Protecting the Greenland shark - the world’s longest living vertebrate

University of Windsor and The Greenland Halibut Fishery

Amount awarded: £50,000

This project will develop criteria to help test the health condition of Greenland sharks and quantify mortality through tagging animals with monitoring devices. 

The research from the University of Windsor's Hussey Lab will also explore practices to reduce bycatch and develop handling and safe release protocols. Findings will be shared in a series of training manuals. 

At present, survival rates of species caught and thrown back are largely unknown. This makes it difficult to assess the mortality rate of bycatch species and decide on future harvesting. 

The Greenland shark is a top predator that grows up to five metres and live for hundreds of years. Sharks can be especially vulnerable to accidental catch by fishers. 

The Greenland halibut trawl and gillnet fisheries off the coast of Canada recently became MSC certified. A condition of certification was to gain more accurate data on bycatch to help assess the status of the Greenland shark. 

There are still many unknowns about the basic biology, physiology, ecology, and behaviour of this understudied and long-lived deepwater shark. I’m excited to receive funding for this project that will help us understand the impact encountering fishing gear may have on local populations.

Brynn Devine University of Windsor

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