More Salmon Shark Images -
A thick bodied shark with a
blunt conical snout. Large black eyes.
Well defined caudal keel. Second smaller caudal
keel below first. Large crescent shaped caudal fin. Dorsal coloration
slate grey to grey/brown. Underside off-white with many irregular dark spots
around counter-shading line.
Maximum recorded size 3m. At maturity: males 180, females 220cm. Size at birth
coastal and oceanic waters.
The salmon shark is restricted to the North Pacific Ocean
from Japan to California. Females are more common in the east, males more common
in the west.
Diet and Behavior: Bony
fishes including salmon, herring and sardines.
In summer, North American populations move north to Prince William Sound in
Alaska to feed on Salmon.
Litter size 2-5 pups.
Conservation Concerns: Listed by the IUCN as 'Least Concern' because the
population appears to be stable and at relatively high levels of abundance.
Currently there is no directed fishery in the Northeast Pacific, apart from a
small sport fishery for the species in Alaska. Bycatch in the Northeast and
Eastern Central Pacific appears to be at low levels and is not increasing at
this point-in-time. Additionally, with the current ban on commercial fishing in
Alaska state waters and fairly conservative sport fishing limits, it appears
that the population is stable. In the Northwest Pacific, a small directed
fishery still exists, but typically takes no more than ~5,000 animals per year.
Bycatch in the Eastern and Western Central Pacific has been significantly
reduced since the elimination of the drift gillnet fishery and the population
appears to have rebounded to its former levels. In addition, the most recent
demographic analysis supports the contention that salmon shark populations in
the Northeast and Northwest Pacific are stable at this time and it is assessed
as Least Concern. Nevertheless, there are very little data on catch in other
fisheries, discards and potential finning from the major pelagic fisheries in
the North Pacific.
Port Fidalgo, Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Other than juvenile great white sharks, there are no species in the North
Pacific that would likely be confused with salmon sharks. Great white sharks
have an equally irregular but let mottled demarcation line between the dorsum
and ventrum. And a single caudal keel.
Reaction to divers:
Very difficult to approach. Moves away unless heavily focused on bait.
The only reliable place to dive with salmon sharks is in Port Fidalgo Inlet in
Prince William Sound. The sharks migrate to the area to take advantage of the
annual salmon run in July.
Big Fish Expeditions runs week long trips every year or two to Port Fidalgo. For
the trip to be successful, they arrange for a dedicated diving vessel to be
brought in from Anchorage.
The shark encounters sometimes take place at the surface by luring the salmon
sharks to the boat with herring. Lucky divers may also be approached underwater
by the sharks as they patrol the reef in search of migrating salmon.
Other diving locations submitted by
During blue shark diving trips in March and April 2013, the Sea Watch (operated
by Chris Wade) encountered salmon sharks in Southern California. The Sea Watch
has now moved to Costa Rica to protect Cocos Island from illegal longliners but
other blue shark operators in California could potentially see salmon sharks around that time.
According to Chris, the encounters were brief.
Salmon Shark Diving: