Blue Shark | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Blue Shark

Prionace glauca

Also known as

Blue dogs, blue pointers, great blue sharks

Distribution

Global oceans; tropical to cold temperate

Écosystèmes/habitats

Pelagic/open ocean

Feeding Habits

Active predator

Conservation Status

Special concern/data deficient

Taxonomie

Order Carcharhiniformes (ground sharks), Family Carcharhinidae (requiem sharks)

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Blue sharks get their name from their beautiful blue colour. They have distinct indigo blue on their backs, vibrant sapphire blue along their sides and white underbellies. This species is one of the most widespread and easily recognizable sharks. Because of their inquisitive nature and need to gently investigate everything and anything that crosses their path, they have earned the nickname “blue dogs” or “puppies of the sea.” 

Blue sharks are targeted worldwide by shark fisheries for fins and meat; however these directed commercial fisheries do not exist in Canada. Since shark finning was banned in Canada in 1994, there have been no sharks targeted and killed for this purpose; however they are targeted by a catch-and-release recreational fishery, shark derbies in Nova Scotia, and are frequently caught as bycatch (incidental catch) in Atlantic Canada’s longline fisheries for tuna and swordfish. 

Due to similar lifestyle and movement patterns as swordfish and tuna, blue sharks interact with these fisheries and are attracted to the bait set out on the longlines. Sharks can be fatally injured by the hooks, become entangled in the line while trying to free themselves, and attacked by larger predatory sharks because they are vulnerable when they on a hook. 

A few hundred to a few thousand blue sharks are caught incidentally on pelagic longlines in Canada every year. Blue sharks are the most common species caught as bycatch in most regions of the world. For those sharks caught on a pelagic longline, there is a fairly high post-release survival rate.