Blue sharks like Hector are the most wide-ranging of all shark species and are the most common sharks found in Canadian waters.
- You can recognize blue sharks by their slim, graceful bodies, long pectoral fins and their distinctive colouring: deep blue on top, lighter on the sides, with a white underside. The blue shark’s colouring helps it blend in with the water no matter what side you see it from.
- Hector and his blue shark friends mostly like eating small fish and squid, but they’re not too picky and don’t mind eating someone else’s leftovers.
- A blue shark can live up to 20 years and reach 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) long.
- Blue sharks like Hector are highly migratory and have been found crossing the entire ocean.
- Male blue sharks are persistent! When they are interested in a female they will repetitively bite her. Luckily, the females have evolved skin that is three times thicker in order to deal with the males’ efforts to impr
Even though blue sharks are probably the most common species in Canadian waters, Hector and the other blue sharks are still in trouble. The main threat to the blue shark is being caught as bycatch in fisheries targeting other species. Canada’s pelagic longline fishery catches almost 100,000 sharks each year. About 35% of blue sharks will die after being ‘unintentionally’ caught as bycatch and thrown back.
Many fisheries management bodies think that the blue shark is so common that it doesn’t need any protection however there already is significant evidence of population declines and the stock assessments that we do have are based on very uncertain and incomplete data.
What we do know is that blue sharks are considered ‘Near Threatened’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and were listed as ‘Special Concern’ by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada. These listings should be taken as warnings. Should we have to wait until a species becomes endangered before we take any action to help it? Wouldn’t an ounce of prevention be better than generations of negotiating ‘rebuilding plans’ for yet another species? Hector sure thinks so!
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