Sustainable Fishing, Marine Biology & Conservation
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Wednesday
May092012

Blue Shark

*image courtesy Wikimedia Commons (not used in the book)

(Prionace glauca)

The blue shark's range covers the entire Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, but they're primarily taken by recreational anglers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region. Blue sharks are a pelagic species that seldom stray far from the clear, deep waters beyond the continental Shelf. However, just like makos, a good source of food can sometimes be enough to prompt these sharks to leave their deep-water haunts and move up on the shelf. In the Mid-Atlantic region this occurs for a relatively short period from late May until about mid-June, when blue sharks join makos along the 20-fathom line. But while makos will occasionally move into even shallower water, the blues almost never will.

 

Two characteristics that stand out and help anglers identify these sharks in the water include their very long pectoral fins and a relatively thin body, a combination that often has observers commenting that they resemble little airplanes going through the water. Inexperienced shark fishermen will sometimes look at the slightly pointed nose of a blue shark and wonder if maybe they've caught a mako. Such uncertainty can be easily cleared up by looking at the teeth. A blue shark has short triangular teeth that hook slightly to the side and are not visible when the mouth is closed; a mako's teeth are long, thin, and easily seen even with the mouth closed.