gummy, southern gummy shark, grey gummy shark, flake, sweet William
Gummy shark are bronze to grey with small white spots along the body and a pale belly. There are two dorsal fins of a similar size.
Sharks are vulnerable to overfishing because they are long-lived, slow to mature and produce few offspring compared with other fish. Responsible fishers should return all unwanted shark to the water alive and undamaged. Using circle hooks will ensure the shark is predominantly jaw hooked and easier to release using a sturdy de-hooking device. Consider using fewer hooks on longlines in areas where gummy sharks are prevalent to avoid exceeding catch limits.
Do not take in shark refuge areas. Research suggests that gummy sharks are being heavily fished, so area restrictions to protect this species and school shark are extremely important.
The dorsal and pectoral fins must remain attached to all shark until they are landed.
Gummy sharks are widely distributed around the southern half of Australia including Bass Strait and Tasmania. Found mainly over sandy areas and will come close inshore to beaches at night in search of food items. Can be caught from 2-80m but may go much deeper. Gummy sharks depend on inshore nursery areas including sheltered bays and estuaries as habitat for birthing females and for juveniles.
These sharks are becoming increasingly targeted by anglers fishing at night from beaches around Tasmania. Sturdy fishing gear is required and try baits such as fish flesh or squid. The most popular method for fishing gummy sharks in Tasmania is by longline, their use being almost exclusively to target this species. Occasionally caught from boats by anglers fishing for flathead.
These sharks have flattened teeth that are turned inwards such that the points and edges are not exposed, hence their name ‘gummy’ sharks. All large sharks should be handled carefully as they tend to thrash about when landed.
The flesh is firm and tasty though it should be well bled. Keeping fillets in fridge overnight improves their eating quality.
Recipe: Sesame Baked Flake:
1 kg flake fillets; salt and pepper; ½ cup melted butter; 2 cups soft breadcrumbs; ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds.
Place fish in shallow greased baking dish. Sprinkle with salt. Combine breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, butter and season to taste. Spoon over fish. Bake in moderate oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes.
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