Lonely Planet Writer

Rare shark nursery discovered by diver off Australia’s south coast

What is believed to be a rare shark nursery has been discovered by an experienced diver off Australia‘s south coast.

A great white shark
A great white shark nursery has been found in the Recherché Archipelago off the Australian south coast Image by Lwp Kommunikáció / CC BY 2.0

The undisclosed site in the Recherche Archipelago is where Marc Payne captured the unique photos and footage of a baby great white shark. The Western Australian quoted the diver, who has been exploring underwater for over a quarter of a century, as saying: “It’s bringing us a step closer to the holy grail.”

He shot a series of images as well as footage of over a dozen great white sharks and is now confident that a nursery is either in that area or nearby. “It has got to be close,” he added.

Having checked with shark databases across the country, it was found that none of Mr Payne’s sharks have been previously identified. Mr Payne said the footage of the 1.4m baby great white shark, taken as it swam around his boat for several minutes as he watched on a live feed, is extremely rare.

The diver believes that the baby shark is only a month old, judging by its eyes, teeth and size. He said the reason he is going public with the shark hotspot is to have the pristine area protected by authorities.

Mr Payne pointed out that this is one of the last areas where great whites have not been interfered with by humans. It also offers the opportunity to compare information with other shark locations.

He made this call to avoid situations where they might be hooked and dragged while being tagged and urged for non-invasive research. “Let’s change the way science is done out there,” he emphasised.