Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)

*** Update: Read about the outcomes of our proposals at CoP16.

CITES Status | Taxonomy | Description | Habitat | Distribution | Threats


CITES Status


Oceanic Whitetip Shark, Credit: Copyright © Brian Skerry

Proposed pdf for Appendix II listing by Colombia (co-sponsored by the United States and Brazil) at CoP16.


Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Carcharhiniformes
Family: Carcharhinidae
Genus: Carcharhinus
Species: longimanus


Oceanic whitetip sharks are moderately large sharks with a global distribution. This stocky shark is easily distinguished from other sharks by its unmistakable whitish-tipped first dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins. It has a large rounded first dorsal fin and very long and wide paddle-like pectoral fins with a short, bluntly rounded nose and small circular eyes.

They feed on bony fishes (including tunas, barracuda, white marlin, dolphinfish, lancetfish, oarfish, threadfish, swordfish), also threadfins, stingrays, sea turtles, sea birds, gastropods, squid, crustaceans, mammalian carrion and garbage.


The oceanic whitetip shark is a pelagic species that lives near the surface in warm waters in the open ocean, usually well offshore.


Oceanic whitetip sharks are found worldwide in warm tropical and subtropical waters between 20° North and 20° South latitude, but can be found up to about 30° North and South latitude during seasonal movements to higher latitudes in the summer months.


  • bycatch
  • trade of fins

Oceanic whitetip sharks are one of the more common tropical pelagic species taken as bycatch primarily in tuna and swordfish fisheries with pelagic longlines, purse seines, and probably also with pelagic gillnets, handlines and occasionally pelagic and even bottom trawls.

Fins have high value (US$20 to US$40 per lb) in the international fin trade and are used to make shark fin soup.

Additional Information