MORE BRONZE WHALER SHARK IMAGES -
Bronze Whaler Shark, Copper Shark, Narrowtooth Shark, Cocktail Shark.
Bronze to grey-green above. White below. Dusky or black tips on most fins.
white line extends along flank. Large, bluntly pointed snout. Dorsal fin short.
Pectorals long and pointed. Usually no interdorsal ridge. Teeth with one narrow
bent cusp with small serrations.
Maximum recorded size: 294cm. At maturity: female 240cm. Male 200-229cm.
A coastal midwater species. Inshore from surface to at least 100m.
Widespread in subtropical and temperate oceans but restricted to coastal
habitats. Mostly isolated populations appear in: China Sea, Eastern Australia,
Western Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Mexico, Ecuador-Peru, Atlantic
Argentina, Mediterranean, West Africa and South Africa.
Large aggregations form off of South Africa during the Annual Sardine Run.
sharks and rays and cephalopods.
An active swimmer. Follows seasonally migratory fish species such as sardines.
Gestation 1 year. Litter size 13-24 pups.
Port Saint Johns,
Wild Coast, South Africa.
Conservation Status: The IUCN lists the bronze whaler shark as globally
Near Threatened and
Vulnerable in some regions.
Justification: Carcharhinus brachyurus is a large coastal shark with low
productivity. Although widespread, regional populations appear to be discrete,
and movement of individuals between them is thought infrequent or absent, and it
does not appear to be naturally abundant anywhere. C. brachyurus is assessed as
Vulnerable in East Asia due to intensive fisheries and the apparent widespread
collapse of fisheries for large coastal sharks. Coastal multispecies fisheries
in the region are likely to continue to depress the population by taking
pregnant females and juveniles. Coastal nursery areas in this region are also at
risk from development and pollution.
Catches appear to be stable in Australia. In New Zealand, although there may
have been some reduction in population size due to fishing, C. brachyurus is
apparently still common throughout its range. Management of this species in New
Zealand, Australia and South Africa is simplified by having most, if not all of
the population resident within each nation's EEZ, and the species is assessed as
Least Concern in these regions. However, it is assessed as Data Deficient in the
East Pacific, where there is no information and it appears to be uncommon or
Throughout its range, it is known to be exploited by fisheries, but landings are
grouped together with other Carcharhinus species, meaning any population
declines are likely to go unnoticed, and its coastal nursery areas are
potentially vulnerable to development and pollution. This, together with life
history characteristics that make it especially vulnerable to overfishing has
led to the global assessment of C. brachyurus as Near Threatened. The situation
must be monitored as this species could soon qualify for a threatened category,
on the basis of population declines due to fisheries exploitation, in other
Citation: Duffy, C. & Gordon, I. (SSG Australia & Oceania
Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Carcharhinus brachyurus. The IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
- Quite similar in appearance, these two species are often confused with one
another. The dusky shark grows larger, has a slightly more slender nose, more
pointed and falcate pectoral fins, a higher first dorsal, a low interdorsal
ridge, a more prominent terminal lobe on the upper caudal and more triangular
teeth. Most of these differences are quite subtle.
- This species is more easily differentiated by its more laterally flattened
snout, obvious black tips on all fins except the upper caudal lobe and a very
well defined pale stripe on the flank.
Reaction to divers:
Bronze whaler sharks generally avoid divers unless enticed with chum or during
spear fishing activities. However, during the South African Sardine Run these
sharks can become much bolder and will virtually ignore divers when devouring
sardines and other baitfish.
The best place to encounter bronze whaler sharks is during the Sardine Run which
takes place on the east coast of South Africa from early June to the end of
July. Most operators base themselves in East London early in the run and then
move to Port Saint John as the sardines move northeast.
Big Fish Expeditions runs dedicated Sardine Run expeditions that also include
chumming for bronze whalers and chumming on local reefs between bait balls:
South African Sardine Run.
Big Fish Expeditions: