Shark depredation: future directions in research and management
Shark depredation is a complex social-ecological issue that affects a range of fisheries worldwide. Increasing concern about the impacts of shark depredation, and how it intersects with the broader context of fisheries management, has driven recent research in this area, especially in Australia and the United States. This review synthesises these recent advances and provides strategic guidance for researchers aiming to characterise the occurrence of depredation, identify the shark species responsible, and test deterrent and management approaches to reduce its impacts. Specifically, the review covers the application of social science approaches, as well as advances in video camera and genetic methods for identifying depredating species. The practicalities and considerations for testing magnetic, electrical, and acoustic deterrent devices are discussed in light of recent research. Key concepts for the management of shark depredation are reviewed, with recommendations made to guide future research and policy development. Specific management responses to address shark depredation are lacking, and this review emphasizes that a “silver bullet” approach for mitigating depredation does not yet exist. Rather, future efforts to manage shark depredation must rely on a diverse range of integrated approaches involving those in the fishery (fishers, scientists and fishery managers), social scientists, educators, and other stakeholders.