Saturday, December 2, 2023

Galapagos shark research project update

Recent stories

NSW Department of Primary Industries – Lord Howe Island Marine Park News

Researchers Jonathon Mitchell and Victoria Camillieri-Asch from The University of Western Australia will be returning to Lord Howe Island in January 2021 to continue a joint project with Parks Australia and the Lord Howe Island Marine Park investigating the movement patterns of Galapagos sharks and their interactions with vessels.

Galapagos shark
Galapagos shark swimming away after being tagged and released.
Photo: NSW DPI

This work has been ongoing since January 2018 and has been tracking the movements of 30 tagged sharks around Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid. The results so far indicate that:

  • Some sharks stay in the same area all year round, particularly in locations where fish are cleaned regularly, whereas others move much more widely (for example moving between Lord Howe Island and Balls Pyramid, travelling up to 12km per day);
  • Home range sizes have been estimated for some sharks, varying in area from 1.2 – 217km2; and
  • Water temperature and seabed complexity has an important influence on the presence of Galapagos sharks in different locations.

The sharks tagged as part of the project are identifiable by a small dart tag on their back, at the base of the dorsal fin (see image). The researchers kindly ask that if you catch or see a shark, please provide any details about the date, time and location that it was seen, either to the Marine Parks Office, or to Jonathan directly (

LHI Signal

This article appeared in The Lord Howe Island Signal, 31 December 2020.


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