“Fear and apathy bite deeper than any shark.”
— Jeffrey Gallant, M.Sc., GEERG
The Greenland Shark & Elasmobranch Education & Research Group was officially founded in 2003 following three years of novel expeditions in the North Atlantic Ocean (Nova Scotia) and Saguenay Fjord (Québec). Today, GEERG research and conservation activities no longer focus exclusively on the Greenland shark, but also on the many shark, skate and ray species that inhabit the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary, the Canadian maritime provinces, and the Arctic.
The Greenland shark is the largest member of the Somniosidae family. It is the second largest carnivorous shark after the great white and it is the largest Arctic fish. It is also the longest-living vertebrate animal with a life expectancy of at least 272 years (Nielsen et al., 2016). Its range extends from the Arctic Ocean and Northern Europe to the 32nd parallel north in the Atlantic Ocean. It reaches an enormous size and despite its lethargic appearance, it is a predator capable of short bursts of speed, and under certain conditions may hunt seals and even larger mammals including the beluga whale.
The Greenland shark is rarely observed because of its bathybenthic environment that is inaccessible to divers. The first underwater photos of a live specimen were taken in the Arctic in 1995, and the first video images of a Greenland shark swimming freely under natural conditions were filmed by GEERG in the St. Lawrence in 2003.
Our mission to study the world’s oldest vertebrate, the Greenland shark, began in 1999. Help us do more.
The Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group is a not-for-profit registered Canadian charity that requires financial assistance from corporations and private citizens to conduct field operations. All donations are tax deductible in Canada (Canada Revenue Agency Registration Number: 834462913RR0001) and also in the United States. American donations are made through SRI (Shark Research Institute), a non-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization.