Soupfin Shark

Galeorhinus galeus

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This shark is known by a variety of names, including Tope Shark, Snapper Shark and School Shark. One of the smaller Oregon species, the Soupfin rarely grows longer than 6 feet (1.8 m). It can be identified by its long, pointed snout and second dorsal fin which is located above the anal fin. Most of the shark’s fins are tipped in black. The Soupfin will congregate in schools of up to fifty individuals and has historically been caught in nets by commercial fishermen. Its meat is rich in vitamins, making it desirable in both Asian and European markets. The shark generally feeds on fish, squid and octopus along the ocean bottom or in the water column.

Range and Habitat

The Soupfin Shark can be found worldwide in temperate waters. Along the west coast of North America, it ranges from northern British Columbia to as far south as Chile. It can often be found swimming just above the muddy sea floor, sometimes in bays.

Conservation Status

Common. As their name suggests, the shark is widely used in Asian sharkfin soup and other delicacies. Due to its slow maturation rate and small litters, the commercial fishing of this species greatly reduced its numbers in decades past. The fish was heavily harvested in U.S. waters starting in the 1930s, but there is little demand for it today. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife currently considers it abundant and wide-ranging.