Hemipristis elongata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Hemigaleidae

Scientific Name: Hemipristis elongata (Klunzinger, 1871)
Common Name(s):
English Snaggletooth Shark, Fossil Shark
Carcharias ellioti Day, 1878
Dirrhizodon elongatus Klunzinger, 1871
Hemipristis elongatus (Klunzinger, 1871)
Hemipristis pingali Setna & Sarangdhar, 1946
Heterogaleus ghardaqensis Gohar & Mazhar, 1964
Paragaleus acutiventralis Chu, 1960
Taxonomic Source(s): Klunzinger, C.B. 1871. Synopsis der Fische des Rothen Meeres. II. Theil. Verh. K.-K. Zool.-Bot. Ges. Wien 21: 441-688.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2bd+3bd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-02-20
Assessor(s): White, W.T. & Simpfendorfer, C.
Reviewer(s): Lawson, J., Dulvy, N.K. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M., Walls, R.H.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Chin, A.
The Fossil Shark (Hemipristis elongata) is commonly landed in coastal fisheries throughout its shallow (down to 130 m) tropical Indo-West Pacific range (to a lesser extent in Australia) since the flesh is considered of very high quality, as are the fins and liver.

Life history data demonstrate that it grows and matures rapidly, suggesting a relatively high ability to sustain fishing. Despite this, the intensive and largely unmanaged net and trawl fisheries that occur throughout most of its range (with the exception of Australia) fish heavily in its known habitat and are likely to catch this species when present. Many shark stocks in the region are known to be over-exploited, with catches declining, and market surveys indicate that this species has declined in areas where it was once considered common. This species has not been reported in surveys of the South China Sea where it has previously been recorded.

This declining trend is likely to continue in future in the absence of management and because of continued, if not increasing, fishing effort. Based on global declines in chondrichthyan landings of at least 20% over the past 12 years, and the fact that the Indo-Pacific region is a region with some of the most poorly managed and intensely fished waters, a population reduction of greater than 30% over the past three generations (27 years) is inferred for the Fossil Shark, and a decline at a similar rate is expected to occur over the next three generations; hence the species is assessed as Vulnerable.

In Australian waters, this species is suspected to be Least Concern as a result of well-managed fisheries and low catches.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Fossil Shark has a wide range in the Indo-West Pacific including South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Yemen (Aden), the Red Sea, the Arabian/Persian Gulf, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, southern Papua New Guinea, and northern and western Australia (Last and Stevens 2009, Jaiteh and Momigliano 2015). In Australian waters, the species is known from Bunbury, Western Australia, to Moreton Bay, Queensland (Compagno 1998, Last and Stevens 2009, Taylor and Bennett 2013).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Bahrain; China; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kuwait; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mozambique; Oman; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Viet Nam; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – western central; Pacific – northwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):130
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The Fossil Shark appears to be naturally rare in most places where it occurs. There are no data available on population structure, but the population is inferred to be declining based on heavy exploitation of coastal and shelf fishes across most of its range.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Fossil Shark occurs on the continental shelf, inshore to a depth of 130 m (Compagno 1998). This viviparous species has a seasonal reproductive cycle, producing 2 to 11 (mean = 6) young per litter, ranging in size from 45 to 52 cm total length (TL; Compagno 1984, Last and Stevens 2009). Mating appears to take place around June, ovulation in September and birth in about April, with a gestation period of about 7 to 8 months. The pregnancy rate among mature females off Australia is about 30%, which suggests that individual females may breed every other year (Stevens and McLoughlin 1991). This species attains 240 cm TL, with females and males maturing at approximately 120 and 110 cm TL, respectively. Smart et al. (2013) provided age and growth data for specimens caught off the east coast of Queensland. Growth appears to be quite rapid, with maturity reached in 2–3 years. Maximum observed age was 15 years. Generation length is estimated to be 9 years, based on age data from Smart et al. (2013).
Generation Length (years):9

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Fossil Shark is taken for its flesh, fins, liver oil and skin. In India and Indonesia, among other countries, the flesh is considered of high quality (White et al. 2006, Last and Stevens 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The gillnet and trawl fisheries in Indonesia (especially the Java Sea) are very extensive and as a result, many shark species are highly exploited and stocks of most species have declined by at least an order of magnitude (Blaber et al. 2009). Globally, shark and ray landings have declined by at least 20% since 2003, but the Indo-Pacific is amongst the regions where this decline has been more severe (Dulvy et al. 2014). Catches of sharks in Southeast Asia are very high but are declining and fishers are travelling much further from port in order to increase catches (Chen 1996). Trawl and gillnet fisheries are moving further away, for example, in Jakarta the gillnet fishery at Muara Baru travels to waters around Kalimantan due to the decline in local shark populations (W.T. White, unpubl. data). In the Gulf of Thailand, this species was once considered common, however, surveys in recent years have observed very few specimens (L.J.V Compagno, pers. comm. 2003). Similarly, in the waters of the South China Sea (including Hong Kong and parts of mainland China) this species has been recorded in historic surveys, but has been absent from all recent surveys (Lam and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2010) indicating that it may have become locally extinct in some parts of Asia. The numbers observed in market surveys in Indonesia are likely to provide a relatively good representation of a likely depleted population although no baseline information exists (White 2007). It is taken in very small quantities in fisheries throughout the Arabian/Persian Gulf and Red Sea (Moore and Peirce 2013, Spaet and Berumen 2015, Jabado et al. 2015) but its status there is unknown.

The Fossil Shark is a minor component of the northern Australian gillnet and trawl (prawn and fish) fisheries (Last and Stevens 2009, Stobutzki et al. 2002, Zhou and Griffiths 2008). In the inshore gillnet fishery on the east coast of Queensland it makes up about 0.1% of the catch. It makes up similar proportions in other coastal fisheries across northern Australia. The catch (which is discarded) in the Australian Northern Prawn Fishery is small, and estimates of fishing mortality indicate that the level of take is sufficiently low to ensure sustainability (Zhou and Griffiths 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no species-specific management measures for the Fossil Shark. Fisheries that take this species in northern Australia are well managed, having limited entry, catch or effort limits, gear restrictions and finning regulations. Throughout most of the rest of the distribution, coastal fisheries lack sufficient management or enforcement to achieve sustainability.

Citation: White, W.T. & Simpfendorfer, C. 2016. Hemipristis elongata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41874A68625034. . Downloaded on 18 July 2018.
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