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Carcharhinus brachyurus  (Günther, 1870)

Copper shark
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Image of Carcharhinus brachyurus (Copper shark)
Carcharhinus brachyurus
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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:
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:

Classification / Names

Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks) > Carcharhinidae (Requiem sharks)
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 325 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2334); max. published weight: 304.6 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 3209)

Length at first maturity
Lm 230.0, range 245 - 240 cm


Marine; brackish; reef-associated; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 360 m (Ref. 58018)

Climate / Range

Subtropical; 45°N - 52°S, 122°W - 180°E


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.
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

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).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)

Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes

More information

Common names
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 0.5000 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

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)