Decadal trends in shark catches and effort from the New South Wales, Australia, Shark Meshing Program
Reid, D.D., Robbins, W.D. and Peddemors, V.M., 2010. Decadal trends in shark catches and effort from the New South Wales, Australia, Shark Meshing Program 1950–2010. Marine & Freshwater Research, 62: 676–693.
The netting of beaches to mitigate the chances of shark attack has operated since 1937 in Sydney and since 1949 in Wollongong and Newcastle. Currently 51 beaches are netted (meshed) between September and April each year. This paper reports on trends in the catches of sharks from six decades of protective meshing of beaches in NSW for which reliable data are available (1950/51 to 2009/10). There has been large annual variability in the number of sharks caught and the species composition of catches, but five shark species have shown declines in abundance over this period. The Hunter (Newcastle), Central Coast and Sydney North regions have shown the largest declines in the number of sharks, while catches in the Sydney South and Illawarra (Wollongong) regions have been relatively stable over the six decades of meshing. There are indications of an arrest in the decline of grey nurse sharks and white sharks in the period since protection of the species was legislated in 1984 and 1998 respectively. Catches of juvenile white sharks have been predominantly from two beaches in recent decades and these catches are discussed in the context of satellite and acoustic tracking research on this species.