University researcher, Discovery Channel study Canada’s giant Arctic shark
It’s Canada’s largest shark and the Discovery Channel and a University of Windsor researcher are getting ready to take you into the depths to learn more about a little-known creature that inhabits Canada’s polar region year-round.
Aaron Fisk, an associate professor in UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research, studies the feeding habits of Greenland sharks in the high Arctic to help measure the effect of climate change on the region’s ecosystem. His appearance on Dirty Jobs is prompted by the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, when many of the network’s most popular programs take a shark-related theme. Approximately one million Canadian viewers are expected to tune in to Shark Week programming.
Dirty Jobs is a show featuring occupations with particularly unpleasant aspects. The program’s host is Mike Rowe who usually rolls up his sleeves and jumps into the mess, while a camera crew records his adventures.
In mid-April, Rowe and a camera crew spent several days with Dr. Fisk and his team in the sub-zero temperatures near Cumberland Sound, Nunavut, as the UWindsor group tagged and released the sharks, which can grow up to seven metres long and live an estimated 200 years.
The largest recorded Greenland shark was 6.4 meters (21 feet) and weighed 1,022 kg (2,250 lbs). However the average size range for adults is usually between 3.5 and 5 meters (11 to 16 feet).
Greenland sharks inhabit arctic and subarctic waters where the water temperature is between -2 and 7 degrees Celsius. It is the only species found regularly in these cold waters. It is a deep dwelling shark commonly found at depths greater than 200 metres, except when it comes to the surface during the cooler winter months. The shark has also been seen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Greenland sharks are not known to attack humans.
Fisk is scheduled to appear on Dirty Jobs on July 30 at 8 p.m. The 60-minute show will be re-broadcast at midnight EST and on July 31 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. It will air in the U.S. on July 29 at 10 p.m.