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Sharks Found In British Columbia Oceans

Basking shark 
Image result for bc shark speciesThe basking shark is the second-largest living shark, after the whale shark, and one of three plankton-eating shark species, along with the whale shark and megamouth shark. Adults typically reach 6–8 m in length. They are usually greyish-brown, with mottled skin. Wikipedia
Mass5,200 kg (Adult)
Length6 – 8 m (Adult)
Conservation statusVulnerable (Population decreasing)Encyclopedia of Life
Scientific nameCetorhinus maximus
BIG-EYE THRESHERImage result for big eyed thresher shark species
The Big-Eye Thresher is a species of Thresher shark, family Alopiidae, found in temperate and tropical oceans worldwide. Like other Thresher sharks, nearly half its total length consists of the elongated upper lobe of the tail fin.Wikipedia
Mass200 kg (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
Conservation statusVulnerable (Population decreasing)Encyclopedia of Life
Scientific nameAlopias superciliosus
Did you knowLarger fish and marine mammals are potential predators of Big-Eye Thresher sharks.


Image result for blue shark species

The blue shark is a species of requiem shark, in the family Carcharhinidae, that inhabits deep waters in the world’s temperate and tropical oceans. Preferring cooler waters, blue sharks migrate long distances, such as from New England to South America. The species is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. Wikipedia

Mass110 kg (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
Scientific namePrionace glauca
Did you knowThe blue shark’s name comes from its distinct dark blue dorsal surface and bright blue
Brown Catshark

         The brown Catshark is commonly found in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from the northern Pacific waters off the coast of British Columbia and south to the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. They may live as far south as Ecuador and Peru.


Scientific nameApristurus brunneus




Larger female Spiny Dogfish shark
The spiny dogfish, spurdog, mud shark, or piked dogfish is one of the best known species of the Squalidae family of sharks, which is part of the Squaliformes order. While these common names may apply to several species, Squalus acanthias is distinguished by having two spines and lacks an anal fin. Wikipedia
Scientific nameSqualus acanthias
Did you knowSpiny dogfish skin is rough and covered by a tooth-like, scaled surface called dermal

Great White shark

Great white sharkThe great white shark, also known as the great white, white shark or white pointer, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans.

Did you knowFound in cool, coastal waters throughout the world, there is no reliable data on the great white’s population.

Greeneye shark (Spurdog)

greeneye shark

The shortspine spurdog is a dogfish, a member of the family Squalidae, found around the world on continental shelves in temperate and subtropical oceans between latitudes 45°N and 55°S, from the surface to 950 m. Its length is up to 75 cm. Wikipedia

Scientific nameSqualus mitsukurii

Salmon SharkSalmon shark

The salmon shark (Lamna ditropis) is a species of mackerel shark found in the northern Pacific ocean. As an apex predator, the salmon shark feeds on salmonsquidsablefish, and herring.[2] They are known for their ability to maintain stomach temperature (homeothermy),[3] which is unusual among fish. This shark has not been demonstrated to maintain a constant body temperature. The salmon shark is also known for an unexplained variability in the sex ratio between eastern and western populations in the northern Pacific.

Sevengill shark

The broadnose sevengill shark is the only extant member of the genus Notorynchus, in the family Hexanchidae. It is recognizable because of its seven gill slits, while most shark species have five gill slits, with the exception of the members of the order Hexanchiformes and the sixgill sawshark.

sevengill shark

Shortfin Mako Shark


The shortfin mako shark, also known as the blue pointer or bonito shark, is a large mackerel shark. It is commonly referred to as the mako shark, as is the longfin mako shark. The shortfin mako is on record as the fastest-swimming shark, capable of bursts of speed up to 18.8 metres per second. Wikipedia

Sixgill Shark 

 The bluntnose sixgill shark, often simply called the cow shark, is the largest hexanchoid shark, growing to 26 ft in length. It is found in tropical and temperate waters worldwide and its diet is widely varied by region. Wikipedia

Pacific sleeper shark

Pacific Sleeper

The Pacific sleeper shark is a sleeper shark of the family Somniosidae, found in the North Pacific on continental shelves and slopes in Arctic and temperate waters between latitudes 70°N and 22°N, from the surface to 2,000 metres deep. Records from southern oceans are likely misidentifications of relatives. Wikipedia

Tope (soupfin) sharkSoupfin

The school shark is a houndshark of the family Triakidae, and the only member of the genus Galeorhinus. Common names also include tope shark, snapper shark, and soupfin shark. It is found worldwide in temperate seas at depths down to about 800 m. It can grow to nearly 2 m long.Wikipedia

Conservation statusVulnerable (Population decreasing) Encyclopedia of Life
Mass25 kg (Adult) Encyclopedia of Life
Scientific nameGaleorhinus galeus
Did you knowIn 2010, Greenpeace International added the school shark to its seafood red list.

