Lemon Shark in black and white

Sharks

Newly-hatched deepwater ghost shark (Hydrolagus sp). Photo by Brit Finucci
Newly-hatched deepwater ghost shark (Hydrolagus sp). Photo by Brit Finucci

Rare, newly hatched ghost shark found in trawling survey

A neonate (newly hatched) ghost shark was found in the net during a trawling survey at about 1,200 metres below sea level. The survey had been conducted by NIWA to estimate the population of blue grenadier (hoki fish) at the Chatham Rise, off New Zealand’s South Island.

There is evidence that white sharks form non-random social associations and may remain in proximity to each other to take advantage of pinniped kills.

Great white sharks have a secret social life

Florida International University (FIU) marine scientist Yannis Papastamatiou, Ph.D. candidate Sarah Luongo, and a collaborative team of researchers wanted to uncover some of the mysteries of the white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) that gather seasonally around Guadalupe Island, Mexico. 

Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis)
Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) is one of the many shark species now protected in Hawaii.

Shark fishing is now illegal in Hawaiian waters

The ban does not apply to people with permits issued by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), shark fishing for public safety, sharks captured for self-defence, or sharks taken outside of state marine waters with required documentation.

According to Act 51, the conditions of non-commercial permits for the take of sharks “shall include native Hawaiian cultural protocol, size and species restrictions, and a prohibition on species listed as endangered or threatened.”

Shortfin mako shark
Shortfin mako shark

Ban on fishing of mako sharks reached at meeting

At the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) last week, North Atlantic fishing nations have pledged to ban catches of the shortfin mako shark.

The efforts to secure the ban was led by the UK, Canada and Senegal. The move means that the countries agreed to end overfishing immediately and to gradually achieve biomass levels that were enough to support maximum sustainable yield by 2070 for the species, according to an article in The Guardian.

Why do fish rub themselves against a shark?

Fish rubbing themselves against a shark's body may sound as if they have a death wish, but this is precisely what some fish have been spotted doing. And it turns out that such behaviour is more widespread and frequent than one would think.

A study led by the University of Miami (UM) Shark Research and Conservation Program at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science uncovered over 40 instances of fish rubbing themselves against a shark’s skin in over ten locations around the globe.

While chafing has been well documented between fish and inanimate objects, such as sand or rocky substrate, this shark-chaffing phenomenon appears to be the only scenario in nature where prey actively seek out and rub up against a predator.

Surfers are the highest-risk group for fatal shark bites, especially by juvenile white sharks
Surfers are the highest-risk group for fatal shark bites, especially by juvenile white sharks

"Mistaken identity theory" behind shark bites put to the test

Why sharks sometimes bite humans remains unclear, but potential reasons include mistaken identity, whereby sharks are thought to mistake humans for their typical prey; curiosity; hunger; and defensive/offensive aggression.

The mistaken identity theory has received little scientific scrutiny and the visual similarity between humans and pinnipeds at the surface has been debated largely on the basis of human visual perception, rather than that of sharks.

In Deep with Andrew Fox: Born to Great White Sharks

Andrew Fox and great white shark
Photo-illustration of Andrew Fox with great white shark. Photos courtesy of Andrew Fox

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is undeniably the most well known of the ocean’s many predators. It has, one could say, “form” and is widely considered as a ruthless and terrifying man-eater, which has taken the lives of many innocent swimmers, surfers and divers.