Gummy shark

Gummy sharkDistribution

Gummy Shark (Mustelus antarcticus) is endemic to southern Australia. Its distribution extends throughout the temperate waters of Australia, from at least Port Stephens in New South Wales to Geraldton in Western Australia (including Tasmania).  

Stock structure

Current research indicates two biological stocks of gummy shark: one in southern Australia and another in eastern Australia. Gummy sharks in Victorian waters are from the southern Australian biological stock. This is a shared stock that occurs in Victorian, Commonwealth, New South Wales, South Australian, Tasmanian, Victorian and Western Australian waters. 

The national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks report 2014 assessed the status of gummy shark at the scale of southern Australian biological stock. This stock is considered to comprise four separate subpopulations for formal stock assessment purposes.

Annual catch

The table below provides the catch of gummy shark from Victorian waters by Victorian-licensed fishers. These catch estimates do not include the substantially larger catch from the southern Australian stock by Commonwealth-licensed fishers, both within and beyond Victorian waters.


Estimated Victorian catch

Commercial by Victorian licence holders (2015/16 fishing year)

≈ 18 tonnes

Recreational (statewide estimate from 2000/01 national survey)


Indigenous (i.e. 2015/16 customary fishing permits

0 tonnes

Estimated total

≈ 18 tonnes

Stock status

The table below summarises and explains the status and management of the southern Australian gummy shark stock based on: 

  1. Stock status: classification of the biological status of the southern Australian stock as at 2013, taken from the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014. This stock is affected by fishing and management beyond Victorian waters.
    Read more here about the SAFS assessment approach and classification system.
  2. Management settings: overview of current management arrangements in Victorian waters, including any recent changes that may affect stock status.
  3. Risk management category: The Victorian Fisheries Authority's overall, qualitative rating of current risk to stock status taking into account management arrangements, based on best available information.
    Risk management category not applicable to gummy shark which is a Commonwealth managed stock

Stock status is based only on sustainability and is for the entire biological stock. Management settings only apply to the portion of the stock in Victorian waters.

Management settings are also influenced by social and economic factors, and can take some time to affect a stock's status. This can depend on biological and environmental factors as well as the type and level of management changes implemented. 

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category



Gummy shark is not targeted by Victorian-licensed commercial fishers but is taken as by-catch.

Commercial harvest of gummy and school shark (combined) in Victorian waters is predominantly managed by a 40 tonne total available commercial catch, possession limits (in coastal waters) and restrictions on size and gear, while recreational fishers are subject to possession, size and gear limits.

Read more about the fishing methods and rules for gummy shark in Victoria

Read more about the Commonwealth's management of the southern Australian gummy shark fishery

Commonwealth managed stock


Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock is sustainable: 

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the biomass of this stock was not likely to be recruitment overfished

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure was unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

Read more here about the assessment of Gummy shark stock status as at 2013 in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014