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Diving with Grey Nurse Sharks: The Rules

Published on: 26th February, 2016 | Conservation
Photo credit: pcgiraffe
If you go diving in a Grey Nurse Shark area with any commercial operator part of the dive brief includes the code of conduct for diving with Grey Nurse Sharks. If you go on a private boat, you need to make sure you are informed.

There are twelve areas in NSW that are designated by the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries and Aquaculture as Grey Nurse Shark Aggregation Areas.  In these areas, SCUBA divers (and also spearfishers) must follow specific code of conduct laid down by the government.

The penalties if the code of conduct is breached are on the spot fines of $500, and maximum penalties up to $110,000 or 2 years imprisonment (or both).

For SCUBA divers the code of conduct states that SCUBA divers must not:

Conduct night dives in sites identified as habitat critical to the survival of Greynurse Sharks;

Touch, feed or interfere with the natural behaviour of Greynurse Sharks;

Chase, harass or interrupt the swimming patterns of Greynurse Sharks;

Block cave entrances, gutters or entrap Greynurse Sharks;

Dive in groups totalling more than ten divers; and

Use mechanical apparatus including but not limited to scooters, horns and shark pods.

Specific codes of conduct also are in place for commercial fishing and accidentally caught Grey Nurse Sharks.

Please make sure you are informed when diving at these sites as these sharks need our protection.

The original article ‘Fishing and Diving Rules at Greynurse Shark aggregation sites’ by DPI Fisheries and Aquaculture is available here.


Susan Shield

TDI Adv. Nitrox & Deco. Procedures. Chartered Professional Engineer