Do Sharks Migrate?

The answer is yes, they do migrate. Sharks migrate in order to find food, to find mates, and to find new habitats.

Sharks can migrate long distances, and they can also swim short distances. Some sharks migrate every year, while others only migrate every few years.

Sharks that live in the ocean typically migrate more often than sharks that live in freshwater.

Do Sharks Migrate

Do Sharks Migrate

There are several reasons why they might do so. One reason is that sharks may move in order to find new food sources.

Sharks may also migrate in order to find cooler water temperatures during the summer months. Some sharks may even migrate in order to find better mating opportunities.

Sharks migrate for a variety of reasons. Some species migrate in order to find food, while others migrate to find better shelter or breeding grounds. Sharks may also migrate long distances in order to avoid predators or unfavorable environmental conditions.

Scientists have been able to track the movements of some shark species by tagging them with satellite transmitters. These studies have shown that sharks can travel great distances, sometimes crossing entire oceans.

The large white shark, for example, has been documented traveling more than 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometers) in a single season.

However, it is clear that migration is an important part of the life cycle for many shark species.

There are various kinds of sharks whose migratory behavior determines whether they local or migrate. Local species seldom move more than a hundred miles from where they reside, whereas migrating sharks such as the great white can travel about 2500 miles between feeding grounds.

If you’d like to make a specific kind of migration, there are options apart from migrating across the ocean.

Unlike ocean migration, moving between deep-water and shallow water belong to a specific category of migration, and then there are also those that entail the migratory behavior of sharks.

Sharks that can be tracked within around a hundred miles are usually within Isthmus of Panama, so we know that not every shark migrates across the ocean, but in the ocean, there are three distinct axes: forward, backward (North or South), right to left (East and West), and up and down.

There are other types of migration too, and most sharks fall into one or more of these migratory categories.

Diadromous migration

When a fish exists between fresh and saltwater, as it is the case with the bull shark that is an exceptionally tough fish, this pattern is known as Diadromous migration.

Oceanodromous migration

When sharks move near their feeding or breeding grounds, this is known as oceanic migration.

Latitudinal migrations

Sharks traveling from north to south, or vice-versa, are performing Latitudinal Migrations, which is partially affected by seasonal warming.

Longitudinal migration

When the migration is one-sided, from East to West (or vice versa), this is know as Longitudinal migration.

Vertical migration

Sharks that are most accustomed to remain in place may regularly be observed traveling vertically. That’s when they are returning from the seabed to colonize or spawn, and then head back to the depths.

It can also be the other way around. Throughout the entire day, plankton that are the foundation of the food chain periodically move from top to bottom in the marine water surroundings, and this vertical migration is followed closely by the families of the animals predator.

Animals’ death zones indexed upward due to the diving behavior of vertical migration. Behaviors may also vary depending on changes in environmental conditions based on physiological tolerances.

To inspect the connection between athletic activity and exertion, we docked a variety of biologging technologies with each other to study the thermal physiology (internal temperature), fine-scale movement, and activity (overall dynamic acceleration as a proxy for energy expenditure) of six-gill sharks (hexanchus griseus) under different environmental conditions (depth, water temperature, dissolved oxygen).

Few examples of where sharks are going during their migrations:

1.The bigeye thresher shark occupies both shallow and open water. This shark has been observed from time to time to show up in the water column on a fixed basis and follow a cyclical month-long periodicity.

Such vertical migrations are common, and they commonly coincide with the line-fishing industry’s long lines, whereby the bigeye thresher shark is more likely to be caught and destroyed.

Port Jackson sharks, both male and female, tend to return to their birthplace following infrequent periods of time. positively exemplify philopatry, as salmon are known for regularly returning to their spawning rivers. Rather than the tradition of separating, the Port Jackson shark pairs up thorough time at their body Parrots (there is a similarity here).

White sharks have an extraordinary capacity for considerable vertical migrations, but their latitudinal migration patterns are less easy to study.

Scientists make use of special tags attached to facilitate these estimates measuring diving depth and location for white sharks.


  2. Coffey, D. M., Royer, M. A., Meyer, C. G., & Holland, K. N. (2020). Diel patterns in swimming behavior of a vertically migrating deepwater shark, the bluntnose sixgill (Hexanchus griseus). PloS one, 15(1), e0228253.

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