Rare video of Pacific sleeper shark taken

NHK -- May 18
Japanese marine researchers have successfully captured videos of a Pacific sleeper shark, a species whose life in deep ocean waters has yet to be fully understood.

The species is one of the world's largest deep-sea sharks, measuring more than 4 meters in length. They are found in the North Pacific at depths of around 500 to 1,000 meters.

A team from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, placed cameras with baits at two locations about 600 meters deep in Suruga Bay, off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture in 2016.

The footage showed a Pacific sleeper shark more than 3 meters long slowly approaching the bait and trying to eat it.

The shark had a fishing line tangled around its face and was also captured by another of the two cameras, placed in a different location.

Researchers said it was rare to capture images of Pacific sleeper sharks active in deep waters.

Some other species belonging to the same group as the Pacific sleeper shark are estimated to live for up to around 400 years. The Pacific sleeper shark is considered to have a long life span as well.

JAMSTEC researcher Fujiwara Yoshihiro said many things remained unknown about the species. He added that Suruga Bay, which is easily accessible to him and his fellow researchers, is an attractive field of study as it continues to provide them with fresh discoveries.