Paul A Butcher

Paul A Butcher
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries · Fishing and Aquaculture (Fisheries NSW)

B Nat. Res. Mgt (Hons) and Dr. of Philosophy (PhD)

About

134
Publications
24,247
Reads
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1,997
Citations
Citations since 2017
64 Research Items
1564 Citations
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Introduction
I am a Principal Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries based at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour. I have been a member of the fisheries research team since 2004 involving research into commercial and recreational fishing gear. More recently I have been one of the lead scientist on the NSW Governments Shark Management Strategy.
Additional affiliations
October 2004 - present
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries
Position
  • Group Leader
Description
  • Paul Butcher is a Principal Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries based at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour. Paul has been a member of the fisheries research team since 2004 involving research into commercial and recreational fishing gear. More recently Paul has been the lead scientist on the NSW Governments Shark Management Strategy. This highly political, social and science driven project.
Education
January 2000 - October 2004
January 1996 - December 1999
University of New England (Australia)
Field of study
  • Natural resource management

Publications

Publications (134)
Article
Full-text available
Multisensor biologging provides a powerful tool for ecological research, enabling fine-scale observation of animals to directly link physiology and movement to behavior across ecological contexts. However, applied research into behavioral disturbance and recovery following human interventions (e.g., capture and translocation) has mostly relied on c...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, marine animal distributions are shifting in response to a changing climate. These shifts are usually considered at the species level, but individuals are likely to differ in how they respond to the changing conditions. Here, we investigate how movement behaviour and, therefore, redistribution, would differ by sex and maturation class in a...
Article
Large marine predators exhibit high concentrations of mercury (Hg) as neurotoxic methylmercury, and the potential impacts of global change on Hg contamination in these species remain highly debated. Current contaminant model predictions do not account for intraspecific variability in Hg exposure and may fail to reflect the diversity of future Hg le...
Article
Over the last decade, an increase in the annual rate of shark bites on people has stimulated the development of new techniques aimed at reducing their occurrence, while minimising negative impacts to marine wildlife. One such technique is the SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) drumline, which allows for the capture and relocation of white...
Article
Understanding the use of sandy beaches underpins strategies for effective management of this valuable ecosystem. In this context, remote-sensing platforms and aerial imagery could, theoretically, provide novel and cost-effective solutions to identify and map beach visitor use. Recreational beach use patterns were examined using data collected via a...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the movement ecology of marine species and connectivity of populations is required for effective fisheries management. This is especially the case for species with wide-ranging distributions for which movement can span across several jurisdictions with different management regulations. We used the Australian national network of acoust...
Article
Full-text available
White (Carcharodon carcharias L.), bull (Carcharhinus leucas, Müller & Henle) and tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier, Péron & Lesueur) sharks are the primary species responsible for unprovoked shark bites. Historically, management practices were based on culling “target” shark species (i.e. white, bull and tiger sharks), which resulted in high levels of byca...
Article
Delineation of population structure (i.e. stocks) is crucial to successfully manage exploited species and to address conservation concerns for threatened species. Fish migration and associated movements are key mechanisms through which discrete populations mix and are thus important determinants of population structure. Detailed information on fish...
Article
Full-text available
The number of human–shark interactions has increased worldwide during the past decade resulting in injuries and fatalities. In Australia, the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), and bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas) are responsible for the majority of fatal incidents. On the southeast coast of Australia, monitoring...
Article
Aerial surveys are increasingly used for assessing the presence and abundance of many large faunal species. However, detection rates often suffer significant sightability errors. Using sensors that capture thermal infrared can sometimes improve the detectability of fauna by increasing the contrast of target animals against their surrounds. However,...
Article
The disposal of whale carcasses in beach burials has raised perceptions of shark attraction to the adjacent water. Understanding the concerns and perceptions of the community is key to creating sound management practices and educational resources. We surveyed community perception of the disposal of whale carcasses and the factors influencing public...
Article
Full-text available
Inferences regarding animal presence from passive acoustic receiver arrays are driven by the spatial configuration of receivers. Large, dense arrays provide more information, but maintenance of multiple receivers is costly. Configuring acoustic receiver arrays to maximise coverage while minimising cost is therefore paramount. This study used data f...
