Apristurus sinensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Pentanchidae

Scientific Name: Apristurus sinensis Chu & Hu, 1981
Common Name(s):
English South China Catshark, Freckled Catshark
French Holbiche Chuchu
Spanish Pejegato Chino
Apristurus sp. nov. A
Taxonomic Notes: Forms provisionally assigned to Apristurus sinensis from Australian waters are genetically distinct and may represent separate species (Last and Stevens 2009).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-02-18
Assessor(s): Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C.A.J.
Reviewer(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
Contributor(s): Walls, R.H.L. & Kyne, P.M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Kyne, P.M. & Walls, R.H.L.
The South China Catshark (Apristurus sinensis) is a small deepwater shark known from only the holotype from the South China Sea and three genetically distinct forms from Australia which are provisionally assigned to this species. However, these may be separate species. Until these taxonomic issues are resolved, the species cannot be assessed beyond Data Deficient.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The distribution of the South China Catshark is poorly-defined due to taxonomic issues. The type location is the South China Sea, however the species name has also been provisionally used for a catshark off southeast Australia (from Newcastle to Beachport) and off Western Australia (North West Cape to Busselton and off Ashmore Reef) (Last and Stevens 2009). Also possibly occurs off New Zealand (Last and Stevens 2009).
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):1290
Upper depth limit (metres):537
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Three genetically distinct variations found in Australian waters may be separate species (Last and Stevens 2009).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The holotype of this deepwater catshark was taken at a depth of 537 m, while the Australian forms have been found between 940 and 1,290 m depth (Last and Stevens 2009). Maximum size is at least 75 cm (possibly 82 cm) total length (TL) and recorded size at maturity is 47 cm TL in males and 61 cm TL in females (Last and Stevens 2009). Apristurus species are relatively small sharks that live on or near the bottom on the continental slope. Where known, reproduction is oviparous with one egg per oviduct.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not known to be utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Australian waters most of the depth range of this species is outside the activity of commercial trawl fisheries so it is expected that bycatch levels would be low to negligible. In the Commonwealth Trawl Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, most areas below 700 m are closed to trawling, so there is no fishery operating in the depth range of this catshark in this area (Penney et al. 2014). The Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery operates within the range of this species, however current effort and catch is low with only two boats active in the 2012-13 fishing season (Marton and Mazur 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Areas below 700 m closed to trawling off southeast Australia would provide refuge for this species (Penney et al. 2014).

Classifications [top]

11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.1. Hard Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 
11. Marine Deep Benthic -> 11.1. Marine Deep Benthic - Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200-4,000m) -> 11.1.2. Soft Substrate
suitability:Suitable season:resident 

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Not Applicable
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.4. Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group. Specialist Group website. Available at:

Last, P.R. and Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Second Edition. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Marton, N. and Mazur, K. 2014. Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery. In: Georgeson, L., Stobutzki, I. and Curtotti, R. (eds), Fishery status reports 2013-14, pp. 271-280. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

Penney, A., Moore, A., Flood, M., Georgeson, L. and Curtotti, R. 2014. Commonwealth Trawl and Scalefish Hook sectors. In: Georgeson, L., Stobutzki, I. and Curtotti, R. (eds), Fishery Status Reports 2013-14, pp. 128-213. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.

Citation: Huveneers, C. & Duffy, C.A.J. 2015. Apristurus sinensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T44225A70709147. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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