Sandbar Shark

(Carcharhinus plumbeus)

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IUCN Conservation Status
Vulnerable (VU)


The sandbar shark is a coastal-pelagic species that inhabits temperate and tropical waters. It is the most abundant species of large shark in the Western Atlantic. It has a global distribution, being found in the Western and Eastern Atlantic, including the Mediterranean.


Averages 6 feet long and about 110-150 lbs.

The sandbar shark, also known as the brown shark, is one of the biggest coastal sharks in the world. It is the most common shark species swimming along the mid-Atlantic coast. Its most distinguishing characteristic is a taller than average first dorsal fin. True to its name, the sandbar shark is commonly found over muddy or sandy bottoms in shallow coastal waters such as bays, estuaries, harbors or the mouths of rivers. Sandbar sharks swim alone or gather in sex-segregated schools that vary in size. It is known to undergo seasonal migrations that are influenced by temperature and possibly, ocean currents. Unlike most sharks, the female gives birth to live young in shallow water nursing grounds every 2 to 3 years. Juveniles are common in the lower Chesapeake Bay and nursery grounds are found from Delaware Bay to South Carolina.

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