The Atlantic Sharpnose shark is a very abundant, small coastal shark found in warm temperate and tropical waters in North Atlantic. It ranges as north far as New Brunswick, Canada and south to the Yucatan Peninsula, including the Gulf of Mexico.
They are found off sandy beaches and estuaries and bays, mostly over mud and sand bottoms. They also migrate seasonally, when they move into deeper offshore waters in winter.
This is a small coastal shark that doesn’t exceed 110 cm. Females mature between 85-90 cm which could be 2 to 4 years of age and males mature between 80-85 cm with the age 2.5 to 3.5 years.
It is a viviparous species and reproduces annually. The gestation period is reported to be from 10-12 months and delivers a litter of 4-6 pups. The pups are born at a size of 30-35 cm. The mating occurs between mid May and mid July and parturition generally takes place the following June.
Despite being abundant, it[s diet has not been well described, but it’s suspected to be composed of bony fishes and crustaceans, and some small mollusks.
In the US, these sharks are caught in commercial fisheries and as bycatch. Additionally, bycatch estimates from the shrimp trawl fishery operating in the Gulf of Mexico indicate about 1.75 million individuals were caught annually from 1972-1999. It is heavily exploited in Mexico and is supposed to be one of the most important species in the artisanal fisheries.
This is a very abundant species, with early age at maturity, short lifespan and generation time, and moderately high litter size and population growth rates, capable of withstanding a higher level of removals than many other species of sharks. It is thus considered to be of low risk of extinction because of its life history and population characteristics.
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