The shortfin mako shark isn’t about to help you out with collision repair or auto painting, but it is a top predator in the ocean, with few predators other than humans. With a circumglobal distribution, the mako can be found in all the world’s temperate and tropical waters. They are rarely found in waters colder than 16 degrees Celsius. In Atlantic Canada, makos sharks are most commonly seen on the Scotian Shelf, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and southern Newfoundland. They are occasionally sighted in the Bay of Fundy.
Here are some fun facts:
- A large, pelagic shark, makos are normally about 10ft in length but do reach 13ft.
- Diet: fish, squid, other sharks and sometimes porpoises.
- Distinct countershading: dorsal side is metallic blue, ventral side is white.
- Torpedo-shaped body and long, pointed snout.
- Teeth can still be seen even when mouth is closed.
- Fastest of all shark species in the world, regularly attaining speeds of 35km/hr and even up to 74km/hr!
- Known to breach the surface, reaching heights of 20ft!
- IUCN: listed as vulnerable.
- COSEWIC: listed as threatened.
- In Atlantic Canada, historical catch rates suggest a population decline of at least 50% between 1971 and 2002.
- Mako sharks are highly significant for commercial fisheries (meat is of high quality and value) and recreational fisheries (prized game fish).
- Vulnerable to overexploitation and common bycatch species in some fisheries.
- Since 2006, measures have been adopted to conserve this species, including live release.