Cruising the coral reefs
Reef sharks mainly feed on reef fish, squid, cephalopods, crab, lobster and shrimp. They have been observed herding fish against the reef face before attacking.
All reef sharks are viviparous - they give birth to live pups, with an average of 1-5 pups per litter. Gestation periods can be longer than 1 year, and the pups do not reach maturity until at least the age of 5.
What are the main threats to Reef sharks?
Slow reproduction rates and a limited habitat makes reef sharks particularlty vulnerable to both commercial and artisanal fishing. They are often caught as bycatch and discarded, making a true assessment of population status difficult.
about 1.6 m (5.2 ft)
Near Threatened (IUCN)
Indo-Pacific and Caribbean
What is WWF doing?
- WWF works to preserve the coral habitats where reef sharks live. It is involved in the development of many marine protected areas, and works towards the introduction of fishing bans to protect vulnerable species such as reef sharks.
- WWF recognises that in some areas more value can be derived from reef sharks through diving tourism than fishing. It seeks to support local communities to set up appropriate ecotourism infrastructure, and under a new programme Sharks: Restoring the Balance, will produce a tool for establishing well-managed and sustainable tourism operations for sharks and rays.