Rare Prehistoric Shark Species Caught by Taiwanese Fishermen in Taitung

By Michelle Liew

The rare bluntnose sixgill shark, a species believed to have been on Earth before the existence of dinosaurs, was caught by Taiwanese fishermen from Taitung province on Sunday.

The shark is a rare species because it lives at a depth of 200 to 1,000 meters below sea level, a research assistant at the East Coast Marine Biology Center of the Fisheries Research Institute, Wu Jui-hsien told the Central News Agency (CNA).

Although most modern shark species have evolved and have five gills, bluntnose sharks still have six gills like their ancestors, Wu explained.

According to Wu, the 420-kilogram fish was caught in the Pacific Ocean by a fishing boat based in Taitung and taken to a port in Taiwan’s eastern province of Xingang.

The catch, which is about 395 centimeters long, will be auctioned on Monday.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), bluntnose sharks are listed as “almost endangered” because of their long lifespan which makes them vulnerable to exploitation.

Based on information posted on the Florida Museum website, bluntnose sharks almost resemble fossils which are about 200 million years old.