Sharks and rays are Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) 5th most important export fishery, but there was very little data available on sharks and rays in PNG waters.
This project aimed to provide detailed information on key shark and ray species in PNG and a framework to enable PNG to manage its shark and ray resources sustainably. To achieve this, the project set out to describe the biological, social, economic, catch and gear characteristics of the fisheries exploiting sharks and rays and assess the status of the stocks of key shark species and the extent to which they are shared with adjacent countries. In addition, detailed biodiversity data were collected and important specimens were deposited in the national fish collection housed at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG).
The information and data collected in this project will have a long-lasting impact in PNG as it forms an important baseline for all future research. In particular, the demographic analyses highlight that, left unchecked, population declines of key shark species are highly likely. The capacity building tools, e.g. field guide, protocol guides, shark and ray museum specimens, will also be important for future research on sharks and rays in PNG.