Near Belize, a Greenland shark, one of the planet’s longest-living creatures, was trapped.


Divya Kasana

switch to caption Devanshi Kasana

Divya Kasana When researchers tagging tiger sharks off the southern coast of Belize recently reeled in a different species of fish, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It turned out to be a Greenland shark, which may live for more than 500 years and is generally located in the Arctic.

When the shark was ultimately pulled to the surface, the scientific team believed it to be dead. This shark had pale blue eyes and black, worn-looking skin, unlike the tiger sharks they were after. The shark appeared “very, really ancient,” according to Devanshi Kasana, a Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University’s Predator Ecology and Conservation lab.

It was just incredibly unexpected and perplexing, she added. “We immediately noticed a black figure that was expanding as it came into our line of sight. With their total fishing experience, none of the crew had ever seen anything like it until it got to the surface.”

Kasana and associates published an article on the capture published an article in July’s issue of Marine Biology.

The discovery, according to Kasana, is particularly interesting since it shows that these sharks, which were previously believed to only be present in the Arctic, can also be found in the tropics.

Greenland sharks have a good chance of living for more than 500 years. When it comes to the Greenland shark, scientists have more questions than answers. These sharks, which may live for more than 500 years, are the planet’s longest-living vertebrates. And even then, it’s only an estimate because it’s impossible to know for sure how old they are.

They may live such long lives because they move through life at such a sluggish, extremely slow pace. Greenland sharks can reach lengths of more than 20 feet and grow by about a third of an inch per year. Additionally, according to studies, sexual maturity in sharks doesn’t occur until well past their first century of existence.

Kasana claims that some scientists believe the Greenland shark may be located anywhere in the world if one knows where to search. They thrive in frigid water, which is why the Arctic is where you may find them. They have also dived thousands of feet beneath the ocean’s surface as far south as Georgia’s coast.

According to the notion, the deeper the search must be to find sharks, the nearer they are to the equator. According to NOAA, they also reach depths of more than 7,000 feet.

THE CAPTURE WAS UNPREDICTABLE Kasana claimed that their catch was wholly unintentional. She and her colleagues were establishing lines around Glovers Reef, which is located about 30 miles off the coast, on April 22 in collaboration with individuals from the Belizean shark fishing community and the Belize Fisheries Department. The reef’s waters can be as shallow as 25 feet, yet they can also include precipitous drop-offs that go deeper than 2,000 feet.

Kasana observed that the slope changes abruptly and that the depth increases rapidly. “We think we caught this person because the line dragged from a significantly shallower depth to the drop-off,” the report states.

According to a report on the encounter that was released on July 15, this was the first Greenland shark found in the Western Caribbean. Since the encounter was so uncommon, Kasana recalled that her team talked about purchasing a lottery ticket should they ever come across another one.

We don’t arrange our lines in a way that targets Greenland sharks, Kasana added, so if we were to catch another specimen, it would be by pure luck.

The shark appeared to be very elderly when they finally hauled it in, she said. A tag was briefly contemplated, but they decided against it since they didn’t want to accidentally harm or kill the shark for scientific purposes. Instead, Kasana and her crew measured the shark, recorded their findings, and snapped a picture before releasing it.

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