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maximum 3.5 meters


up to 250 kilograms


dark gray-blue with gray flank and white belly


up to 25 years


deep sea fish, other sharks and squid




live birth (ovoviviparous)
maturity: 13 years old
number: 1-6 young per nest

  • Dut: Haringhaai (neushaai)
  • Lat: Lamna nasus (isurus nasus)
  • Eng: Porbeagle, mackerel shark
  • Ger: Heringshai
  • Dan: Sildehaj
Porbeagle, via Wikimedia Commons


The porbeagle, also known as the mackerel shark, is a heavy-built shark with a distinctly pointed snout. Some people refer to them as 'nose sharks'. Porbeagles eat all kinds of fish, from herring and mackerel to benthic fish. Every once in a while, they'll even take a bite of a scuba diver.

  • Shark fin soep

    Porbeagles are commercially fished. Usually, the most interesting feature is the fins which are used for soup. The meat is also eaten. Porbeagles are considered a delicacy in Denmark and receive high prices at the market. These sharks used to be fished more intensely. In those days, one was interested in the fish oil and skin, which was used as shark leather.

    Sometimes, porbeagles are caught in nets unintentionally as bycatch while fishing for flatfish or pelagic fish. In 2008, the twin rigger BCK40 caught one in the Dutch part of the North Sea. The shark weighed 130 kilograms and was 2.20 meters long. The fish was sold to a restaurant in Amsterdam.

    Porbeagles are sometimes caught by sport fishermen. In 2006, two English sport fishermen caught one that was 2.7 meters long and 250 kilograms. They were in a rubber boat and had a simple fishing rod. It was the largest shark ever caught in British waters. The fishermen survived the adventure but it is unknown what happened to the shark.

  • Mistaken as basking shark

    Every once in awhile, there is news of a porbeagle being caught, but when examined more closely, turns out to be a basking shark. It's easy to tell them apart: porbeagles have a mouth full with teeth, basking sharks are toothless. In addition, the dorsal fin of the basking shark is positioned far behind the pectoral fins while that of the porbeagle is practically straight above them.

  • Distribution

    Porbeagles swim in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the southwestern and southeastern Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.