Article
COVID-19 restrictions have led to an unprecedented global hiatus in anthropogenic activities, providing a unique opportunity to assess human impact on biological systems. Here, we describe how a national network of acoustic tracking receivers can be leveraged to assess the effects of human activity on animal movement and space use during such globa...
Article
White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) are attracted to and scavenge on floating whale carcasses. However, little is known about how stranded whale carcasses may affect their behaviour. With increasing whale populations and beach stranding events, sharks may be attracted to nearshore waters at carcass sites, increasing the potential conflict with hu...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, drones have become a popular tool for wildlife management and research. Drones have shown significant value for animals that were often difficult or dangerous to study using traditional survey methods. In the past five years drone technology has become commonplace for shark research with their use above, and more recently, bel...
Article
Full-text available
Population size is a central parameter for conservation; however, monitoring abundance is often problematic for threatened marine species. Despite substantial investment in research, many marine species remain data‐poor presenting barriers to the evaluation of conservation management outcomes and the modeling of future solutions. Such is the case f...
Article
Unprovoked shark bites are one of the most recognised human-wildlife conflicts in the marine environment. Historically, management of this threat to public safety largely involved the implementation of lethal strategies. However, there is increasing environmental necessity and social pressure to adopt alternative strategies that minimise harm to sh...
Article
Habitat use and movement patterns of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) in eastern Australian waters. Understanding the movement of marine predators is vital for effective conservation and management. Despite being targeted by shark control programs, the tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is poorly studied off eastern Australia. To investigate the horiz...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding and predicting the distribution of organisms in heterogeneous envi- ronments is a fundamental ecological question and a requirement for sound management. To implement effective conservation strategies for white shark Carcharodon carcharias populations, it is imperative to define drivers of their movement and occurrence patterns and to...
Article
• Recent advances in aerial drones offer new insights into the biology, ecology and behaviour of marine wildlife found on or near the ocean’s surface. While opening up new opportunities for enhanced wildlife monitoring, the impacts of drone sampling and how it might influence interpretations of animal behaviour are only just beginning to be underst...
Article
Management of human-wildlife conflict is often challenging and complex, particularly when the conflict involves sharks. New technologies are being trialled in New South Wales, on Australia's east coast, to accommodate the community demand for increased beach-user protection that does not harm marine wildlife. Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles), a...
Article
Full-text available
The use of drones to study marine animals shows promise for the examination of numerous aspects of their ecology, behaviour, health and movement patterns. However, the responses of some marine phyla to the presence of drones varies broadly, as do the general operational protocols used to study them. Inconsistent methodological approaches could lead...
Article
Understanding fishing participation assists sustainable fisheries management. Relative to commercial fisheries, however, accurate quantitative data on recreational fishing is often more challenging to collect. The quality and robustness of recreational fishing surveys to assess fisher numbers may be improved with cost‐effective remote sensing platf...
Article
Full-text available
In Australian and New Zealand waters, current knowledge on white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) movement ecology is based on individual tracking studies using relatively small numbers of tags. These studies describe a species that occupies highly variable and complex habitats. However, uncertainty remains as to whether the proposed movement pattern...
Technical Report
Full-text available
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) presents new information exploring the shark catch of the NSW Ocean Trap & Line Fishery and developing methods to ensure an accurately reported, sustainable and profitable fishery for large sharks is maintained. A combination of novel genetic techniques, extensive field work, and numerical...
Article
Full-text available
Many large coastal sharks are vulnerable to population declines, however, conflict with human activities often results in unselective culls. Successfully and non-destructively, addressing human-wildlife conflicts requires understanding of animal behavior. However, knowledge about white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) behavior near surf zones, where...
Article
Illegal fishing is a global issue that threatens the viability of fishing industries and biodiversity conservation. Management agencies typically use on‐ground surveillance to monitor and minimise illegal fishing practices, the efficacy of which may be enhanced by integrating emerging remote sensing technology. Affordable drones may contribute to c...
Article
Full-text available
Management of species with wide-ranging migrations is a complex issue, made more challenging when the species is both protected and poses a risk to humans. Understanding the oceanic conditions associated with shark habitat use can help develop mitigation strategies or warning systems that meet both conservation and human safety objectives. Using sa...
