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Bottomfish Identification: Sharks, Skates and Ratfishes

Broadnose Sevengill Shark
Notorynchus cepedianus

Caught incidentally in the commercial fishery off the outer Washington coast with longline and jig handline gear. Recreational fishing for broadnose sevengill sharks is closed in all Washington waters.

Description: The broadnose sevengill shark is a large species with a thick body, broad head, and blunt snout.  The dorsal surface is silver-gray to brown and the ventral side is very pale.  The body and fins are covered in small black and white spots. This species has a single dorsal fin that is set far back along the spine, behind the pelvic fins towards the tail fin.  The upper portion of the tail fin is much longer than the lower portion and is slightly notched near the tip.  This shark has jagged, saw-like teeth in the upper jaw (except for one middle tooth), and comb-shaped teeth in the lower jaw. This shark is distinguished because of its seven gill slits, while most shark species have five.

Maximum Size: To 300 cm (9.8 ft) in length, and 107 kg (236 lbs) in weight.

Maximum Age:  49 years old.

Range/Habitat: The range of the broadnose sevengill shark is from the western Pacific Ocean off of China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, the eastern Pacific Ocean, and the southern Atlantic Ocean off of Argentina and South Africa.  Large individuals tend to live in deeper offshore environments as deep as 136 m (446 ft). However, most individuals live in either the deep channels of bays, or in the shallower waters of continental shelves and estuaries.  Seasonal movements into and out of estuaries, including Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, occur for mating and pupping.

Fun Fish Facts: The broadnose sevengill shark will feed on just about anything!  This includes other sharks, seals, rays, chimaeras, bony fish, hagfish, dolphin and porpoise meat, shark egg cases, sea snails and mammalian carrion, including rats!


  • Camhi, M., S.L. Fowler, J.A. Musick, A. Bräutigam and S.V. Fordham, 1998. Sharks and their relatives - Ecology and conservation. IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. iv + 39 p.
  • Compagno, L., M. Dando, and S. Fowler, 2005. Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press. 67-68p.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., D.A. Ebert and M.J. Smale, 1989. Guide to the sharks and rays of southern Africa. New Holland (Publ.) Ltd., London. 158 p.

Photos: Mike Brown and Kelly Barnum, Northwest Shark Preservation Society