Shark (Greenland)


The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus)⁤ is​ a species that​ belongs to the Sleeper Shark family (Somniosidae). ​Known as one of the ⁣longest living vertebrates currently known on the ‍planet, its lifespan has ⁢been‌ reported to​ be up to 392 years.

Conservation Status

According to the ‍International Union for ⁢Conservation of Nature‌ (IUCN),​ the Greenland shark is classified as ‘Near Threatened’. Conservation​ efforts ⁢for this species are currently focused on monitoring populations and implementing fishing regulations to prevent‍ over-harvesting.


Statistic Average Range
Length 6.4 meters 2.44 –‌ 7.3 meters
Weight 1000 kg 400 – 1400 kg
Average Lifespan 300 ​years (up to 392 years reported) Not specified


Urquhart predominately in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, plenty‌ occurrences of Greenland sharks have been registered from Baffin Island in Canada ⁤to‌ the Barents Sea in Russia. The species is‍ also known to conduct deep water⁢ migrations possibly in search for food and mating partners.


Favoring cold, deep waters, the Greenland shark is primarily found at depths between 1,200‌ and 2,400 ‍meters in the sub-Arctic seas, preferred temperature range for the species is 1-10 degree Celsius.

When and Where to See

Greenland sharks ⁣are not season-specific and can be ⁤spotted throughout the year, typically preferring the dark hours ‌of twilight and​ night for ‍hunting.

Best Fishing⁤ Locations

Though spotting and capturing a ⁢Greenland shark is no easy task due to its deep-water preferences, the following are some of⁣ the areas ⁢where they are commonly found:

  1. Baffin Island, Canada
  2. Barents ⁣Sea, Russia
  3. Greenland‌ Sea
  4. Churchill River, ⁣Canada
  5. Bay of Fundy, Canada
  6. Icelandic waters
  7. Svalbard, Norway
  8. Gulf of‍ St. ⁤Lawrence, Canada
  9. Labrador Sea, Canada
  10. Scandinavian waters

As for a general tip, Greenland sharks are more likely to be found in areas with several marine mammals,⁣ which are their primary prey.

How to Catch

Fishing for Greenland sharks is mainly accomplished with ⁤large‍ and strong fishing gear due to their size. ⁤Preferred bait ⁤includes⁢ smaller‍ fish species and squid. Due to their predatory nature,⁤ the sharks are more likely to be caught⁤ during the night when⁣ they are most active.

Identification Guide

Much larger than most ⁣other shark species, Greenland sharks are characterized by their very thick bodies,⁣ comparatively small heads, and very‍ small eyes. They are typically dark in color ranging from grey to blackish-brown‌ with a lighter belly.


Greenland sharks are an ​iconic​ element of Icelandic⁤ cuisine. The⁢ meat, not immediately ‌edible, is fermented ⁤and then hung to dry for several⁤ months ⁢to create a dish called Hákarl. The taste is very strong and ammoniacal and typically‌ served in small pieces as an Icelandic delicacy.

Additional Information

Despite their slow swimming speed and deep-water ⁣habitat, Greenland sharks display an⁣ opportunistic ‌feeding ‍behavior and will ‌eat almost anything—live or dead. They have been found to prey on seals, polar bears, and even horses that come ⁤too close to the water.⁣ The increased fishing activities, however, have posed a significant threat to this species.

References and Further Reading

Recommended resources⁢ to learn more about the Greenland Shark: