Industries, Tony Burke Federal Minister Environment and Sustainability And demand greater protection at the 10 critical habitat zones and several federal marine zones along the NSW coast before these beautiful animals are lost forever.

Globally, the grey nurse shark is listed as 'vulnerable' on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species 2000 (Environment Australia 2002; Bansemer & Bennett 2008), and nationally the Australian west coast population is listed as 'vulnerable' and the east coast population as 'critically endangered' under the EPBC Act 1999 (Stow et al. 2006).

One of key agregation sites is at Magic Point Maroubra (see animation below)and other sites include Fishrock Cave, Forster and Seal Rocks where I love to go diving. Also visit my picture gallery of Grey Nurse Shark at Fishrock and Forster/Seal Rocks.


Grey Nurse Shark at Magic Point Maroubra


Sharks over the years have copped a lot of bad press especially with films like Jaws which terrified the audience and made people scared to go swimming in the ocean. There are over 400 shark species and there are only several that are any real threat to us. I actually like to see sharks when I go diving and have even come across a great white once. I was diving with friends at North Solitary Islands when the shark swam past and turned and checked us out and swam off. The Grey Nurse suffered early on through peoples shark fears and now protected is hopefully making a come back. Once plentiful around Sydney now just half a dozen that appear at Magic Point from time to time.

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