Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 715–748 | Cite as

Shark depredation in commercial and recreational fisheries

  • J. D. MitchellEmail author
  • D. L. McLean
  • S. P. Collin
  • T. J. Langlois


Shark depredation, where a shark partially or completely consumes an animal caught by fishing gear before it can be retrieved to the fishing vessel, occurs in commercial and recreational fisheries worldwide, causing a range of negative biological and economic impacts. Despite this, it remains relatively understudied compared to other fisheries issues. This is the first review of the literature relating to shark depredation, which also includes an overview of the potential mechanisms underlying its occurrence and options for mitigation. Furthermore, this review highlights key research gaps that remain to be investigated, thereby providing impetus for future research. In total, 61 studies have been published between 1955 and 2018, which include information on shark depredation. These studies recorded quantitative rates of depredation between 0.9 and 26% in commercial and recreational fisheries and during research fishing, identified 27 shark species from seven families that were responsible for depredation and discussed potential factors influencing its occurrence. Information from research into bycatch mitigation and the testing of shark deterrent approaches and technologies is also presented, in the context of applying these approaches to the reduction of shark depredation. This review presents an holistic overview of shark depredation in fisheries globally and, in doing so, provides a central resource for fisheries researchers and managers focusing on this topic to stimulate further collaborative research on this important fisheries issue.


Depredation rate Fisheries management Human-wildlife conflict Shark behaviour Shark deterrent 



J.D.M was supported by the Australian Federal Government and The University of Western Australia, in the form of an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and Australian Postgraduate Award. Further support was provided by the Jock Clough Marine Foundation. The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest for this study.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.The UWA Oceans InstituteIndian Ocean Marine Research CentreCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.Oceans Graduate SchoolThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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