Galapagos shark movement patterns, interactions with fishing vessels and
residency in Lord Howe Island Marine
SIMS’ Animal Tracking Facility have recently returned from Lord Howe Island where they assisted in the deployment of acoustic receivers to support a research project led by Johnathan Mitchell from the University of Western Australia, in collaboration with NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Marine Parks, and Parks Australia.
This research seeks to identify the
movement patterns and residency of Galapagos sharks in Lord Howe Island Marine Park (LHIMP) over an annual
timescale, by deploying a series of acoustic receivers at key locations around
the island, as well as from fishing vessels.
This will enable assessment of the
movements of tagged sharks and how they overlap with the presence and activity
of fishing vessels.
In addition, the project aims to assess whether differences
in movement and residency exist between sharks which predominantly inhabit
sanctuary zones and those which interact with fishing vessels in fished areas.
Likewise, by collecting ancillary oceanographic data, this research will
quantify the importance of a range of environmental parameters, such as water
temperature, current patterns and productivity, on the movements of sharks.
mapping these differences, as well as potential seasonal variations in shark
movements, the research will collect vital ecological information on this
species, which is a key apex predator in the LHIMP. Additionally, assessing
overlap in shark and fishing vessel movements will provide information for
fishers and marine park managers that can be directly used to mitigate negative
Overall, this project will generate vital information on
the ecology of Galapagos sharks and their management in relation to
recreational fisheries, as well as new oceanographic data for this isolated island
ecosystem, which is globally significant due to its unique oceanographic
conditions and high levels of biodiversity and endemism.