I’m not going to lie: sharks kind of freak me out. At the very least, seeing the hit movie Jaws as a kid gave me a deep need to keep a large distance between me and these marine animals. Even so, there are so many types of sharks that live all around the world and these animals have made quite a splash in current popular culture! There’s the aforementioned blockbuster movie Jaws, the iconic shark collective ‘Fish-Eaters Anonymous’ from Finding Nemo, and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week that happens each summer.
Shark Week recently kicked off it’s 30th year and there are so many different shows to watch. To celebrate Shark Week, here are some sharks that call the coasts of the Pacific Northwest home:
These sharks are rarely seen inside the Salish Sea but are circumglobal, meaning they’re found around the world in both tropical and temperate waters (expect off of Antarctica). They were named for their blue color and are slender sharks that are usually 6-9 feet long (but can be 12-13 feet in length). They mainly eat squids and small fish and can live to be at least 20 years old.
These little sharks often only get to be about 2 feet in length and actually have a fuzzy/feltlike skin that’s fragile and easily damaged. They can be found off the coasts of British Columbia to northern Baja California, Mexico and their diet primarily consists of shrimp, squid, and small fish.
Salmon Sharks are primarily found in the subarctic and temperate North Pacific Ocean, including long the coasts of British Columbia, Alaska, and even down to Baja California in Mexico. They’re about 6-8 feet in length and they’re strong swimmers because their wide tails have a double keel, a short ridge along the upper part of the lower lobe on the tail. Their diet ranges from sea otters to birds to salmon, squid, herring, and other fish.
These are just three of the shark species that live off the coasts of the Pacific Northwest! If you’re interested in learning more about these sharks and the many others this week, here are some great resources:
- Local Shark Week: 25-foot rare shark seen in Puget Sound by Zahra Farah, The Seattle Times
- Sharks in Puget Sound? There are more than you think by Amy Rolph, Seattle PI
- Sharks of Puget Sound by Kat Vriesema-Magnuson
- Sharks of the Oregon Coast from the Oregonian
- Sharks, Skates, and Ratfishes from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife