It took us a while to thaw after the crazy winter we just had, but with the promise of spring, comes the promise of sharks.
This summer, we’ll be expanding the Shark Identification Network (SIN) to Newfoundland! Starting in June on the Avalon peninsula, we’ll be visiting whale watch operators and other marine users to tell them more about SIN and to distribute our brochures and shark ID guides. We are also planning on taking part in World Oceans Day in St. John’s on June 6, so keep an eye out for us (we will post details here once they are confirmed).
One of the most common species of shark sighted in Newfoundland waters is the blue shark. And of course, who can forget Lydia, the infamous white shark that researchers tracked over 17,000 km from Florida to Placentia Bay in 2013 (visit Ocearch’s shark tracker to see where Lydia is now!)
Basking sharks are also commonly sighted off Newfoundland. In fact, some of the basking sharks sighted off Newfoundland might be making transatlantic migrations to the UK! Dr. Mauvis Gore and colleagues tagged Basking sharks off the Isle of Man, in the eastern North Atlantic, and were shocked when one of the Basking sharks crossed the Atlantic Ocean and popped up off Newfoundland! (see the scientific paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610142/).
We already have a bit of a head start getting shark sightings from Newfoundland. On August 8, 2013, Deb Young saw and photographed a basking shark in Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. She found our website in November and shared her great photos below. You can see the shark has its mouth open, likely feeding on zooplankton at the surface of the water. The third photograph nicely shows just how far the gill slits extend around the top and bottom of its head.
For those of you not familiar with Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, here is where to find it (underlined in red):