ALSO KNOWN AS: great blue shark
CONSERVATION STATUS: Endangered (worldwide)
LENGTH: 220 cm (approx. 7 feet) total length
WEIGHT: 140 kg (308.7 lbs)
Illustration ©Marc Dando
Photograph ©Issiah Cruz
RANGE: Found worldwide in temperate to tropical waters.
HABITAT: Found from the surface down to 1000 m in depth. Seldom found inshore expect, often found over the continental shelf and open ocean. In Western North Atlantic, the species regularly visits the Gulf of Maine in the summer, and from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, it is one of the most abundant large sharks.
IDENTIFICATION: Slender-bodied shark with long, conical snout longer than the width of its mouth. Pectoral fins are long. Midpoint of the base of the first dorsal fin is a little closer to the pelvic fins than the middle of the pectoral fin base. Dark blue on top, fading to metallic blue and then white on the underside. Caudal keels are present but not pronounced.
INTERESTING FACTS: Species segregates by sex. Vertical movements in the water column may be linked to foraging at depth or behavioral thermoregulation as the species moves between warmer and cooler waters to regulate its body temperature. This is a highly migratory species that regularly undertakes transatlantic migrations of thousands of miles. The most heavily fished shark in the world, often taken as bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. Diet includes fishes, squid, smaller sharks, and pelagic crustaceans. Known to scavenge on dead marine mammals and discarded fishing catches.
IUCN CONSERVATION STATUS: Near threatened
Near threatened globally and critically endangered in some parts of its range. One fish of at least 54 inches fork length (FL) is allowed per vessel per trip. Federal Highly Migratory Species fishing permit required in federal waters.