American Oceans

Sharks in Portugal

Sharks are one of the most fascinating and misunderstood creatures in the world. Portugal is home to a diverse range of shark species, including the deep-water lantern sharks, which are commonly found off the southern coast of the country.

rendering of a great white shark swimming underwater

These sharks are an important part of the marine ecosystem, but they are also heavily targeted by commercial fishing operations.

Despite their importance to the marine ecosystem, sharks are often viewed as a threat to humans. In Portugal, there have been several reported shark attacks in recent years, which has led to increased fear and negative perceptions of these creatures.

However, it is important to remember that shark attacks are rare and that humans are not a natural prey for these animals. By learning more about sharks and their behavior, we can gain a greater appreciation for these magnificent creatures and work towards their conservation.

Blue Shark

blue shark slender elongated body side view length

The blue shark (Prionace glauca) is one of the most common species of sharks found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their distinctive blue coloration and are typically found in open ocean habitats. Blue sharks are known to be relatively fast swimmers and are often caught by commercial fishermen in the region.

Mako Shark

a shortfin mako shark underwater

The shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) is another common species of shark found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their impressive speed and agility, and are often sought after by sport fishermen. Makos can be dangerous to humans and have been known to attack boats and divers.

Great White Shark

a great white shark breaching the surface of the ocean

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a rare sight in Portuguese waters, but they have been spotted in the region from time to time. These sharks are known for their size and power, and are considered one of the most dangerous shark species in the world.

Basking Shark

basking shark eat with hundreds of tiny teeth

The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second-largest fish species in the world and can be found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are filter feeders and are harmless to humans. Basking sharks are often spotted near the surface of the water, where they feed on plankton.

Smooth Hammerhead Shark

a smooth hammerhead shark swimming beneath the surface of the water

The smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) is another species of shark found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their distinctive hammer-shaped heads and are typically found in shallow waters. Smooth hammerheads are not considered dangerous to humans.

Common Thresher

a thresher shark in the ocean

The common thresher (Alopias vulpinus) is a species of shark found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their long, whip-like tails, which they use to stun their prey. Common threshers are not considered dangerous to humans.

Spiny Dogfish

Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) at the south coast of Norway

The spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is a small species of shark found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their spiny dorsal fins and are typically found in deep waters. Spiny dogfish are often caught by commercial fishermen for their meat.

Frilled Shark

frilled shark chlamydoselachus anguineus with fringed gills

The frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is a rare and unusual species of shark found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are known for their eel-like appearance and unusual teeth. Frilled sharks are not considered dangerous to humans.

Whale Shark

a whale shark swimming in the ocean

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish species in the world and can be found in Portuguese waters. These sharks are filter feeders and are harmless to humans. Whale sharks are often spotted near the surface of the water, where they feed on plankton.

Shark Attacks in Portugal

sharks circling around a swimmer in the ocean

Portugal is known for its beautiful beaches and clear waters, but it is also home to a variety of shark species. While shark attacks are rare in Portugal, there have been some reported incidents over the years.

According to the International Shark Attack File, there have been a total of 13 shark attacks in Portugal since 1900, with the most recent incident occurring in 2017. Of these attacks, only one was fatal. While these numbers may seem alarming, it is important to note that the chances of being attacked by a shark in Portugal are extremely low.

Shark sightings are more common than attacks in Portugal. The most common species of shark found in Portuguese waters are blue sharks, which are considered to be dangerous but rarely attack humans. Other species of sharks that can be found in Portugal include hammerheads, great whites, and tiger sharks.

To reduce the risk of shark attacks, the Portuguese government has implemented a number of measures, such as monitoring shark populations and closing beaches when sharks are spotted in the area. Additionally, many beaches in Portugal have lifeguards on duty during the summer months to keep an eye out for any potential dangers.

Despite the low risk of shark attacks in Portugal, it is still important for beachgoers to be aware of the potential dangers. Visitors should avoid swimming alone or in areas where sharks have been spotted, and should always follow the advice of lifeguards and local authorities. By taking these precautions, visitors can enjoy Portugal’s beautiful beaches while minimizing the risk of encountering a shark.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of sharks are commonly found in Portugal waters?

Portugal has a diverse range of shark species, with over 40 species recorded in its waters. Some of the most commonly found species include blue sharks, shortfin mako sharks, smoothhounds, and catsharks.

How often do shark attacks occur in Portugal?

Shark attacks in Portugal are rare, with only a few reported cases in recent years. The last fatal shark attack in Portugal occurred in 2015.

Have there been any recent shark attacks in Portugal?

There have been no reported shark attacks in Portugal in the last few years. The last recorded shark attack occurred in 2017, where a surfer was bitten on the foot by a blue shark.

Are there any areas in Portugal where shark sightings are more common?

Shark sightings are more common in certain areas of Portugal, particularly in the Algarve region. This is due to the warmer waters and the presence of prey species, such as sardines and anchovies.

How dangerous are shortfin mako sharks?

Shortfin mako sharks are considered to be potentially dangerous to humans due to their size and speed. However, they are not known to actively seek out humans as prey.

Are great white sharks commonly found in the waters around Portugal?

Great white sharks are not commonly found in the waters around Portugal. However, there have been occasional sightings of the species, particularly in the Azores.

Add comment