Gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus) (aka ‘Flake’) is a relatively small, slender-bodied species with a short head. They grow up to 1.75 metres in length and 24.8 kg, and have a life span of 16 years.
Gummy shark are typically found in the high energy rocky reef areas of the West Coast, Lower Spencer Gulf and Gulf of St Vincent. They live on the continental shelf, from near shore to depths of 80 to 350 metres. They remain either on or near the sea bed. Gummy sharks tend to group by sex and size. Juvenile male and female gummy sharks have similar rates of movement, but females grow larger than males and travel longer distances as their age increases. They eat octopus and squid, crustaceans, and occasionally fish. Juveniles are known to be targeted by the broad nose Seven-gill shark, a large and powerful predator.
Gummy sharks reach reproductive maturity at 4 to 5 years of age, with males maturing at a smaller size than females. Females are ovoviviparous or hatch their eggs within their body. Litters usually comprise 14 pups but large females have been recorded producing up to 57 pups. The gestation period lasts 11 to 12 months and the pups are born during Summer. Growth in males is negligible after 10 years, whereas females continue to grow until the end of their lives.
Source: Atlas of Living Austalia
Typically found in high energy rocky reefs environments, the West Coast, Lower Spencer Gulf and Gulf of St Vincent are key producing regions.
Southern Australia – Sustainable
This species exhibits annual availability as new season shark move into shallower waters in September. Typically, production peaks over Summer with the key month being November and August the lowest. Good reproductive strategies and wide range ensures strong production. Access to exposed wasters can limit supply.