Grey nurse sharks were protected especially to give tourist divers something worthwhile to look at, and to shut-up a handful of environmentalists with underwater camera’s who were conning the media into thinking only 500 sharks existed.
How anyone could possibly count all the sharks at every reef on the east coast never occurred to the media, they just ran with the fairy story while the Fisheries responded with a protective ban.
The bottom line is, it was probably a good thing to have the species protected.
Suggestion for an aspiring PhD student: Investigate the link between past onshore droughts and ‘vanishing sharks’ to determine if there is a connection why this species was scarce in the years before 1986. Include power head spears in the equation, plus professional fishing catches processed through markets.
Christine Danaher approaches a small grey nurse shark resting under a reef ledge. Located north of Forster, New South Wales, the area has been called Taurus Reef by local dive charter boats. When the flash went off the shark bolted.