Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimeras of British Columbia

Gordon McFarlane and Jackie King


A comprehensive field guide to sharks and their cousins off the west coast of British Columbia.

Sharks! The very mention of the word conjures up images of dangerous creatures with a voracious appetite. This public image couldn’t be farther from the truth for a vast majority of shark species: most are cautious and placid, and many inhabit waters that exclude them from human contact. Much fear of sharks is driven by media reports or films that sensationalize shark attacks, despite the rarity of such occurrences. So much about sharks, and their relatives, makes them fascinating, and we still have much to learn.

This book is for everyone interested in learning more about sharks and their relatives. It provides the most accurate and up-to-date information on chondrichthyans in British Columbia waters, including detailed species descriptions and identification information. Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimeras of British Columbia presents sharks and their relatives as valuable members of our coastal fish community, worthy of respect, study, admiration and protection.

Gordon McFarlane is a scientist emeritus at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC. Dr. Jackie King is a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Pacific Biological Station, where she leads the Canadian Pacific Shark Research Program.

May 2020, paperback, 232 pages

ISBN 978-0-7726-7335-0

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“The authors have assembled an impressive compendium. After spending a lifetime at sea commercial fishing, I find this book provides valuable insight for ecological and fisheries scientists, managers and resource harvesters to consider when assessing how best to conserve and sustain these important species. The authors’ contributions to this subject reflect years of experience and dedication to improving our understanding and relationship with aquatic ecosystems. ”
—Brian Mose, executive director, Deep Sea Trawlers Association

“Detailed, thorough, comprehensive and wonderfully illustrated. This compendium of up-to-date information on sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras of British Columbia is authored by well-known and respected scientists with a wealth of personal experiences and expertise. The background biological information is easily understandable, the treatment of each species provides a guide to understanding the unexpectedly wide and surprising diversity of this group of animals in Canadian waters, and the exceptional photographs by Andy Murch make this a standout addition to any library for scientists and non-scientists alike. ”
—Dr. Jeffrey C. Carrier, professor emeritus of biology, Albion College, and senior editor of Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives

Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimeras of British Columbia is a long-overdue book on a diverse group of species found on our coast. This handbook is accessible to any reader and strikes the perfect balance of scientific detail, history, conservation, imagery and useful facts. Despite the comprehensive review, it left me contemplating how little we truly understand. Anyone interested in the natural history of British Columbia’s marine life should have this on their shelf.”
—Scott Wallace, senior research scientist, David Suzuki Foundation

“This is a book I’ll be picking up frequently. It can be opened at any page and enjoyed and can quickly be consulted for reference. . . .The information is balanced and the book is beautifully packaged, full of colour and very accessible print.”
—Cherie Thiessen for Pacific Yachting

Additional information

Dimensions 203 × 140 cm


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