FEB 2019 Elasmobranch of the Month: Salmon Shark
The dorsal side is grey-black in coloration and the ventral side white with blotches. They are are a species of mackerel shark, often mistaken for great whites because they look very similar. The salmon shark, like other mackeral sharks ( mako, great white, porbeagle) is endothermic, meaning it is able to maintain a body temperature higher than the water its swimming in.
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Image: Ron Watkins
You can find the Salmon Shark in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean, both inshore and offshore (Goldman et al, 2009), but it is primarily pelagic.
The Salmon Shark is an apex predator and an opportunistic feeder and so will take the opportunity to eat when it arises! This means it has a flexible diet and will eat squid, salmon, sablefish, pollock, herring (Goldman et al, 2009) and much more! It gets its name because it feeds on salmon.
Did you know the Salmon Shark has also been seen grouping together when feeding?!
The Salmon Shark is listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This species is not specifically targeted, but is caught as bycatch. If caught, the fins are harvested and in some areas the carcass will be utilized as well ( skin, meat, liver oil). There are recreational fisheries for this species in Alaska and parts of Canada.
Goldman K, Kohin S, Cailliet GM and Musick JA. 2009. Lamna ditropis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T39342A10210228. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T39342A10210228.en. Accessed 20th February 2019.