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Broadnose Sevengill Shark

Scientific Name: Notorynchus cepedianus

Distribution: Worldwide. On the west coast they are found from British Columbia to southern Baja California and Gulf of California.

Habitat: While this species has been found from intertidal to 446 ft (136 m), they are most commonly found from 164 ft (50 m) or less. These sharks are found throughout the water column and are found over sandy bottoms and kelp beds.

Behavior: Broadnose sevengill sharks are known to occupy shallow water and even stick their heads out of the surface of the water, a behavior called “spy-hopping”, which is also exhibited by some whale species. Little is known about the movement patterns and behavior of Broadnose sevengill sharks, and SCATTN researchers are working on answering these questions. So far it has been found that this species is capable of traveling long distances – from southern California (La Jolla) to San Francisco. The Humboldt and San Francisco Bays serve as nursery grounds for sevengills and are also where the largest concentration of these sharks are found. Broadnose sevengill sharks feed at or near the top of the food chain and eat mostly bony fishes, crustaceans, bivalves, and cephalopods. They also consume marine mammals and cartilaginous fishes as they grow older.

Why it is important: Sevengill sharks were historically an important commercial and recreational fishery. Commercially, they were sought after due to the amount of oil that can be harvested from their livers. Recreationally, sevengills were one of the most common shark species fished for in the 1930s and 1940s. Even after the fishery collapsed these sharks were still heavily fished and sought after and their popularity among anglers only increased when the Jaws movies were launched. Broadnose sevengills are still caught today in the recreationally.

Sources: FishBase, CDFW 2001 (Status Report), Love 2011

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Notorynchus cepedianus

Conservation Status (IUCN): Data deficient

Lifespan: Estimated 32 years

Age at Maturity: Females 11-21 years; Males 4-5 years

Maximum Weight: 400 lbs (182 kg)

Speed: Unknown

Maximum Length: 10 ft (2.96 m)

Habitat: Temperate waters, open coast, bays, and backwaters

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