Molecular tools for identification of shark species involved in depredation incidents in Western Australian fisheries

Seema Fotedar, Sherralee Lukehurst, Gary Jackson, Michael Snow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Shark depredation is an issue of concern in some Western Australian recreational and commercial fisheries where it can have economic, social and ecological consequences. Knowledge of the shark species involved is fundamental to developing effective management strategies to mitigate the impacts of depredation. Identification of the species responsible is difficult as direct observation of depredation events is uncommon and evaluating bite marks on fish has a high degree of uncertainty. The use of trace DNA techniques has provided an alternative method for species identification. We demonstrate proof of concept for a targeted DNA barcoding approach to identify shark species using trace DNA found at bite marks on recovered remains of hooked fish. Following laboratory validation, forensic analysis of swabs collected from samples of bitten demersal fish, led to the definitive identification of shark species involved in 100% of the incidences of depredation (n = 16).

Original languageEnglish
Article number0210500
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2019

Cite this