• Audience
    Secondary school, Tertiary
  • Learning stage
    Stage 4, Stage 5, Stage 6
  • Learning area
    Careers, Science
  • Type
    Teaching resources, Virtual excursions

On this page...

With rising temperatures, industrial fishing and oceans choked by pollution, sharks are in great danger. Our attitudes and our actions will decide the fate of these ancient survivors.

In this on demand virtual excursion, students heard from three NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists on what is being done to protect our sharks from the threats they face, how the environments they live in can best be managed and preserved, and how humans can stay safe when entering their habitats.


Dr Sophie Calabretto

Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG)

Dr Sophie Calabretto is an applied mathematician, fluid mechanist, and science writer. She currently works as a Defence scientist with the Department of Defence having transitioned from academia as part of the Defence NAVIGATE program. Dr Calabretto is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University, and Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Leicester. She also hosts ‘The Science Briefing’, a podcast about the science of everything, produced by LiSTNR and The Royal Institution of Australia. She’s been recognised for her excellent work as a science communicator, being awarded one of the ABC's 'Top 5 Under 40' researchers in 2017, and a finalist in the Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science in 2019 and 2020.

Learn more.


Headshots of three scientists
NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists (left to right); Dr Amy Smoothey, Dr Paul Butcher, Dr Vic Peddemors Image: NSW Department of Primary Industries
© NSW Department of Primary Industries

Dr Amy Smoothey

Dr Amy Smoothey, is a Marine Ecologist working at New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, who spends her days (and nights) researching these fascinating animals to understand when, where and why sharks are in certain areas to help protect sharks and keep people safe. For over 12 years, Dr Smoothey has led research projects to understand aspects of the biology and ecology of sharks along the east coast of Australia and is involved with various aspects of the NSW Shark Management Program which aims to increase protection for beachgoers while minimising harm to sharks and other marine life.

Dr Paul Butcher

Paul is a Principal Research Scientist with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Paul’s career has included the successful development of expertise in the fields of gear testing (commercial and recreational fishing gears) and teleost, elasmobranch and crustacean survival, welfare, and movement (tagging). Paul continues to lead research projects associated with the NSW Government’s Shark Management Program.

Dr Vic Peddemors

Dr Vic Peddemors is the senior scientist for shark research in the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, providing scientific leadership for the group’s research and advisory effort. Vic has over 35 years scientific research experience in Antarctica, Australia, England, Holland, Mozambique and South Africa. His research interests cover a wide range of marine apex predators, but have inevitably had an over-riding theme of ensuring human impacts on their populations are sustainable. At the NSW DPI, Vic is also responsible for the scientific component of investigating and managing human-shark interactions and mitigation of these events, both for shark bites of humans and human fishing interactions with sharks. Vic currently sits on the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and is a past Chairman of the Scientific Committee for the IMOS Animal Tracking Facility.

Developed in partnership with the NSW Government and the NSW Department of Primary Industries