Article
Empirical evaluations of how overexploited marine fishes respond to capture stress (physiologically and behaviourally) have become increasingly important for informed fisheries management. These types of studies are, however, lacking for many protected species. Here, we conducted a novel study on the physiology of juvenile white sharks Carcharodon...
Article
Aerial surveys of large marine wildlife in nearshore areas can support management actions to ensure conservation of this megafauna. While most aerial surveys of marine wildlife have been carried out using manned aircraft, unmanned aerial systems (commonly known as drones) are being increasingly used. Here, we compare the relative accuracy and preci...
Article
Full-text available
Here, we provide baseline information about the relative abundance and group size of the Australian cownose ray Rhinoptera neglecta on the central east coast of Australia. Using drone monitoring over 2 years, we completed 293 transects, each 2 km in length, at four locations distributed along c.100 km of coast. In total, 5979 R. neglecta were obser...
Poster
Full-text available
"pre-print" of poster to be displayed at RISE conference 2019
Article
Full-text available
Drumlines incorporating SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) technology are a new tool used in several bather protection programmes globally. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a target species for SMART drumlines because they are often involved in attacks on humans. To understand white shark sen...
Article
Full-text available
Beaches are economically and socially important to coastal regions. The intensive use of beaches requires active management to mitigate impacts to natural habitats and users. Understanding the patterns of beach use can assist in developing management actions designed to promote sustainable use. We assessed whether remotely piloted aerial systems (c...
Article
The issues surrounding illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and that of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gears, leading to ghost fishing, are intensifying. Estuarine crab trapping is likely subject to high levels of illegal and potential ghost fishing, because it also has good economic incentives regarding potential catch, low gear acq...
Article
An increase in shark bites, declining shark populations, and changing social attitudes, has driven an urgent need for non-destructive shark monitoring. While drones may be a useful tool for marine aerial surveillance, their reliability in detecting fauna along coastal beaches has not been established. We developed a drone-based shark surveillance p...
Article
Full-text available
Sharks are well known to scavenge whale carcasses, but observations are rare. Here we (1) describe new observations of whale carcass scavenging behaviour by white (Carcharodon carcharias) and tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier) sharks, and (2) review the scientific and grey literature on the topic. Our new observations are from the east coast of New South Wa...
Article
Offset J and circle hooks (nickel-plated carbon steel) were modified by removing the barb and bending the front parallel (‘inline’) with the shaft (circle only) to assess their utility for reducing mortality after ingestion by one of Australia’s most commonly angled species—yellowfin bream, Acanthropagrus australis—and for increasing hook ejection...
Article
With the recovery of whale populations, carcass strandings on beaches are growing. Beach burial is a common management option for stranded carcasses. However, communities fear shark attraction following leachate transport to the ocean via submarine groundwater discharge. Here, a sediment column mesocosm experiment indicated that carcasses can be a...
Article
Full-text available
Many shark species are at risk of overexploitation due to their high economic value, slow maturation, and low recruitment compared to most teleosts. However, there is insufficient knowledge about population structure at different spatial scales necessary to optimise fisheries models. We used single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) obtained through c...
Article
The turbulent waters off ocean beaches provide habitat for large marine fauna, including dolphins, sharks, rays, turtles and game fish. Although, historically, these assemblages have proven difficult to quantify, we used a new drone-based approach to assess spatial and temporal variation in assemblages of large marine fauna off four exposed beaches...
Article
Common and Australian blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus and Carcharhinus tilstoni) occur sympatrically in Australia, where they are reported as a complex because of their morphological similarities. This study provides the first description of the life history of C. limbatus using samples from central eastern Australia, where C. tilstoni is ra...
Article
Full-text available
ContextA series of unprovoked shark attacks on New South Wales (Australia) beaches between 2013 and 2015 triggered an investigation of new and emerging technologies for protecting bathers. Traditionally, bather protection has included several methods for shark capture, detection and/or deterrence but has often relied on environmentally damaging tec...
