There is a few critiques by the way that the sharks are tag. We have to agreed: Great White Sharks not turtles! Its dangerous for both parties. Click in link, look the pictures, follow a shark and take your conclusions. For me look AWESOME!
OCEARCH, led by Chris Fischer and Greg Skomal, on Tuesday will embark on a month-long expedition off Cape Cod, during which it plans to capture, tag, and release as many as 20 great white sharks. During the tagging process, a team of scientists will take samples and conduct other studies they say will help answer a lot of unknowns.
“This expedition brings together an amazing team of researchers with broad experience in multiple disciplines,” said Skomal, a senior scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “In doing so, we will be conducting over a dozen studies on white sharks, ranging from broad and fine scale migratory patterns to sonograms.
“Our knowledge base on Atlantic white sharks will grow exponentially, helping both science and public safety.”
Thanks to a permit issued by Massachusetts, the group will be working close to the Cape Cod coast, where 15,000 seals gather seasonally, attracting predatory white sharks. The expedition, funded largely by Caterpillar, will be aboard the 126-foot MV/OCEARCH.
OCEARCH, through its Shark Tracker website, is already monitoring the movements of 38 sharks worldwide. Among the handful that has already been tagged off the East Coast are Mary Lee and Lydia.
Mary Lee is a 3,500-pound female who was tagged last year, and scientists, students, and shark fans have plotted a course that extends as far north as Boston to her current position off Georgia.
Lydia is a 2,000-pound female who was tagged last March, and has since traveled eastward, far beyond Bermuda, as far north as Rhode Island, and is presently off the Southeast, like Mary Lee. At one point Lydia was right up along the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
While the OCEARCH tagging program is somewhat controversial, because it entails bolting a large satellite SPOT tag to the predators’ dorsal fins, it is beginning to give scientists a better understanding of where these iconic sharks travel.
It’s hoped that more knowledge will help scientists pursue greater protections in areas the sharks frequent.
On the West Coast, different scientists have determined that many adult white sharks that gather seasonally at seal rookeries off California and at Mexico’s Guadalupe Island venture to a vast featureless area each spring and summer. It’s not yet known why.
Off the East Coast, OCEARCH is learning that white sharks spend lots more time off the Southeast than previously believed. One shark shocked scientists, however, when it ventured far up the coast in the winter, at which time the water temperature was 38 degrees.
Fisher, who was interviewed on CBS about the project (video posted above), said that in order to obtain a clearer picture of where these sharks travel, a larger sample size is required.
Because white sharks are an embattled species around the world, scientists everywhere agree, more research and a greater understanding of their habits is needed.
Said Fischer: “They are the balance keeper, the lion of the ocean. There is no robust path forward for the ocean, without a robust path for their sharks. And we must understand their lives to be able to impact their future.”
(Photos: Great white shark named Lydia during tagging process last March. Other photos show Mary Lee. Photo by OCEARCH)