Elasmobranch fishes are among a broad range of taxa believed to gain positional information and navigate using the earth’s magnetic field, yet in sharks, much remains uncertain regarding the sensory receptors and pathways involved, or the exact nature of perceived stimuli. Captive sandbar sharks, Carcharhinus plumbeus were conditioned to respond to presentation of a magnetic stimulus by seeking out a target in anticipation of reward (food). Sharks in the study demonstrated strong responses to magnetic stimuli, making significantly more approaches to the target (p = < 0.01) during stimulus activation (S+) than before or after activation (S−). Sharks exposed to reversible magnetosensory impairment were less capable of discriminating changes to the local magnetic field, with no difference seen in approaches to the target under the S+ and S− conditions (p = 0.375). We provide quantified detection and discrimination thresholds of magnetic stimuli presented, and quantify associated transient electrical artefacts. We show that the likelihood of such artefacts serving as the stimulus for observed behavioural responses was low. These impairment experiments support hypotheses that magnetic field perception in sharks is not solely performed via the electrosensory system, and that putative magnetoreceptor structures may be located in the naso-olfactory capsules of sharks.