On The Brink: Are Tiger Sharks Endangered?

are tiger sharks endangered

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Tiger sharks are known for their tiger-like stripes that cover their bodies. They are apex predators of the oceans and can be found in almost all warm, tropical oceans around the world.

However, they are regularly caught up in bycatch and are victims of shark finning. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the tiger shark population, and answer, are tiger sharks endangered?

Currently, tiger sharks are not endangered. They have a conservation status of “Near Threatened”, which means they may be vulnerable to being endangered in the future, but are not at present.

Let’s take a closer look…

Are Tiger Sharks Actually Endangered?

Despite the many risks that tiger sharks face, they are currently not an endangered species.

Tiger sharks have a conservation status of “Near Threatened” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, meaning that they could become an endangered species in the near future.

Their population is decreasing, largely due to them being bycatch and caught unintentionally by fishing practices aiming to catch other species.

Threats To Tiger Sharks

There are a number of reasons why the tiger shark population is decreasing and why they are a near-threatened species.

I’ve listed some of the most damaging to the species below;

Commercial Fishing

Commercial fishing is the activity of catching fish and other seafood in order to sell and make a profit commercially.

In some parts of the world, such as Thailand and Indonesia, tiger sharks can be bought in local markets, which means they are being caught to sell.

Tiger sharks naturally have a low reproductive rate, meaning overfishing can really cause harm to their population.


Another big reason the tiger shark population is decreasing is bycatch.

Many fishing trawlers layout large nets throughout the ocean in order to catch huge quantities of fish at a time.

Sadly, the accuracy of this way of fishing is not great, and often tiger sharks and other marine life get caught in the nets accidentally and as a result, die.

Bycatch is incredibly damaging to all kinds of marine populations.

Shark Finning

In some areas of the world, dishes such as shark fin soup are incredibly popular and seen as a delicacy.

For this reason, many fishermen catch tiger sharks, remove their fins, and throw them back into the water.

A tiger shark that has had its fins cut off is like cutting off a human’s arms or legs. The shark is no longer an apex predator and will likely die from being eaten by another larger animal.

Shark fin soup has been a staple in the likes of China for many years, with the dish being thought to provide medicinal benefits.

Shark finning damages the tiger shark population as many sharks are caught simply for their fins and thrown back into the ocean injured and weak.

Shark Baiting

In some parts of the world where shark attacks are common, sharks are baited and culled to try and prevent attacks,

Australia and the USA have some of the most shark-infested waters in the world, with Australia being renowned for the number of sharks in their waters.

Sadly, if lots of attacks happen, sharks will be actively hunted down to try and reduce the population, and although it’s mainly great white sharks, tiger sharks are also sometimes culled if they are thought to be responsible.

Are Tiger Sharks Protected?

Although the tiger shark is not technically endangered, in the US it is illegal to kill or fish this species.

This gives the sharks some level of protection, but not the protection they need for their numbers to significantly increase.

Whilst in Australia, most sharks can be caught legally by commercial or recreational fishermen.

If the tiger sharks moved to endangered, then this means the shark will be at risk of extinction and will be protected worldwide.

What Is The Current Population Of Tiger Sharks?

It’s difficult to know the current population of tiger sharks as the number is fluctuation all of the time.

What we do know is that these sharks are slow at reproducing, and are at risk of becoming endangered because of overfishing.

We need tiger sharks and other species of sharks to maintain order in marine ecosystems, so conservation efforts for the tiger shark are crucial.

Final Thoughts

Are tiger sharks endangered? No, not at the moment but soon could be in the future.

There are many threats to the tiger shark species across the world, from global commercial fishing to shark finning and more.

The tiger shark population is in decline, and as they are slow at maturing and reproducing the level of fishing we humans are doing is unsustainable for many species.

We, humans, pose a great threat to sharks, much more than the threat they pose to us. Almost a third of the world’s sharks and rays are endangered and are at risk of extinction largely because of human activity.

Hopefully, you now know a little more about the tiger sharks’ conservation status and why their populations are declining globally.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and feel free to stick around to learn more about marine life.