Experts note between 400 and 500 shark species inhabit the world’s oceans and waterways.
These fish can be less than a foot long or larger than a bus. From fierce hunters that breach waves and ambush prey to gentle giants known to nudge kayaks and bask with scuba divers, sharks are compelling and often misunderstood.
Canada Post released a new issue starring these fascinating yet oftentimes feared creatures just in time for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. They were unveiled yesterday at the Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative.
Nearly 30 shark species are native to Canadian waters or known to visit our shores.
The stamps highlights five sharks, including:
- the blue shark, which is native to the Atlantic Ocean and often spotted around Newfoundland, the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence;
- the shortfin mako, which is the fastest shark in the world, hitting speeds up to 50 kilometres an hour, usually when attacking, and is a visitor to Canada (the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, along the Scotian Shelf, is the northernmost edge of its migratory range);
- the basking shark, which glides through the ocean open-mouthed, feeding on krill, plankton and fish eggs (this gentle giant has been assessed as endangered for its Pacific population and as a special concern for its Atlantic population by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada);
- the white shark, which is a threatened species that has seen its numbers decline significantly in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean; and
- the Greenland shark, which lives deep in the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans and is one of the longest-living vertebrates, some having reached 400 years old.
The five stamps—designed by Andrew Perro and illustrated by Julius Csotonyi—will be available as a booklet of 10 stamps; a souvenir sheet of all five stamps; a souvenir sheet official first-day cover; and a 25-stamp uncut press sheet.