(Screencap from video by Shelton Duprees/Fisheries and Oceans Canada/YouTube)

Never before seen footage has captured rare behaviour exhibited by a salmon shark off the coast of Vancouver Island.

Researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada were exploring the country’s largest underwater volcano when they observed the two-metre long shark purposefully and repeatedly slamming into a barnacle-covered log.

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“It looked like it was aiming for like these big clumps of barnacles and then it would heave its body out of the water and actually slide it along,” said DFO ecologist Cherisse Du Preez in the video.

Researchers believe that the shark was attempting to remove the large, visible parasites from its body and fins – copepods that are detrimental to the shark’s health and swimming efficiency.

“It [the shark] didn’t seem to be bothered by us at all. As far as I know, this footage doesn’t exist elsewhere,” adds Du Preez.

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