Australia’s ABC network’s Triple J TV: HACK recently featured a story about the conservation of grey nurse sharks (Carcharias taurus) on the east coast of Australia. Grey nurse sharks (also known as Sand Tiger Sharks, and Spotted Ragged-Tooth Sharks) are reaching critically endangered levels on Australia’s east coast, according to the report. Despite being a protected species, conservationists believe that many of the sharks are still being accidentally hooked by fisherman.
Conflicting views are presented on how to protect and preserve grey nurse shark populations particularly along the coast of New South Wales. Options that are addressed are stricter fishing bans and artificial breeding of the species.
While I don’t know what the ideal solution to the problem is, Nicky Hammond’s assessment of the artificial breeding option makes sense to me. If the cause of the dwindling numbers of this species is not directly addressed, then breeding more sharks is just going to result in more of them being accidentally hooked. Artificially breeding grey nurse sharks would simply be a case of treating the symptoms without delivering a cure.