Rare Greenland Shark captured

24th October 2013

In summer this year the stern trawlerCastella Rosa hauled their net after fishing in 420 metres of water in an area known as the “Main Drag” off Portland.  Skipper “Golfball” was amazed to find that he had captured a Greenland Shark.  The prehistoric Greenland Shark is a member of theSomniosidae family of sharks also known as sleeper sharks.  Generally only described as occurring in the North Atlantic around Greenland in the sub-Arctic this guy was a little lost.  Greenland sharks are the only shark comparable in size to the Great White Shark; this specimen was 4.8 metres long and was estimated to weigh 1.5 tonnes, its girth was approaching 3m.  Greenland Sharks have been reported to reach 5.8 metres.  The species prey on fish, squid and Eskimos report having found seals, reindeer (in one case an entire carcass), polar bears and horses in their stomachs.  They must be stealthy because their top speed has been calculated at only 1.6 miles per hour.  One study has suggested that they prey on seals while they are asleep.  Video footage of what is believed to be a Greenland Shark was recorded at 2,773 metres deep.  A short documentary film featuring footage of a live specimen can be seen here.