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Our projects

The Fish and Fisheries Lab aims to produce research that can be used in everyday life, in decision-making, and for sustainability. The Lab is currently working with communities, governments, and industries on projects ranging from shark and swimmer safety, the biology, life history and sustainability of sharks and rays in fisheries, to working with Indigenous communities in far north Queensland on monitoring their fisheries.

​F&F Projects include:

River sharks and sawfishes in Papua New Guinea

Michael Grant, Colin Simpfendorfer, Andrew Chin | working with Dr William  White (CSIRO), Peter Kyne (Charles Darwin University), Yolarnie Amepou (Piku Biodiversity Network)

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the last frontiers of biological exploration in coastal and riverine environments. This project is exploring the presence of sawfishes (Pristidae) and river sharks (Glyphis spp.) throughout PNG, and documenting cultural uses and values that sawfishes may have with traditional owners and indigenous resource users.


Conservation biology and sustainability of wedgefishes

Brooke D'Alberto, Andrew Chin, Neil Hutchinson, Colin Simpfendorfer | working with Dr William White (CSIRO) 

SHIN_2020-05-21 19_17_44-Window.jpg

Wedgefish and giant guitarfish are among the most threatened groups of sharks and rays due to their large size, high exposure and value to fisheries and trade, and increasing loss of habitat. However, there is limited information on their biology. This project will increase the biological information available for these threatened species, on a regional and global scale, such as age, growth and reproduction, species distribution, abundance and diversity, and population productivity. This information can be used to inform international conservation arrangements and local, regional and national management plans, and to increase awareness of the conservation issues surrounding this group of rays.

NSW shark bite behavior chnges

Community perceptions and behaviour changes following shark incidents in NSW

 Andrew Chin | Project headed by Dr Nick McClean and Dr Carla Sbrocchi (UTS),  Dr INgrid Van Putten(CSIRO), Dr Sue Pillans  (Picture this).

This was a collaborative project based at UTS to explore how people's decisions, behaviours, and perceptions of sharks and shark safety changed following a cluster of incidents on the NSW North Coast in 2015/16. Participatory workshops were held in Ballina, Byron Bay and Lismore, to hear from communities how things had changed, and to figure out how to help people make informed decisions about safe behaviours. A scientific artist used art to draw out and represent the discussions and information that came to light during these sessions.

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Funded by NSW Fisheries

SCF Singapore project

Building shark and ray research and conservation capacity in South East Asia


Andrew Chin, Neil Hutchinson, Mina Hatayama | working with Dr Vinay Udyawer (AIMS), Dr. Hollie Booth

South East Asia is a hub for the global trade in shark products, including major consumers of shark products and on the other hand, the world's largest shark fisheries. This project is bringing 36 delegates from 9 countries to James Cook University Singapore for a week-long shark research and conservation workshop to build the capacity of shark and ray researchers and conservation practitioners across the region. 

Shark safety messaging

Understanding the science behind shark safety messaging

Andrew Chin, Kristin Hoel | Working with Dr Adam Barnett (James Cook University) and Dr Charlie Huveneers (Flinders University)

This project is conducting a review on the scientific basis behind shark safety guidelines provided to the public by governments around Australia, South Africa, and the United States. The goal of this project is to provide an honest representation of the level of science behind share safety guidelines, so that the public can make their own informed decisions about how to best prevent negative interactions with sharks.

Click here for our findings.

Funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Image: Jack Massuger

Cid Harbour

Human uses and behaviours relating to shark bite incidents in Cid Harbour


Click here for more information about Shark Smart behaviours

Andrew Chin | Working with Dr Amy Diedrich and Bethany Smith

In 2018 and 2019, a cluster of unprovoked shark bites occurred in the Whitsundays, centred around the popular Cid Harbour anchorage. The Whitsunday Islands are an internationally renowed marine tourism desitination and these incidents could have significant repercussions on the tourism industry, as well as personal impacts on the Whitsundays community. This project worked with the tourism industry and local stakeholders to understand how marine recreational users in the Whitsundays were using the region, their attitudes and behaviours towards sharks and shark bite incidents, their knowledge of 'shark smart' behaviours, and their perceptions of activities and behaviours that could elevate risks. The findings from this project have been informed the Queensland Government's approach and ongoing management of shark safety initiatives in the region.  

Funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Exploring the social complexities of shark depredation in Queensland fisheries

Kristin Hoel, Andrew Chin | Working with Dr Jacqueline Lau (ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies; WorldFish)

Shark depredation (when a shark feeds on catch before it has been landed by the fisher) has proven to be a frequent source of human-wildlife conflict in commercial and recreational fisheries worldwide. Although work to quantify shark depredation is increasing, the social dimensions of such conflict remain largely underexplored. This study seeks to explore Queensland recreational and commercial fishers' perceptions, experiences, priorities, and values surrounding management of shark depredation through semi-structured interviews, with the intent to illuminate opportunities for future management of the issue.

