Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans


Lamna nasus


The porbeagle is a member of the family of mackerel sharks (Lamnidae) and the order of the  Lamniformes.

This shark frequents the upper layers of cooler waters and is rarely caught deeper than 150 meters. It is a fast swimmer which can sometimes be observed just under the water surface, where it hunts for fish species like herrings and mackerels. The porbeagle is observed solitary but also in schools, hunting for deepsea fish, other shark species and squid. It can cause damage to fishing nets.

This species is regularly caught in the North sea, where pregnant female individuals can be observed year-round. The porbeagle is ovoviviparous and uterine cannibalism occurs (embryos feeding on other ova produced by the mother when their own yolk sac is absorbed. A litter usually consists of one to five pups.  In the northeast Atlantic, breeding grounds are off the coast of Europe and the British Isles. Mature females carry embryos throughout the year except from July to September. Mating occurs in late summer, pups are born in the spring of the following year. After a gestation period of eight to nine months the pups are 60 to 80 cm long at birth. There are not many available data about age and growth rate of these sharks.

  • Maximum length: 150 tot 350 cm
  • Maximum weight: 250 kg
  • Maximum lifespan: 75 years
  • Habitat: 0 to 150 meter depth
  • Catches: the porbeagle is fished commercial, but is also a gamefish. It is estimated that it takes 14 years before the population is double, which makes the porbeagle very vulnerable very sensitive to overfishing. The meat is used for consumption, the fins used in sharkfin soup. In 2011, regulation (EU) No 57/2011 regulates porbeagle as a prohibited species in international waters in Article 8 (with a prompt release obligation for accidental catches) and as a stock with a 0 TAC in certain Atlantic ICES zones.  It is not allowed to land dead porbeagles. In 2011, a porbeagle was landed in the Dutch harbor of Scheveningen and even sold to a fish shop. There were questions in the Dutch parliament about this event.
  • Status: ‘Vulnerable’ on the international IUCN Red List (










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