Many different shark species are used for fish-and-chips (under the name flake) in Australia: School sharks, several species of wobbegongs, and also the Gummy shark or Australian smooth hound (Mustelus antarcticus). It is named after its gummy-like, boneless fillets (don’t all sharks have no bones?) in English and its habitat off southern Australia (near Antarctica) in Latin.
Like all sharks of the family houndsharks, the Gummy shark has a smooth skin with tiny denticles and is viviparous. Every one of the one to 57 embryos (depending on the size of their mother) stays in their own separate compartment in one of the two uteri of their mother during the year long gestation. Born at a length of approximately 13 in -33 cm-, female mature at 5 years and reach a length of up to 73 in -185 cm-, males at 4 years with a maximal length of 58 in -148 cm. Gummy sharks live up to 16 years.
Living in two genetically distinct sub-populations, the Gummy shark is abundant in shallow waters off southern Australia. Nevertheless, regulations to manage fisheries like gillnets with a mesh-size around 6 in -16 cm- to protect smaller (juveniles) as well as larger (big female) sharks or a bag limit for recreational fishermen (see spotted wobby) and conservation measures like marine protected areas (MPAs) are in place to protect this shark species, too. It seems that climate change and subsequently warmer water “might trigger a change from the biennial reproductive cycle presently characteristic of Bass Strait to an annual cycle characteristic of the other regions (Walker 2007), which may increase pup production and hence productivity of the population and yield from the fishery.” This is no reason to give the all-clear, however.