SEACAMS: A system for documenting the localised and migratory movements of grey nurse sharks
A South East Australian Coastal Acoustic Monitoring System (SEACAMS), set up by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to document the localised and migratory movements of grey nurse sharks, has been operational for 20 months. The system comprises approximately 70 acoustic listening stations deployed at various sites along the NSW coast, from the Victorian to Queensland borders. Each listening station consists of an acoustic receiver and a temperature logger attached to a bottom-set mooring. To date, 29 grey nurse sharks have been tagged with R-coded acoustic depth sensor tags. These tags transmit the animal’s presence and its depth to the acoustic receivers. Each temperature logger has been programmed to record the bottom seawater temperature, once per hour, over the period of deployment. The data from the receivers will be collated over time and used to quantify the localised and migratory movements of grey nurse sharks and document any relationships between these movements and their reproductive cycle. The temperature data will provide valuable information on the temperature of sites utilised by grey nurse sharks and contribute to monitoring the effects of climate change on the marine environment. Preliminary data on the localised and migratory movements of grey nurse sharks, tagged with R-coded acoustic tags, is available and will continue to be obtained via SEACAMS. These data show that grey nurse sharks are undertaking large-scale migrations in addition to small-scale excursions along the NSW coast. This information will provide a necessary input into the grey nurse shark breeding program.