Distribution, habitat and movement of juvenile smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena) in northern New Zealand

2016-07-29T07:38:58Z (GMT) by MP Francis

The smooth hammerhead shark, Sphyrna zygaena, occurs in warm temperate waters around the northern North Island of New Zealand. Commercial fishing records and research trawl survey data were used to determine their distribution. Highest catch rates were recorded in relatively sheltered bays and coastlines along the northeast coast of North Island. Neonate and juvenile sharks use shallow coastal waters and large harbours and estuaries as nursery areas up to an age of two years and total length of 150 cm. Five sharks were electronically tagged but two apparently died and three (137–160 cm total length) returned useful data. Two tagged sharks remained in or near the Bay of Islands for 6–55 days after tagging, moving extensively through the bay. A third shark moved about 155 km southeast in 250 days. That shark spent 70 days mostly shallower than 10 m (94% of time) with occasional dives to 40 m. Thereafter, it oscillated between the surface and depths of 60−80 m, with most time (55%) being spent at 40−60 m. Maximum recorded depth was 144 m.