Brit Tom Plumbridge, 27, survived a Grey Nurse
attack near Sydney in 2003.
Dr Stow and Associate Professor Harcourt have been trying to understand the impacts that the small size of the grey nurse shark population will have on their recovery.
Armed with the information that the east coast population was essentially genetically isolated, Harcourt and his colleagues have been able to show that without significant intervention, the east coast grey nurse sharks may no longer have an effective breeding population in as little as 10 years.
I look forward to the day when grey nurse sharks can be taken off the threatened species list and people recognise them for the harmless sharks that they are.
The resulting report, Surveying Habitats Critical to the Survival of Grey Nurse Sharks in South-East Queensland, will provide vital baseline data to quantify any ecological changes to grey nurse shark habitats, and serve as a reference for species recovery plans and habitat management strategies.
Unidive volunteers and study coordinators Chris Roelfsema from the University of Queensland, and Carley Bansemer from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), say five areas within the Moreton Bay Marine Park, and one within the proposed Great Sandy Bay Marine Park, were identified by the Queensland Government as habitats critical for the survival of grey nurse sharks.
Species lists (including fish, invertebrates, algae and coral) were also prepared, to help understand potential relationships between grey nurse sharks and other species.
New tracking technologies developed by CSIRO scientists may to help prevent the disappearance of grey nurse sharks from Australia's eastern coast.
Using automated receiving stations and acoustic transmitters, Dr John Stevens and Barry Bruce of CSIRO Marine Research, together with Dr Nick Otway of New South Wales Fisheries, hope to determine the daily and seasonal movements of grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) around colony sites and during feeding excursions.
We know grey nurse sharks aggregate at colony sites, but we don't know how long they spend within colonies, on a daily basis,' Stevens says.