Time running out for shark
THE grey nurse shark is one of Australia's most endangered marine species.
It is listed as critically endangered under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
There are 10 protected habitats of the species, including Julian Rocks near Byron Bay. These sharks regularly visit Cape Byron Marine Park, particularly during the winter months.
In the protected habitats, there are restrictions on recreational and commercial fishing; scuba diving and the use of underwater scooters and electronic shark repelling devices.
Growing to at least 360cm in length, the sharks were almost hunted to extinction in the 1960s due to its fierce appearance. However, they are not a threat to humans.
Activities such as fishing and diving continue to impact on the sharks. It is estimated that there are less than 500 left along Australia's east coast.
Research shows that without protection, the species could be extinct within 40 years.