|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Just like you wouldn't be too impressed if you were dunked *under* water, a shark isn't really too impressed when removed from water.
Without a stream of water over the gills, the shark slowly suffocates; just like you would if you held your breath.
Shark researchers often pull sharks up out of the water to tag them and to take quick samples. However, the ship's sea water pump is used to keep a stream of fresh water flowing over the shark and its gill membranes and stress is minimised.
I suppose that a large, healthy shark would last slightly longer out of the water than a small, sick shark; but there are many variables (ie. how much thrashing around it is doing; and therefore consuming valuable oxygen).
Hope this helps.
cheers, Alastair Lyon
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