Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Use of stereo baited remote underwater video systems to estimate the presence and size of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias)

D. Harasti A C , K. A. Lee A , R. Laird A , R. Bradford B and B. Bruce B

A Fisheries Research, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 1, Nelson Bay, NSW 2315, Australia.

B CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tas. 7000, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: david.harasti@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF16184
Submitted: 18 May 2016  Accepted: 15 September 2016   Published online: 10 November 2016

Abstract

Stereo baited remote underwater video systems (stereo-BRUVs) are commonly used to assess fish assemblages and, more recently, to record the localised abundance and size of sharks. The present study investigated the occurrence and size of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the near-shore environment off Bennett’s Beach, part of a known nursery area for the species in central New South Wales, Australia. Six stereo-BRUV units were deployed approximately fortnightly between August and December 2015 for periods of 5 h in depths of 7–14 m. Stereo-BRUVs successfully recorded 34 separate sightings of 22 individual white sharks. The highest number of individuals detected during a single day survey was eight. All C. carcharias observed on stereo-BRUVs were juveniles ranging in size from 1.50 to 2.46-m total length (mean ± s.e., 1.91 ± 0.05 m; n = 22). The time to first appearance ranged from 15 to 299 min (mean ± s.e., 148 ± 15 min). This study demonstrates that the use of stereo-BRUVs is a viable, non-destructive method to obtain estimates of the size and presence of white sharks, and may be useful in estimating relative abundance in near-shore environments where white sharks are known to frequent.

Additional keywords: beach, elasmobranch, nursery area, Port Stephens, stereo camera.


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