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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Blue Shark Prionace glauca

A true ocean wanderer, the blue shark makes seasonal trans-ocean crossings in search of food. It is streamlined and elegant, with a long, pointed snout, and characteristic white-rimmed black eyes. On long journeys, it may use its winglike pectoral fins to help it glide on ocean currents.

On the way, the blue shark makes frequent, deep dives, possiblyto help it get its magnetic bearings. When chasing fish, this shark may reach speeds of 43 mph (70 km/h). It has been known to harass swimmers and has caused a few human fatalities. Although one of the most common sharks, it is also the most exploited and its populations are declining.

Threats to Blue Sharks

Blue sharks are one of the most wide-ranging and previously abundant shark species. Now, they are the most heavily fished shark in the world. An estimated 10-20 million individuals are killed by pelagic fisheries annually, mostly as bycatch.

Blue shark meat is beginning to replace swordfish in many Mediterranean countries and the fins are commonly used in shark fin soup. The Mediterranean population shows a 97 percent decline since the mid-20th century, and the North Atlantic population shows a 50-70 percent decline. Blue sharks are also targeted for production of leather, fishmeal and liver oil.

What Oceana Does to Protect Blue Sharks

Oceana is working internationally to protect and restore shark populations. Through policy, science, legal and communications work, Oceana is pushing for true shark finning bans, species-specific shark management and reduced shark bycatch.

 

Blue Sharkzoom image
  • Order Carcharhiniformes
  • Length Up to 13 ft (4 m)
  • Weight Up to 450 lb (200 kg)
  • Depth 0–1,150 ft (0–350 m)
  • Distribution Temperate and tropical waters worldwide
Blue Shark habitat mapzoom image