Article
Full-text available
White sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, are often described as elusive, with little information available due to the logistical difficulties of studying large marine predators that make long-distance migrations across ocean basins. Increased understanding of aggregation patterns, combined with recent advances in technology have, however, facilitated...
Article
Full-text available
There is a lack of information regarding the effects on biochemical markers in invertebrates diet-exposed to inorganic mercury. In the present study, juvenile black tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) were fed with food dosed with mercuric chloride (low: 0.2 mg kg⁻¹; medium: 0.77 mg kg⁻¹; high: 1.41 mg kg⁻¹; higher: 2.52 mg kg⁻¹) and control (0.03 mg kg⁻...
Article
The management of stranded whale carcasses is a logistical, environmental and economic challenge concerning a number of different stakeholders. In this paper, we review the current carcass disposal methods, stakeholders involved, and identify research needs and gaps. Examples of carcass disposals from all over the world are presented with Australia...
Article
Full-text available
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly used in marine wildlife research. As technological developments rapidly advance the versatility and functionality of affordable UAVs, their potential as a marine aerial survey tool is quickly gaining attention. Currently, there is significant interest in whether cost-effective UAVs can outperform man...
Article
In response to a lack of data supporting (or otherwise) legally mandated escape gaps in an Australian recreational trap fishery for eastern rock lobster, Sagmariasus verreauxi, the effects of all prescribed options on catches were investigated. Round traps without escape gaps (control) were compared against those with either one (57 × 500 mm), two...
Article
The present study tested the hypothesis of no delayed sublethal effects of mild angling and release on the feeding, growth, somatic condition and gonadal development of golden perch Macquaria ambigua during gametogenesis. Subsamples of adult M. ambigua (n?=?17-21 of 207), originally captured from the wild and stocked into ten 0?1?ha earthen ponds,...
Article
Full-text available
Sharks are important apex predators in marine systems but many populations have experienced large declines, which has resulted in adverse effects on marine food webs. Sharks are also economically important , as their fins are valued in Asian markets. In response to concerns about declining shark populations, a number of nations, including Australia...
Article
Full-text available
Carcharhinus plumbeus (sandbar shark) and C. obscurus (dusky shark) occur in many global fisheries. However, little is known about their movement and the possible fate of discards. We redressed this lack of knowledge using pop-up satellite archival tags (PSAT) and acoustic tagging technologies. Eight sharks of each species were caught by demersal l...
Article
A widely accepted practice to maximize the survival of mandatory or voluntary released aquatic animals that have ingested hooks is to cut the line, leaving the ingested hook in thousands of fish, sharks, turtles and marine invertebrates worldwide. Recent evidence suggests that the chemical composition (mainly metals) of ingested hooks can potential...
Article
The utility of varying twine diameter (0.5-0.8 mm Ø) and/or mesh area (0.5:1) in south-eastern Australian recreational hoop nets was assessed in response to concerns over (1) impacts to discarded, undersize Scylla serrata L. and Portunus pelagicus Forskål and (2) marine debris (lost meshes). There was a negative relationship between Ø and breakage,...
Article
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are ubiquitous pollutants in the marine environment that are known to accumulate in apex predators such as sharks. Liver samples from dusky Carcharhinus obscurus, sandbar Carcharhinus plumbeus, and white Carcharodon carcharias sharks from south-eastern Australian waters were analysed for the seven indicator PCBs 28,...
Article
The Lutjanidae (tropical snappers) are important to fisheries throughout the tropics and subtropics. Reliable age-based demographic data are essential for the sustainable management of lutjanid fisheries, and are underpinned by the selection of appropriate ageing structures and validation of increment periodicity within these. Lutjanid age validati...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates mortality of sharks in a commercial longline fishery in Australia. To examine the rate and biological, environmental and technological factors contributing to at-vessel mortality, four setlines with 120 gangions possessing ‘hook timers’ were deployed daily (for 7h and 14h) using conventional gears from two commercial fishing...
Article
This study investigates the age and growth of Lutjanus argentimaculatus at its southern (cooler) range limits in eastern Australia. Specimens were collected from New South Wales and southern Queensland between November 2011 and December 2013. Fork lengths (LF ) ranged from 190 to 1019 mm, and ages ranged from 2+ to 57+ years. Growth was described b...