Whaler Shark
(Carcharhinus brachyurus)

Two species of ‘Whaler Sharks’ including the Bronze Whaler (Carcharhinus brachyurus) and the Dusky Shark (C. obscurus) are taken in the MSF. The species can be differentiated by their physical characteristics. Bronze Whalers are copper coloured, have non-serrated teeth and lack an inter-dorsal ridge, whereas Dusky Sharks are dark brown in colour, have serrated teeth and an inter-dorsal ridge located between the first and second dorsal fin. Female Bronze Whalers live for 31 years and males have similar lifespans of 25 years. Males and females both reach sexual maturity at 16 years of age at lengths of 2.2 and 2.7 m TL, respectively. The breeding frequency of Bronze Whalers is poorly understood in Australian waters, yet females produce 20‒24 pups per litter. Dusky Sharks are long-lived (max ~50 years), slow growing, have a 3-year breeding frequency and only produce 3–12 pups per litter. Large juvenile Dusky Sharks (>2.0 m) migrate between Western Australia and South Australian waters.  Similarly, there is preliminary evidence of east-ward and west-ward movements of Bronze Whalers between state jurisdictions.

Source:  Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2018.  Report by PIRSA

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