Featured Image Credit: © Morne Hardenberg
By Sarah Sharkey
OCEARCH, a shark tagging, tracking and research organization, has launched a brand new research mission. Off the shore of Montauk on Long Island, New York is now home to a shark “nursery,” a first in the study of great whites in the northwest Atlantic Ocean.
The organization’s overall mission is to learn more about the life cycle of great white sharks. Recently they were able to tag two mature males, which was a hugely important thing for the project. Previously, the team had only been able to tag females. Now they will hopefully be able to find out where the males and females overlap.
Their efforts will focus on tagging juvenile great white sharks in this area. The research that OCEARCH is doing is helping keep great white shark safe in the ocean because the more we know about these sharks and their habits, the better we can protect them.
Chris Fischer, the leader of this expedition, points out that sharks “are the balance keepers. If they thrive, the system thrives. No big sharks, no fish for our grandchildren.”
Although some people are worried about the number of shark attacks rising as the number of sharks on both the east and west coast are rising, Fischer called that fear ‘irrational.’ He said “Don’t fear the fin. The fear of sharks is kind of a real primal thing we all have, but it’s an irrational fear that doesn’t statistically exist. It’s more dangerous to make toast in the morning.”
Hopefully, the researchers can accomplish their goal of understanding the complete life cycle. Until then, they will continue to tag sharks and try to understand the patterns.
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