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A blue shark's eyes are black, with a circular
white ring around them. (Makos have black
eyes but there are no rings around them.)
Teeth have serrated edges, are close together
with overlapping bases on the upper front jaw.
The new IGFA 528 lb. blue shark record is
going to be hard to beat.That shark is about at
maximum weight for a blue shark.
Blue shark, Prionace glauca
blue sharks have a
nictitating membrane to
protect its eyes.
Slender body, with a blue back and white bottom. Dorsal fin is well behind pectoral fins. Has a nictitating
membrane to protect the eye. Body gradually tapers into tail. Pectoral fins are long , swept back. Tips are
somewhat pointed. Typical sharks tail with upper tail much longer than lower tail. ----------Tom Burns photo
Notice the white ring around
the blue shark's black eye.
That helps in identifying them.
This is a shark species that can reach 12 feet overall and weigh 500 lbs-although only a small amount get
over 400 lbs. The present IGFA record is 528 lbs., but all the previous records were in the 400s.
Bluesharks are incredible ocean travelers. Some of the sharks tagged here in the New England will go up
toward the Flemish Cap, go across the Atlantic toward England and turn south and go off the coast of
Africa; and then make a return trip to New England sometimes via the Caribbean.
The male and female blue sharks separate after breeding, and the big males, some of them world record
size, trickle into Mass. Bay in early July, and reach fishable numbers in late July. The blues start to leave
the area in mid October but a few are still here into early November.
There are many blues here in the summer, and some will venture inshore into waist deep water.
A fly fisherman told me he was wading at Monomoy on Cape Cod in 1998, casting to stripers on the flats;
when nearby anglers shouted; Shark! He turned around and a 9 foot blue shark swam so close to him that
the tip of the pectoral fin hit his leg.
In July 1996, a non fishing wader, in Truro Mass., receive 46 stitches in his leg from an encounter with a
blueshark. Reports of blues in shallow water have also been made in the Boston area.
John Chisholm, Mass. Marine Biologist, gets a call a few
years back (1995) from a Little Buttermilk Bay, Bourne,
Mass. resident , that a shark is swimming around in her
backyard. John is expecting to see a small shark, and wades out into the water.
But it is a blue shark about 9 feet long and it gets between John and the shore. He snaps the above picture.
Blue sharks in New England are among the largest in the world. It is not uncommon for a Massachusetts
shark tournament to have a 250 lb. or even a 300 lb. minimum weigh in for blues. Several blues over 400
lbs. have been entered in Mass. shark tournaments. The present IGFA record is from Montauk NY at 528
lbs. It replaced the 454 lb Mass. State record as the new IGFA world Record.
The fork length of a blue shark rarely reaches 10 feet. When they get over 9 feet the weight can range
considerably as they just seem to get wider and plumper. For example tournament weighed 9-1/2 Fork
Length blue sharks have weighed between 337 lb and 407 lbs.
You hear often the female sharks are bigger than the males. That is not so in every species. . Personally I
have felt the male blue sharks are bigger than the females but can't seem to see it stated authoritatively
one way or the other.
Capt. Steve James (photo rt.) who runs the Oak Bluffs shark tournament
has sent me a list of sharks 300 lbs and over, taken in the tournament
from 1987 thru 2002. It has the weight and fork length of the sharks.
In that tournament every blue shark over 300 lbs was a male.
There are male and female bluesharks in the fishing area so females
are as likely to be caught as males but no females over 300 lbs
Here is the breakdown of blueshark weights:
300- 320 lbs= 44 fish, 321-349 lbs= 30 fish, 350- 390 lbs=15 fish
and over 400= 3fish at 406-407-454 lbs
Surprisingly the fork length in feet for the 400 pounders is essentially
the same as the 300 pounders They just get fatter.
406 lbs= 9.1FL, 407 lbs= 9.6FL, 454 lbs= 9.3 FL, 350 lb. = 9.8 FL,
377 lb.= 9.6FL, 337 lbs= 9.5 FL
Now maybe somewhere on the planet there are bigger females
but these male blues we get here set IGFA records which have world
wide entries to compete with. So why aren't big females caught in other
parts of the world. I believe because they are not as large as the males.
In our species the males are heavier and taller than the females
but I can find some females that would be exceptions and be taller
and/ or heavier than the average male, so an occasional anecdote
won't cut it. Where's the beef?
7' to the fork about 7 years old.
8' to the fork about 10 years old
9' to the fork about 16 years old
20 years seems to be the expected life span.
Blue sharks are found all over the
world, except in the waters
consistently below 50 deg.
They have about the same range as
the shortfin mako. Unfortunately for
the blues, makos will attack and kill
blues for a meal.
Some blues that were tagged and
released in New England have been
recovered in Africa and the lower
Blues are a rare catch in the U.S.
coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
(Fla. to Texas)
10 feet 450 Lbs.
9.5 feet 360 lbs.
9 feet 300 lbs.
8.5 feet 253 lbs
8 feet 209 lbs.
7.5 feet 171 lbs.
7 feet 138 lbs.
6.5 feet 109 lbs.
6 feet 85 lbs.
Female blue shark's skin
is 3 times the thickness
A blueshark munching on a whale carcass
Notice the nictitating membrane
brought up for eye protection