Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
Oceanic Whitetip Shark
Photo: Johan Lantz
Did You Know?
· Oceanic whitetip sharks are relatively slow swimmers, but are capable of surprising bursts of speed. They are aggressive and persistent sharks and have shown little fear when confronted.
|Weight:||over 500 pounds (230 kg)|
|Length:||up to 11.25 feet (3.4 m)|
|Appearance:||white-tipped first dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins, and paddle-like pectoral fins|
|Lifespan:||up to 15 years; maturity is reached at ~4-7 years|
|Diet:||bony fishes (including tunas, barracuda, white marlin, dolphinfish, lancetfish, oarfish, threadfish, swordfish), also threadfins, stingrays, sea turtles, sea birds, gastropods, squid, crustaceans, mammalian carrion, and garbage|
|Behavior:||"viviparous", meaning mothers give birth to live young; gestation is thought to last 9-12 months with litter sizes anywhere from 1 to 14 pups, and they typically give birth every 2 years|
Oceanic whitetip sharks are moderately large sharks with a global distribution. This stocky shark is easily distinguished from other sharks by its unmistakable whitish-tipped first dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins. It has a large rounded first dorsal fin and very long and wide paddle-like pectoral fins with a short, bluntly rounded nose and small circular eyes.
Oceanic whitetip sharks are found worldwide in warm tropical and subtropical waters between 20° North and 20° South latitude, but can be found up to about 30° North and South latitude during seasonal movements to higher latitudes in the summer months.
- bycatch in pelagic fisheries
- trade of fins
Oceanic whitetip sharks are one of the more common tropical pelagic species taken as bycatch primarily in tuna and swordfish fisheries using pelagic longlines, purse seines, and probably also with pelagic gillnets, handlines, and occasionally pelagic and even bottom trawls.
Fins have high value ($20-40 per pound) in the international fin trade and are used to make shark fin soup.
In October 2012, a number of countries, including the United States, agreed to sponsor a proposal to add oceanic whitetip shark to Appendix II of CITES to provide further protections from the high demand in international trade. The proposal was passed at the CITES meeting in March 2013 and will be effective September 14, 2014.
|CITES Appendix II Proposal||10/04/2012|
- CITES Implementation: U.S. Fish and Wildlife
- CITES conference takes decisive action to halt decline sharks, other species
- NOAA's role in CITES
- IUCN Red List
Updated: August 25, 2014