Shark population in Canadian waters


I live very near the Bay of Fundy, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean.  Every year we visit the sandy beaches of New River, Saint’s Rest or Mispec and those brave souls among us love to frolic in the frigid waters and crashing waves of the Atlantic.

My kids will not be surprised at all when they read this post and I’m sure it will bring a smile to their faces!  When they were young , OK, I still do it to this day {lol},  I always tell them the story of the largest great white shark in the world that years ago, was caught off the shores of nearby Grand Manan Island. This is a true story, there are photos and dates, but no official documentation.

They thought it was to instill a fear of sharks, which I would never do, I am a HUGE lover of all living creatures.  In reality,  it was to keep them from venturing too far out in the unpredictable waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

They were too little to understand rip tides, heavy fog and rogue waves, but, sharks they could relate to.  In hindsight,  I know it was wrong to approach my concerns in this manner.  Today, they too are HUGE supporters of all living creatures and I hope they understand my over protective  but admittedly, twisted reasoning.

Did you know there are 28 species of sharks in the Canadian Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans – and that sharks are among the most threatened marine vertebrates on the planet?  Close to half of these species are considered to be globally threatened; still most Canadians remain unaware that sharks regularly occur in our waters. Evidence indicates that many populations of these species have drastically declined.

What are the main threats to Sharks in Canadian waters?

Bycatch – ‘Bycatch’, or the unintentional capture of non-target species in commercial fisheries, is perhaps the single most significant threat to sharks in Canadian waters. Little is known about the distribution of sharks in Canadian waters and ways to minimize the incidence of bycatch and overall shark mortality. You can visit this link to learn more about bycatch.

Demand for shark fins – Shark ‘finning’, the removal of only the fins from sharks and dumping the remainder while at sea, is illegal in Canada; however, Canada is importing unsustainable shark products, including fins, for consumption and, globally, the growing trade of shark fins has become a threat to many shark species. The fin trade today is considered to be a primary driver in shark exploitation.

Changes in the marine environment – Destructive fishing activities, marine waste and coastal developments can have serious impacts on marine habitats which sharks depend on. Climate change impacts on the marine ecosystem can also be a cause of concern for sharks, particularly in terms of how population distributions and habitats for sharks, as well as their prey, may be affected.

What is WWF doing for Sharks in Canada?

WWF-Canada is committed to working with partners to address the main priorities for shark conservation in Canada. In March 2011, WWF-Canada held the first Atlantic Shark Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This workshop was the first step in a collaborative process that brought together fishermen, scientists, managers and practitioners that either interact with shark species directly or are involved in the conservation and management of sharks in Atlantic Canadian waters. The forum was successful in identifying four top priorities that, if addressed, would significantly advance conservation and management of sharks and inspire collaboration between different interest groups.  View the final report on the forum. In addition, a complimentary shark forum will be taking place on the west coast to address the main concerns for shark populations in Canada’s Pacific waters.

You can visit these links for more information or to support WWF.

Information contained in this post was obtained from WWF Canada.




  1. Sharks scare me but, I am all for protecting wild life. I think Sharks are very misunderstood creatures and have a right to be defended against atrocities. Thanks for posting this. :)

    • They scare me too, but like you I believe they are misunderstood and definitely have the right to be protected.

  2. Shannon says:

    Thanks for raising awareness – all living species should be protected!

  3. I completely agree. Different things scare different people and its a good thing we dont go around killing everything that scares someone

  4. Jenn, you’ve summed it up perfectly, “…Different things scare different people and its a good thing we don’t go around killing everything that scares someone”. Well said!!

  5. An encounter with a shark would certainly be scary and not something we’d expect in our Bay of Fundy waters. But as you’ve stated it has, happened. I do hope, thought our fears, ignorance and greed don’t drive these creatures to extension.
    BTW: Your cover photo of this post is so peaceful looking, just like New River Beach.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

    • Kathy, I agree. I wouldn’t want to necessarily encounter a shark while swimming, but we are in their home, not the other way around and we do need to be respectful of that. Good eye, the photo was taken at NRB!

  6. Patricia says:

    “Finning”…. that is terrible!!! It reminds be of people who kill elephants just for the ivory in their tusks!!! As Shannon said..thanks for raising awareness!

    Patricia, Sugar & Spice & All Things ? Nice

  7. Robin Quick says:

    I live in Alabama so I hear about the shark attacks along our gulf coast & Florida. Im terrified of sharks but love the ocean. You must learn to respect it & instill the same respect in our children. One boy was attacked near the beach while fishing with shrimp(his bait) in his pocket. The shark went after the shrimp and the boy lost a limb I believe. My thought is, why didnt someone stop him from carrying the shrimp in his pocket? I know he thought a shark wouldnt be that close to the shore with ppl all around but he was wrong! Weve got to respect our oceans and the creatures that live there.

    • You are absolutely right Robin…we’re in their territory and we need to respect and understand what that means!

I Love Comments


CommentLuv badge