Guest Enters Weir
First whales, then a shark gets
caught up off Grand Manan
Tuesday, July 21,1998 ,
by Barb Rayner
MANAN - More than herring have been getting in the weirs around the island
Last week two rare North Atlantic right whales
which strayed into a weir garnered a lot of attention. Not far away in another
weir there was another unusual visitor-a porbeagle,
These sharks are often mistaken for their more
famous relatives which were featured in the Jaws movies-the great white
Jamie and Holly Ellis, who operate Seaview
Adventures, heard about the shark which was trapped in a weir off North Head so
they took their underwater camera to the site and filmed some rare footage
which has been featured this week on CBC Newsworld.
Ellis said when they heard there was a shark in the weir they took some
visitors out to see it and put the underwater camera down into the
"We were out on tour on the weekend and expected to
see a mud shark but when we put our camera down we saw these huge teeth. We
actually took one tour out to see it. We stayed for a couple of hours. You
could stand on our boat and look over in the weir and see it go
Rather than go into the water himself, Jamie Ellis
put the underwater camera on a pole and lowered it into the weir. The results
are some rare footage of a porbeagle shark.
themselves are not rare, said Dr. Steve Turnbull, who is a shark biologist at
UNBSJ. He said the porbeagle shark is an abundant shark in the area but they
are a deepwater shark and are rarely seen.
are fished commercially he said there is very little known about them and it is
very rare to see them so close to the shore although there have been quite a
few sightings by divers. There is quite a population of porbeagles sharks in
the Bay of Fundy, said Dr. Turnbull, and they are quite safe to be around.
They feed on fish such as mackerel, herring, squid and
octopus but they don't go around eating mammals, he
Unfortunately things did not work out well for the
shark and it was killed, said Dr. Turnbull, and pointed out that there is no
protection for the sharks in this part of the world.
However, he said, they are becoming endangered and their numbers are dropping
rapidly. They are very slow to reach sexual maturity so harvesting them has a
serious impact on their numbers.
He said the porbeagle
shark is a close relative of the great white
"Unless you know the difference between them it is
very hard to tell. Lots of great white shark reports are more likely to be
Dr. Turnbull is really impressed with the
"As far as I know this is the most
extensive video footage of this type of shark. It is incredible
He said the shark may have followed the herring
into the weir although he said sharks do not eat as much as people think they
do and some only eat every three or four days.
looking at the video he estimates the female shark was about eight feet long
and was probably more than seven or eight years old.
Turnbull said they always thought that the sharks left the Bay of Fundy in the
winter time but there were two porbeagle sharks caught off Deer Island in
December so they do hang around in the deeper water.
article was taken from the St. Croix Courier, Tuesday, July 21,