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Researcher not surprised by shark deaths

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A Queensland marine researcher is not surprised 30 scalloped hammerhead sharks captured off the Great Barrier Reef and exported to a French aquarium did not survive in captivity.

Cairns Marine sent 18 young sharks to Nausicaa aquarium in Boulogne, near Calais, in 2011 and another 12 last year but they have all since died, the last one in April.

Darryl McPhee, of Bond University, said hammerhead sharks were "highly migratory" and could roam up to 700km in the ocean.

He said some species of shark could thrive in an aquarium, but the hammerhead was unique and not suited to that environment.

"We really need to ask ourselves if we need to be exporting hammerhead sharks to be out in an aquarium on the other side of the world," Dr McPhee said.

He said he feared if the French aquarium tried a third time, the sharks would die of the same infection.

The deaths have prompted an international legal action against Nausicaa and calls for the federal government, which approves these live exports, to stop the capture and trade of fragile and vulnerable species.

Environment Minister Melissa Price did not respond to AAP requests for comment.

© AAP 2019

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