Sharks of Norway

Sharks of Norway
In Norwegian waters, there are around 20 different species of shark. The smallest a half meter long, while the largest may be more than eleven meters in length and weigh four tons.

There has been one shark attack recorded in Norwegian waters ever.

And to Nettavisen, shark expert and marine biologist, Fredrik Myhre, says people are perfectly safe in Norway.

The Basking shark (Brugde) is the largest shark in Norway, and it's also the second largest shark in the world. This is quite a formidable giant, which certainly not many people ever get to see.

The basking shark is endangered, and protected against commercial fishing.

Myhre says there was too much commercial fishing of the basking shark in the past, because of its liver.

- The liver can be as much as a third of the entire animal. It was used to produce oil for oil lamps, and even lubrication for high speed planes. So it had many uses.

Myhre says a basking shark eats plankton, and could grow to between ten and eleven meters long, weighing over four tons.

Norway also has a small version of the great white shark, a shrunk clone called Porbeagle (Håbrann).

- What might be seen as the most spectacular shark, is the porbeagle. It is a member of the same mackerel shark family as the great white shark, and it looks like a miniature great white shark.

- It is also protected as a result of overfishing in Norwegian waters.

Myhre says the porbeagle can be up to three meters long and up to 300 kg heavy. Those who end up in fish net, is usually between one and two meters long.

- If one sees a miniature great white shark, two meters long, many are a bit worried.

Myhre says, however, that the porbeagle is not dangerous to humans. Moreover, it is difficult to encounter.

- You are very lucky if you see a porbeagle alive. They live far out at sea and often in relatively deep waters, but they come to the surface to hunt. They move over large areas, and when one sees them in Norway, it is usually either from oil platforms or they are dead in a net.

- The Velvet belly lanternshark (Svarthå) is quite common and is the smallest species of shark we have in Norwegian waters.

Myhre says the Velvet belly lanternshark has luminous dots on its body.

- This enables it to produce light itself and can light up the darkness. The lights are used for communication and for hunting deep down in the depth. This species also goes up in shallow waters in the Norwegian fjords.

The shark is between 30 to 40 centimeters long, with a maximum size of 60 centimeters.

Greenland shark (Håkjerring)

- The Greenland shark can get up to seven meters long. The Greenland sharks eat seals and is a shark that can potentially eat a large prey. It lives very deep, however, down to 600 meters, and is thus not dangerous to humans.

- It is a species we have little knowledge about. The sharks could be at least 200 years old, and maybe twice that. It's also probably the oldest species we have in Norwegian waters.

- Of the species of shark that lives in Norwegian waters, we have nine species that we consider Norwegian, and nine to ten species that we consider guests. They come in late summer or autumn from exotic waters. In this connection, both the blue shark and mackerel sharks have been observed, says Myhre.

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