Fishing trawler

For more information, click here.

Reducing bycatch in mesh net fisheries in the Great Barrier Reef

FRDC better way

Andrew Chin, Sushmita Mukherji | Working with the commercial fishing industry)

Bycatch and discards are a major conseravtion concern in net fisheries, especially for species of conservation interest (SOCI) like turtles, dugongs, and some sharks and rays. We are working with fishers to see if mobile fish traps (tunnel nets) can be used to replace normal fishing nets. Tunnel nets allow all the unwanted fishes and animals to be released and swim away in good condition while also increasing the quality and value of this fishes that are kept for market.  

Funded by the Australian Government Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

The project final report can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

Social dimensions

Understanding the perceived conservation benefits of shark-marine tourism

Andrew Chin, Aliya Siddiqi | Working with Dr Amy Diedrich (James Cook University)

Shark-marine tourism (SMT) has been promoted by some as an effective method to shark conservation by providing a higher economic value to live sharks than dead sharks. Despite increasing popularity of such programs, the linkages and benefits to shark populations remain unclear from both biological and social perspectives. This project aims to explore people's experiences with SMT, including their views on how it can contribute to shark conservation, and what factors may enhance or hinder this potential.

For more information, click here.

Exploring the saltwater flats fishery in Queensland

Saltwate flats fishery

For more information, click here.

Andreas Hansen, Andrew Chin, Amos Mapleston | Working with Dr Owen Li and Queensland charter fishers)

Since the early 2000s, a niche saltwater flats fishery has been developing in Queensland. Fishers target a variety of saltwater fishes using specialist fising gear. Some of these fishers are high-value charter fishers that may bring significant income to regional areas via fishing tourism. However, the fishery, the values and perceptions of its participants, the species targeted, and the scale and scope of the fishery have never been documented. This project is working with charter fishers to docuemnt this hidden industry so that managers have a better understanding of the different values and uses of inshore fisheries resources.   

River sharks in Borneo

Profiling river sharks and rays in Kalimantan, Indonesia

Michael Grant, Andrew Chin | Working with Naomi Gardiner (JCU), and Jamaluddin Jompa, Nadiarti N Kadir, Rohani Ambo Rappe, Dian Budiman (Hasanuddin University)

The sharks and rays of Kalimantan in Borneo are poorly documented, especially riverine sharks and rays which typically are amongst the most threatened of the elasmobranchs. The capital of Indonesia is slated to be relocated to Kalimantan which may have significant impacts on surrounding catchments, rivers, and the species within them. Working jointly with Hasanuddin University, the project will collect baseline data on river fisheries, their interactions with sharks and rays, and the cultural and livelihood values associated with these species. This data will be used to build species-specific vulnerability profiles to help inform Indonesian managers in choosing future management options.  

Trees From Above
Electronic Monitoring

Understanding fisher attitudes toward electronic monitoring on commercial fishing vessels 

Darcy Roeger, Anne Swinbourne, and Andrew Chin | Working with Bubba Cook (New Zealand) and Commercial Fishers

Electronic monitoring has gained popularity with fisheries management in recent decades as a means to validate and monitor fishing activities remotely. This presents a range of opportunities and challenges for fishers. Through semi structured interviews, this study will explore the attitudes and perceptions of commercial fishers in Australia and New Zealand toward electronic monitoring. This will help to ensure that fishers are better represented in management decisions about electronic monitoring in the future.    


For more information, click here.

What fish people eat

The dynamics of seafood in the Indo-West Pacific: Understanding the composition of fish catch and consumption throughout the region.

Tori Nunis, Andrew Chin and Michael Grant | Working with Simon Foale (James Cook University)

The composition of fish caught throughout the Indo-West Pacific is largely understudied and documented. The aim of this project is to understand the composition of fish which local communities are catching and consuming throughout the Indo-West Pacific. Understanding what groups of fish (reef fish, pelagic fish, deep sea fish) are being targeted is vital for the initiation of appropriate research and management to conserve stocks and ensure long term food security. Particularly as countries continue to face ongoing challenges to food security due to factors such as climate change, population growth, and overfishing.

Marine Spatial Planning for sustainable use zones in the Seychelles 

Andrew Chin | Working with David Welch and the C2O consultancy team

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is the development of spatial management arrangements - including marine parks - for ocean areas. There are many types of marine parks, including parks that allow a wide range of uses including fishing for commercial gain and for sustaining livelihoods. This project is working with the Seychelles Government, stakeholders, the Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning initiative, and the SWIOFish 3 project to develop management plans for three 'Zone 2' areas. This project will create management plans that balance the protection of the marine environment with the rights of Seychelles people to enjoy and sustainable use their marine resources. 

Seychells MSP
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