Shark caught off Fundy Park (Alma, New Brunswick)

Posted on November 18, 2008 by

This is a response to an email I received with the included pictures. The sender was not the originator, it was forwarded to me by him. Unfortunately, the originator made such wild statements about sharks that I felt obligated to respond to the entire mailing list.

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Thanks for the photos. Too bad the shark wasn’t alive in the Bay instead of dead on a dock… In response to the original email in which (name removed) stated:

“They pulled it out of the water this morning. I thought my husband was pulling my leg, so I told him I needed proof. It is about 28 feet long. It is huge and very scary.

So if you ever think about going for a swim in Fundy Park, I would think twice about that idea. They said because of Global Warming, this will happen more and more. The ocean water here in Canada is getting warmer every year.”JAWS” could be lurking!”

I can only do my best and hope to educate people on the reality of sharks. This particular shark is a “Basking Shark” and 28 feet is not at all an unusual size for a basking shark. I have friends with UNB who are experts on sharks and I have spent time with them researching sharks in the Bay of Fundy. I have even been beside a basking shark on the Bay of Fundy that was longer than the boat we were using, and rather than being scary, it was awe-inspiring.

Basking sharks are like the big whales, they do not feed on mammals at all, they are filter feeders who scoop plankton and other small critters out of the water with their baleen-filled mouths. Basking Sharks are the second largest fish on the planet, are relatively common in the Bay of Fundy and have been around here long before global warming ever became an issue. They pose absolutely no danger to anyone swimming in the Bay of Fundy or anywhere else for that matter. Besides basking sharks, there are also many other types of sharks in the Bay of Fundy, simply because it is a very good source of food for them, but to be afraid of swimming there because of sharks is not reasonable and promotes more of the phobia. My friends and I SCUBA dive extensively in the Bay and have absolutely no fear of sharks. Unfortunately, comments like the one (name removed) made in the original email only cause to spread more ignorance and fear about these beautiful creatures. They are currently being pushed to the brink of extinction by such fear mongering and of course, for profit.

Unfortunately, some people still kill sharks out of fear or “for the fun of it”. Neither is a very endearing trait in my book. In this case, the shark was likely too entwined in fishing gear to be saved, and that is a shame, but outside of accidental death, there is no reason to deliberately kill sharks. Hard to believe these Neanderthals still exist in the modern world. As a society, we should be intelligent enough to know better.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now, just trying to set the record straight. If you want to learn more about sharks or do something to help protect them, feel free to visit the Canadian Shark Conservation Society, and if you are really interested in helping, join up at their website: http://www.sharkconservation.ca and volunteer to help them!

Other links you might find interesting:

Canadian Shark Research Laboratory

new-brunswick.net

Video of a basking shark near some boaters in Maine

 

Here are the photos. They are NOT mine, I am not sure who is the original photographer and will give credit or remove them from this post if they request it.

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