The blue shark is a member of the family of the requiem sharks (Carcharhinidae), in the order of the Carcharhiniformes (ground sharks) .
This shark lives in temperate and tropical open waters, and hunts just below the water surface. Blue sharks can conquer vast distances, f.i. along the coasts of North and South America, and are found in the three major oceans of our planet (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Ocean) and in the Mediterranean.
It has been observed in the North Sea as well. Blue sharks feed on small pelagic fish and cephalopods, mainly squid, but also on pelagic octopus and crustaceans, other sharks and marine mammals (probably behaving as scavenger).
The blue shark is viviparous. The gestation period is between 9 and 12 months, and a female has a litter of 25-50 pups, that are approx. 40 cm long at birth.
As many shark species do, the male blue shark bites the female when mating. The skin of females has adapted to this, and can be three times thicker.
- Maximum length: 200 to 400 cm
- Maximum weight: 55 kg (male), 180 kg (female)
- Maximum age: 75 years
- Habitat: 0 to 350 meter depth
- Catch: These days, the blue sharks is one of the most caught sharks, often as bycatch in long lines for swordfish and tuna, capturing 10 to 20 million animals per year. The meat is edible, but most of the time only the fins are kept on board. Even though the data are not sufficient for a correct estimation of the global population, it is assumed that the catches of blue sharks have decreased by 60 to 80%.
- Status: ‘Near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List (http://www.iucnredlist.org/)