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Diver captures rare footage of sharks

A canadian scuba diver has recorded rare footage of four Greenland sharks, far from their habitat, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The video footage showed the sluggish, tubby sharks ambling along as the diver videotaped them using a housed video camera underwater.

The 3.5-metre sharks, which normally live in frigid Arctic waters, had wandered more than 4,000 kilometres to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.

The sharks are rarely seen by humans, given their severity of their frigid, isolated habitat.

Scientific experts traveled 680 kilometres northeast of Montreal in an attempt to record additional images of the sharks discovered by the diver.

Jeffrey Gallant of the Canadian Shark Research Laboratory said the footage recorded by diver Sylvain Sirois are unique.

"The only images that exist, other than the ones taken this week, were recorded once the shark was captured," Gallant said.

"(Previously) the animal was returned to the water and filmed in a somewhat artificial environment."

Sirois discovered the sharks by accident this week while on a diving excursion near Baie-Comeau.

The diver said that he didn’t realize the magnitude of his discovery until an Internet search revealed he was one of only 10 people known to have observed the sharks in the wild.

His footage will be sent to researchers around the world which additionally will be used to produce several nature documentaries.

The Greenland shark, known as the sleeper shark for its sluggish nature, is one of the few large fish found in polar waters year-round. The species, which is usually not harmful to humans, reaches lengths of 6.3 metres and can weigh up to 1,020 kilograms.

Cliff Etzel
Cliff Etzel
Cliff is the former Freediving editor of He is now a freelance journalist and film-maker.