StatisticsLength: Up to 195cm Weight: Up to 48kg Average Lifespan: Can live for over 50 years
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutThe beautiful tope shark isn't exactly what you'd call a picky eater! They feed on a variety of fish species but will also take crustaceans or cephalopods if the opportunity arises. Tagging studies have shown that Tope can travel huge distances and some individuals tagged in the UK have later been found as far away as the Canary Islands!
How to identifyA long and slender shark with a grey upper body and a white belly. The tope shark has two dorsal fins and a distinctive notched tail.
In our area
In the Autumn, Tope migrate to our waters and can be found throughout the Irish Sea. The local population has declined dramatically in recent years, particularly within Strangford Lough and Carlingford Lough which historically supported major tope fisheries. There is evidence that both Strangford Lough and Carlingford Lough are pupping grounds for the species because of the relatively high catch of large females and small juveniles during Autumn and Winter. Critical areas such as pupping grounds need to be protected because this is an area that sharks live in when they are most vulnerable. As Tope are on the NI Prioirty Species list we hope to be able to provide evidence through our tagging programme that will ensure spatial protection measures for them.
NI Priority Species