Shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) in Captivity

Thanks go to Pete Mohan of Six Flags Worlds of Adventure Aurora Ohio, Mike Shaw of Sea World San Diego; Mark Smith of Oceanrio de Lisboa, Frank Steslow of New Jersey Aquarium and Victor Lin, Taiwan for sharing information and photographs.

Photograph/Date Aquarium TL (m) Sex Days in captivity
Early 1970's Experimental attempts to maintain ~3 ft. Isurus oxyrinchus (formerly I. glaucus) at Sea World California in the experimental tank in the early 1970s were unsuccessful. 0.9    
Summer 1978

Sea World tried a couple of shortfin makos in the Shark Encounter Exhibit. The fish were in in the range 1.0-1.4 m TL. They were captured locally (Off the coast of San Diego, California) and transported by boat in what has become the standard shark shipping box with pump and oxygen, the flow of which was directed into the shark's mouth and over it's gills. Transport time was about one hour in each case. Neither shark adapted well to our 400,000 gallon display. They had trouble avoiding the walls, swam stiffly, and after 24 to 72 hours they finally ran into the wall, sank to the bottom and died.

1.0 -1.4   1-3
<1987 Uchida et al. (1990). NOAA TR NMFS 90, 211-237.     1

The New Jersey Aquarium recently had a mako for a few days. The specimen was collected 20 miles off Atlantic City on longline using mackerel bait. It was in good condition on arrival and navigated the Ocean Tank boundaries with only minor difficulty for 5 days. However, as was the case for blue sharks we have had in the past, it frequently swam along the perimeter walls and once it was against a wall, it had difficulty pulling away. We tried numerous ways to offer it food, but it never showed interest in feeding nor the several thousand herring in the exhibit. As it became weaker, it was less successful negotiating the walls and on the last day was getting hung up in the corners. It swam immediately upon its arrival and was quite strong. 1.07
6.8 kg
M 5


The Suma Aqualife Park of Kobe, Japan has a juvenile mako in their tank. Information and images from a closed Japanese FB shark group. From Victor Lin on 8 Jan 2019.
Second photo. Third photo (allows size estimate). Fourth photo.

~~ 1 M? ?

Created February 2002, revised January 2019. Back to previous page
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