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Carcharhinus brachyurus  (Günther, 1870)

Copper shark
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Image of Carcharhinus brachyurus (Copper shark)
Carcharhinus brachyurus
Picture by Smith, B.


Australia country information

Common names: Black-tipped whaler, Bronze shark whaler, Bronze whaler
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: common (usually seen) | Ref:
Importance: minor commercial | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: restricted | Ref:
Uses: gamefish: yes;
Comments: Occurs in southern Australia, from Jurien Bay in Western Australia to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. Reports from off eastern Tasmania needs verification (Ref. 6871). Bronze whalers probably migrate following the warmer water southwards in the spring and summer and northwards in the autumn and winter. Migratory behaviour suggests a single stock in the area. Commercial fishery: The major commercial fishery is in Western Australia. In the southwestern area, bronze whalers are caught mainly with bottom set gillnets, bottom set longlines, droplines and handlines. Bronze whalers actually comprise only 5% of the combined catch for dusky and bronze whalers (Ref. 6871, 13841). In catch records they are often confused with dusky whalers. Since about 1976-80, fishing effort in the Southwest Shark Fishery in Western Australia has been increasing, reaching about 274% from 1980-81, and finally stabilising in 1987-88 (Ref. 13842). From then on until 1994, the Fishery has developed rapidly. Newly born and small juvenile bronze sharks are the prime target of the fishery, hence the annual variations in catch are probably dependent on the number of new recruits that are available to the fisheries (Ref. 6871, 13841, 13842). These species are also included as incidental catch of demersal otter trawling off southern Australia. In the South Australian inshore fishery, they are also caught in west coast bays, Spencer Gulf and Gulf of St. Vincent, off the Murray River mouth and the south-east coast. Bronze whalers are sold on local markets and their flesh is used in the fish-and-chip trade. Recreational fishery: Jetties such as at Giles Point and Rapid Bay in South Australia, and Lorne and Point Lonsdale in Victoria are frequented by gamefishers for catching bronze whalers. They use moderately heavy lines with wire or light chain traces, and gamefishing tackle. Resource status: Juveniles are mostly targeted in this fishery. However, the extent of the nursery areas is not known so the level of exploitation cannot be determined. There is little information on the status of the adults as well. Current levels of fishing may be sustainable probably if the stocks are not being fished over the extent of their range due to their migratory habits (Ref. 13842). Also Ref. 2334, 5978, 7300, 9997.
National Checklist:
Country Information: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks) > Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)
Etymology: Carcharhinus: Greek, karcharos = sharpen + Greek, rhinos = nose (Ref. 45335).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 360 m (Ref. 58018).   Subtropical; 45°N - 52°S, 122°W - 180°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Western Atlantic: Mexico, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil to Argentina. Eastern Atlantic: off France southward and around the coast of southern Africa to central Natal, South Africa (Ref. 5578), including the Mediterranean. Possibly two separate populations in southern Africa (Ref. 3209). Western Pacific: Japan to New Zealand. Eastern Pacific: southern California, USA to the Gulf of California in Mexico and Peru.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 230.0, range 245 - 240 cm
Max length : 325 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2334); max. published weight: 304.6 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 3209)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 0. A large shark to with a bluntly pointed, broad snout, narrow, bent cusps on the upper teeth, and with no interdorsal ridge (Ref. 5578). Grey to bronzy in color, white below (Ref. 5578); fins mostly plain except for dusky tips on pelvic fins, as well as dusky to black tips and rear edges on pectoral fins (Ref. 9997).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

A coastal and offshore shark (Ref. 9997) found along continental margins in most tropical and temperate seas. Occasionally enters large coastal bays and inshore areas (Ref. 6390). Occasionally found near the bottom (Ref. 6808). Migratory in the northern part of its range, moving northward in spring and summer and southward in autumn and winter (Ref. 244). Feeds on pelagic and bottom bony fishes, cephalopods, and small sharks and rays (Ref. 5578). Viviparous (Ref. 50449). Undoubtedly utilized for human consumption where it occurs (Ref. 244). Implicated in shark attacks on people (Ref. 9997).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Viviparous, with a yolk-sac placenta. Litter contains 7 to 20 pups (Ref. 6871, 6390). Young born at 59 - 70 cm TL (Ref. 6390). Pupping may occur at any time of the year but there is a peak in births in summer (Ref. 6390). Distinct pairing with embrace (Ref. 205).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Compagno, Leonard J.V. | Collaborators

Compagno, L.J.V., 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 2 - Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(4/2):251-655. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 244)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)




Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 11.6 - 23.8, mean 17.4 (based on 797 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00468 (0.00228 - 0.00959), b=3.09 (2.93 - 3.25), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (K=0.04; tm=5-20; tmax=30; Fec=7).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Very high vulnerability (87 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.