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Dark Ghost Shark

   The dark ghost shark is a relative of the elephant fish but lacks its trunk-like snout. It has a long, tapering tail. It is also smaller, averaging 50-60cm. This dark, mottled fish, occurs over the outer continental shelf in 350-1000m deep water, where it is caught in trawl nets.
   This fish has a conical snout and an elongate, tapering body. On its back it has a triangular first dorsal fin (and spine) and a long, low second dorsal fin. The dark ghost shark is dark grey above with a mottled pattern of distinct silver-white markings, and pale silver-grey underneath. The mouth is small, and located well back and beneath the snout.The pale ghost shark is found in deeper water than the dark ghost shark, and it is also larger, averaging 60-70cm. Its snout is more rounded than that of the dark ghost shark, and its colour is paler. Its skin is pale brown above, with a few distinct darker bands, and it is white below. Pale ghost sharks occur further south than the dark ghost sharks, being common on the Campbell Plateau and on the Snares Shelf south of Stewart Island

   A three-mile closure of all Victorian waters to shark fishing provides a large refuge for the species in southern Australia. In New Zealand TACs have been in place since 1986 and the CPUE trend increased during 19892001. As a result, the total TAC increased from 619 to 1,040 tonnes over this time period. The species is most abundant off the east coast of the South Island. This fishery appears to be stable with populations likely to be above the biomass required to provide the maximum sustainable yield. The species has relatively high biological productivity; maximum age of 15 years, matures relatively early and continues to lay eggs over several weeks each year. No contraction of range or fragmentation of the population has occurred.

   Elephant Shark (Callorhinchus milii). Also known as Elephant Fish and Ghost Shark. Southern Australia

Scientific Name:
Callorhinchus milii
Callorhinchidae (Plownose chimaeras)
subFamily /
Chimaeriformes / Holocephali (chimaeras)
Common Name:
Ghost shark
Southwest Pacific: southern Australia and New Zealand.
subtropical; 33S - 50S
demersal; marine; depth range 0 - 227 m
Occurs on continental shelves to depths of at least 200 m (Ref. 6871). Migrates into large estuaries and inshore bays in the spring to breed (Ref. 6871). Feeds mainly on shellfish (Ref. 26346). Oviparous (Ref. 50449). Flesh is of good eating quality. Males have a small, club-like protuberance on the head and also long copulation organs near the pelvic fins


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