Alaska Sealife Center scientists capture rare Pacific sleeper shark

A small male Pacific sleeper shark at the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. (Alaska Sealife Center)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Researchers at the Alaska Sealife Center are wide awake after capturing a male Pacific sleeper shark.

Scientists are coordinating the rare research opportunity with a shark expert from California State University.

They are studying the shark's role in the ocean's ecosystem, how the species is impacted by fishing activities, and taking a look at what they eat.

Researchers first began fishing for sharks in 2018 with the intention of catching specimens under six feet long.

The goal is to bring up to five young, small sharks to the center for short-term studies on their metabolic rates and basic biology. They will then be released back in Resurrection Bay with telemetry tags to monitor their movements.

It's estimated the species could have an average lifespan between 200 - 300 years.

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