Cutting edge shark science on show at NSW Parliament

Visitors to Parliament House and politicians alike were greeted by wobbegong shark pups in the foyer of NSW Parliament last month.

The male and female wobbegong pups were housed in a special tank designed to meet the needs of the crevice dwellers, which require darkness.

"We have brought wobbegong sharks to Parliament this week to highlight the success of a world-first research project, which is led by our leading scientists from the NSW Department of Primary Industries," Minister Macdonald said.

"The seven month old pups were born after late stage embryos were successfully transferred into an artificial uterus in a world first technique at the DPI’s Port Stephens Fisheries Institute last year."

"The pups have grown substantially since they were born, and research so far shows there doesn’t appear to be any difference between them and other pups born naturally in captivity."

The long-term aim of the breeding program is to apply the revolutionary technology to the endangered grey nurse shark species.

"We hope this artificial uterus will help overcome the grey nurse shark’s intra-uterine cannibalism, where embryos eat each other inside the mother’s uteri after hatching," Mr Macdonald said.

"We are using wobbegong sharks because they are not an endangered species and their reproductive cycle has some similarities to the grey nurse shark."

"We have committed resources of up to $400,000 a year to support this ground-breaking research program."

"The NSW Government was the first in the world to protect the grey nurse shark, placing it on the protected species list in 1984."

"This project is another example of NSW Government continuing to look at innovative ways to recover the grey nurse shark population."