Common thresher sharkcommon thresher

Codes of conduct: Shark encounters

Table of contents:


Codes of conduct

Important notes

Handling Guidelines for Recreational Fishers

Handling Guidelines for Commercial Fishers and Aquaculture Operators


Shark populations are generally vulnerable to the threat of fishing induced mortality, including incidental capture and entanglement. Life history characteristics such as longevity, late age-at-maturity and low fecundity make it difficult for shark populations to recover in abundance after depletion. Of the fourteen species of sharks that utilize Canadian Pacific waters, three are listed under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. The Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is listed as “Endangered”, and the Bluntnose Sixgill Shark (Hexanchus griseus) and Tope Shark (Galeorhinus galeus) ) are listed as species of “Special Concern”. Note that Species at Risk Act prohibitions only apply to species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened; thus, they do not apply to species of special concern. The primary threats to these shark species have been identified as bycatch and entanglement. The other eleven Canadian Pacific shark species are also vulnerable to these threats. In order to address the conservation concerns with shark species within Canadian Pacific waters, it is important that measures are taken to reduce the mortality of sharks resulting from bycatch and entanglement in Canadian waters.

Currently, there is no directed commercial fishery for shark species other than the North Pacific Spiny Dogfish (Squalus suckleyi) in Canadian Pacific waters, and only North Pacific Spiny Dogfish and Salmon Shark (Lamna ditropis) are permitted to be retained in the recreational fishery. Commercial fisheries are no longer permitted to retain Species at Risk Act listed shark species − all bycatch for these species is to be released at sea with the least possible harm. Catch limits for the recreational fishery have been reduced to “no fishing” for all species listed under the Species at Risk Act, and “zero retention” (catch and release) for all other shark species except Salmon Shark and North Pacific Spiny Dogfish Footnote1.

This Code of Conduct for Shark Encounters has been developed to reduce the mortality of Canadian Pacific shark species, such as Bluntnose Sixgill and Tope Shark Footnote2, as well as all other species resulting from entanglement and bycatch in commercial, aquaculture and recreational fisheries. However, it does not apply to Basking Shark, for which a separate Code of Conduct has been developed. Although the handling guidelines may be useful for fishers wishing to release Salmon Shark and North Pacific Spiny Dogfish, the Code of Conduct does not apply to the directed fisheries for those species.

Codes of Conduct

All aquaculture operators, recreational fishers, and commercial fishers that unintentionally encounter Bluntnose Sixgill Shark, Tope Shark, or any other shark species (with the exception of North Pacific Spiny Dogfish, Salmon Shark and Basking Shark) are encouraged to follow the steps listed below to reduce mortality or harm and increase the chances of survival of captured sharks.

Document and report all encounters.

1) DocumentDocument as many details of the encounter as possible.

  • Photograph the shark, where possible without negatively impacting the shark. Good quality photographs of dorsal fins can be used for species identification and identification of individual sharks.
  • If you are on a commercial vessel and there are Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) staff or an observer onboard, inform them immediately of the interaction. They will assess whether biological samples can be safely taken and may attempt to take biological samples from the shark.

2) ReportReport all Bluntnose Sixgill, Tope Shark, or other shark encounters with the following details:

  • Photograph(s) or video of the shark, including the dorsal fin;
  • Date of the encounter and time of day;
  • Location (as specific as possible, e.g. positional GPS data);
  • Estimates of the total length and sex (males have claspers, see Figure 2) of the shark(s);
  • Any distinguishing features (e.g. colour, scars), behaviours, visible wounds, and the swimming ability of the shark post-release (see below for more details); and
  • Your name and contact information (voluntary).

Commercial fishers: Report all shark encounters in your fishing logbook by species as per the commercial fishing conditions of license. Report the above-listed details in your logbook, where possible, for all sharks other than North Pacific Spiny Dogfish.

Recreational fishers and aquaculture operators: Report all shark encounters (other than North Pacific Spiny Dogfish) to the local Fisheries Officer or e-mail your report to with “shark encounter” in the subject heading. Please refer to above background section for catch restrictions and limits in recreational fisheries.

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