Sharks: Man-Eaters and Others

With suggestions that Americans turn to economic account some of the smaller species of the Atlantic Coast


sharks caught
Hunting brown sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus ) in Great South Bay, Long Island. The shark is harpooned from the bowsprit of a sloop, a bucket being attached to the harpoon line. A tender is lowered which picks up the bucket and hauls up to the shark (upper picture). The shark is then lanced (middle picture) and hauled on board. This species is not dangerous and is common in this vicinity in summer. In a recently published paper Mr. Edwin Thorne, from whose sloop the above photographs were taken, mentions taking fourteen brown sharks in one day, and of the hundreds he has caught at various times all but two have been females. These enter the Great South Bay in midsummer to give birth to their young and may be found there until September. The brown shark feeds on crabs, lobsters, and various fishes. Its fin and tail are seldom seen above the surface, as are those of pelagic sharks.
sharks caught
sharks caught
J. T. Nichols

 6.  The following interesting account of captures in (North Carolina is given by Radcliffe (The Sharks and Rays of Beaufort, North Carolina, 1916):

On August 8, 1914, a small school of large tiger sharks appeared in the Fort Macon Channel near the fisheries laboratory and swam around the “Fish Hawk.” A baited shark hook thrown over the side was seized by the largest of the school. The line offered little resistance to this big fellow and he disappeared, taking bait and hook with him. During the time that elapsed while another hook was being secured and baited, the rest of the school came up under the stern of the ship, showing no fear of the men in the cockpit a few feet above them. Apparently the sharks were very hungry and were prepared to grasp anything that might fall to them in the nature of food. When the second hook was thrown over, it was seized by one of the school. This shark, which was killed and brought on deck, was eight and two-thirds feet in length. For the second time this hook was thrown overboard and soon another specimen, ten and one-twelfth feet in length was captured and hung from the end of the boom with its head out of the water. On the third cast, another, nine and one-sixth feet in length, was captured. About this time a shark, larger than any of those taken, swam up to the one hanging from the boom, and raising its head partly out of the water, seized the dead shark by the throat. As it did so, the captain of the “Fish Hawk” began shooting at it, with a 32-caliber revolver, as rapidly as he could take aim. The shots seemed only to infuriate the shark, and it shook the dead one so viciously as to make it seem doubtful whether the boom would withstand its onslaught. Finally it tore a very large section of the unfortunate’s belly, tearing out and devouring the whole liver, leaving a gaping hole across the entire width of the body large enough to permit a small child easily to enter the body cavity. At this instant one of the bullets struck a vital spot, and after a lively struggle on the part of the launch’s crew, a rope was secured around its tail. The four specimens, all females, were brought to the laboratory for examination. The last shark was twelve feet in length, and the liver of the smaller one was still in its stomach, the estimated weight of which was forty pounds.

 7.  A. profundorum comes from a depth of 816 fathoms off the middle, Atlantic coast. Another member of the same family, Halaelurus canescens, was taken from 400 fathoms off the southwestern coast of South America by the “Challenger,” while Halaelurus alcocki comes from 620 to 600 fathoms in the Arabian Sea. Among the Squalidae, the family to which our common spiny dogfish belongs, there are several deep-sea species; Scymnodon ringens, from 765 fathoms off Japan, from the “Challenger” expedition; Acanthidium profundorum [now considered the same as Apristurus profundorum —R. Aidan Martin, 2006], from 736 to 976 fathoms in the Philippine Archipelago, from the “Albatross” expedition; Etmopterus brachyurus, from 263 fathoms off Joló, Philippine Islands, taken by the “Albatross”; Centroscyllium nigrum, from 546 to 555 fathoms in the North Pacific off Colombia, taken by the “Albatross”; Centroscyllium ornatum, from 285 to 690 fathoms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea; Centrophorus squamosus, from 345 fathoms off Japan, taken by the “Challenger,” and from 960 fathoms in the Philippine Archipelago, taken by the “Albatross.”

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