What we do

We’re all about supporting sharks, respecting rays and promoting safe and sustainable fishing.

Shark Mates was formed in 2020 to help Victoria’s recreational fishers take better care of sharks and rays when out fishing. We’re a team of biologists and industry representatives who are driven to create a safe and sustainable fishing experience for those in and out of the water.

The species of sharks and rays encountered are relatively similar across southern Australia – from southern Western Australia across to southern NSW and Tasmania. That means the principles we are promoting for Victorians should be broadly applicable across those areas too.

By sharing best practice capture and handling techniques, we hope to maintain healthy shark and ray populations and make your fishing more enjoyable both now and in the future.

Putting knowledge into action

For some fishers, catching a shark or a ray can be an unexpected surprise. Over the past few years, fishers have expressed concern that there is a lack of knowledge and uncertainly about how to handle sharks and rays correctly. You’ve indicated that it’d be great to have guidelines backed by scientific experts.

Based on this feedback, we did a survey to dig a little deeper into current practices and attitudes towards sharks and rays. We found that: 

  • Recreational fishers have a positive attitude towards sharks and rays. They value stewardship of the fishery and the use of humane capture and release techniques.
  • Some fishers know what to do but aren’t always doing it. For example, they know circle hooks are less harmful to sharks and rays but they’re still using J-hooks out of habit.
  • Some inexperienced fishers need better guidance on what to do when they catch a shark or ray.
  • Recreational fishers want more information on best practice capture and handling technique.

The Shark Mates initiative aims to improve knowledge within the recreational fishing community by developing and sharing best practice guidelines for catching, handling and releasing sharks and rays. We want all fishers to feel confident and proud of their actions and enjoy fishing in our beautiful state for generations to come.


Photo Credit: James Matarazzo

Stay in the loop

Want to get involved in our next survey and receive updates on the results? Send us your details to stay up to date.

Why do we need to take care of sharks
and rays while fishing?

  • Better fishing now and in the future.
    Healthy populations of sharks and rays play an important role in maintaining healthy ocean stocks. For example, maintaining a healthy population of gummy sharks now will ensure they can be fished for generations to come.
  • They’re not as resilient as you might think.
    Sharks and rays are slow to grow and produce comparatively few offspring compared with other species. While some species are robust, others are more susceptible to fatal or serious injury. Responsible fishing practices are important to their survival. For more information on the status of Australian shark and ray stocks, check out the Shark Report Card.
  • Reduced risk to recreational fishers.
    When threatened, sharks can bite and rays can sting. Having to know-how to handle them with confidence will reduce the threat of injury to the fisher and the shark or ray.
  • Conservation matters.
    We have a collective responsibility to protect our aquatic ecosystem. Some species are protected by Australian Law. You can be a steward of your fishery by following the recreational fishing rules and our guidelines for handling sharks and rays.

           Photo Credit: PT Hirschfield

Catch with confidence and a conscience

Let recreational fishers take you through best practice capture and handling techniques for sharks and rays. Our video series covers a range of scenarios.