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:
  • Exploring river sharks and rays in Papua New Guinea
  • Conservation biology of wedgefishes
  • Community perceptions and behaviors following shark incidents in NSW
  • Building shark and ray research and conservation capacity in South East Asia (SEA)
  • A Better Way to Fish: reducing bycatch (sharks, turtles, dugongs, undersized fishes) in commercial gill nets
  • Biology of coastal sharks taken in SEA fisheries
  • Social dimensions of shark depredation in fisheries
  • The potential benefits of tourism to shark conservation
  • Fisheries monitoring in Cape York with the Yuku Baja Muliku Traditional Owners
  • Documenting the diversity of sharks and rays across the Indo-Pacific | the Shark Search Indo-Pacific program
  • Baseline data on the river sharks and rays of Kalimantan, Indonesia

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) 

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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.

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

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


Andrew Chin, Neil Hutchinson, Stacy Bierwagen | working with Dr Vinay Udyawer (AIMS) 

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 25 delegates from 8 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. 


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.

Funded by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Image: Jack Massuger

The social dimensions of shark depredation in Queensland fisheries

Fishing trawler

For more information, click here.

Andrew Chin, Kristin Hoel | 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.

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.

Reducing bycatch in net fisheries


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

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.