Carcharhinus leucas | UAE National Red List of Marine Species: Reef-building corals, cartilaginous fishes and select bony fishes

Carcharhinus leucas | (Müller & Henle, 1839)
Countries in Assessment
United Arab Emirates
Country ISO code(s)
Does the assessment cover a marine EEZ area(s)?
Scope (Assessment)
Taxonomic Group
Taxonomic Group Level 2
Assessed taxon level
Taxon distribution as listed in assessment
The Bull Shark occurs throughout UAE waters. Elsewhere, it is circumglobal in tropical waters (Last and Stevens 2009). It is likely to have been widely misidentified as the Pigeye Shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis) where their distributions overlap (i.e. Gulf of Aden and eastwards).
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
The Bull Shark occurs in inshore and offshore waters, usually near the bottom, from the surfline to a depth of at least 152 m (Ebert et al. 2013). This species is euryhaline, with nursery areas in rivers, although within the Arabian Seas region, neonates have been recorded in areas without rivers and estuaries (Jabado et al. 2016). It attains a maximum size of about 340 cm total length (TL) with males mature at around 157-226 cm TL and females mature around 180-230 cm TL (Ebert et al. 2013, Jabado et al. 2016, Moore et al. 2012). Females produce litters of 1-13 every second year (Smith 1997) and size at birth is about 55-81 cm TL (Ebert et al. 2013). Ageing data from northern Australia indicate that females mature around 10 years and reach a maximum of at least 27 years (Tillett et al. 2011). Based on these data, generation length is estimated at 18.25 years.
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment status criteria
Assessment rationale/justification
The Bull Shark occurs throughout UAE inshore and offshore waters. Little specific data are available for this species in the UAE. Although there are limited data on its status, other Carcharhinus species in the Arabian Gulf have undergone significant declines due to exploitation. It has a relatively low reproductive capacity, which causes it to be susceptible to over-exploitation. It is apparently highly migratory, and has slow life history characteristics including low fecundity and a low annual rate of population increase. Considering this, the species has a low capacity to recover from even moderate levels of exploitation. It is especially susceptible to exploitation (target and bycatch) in many largely unregulated gill net, longline and trawl fisheries that operate within its range outside and surrounding UAE waters. Some management measures are now in place in the Arabian Sea region, although domestic fisheries are likely to continue. In addition, degradation of estuarine habitat is pervasive in the Arabian Gulf region. Though data specifically from the UAE are not available, individuals in the UAE are a component of a larger, interconnected and migratory population that occurs broadly in the north-western Indian Ocean. It is inferred that declines reported in the Arabian Sea region are representative of its status in the UAE. Based on recorded levels of exploitation and decline in habitat quality, it is suspected to have declined by 50-80% over the past three generation lengths, or about 55 years. It is listed as Endangered A2cd.
About the assessment
Assessment year
Assessors/contributors/reviewers listed
UAE National Red List Workshop
Affliation of assessor(s)/contributors/reviewers listed on assessment
Assessor affiliation specific
Criteria system
Criteria system specifics
IUCN v3.1
Criteria system used
Criteria Citation
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1, Second edition. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. iv + 32pp pp. And IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN. iii + 41pp.
Endemic to region
Endemism Notes
Is an endemic?: Not_assigned
Threats listed in assessment
Information pertaining to threats specific to the UAE are unavailable. This species is impacted by target (for fins and their valuable meat) and bycatch fisheries that are active elsewhere in its range. Marine habitats in the Gulf are experiencing high levels of disturbance and quickly deteriorating due to major impacts from development activities (including dredging and reclamation), desalination plants, industrial activities, habitat destruction through the removal of shallow productive areas and major shipping lanes (Sheppard et al. 2010). The reliance on rivers and estuaries by juveniles means that this species faces significant threats from habitat degradation due to damming, agriculture and coastal development (Moore 2018), which is pervasive in the Arabian Gulf region.
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

Scientific Name Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Carcharhinus leucas Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Carcharhinidae Carcharhinus