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

Carcharias taurus | Rafinesque, 1810
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 Sand Tiger Shark occurs throughout UAE waters. Globally, it has a broad inshore distribution, primarily in subtropical to warm temperate waters around the main continental landmasses of the Indo-West Pacific and Atlantic (Jabado et al. 2013).
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
Sand Tiger Sharks are generally coastal, usually found from the surf zone down to depths of around 25 m. It may also occasionally be found in shallow bays, around coral reefs and, very rarely, to depths of around 200 m on the continental shelf. They usually live near the bottom, but may also move throughout the water column (Compagno 1984). This species occurs either alone or in small to medium-sized aggregations of 20-80 individuals (Silvester 1977, Aitken 1991). Populations of this species (off South Africa and the east coast of the USA) are known to be philopatric undertaking complex size and sex segregated migrations habitually returning to their breeding area (Bass et al. 1975, Gilmore 1993, Musick et al. 1993). This species reaches a maximum size of approximately 325 cm total length (TL), with females maturing at approximately 220 cm TL. The maximum age is 17 years with females maturing at 9.5 years with a generation span of approximately 13.25 years based on Atlantic studies (Goldman 2002). They are ovoviviparous and usually only two pups are born per litter once every two years. This is because the remaining eggs and developing embryos are eaten by the largest and/or most advanced embryo in each horn of the uterus (a phenomenon known as adelphophagy or uterine cannibalism). The gestation period may last from 9-12 months and size at birth is relatively large, at about 1 m (Gilmore et al. 1983, Gilmore 1993).
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Critically Endangered
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment status criteria
Assessment rationale/justification
The Sand Tiger Shark occurs throughout UAE waters, and is occasionally recorded there. It is not targeted, but may be taken as bycatch in the UAE. It is suspected to be severely depleted in the Arabian Sea region, where it has apparently become increasingly rare over time in many localities. 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. 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, it is suspected to have declined by at least 80% over the past three generation lengths, or about 40 years. It is listed as Critically Endangered A2d.
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 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). Corals in the UAE and Arabian Gulf have severely declined due to the increasing frequency of mass bleaching events caused by rising water temperatures, which is a consequence of climate change, as well as pervasive coastal development (Riegl et al. 2018, Burt et al. 2019).
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

Scientific Name Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Carcharias taurus Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Lamniformes Odontaspididae Carcharias