Understanding our mako shark fishery

Mako sharks are a popular target for game fishers along the Victorian coast. They are the world’s fastest shark, capable of bursts of speed close to 80km/hr and are infamous for gigantic leaps out of the water.

In Victoria, there is limited research into our mako shark population including their movement, distribution and genetic connectivity.

To gain an understanding of the species, research is currently being conducted by the Victorian Fisheries Authority, Deakin University and VRFish. Funded by recreational fishing licence fees, the mako shark research tagging program aims to learn more about the distribution, movement characteristics and habitat preference of shortfin mako sharks within the Victorian fishery.

To conduct the research, scientists from the Victorian Fisheries Authority have been busy tagging sharks with satellite tags. Since the project commenced, scientists have tagged five makos including one male and four female sharks. While the tags can take a temperature profile, this study focuses on their movement.

The tags share information to satellites every time the shark comes up to the surface and the information is relayed back to the Victorian Fisheries Authority’s website online map.

Source: Victorian Fisheries Authority, Tagged Mako Shark Map

The findings from this study will also be used to support existing research by Monash University to improve outcomes of fisher interactions with sharks and rays. The research by Monash has contributed to the Shark Mates campaign which aims to promote safe and sustainable fishing practices while supporting our shark and ray populations. More information about Shark Mates can be found below.

Other research by Deakin University will complement this study to provide environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling results. That is, when water is sampled to discover the presence of mako shark DNA in the water. This information will be combined with the distribution information found in the mako shark research tagging program.

All information will be utilised to understand our mako shark fishery in Victoria and assist fisheries managers in ensuring the fishery is managed sustainably.


Formed in 2020, Shark Mates aims to help Victoria’s recreational fishers take better care of sharks and rays when out fishing. The campaign was developed by 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.

As a recreational fisher, you play a vital role in maintaining a healthy population of sharks, rays and other fish stocks. Understanding the different species and knowing how to fish responsibly will not only support fish populations, it’ll improve your confidence and safety. The result? A more enjoyable fishing experience, now and in the future.

Want to find out more about the research, best practice guidelines and surveys? Or perhaps you’re keen to become a Shark Mates ambassador? Whatever the case, check out the Shark Mates website for more information.

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