Thursday April 18, 2024

The Charlotte Observer

A mysterious shark that may count as the world’s largest predatory fish appears to be in decline off the U.S., prompting a rush to gather as much information as possible about the secretive species, NOAA Fisheries says.

So little is known about Pacific sleeper sharks that experts don’t know how many exist, the extent of their movements or how they reproduce, according to a newly published study.

“Adult Pacific sleeper sharks are rarely encountered. No pregnant female has ever been retained,” NOAA Fisheries reported in an April 15 news release.

“This has led scientists to believe that mature sharks may live in abyssal habitats, 3000-6000 meters deep (9,842 feet to 19,585 feet). Very large sharks — up to an estimated 23 feet — have been caught on submersible cameras at great depths. None larger than 14 feet has ever been measured from fishing or survey vessels.”

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