Blue Shark (Prionace glauca) in Captivity

Thanks to Dave Powell, ret. Monterey Bay Aquarium for much of the information on this page. Filipe Pereira provided the details for the Lisbon Aquarium.

Photograph Aquarium TL (m)
M (kg)
Days in captivity
  In 1969 Sea World San Diego tried several blue shark in a circular tanks (15 m diameter, 2.1-1.05 m deep) for 1-3 month. They would begin to feed but would start to go downhill after just a few weeks. Circular tank design without long glide-path was thought to be inadequate.   30-90
  At the Marineland of the Pacific they experimented with considerably larger tank with bottom that sloped up to zero depth from about 3.5 m. The theory was that the blue shark would avoid the shallow water and stay away from the sides of the tank. It didn't work; they cruised right into the shallows and wore away the bottom of their lower jaw.    
  After transport had been successfully worked out, blue sharks were used to test the system for the new tropical sharks at Sea World San Diego. Ray Keyes thought the blue shark were doings great until they turned on the heating system and added the bull and lemon sharks. The bull sharks ate the blue sharks    
<1987 Okinawa Expo Aquarium (Ushida et al. 1990 = NOAA TR NMFS 90, 211-237)   30
  At the New Jersey State Aquarium in Campden, Brian DuVall brought in a ~6 ft blue shark for their large tank and it survived for 7 month. ~1.8 210

Monterey Bay Aquarium. Female was caught on 29 Nov 1995 near the 1-mile buoy in Monterey Bay. Euthanized on 14 Feb 1996 due to throat wound from rubbing against the wall. She was feeding well and showed nice slow energy conserving swimming when not rubbing against the walls and windows.

L'Oceanogràfic - Valencia, SPAIN
Two specimens, a male and a female of 1.10 m. from 27 Jul 2005 until 25 Sep 2005.
Close-up photo.


Lisbon Oceanarium, Portugal
Has tried twice to exhibit the species in their 1.22 million-gallon tank, without success. The first attempt was with two juveniles of about 0.8 and 0.9 m TL, which made the transport without any problems. However, once in the tank, grey reef shark predated on them and they died after a few minutes. The second attempt was with a larger 1.6 m TL female. It experienced problems during the transport to the aquarium and died after several full trips around the Open Ocean tank. Thanks to Filipe Pereira for information.

0.8, 0.9, &1.6
a few hours
Photograph Aquarium TL (m)
M (kg)
Days in captivity

Created February 2002, revised Februrary 2007. Back to previous page
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