Shark rarely seen in the Bay of Fundy spotted 31 times in the past week
Biologists working off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have spotted a rarely seen species of shark in the waters of the Bay of Fundy 31 times in the past week.
« Blue sharks are generally rare or infrequent visitors to the Bay of Fundy, but not in 2022! » the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station said in a Facebook post.
A blue shark was also spotted near Eastern Wolf Island by the crew and passengers of a Quoddy Link Marine whale-watching vessel, according to Danielle Dion, the company’s senior naturalist.
« This is my 21st season with Quoddy Link Marine, » Dion said. « So I’ve done thousands of whale sightings. And I’ve seen sharks in [the Bay of Fundy]but I have never seen a blue shark. »
She said it was a special experience for day passengers.
« When the crew and the naturalists get really excited, it obviously rubs off on the passengers. »
Rising temperature could explain the observations
According to Fred Whoriskey, executive director of Dalhousie University’s Ocean Tracking Network, the number of blue shark sightings could increase because water conditions now match the species’ preferences.
“We have very strange gyrations in the upper atmosphere and wind directions and such,” Whoriskey said. « We suddenly found ourselves in the right conditions where the surface waters warmed up, and that brought in the blue sharks. »
Although he did not study blue sharks in the area where the Grand Manan Research Station spotted them, Whoriskey did research the species in waters off Nova Scotia. This year, this research revealed an outflow of smaller female blue sharks and an influx of larger male blue sharks due to an increase in water temperature.
The area he studied, and the one near Grand Manan, both have waters similar to those of the Gulf of Maine. He therefore assumes that warming temperatures have also attracted the species to the Bay of Fundy.
Increase in sightings does not correlate with population
Despite more blue sharks being spotted off the coast of New Brunswick, this is not an increase in blue shark numbers, Whoriskey said.
He said it was just an increase in distribution and would be temporary.
« Alarm bells have been ringing very recently around blue shark populations, » Whoriskey said. “They went from relatively indifferent to suddenly very worried due to sudden declines and issues with the fishery.”
The distribution of blue sharks stretches far and wide, as mature blue sharks move in a whirlpool, meaning a vast system of circulating currents in the ocean.
Blue sharks travel along the coast of the United States and Canada, looping south of Iceland, across Europe, down to the equator, then back north, it said. he declares.
« They spin around in this whirlwind again and again for the rest of their lives. So they travel very great distances, » he said.
Some of the blue sharks tagged as part of the Whoriskey research are involved in swimming from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas for the winter.
Species not among the most dangerous sharks
Dion said passengers can be a little worried when they see sharks because the first thing that comes to mind is a great white shark.
But Whoriskey said the arrival of blue sharks shouldn’t be cause for concern.
“We actually spend time swimming with blue sharks on a regular basis,” he said. « And we actually take groups of students and take them snorkeling with blue sharks. »