Blue Shark

Scientific name: Prionace glauca
It's easy to see where the Blue Shark got its name from. These sleek, elegant sharks have beautiful metallic blue backs which provide brilliant camouflage out in the open ocean.

Species information

Statistics

Length: Up to 3.8m

Conservation status

Globally, the Blue Shark is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. In the UK, it is a Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

June to October

About

The Blue Shark is an open-ocean (or pelagic) species that visits UK seas in summer months. In the Atlantic, they appear to follow a clockwise route, following the Gulf Stream to the UK from the Caribbean and returning there following the Atlantic North Equatorial Current. Blue Sharks are active predators and feed mainly on small fish and squid - though they have been known to take seabirds and other small sharks too. They even feed on fish that live near the seabed and have been recorded at depths of up to 350m. The largest Blue Shark ever caught in UK seas weighed a whopping 256lbs (116kg) and measured over 9ft (2.74m).

How to identify

A slim torpedo shaped shark with metallic blue colouration on top and white underneath. They have distinctively long pectoral (front) fins.

Distribution

Spotted around the South West coast of England in summer months, normally 10+ miles offshore.

Did you know?

Blue Sharks give birth to live babies! The fertilised eggs remain within the mother's uterus where they are nourished by a yolk-sac. Over time, the depleted yolk-sac interlocks with the lining of the mother's uterus which then acts a bit like a mammal's placenta. Blue Sharks give birth to an average of 35 pups.

How people can help

Report any Blue Shark sightings to your local Wildlife Trust. Choose "Pole and Line" caught Tuna - this is captured using fishing rods and has zero bycatch. It also helps create jobs for local people in developing countries. Where possible, choose Skipjack Tuna as it is fast growing and is classed of Least Concern on the IUCN Red list. When choosing Swordfish, ensure it comes from an MSC certified fishery, particularly avoiding Swordfish caught using gill nets.