Skip to comments.White Shark Tag Attached in Massachusetts Surfaces off Florida Coast
Posted on 01/20/2010 4:47:37 PM PST by Capt. Tom
January 20, 2010 - For immediate release: White Shark Tag Attached in Massachusetts Surfaces off Florida Coast Officials await data detailing shark's migratory path
BOSTON - State marine biologists have tracked an electronic tag placed on a white shark in waters off Cape Cod last September to the coast of North Florida, providing clues to the wintering grounds and other habits of these top marine predators, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles said today. Under a project led by Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Senior Biologist Greg Skomal, DMF biologists placed electronic tags on five great white sharks in waters off Chatham in September. At midnight on Friday, January 15, one tag surfaced 50 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, and began transmitting data. The tag, which collects and records water temperature, depth and light levels to help scientists determine where a shark travels, will transmit data for several days using satellite-based technology.
"For Massachusetts citizens and biologists and shark enthusiasts across the globe, this is an exciting opportunity to study these fascinating creatures," said Secretary Bowles, whose office includes DMF, a division of the Department of Fish and Game. "We're looking forward to sharing the findings - so far, all we know is that this particular shark is a snowbird."
Over the next several days, Skomal - who heads DMF's shark research program - will analyze data transmitted by the tag looking for information about how deep and how far the shark traveled, which will allow scientists to better understand white sharks' migratory behavior. Additional tags may surface and transmit data later this winter and spring.
After multiple shark sightings off of the coast of Chatham last summer, Skomal and other state biologists set out to identify the species of the sharks off Monomoy Island in Chatham. Skomal, along with harpooner Bill Chaprales, captain of the fishing vessel Ezyduzit, placed the electronic tags on the sharks with the help of spotter pilot George Breen and Nick Chaprales, the boats driver. This was the first successful tagging of white sharks in the Atlantic Ocean using electronic satellite technology. Click here for a video and photographs of the white shark tagging in September."The information gathered from this tag will help to inform biologists about migratory paths and shark behavior, adding to the long list of DMF's contributions to the field of marine science," said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin.
In 2004, the DMF attempted to electronically tag a great white shark that was stuck in a shallow embankment at Naushon Island off of Cape Cod. While DMF's Skomal was able to place a tag on that shark, the device detached from the animal shortly afterward without acquiring any data.
"Gregs scientific expertise combined with Billy's adept harpoon skills was a perfect combination. These ventures are typical of DMF's cooperative research with partners like those in the fishing industry," said DMF's Director Paul Diodati.
Many species of fish, including sharks, migrate to New Englands coastal and open ocean waters in the summer months. At least a dozen shark species migrate in and out of New England waters annually. Massachusetts is the northernmost range for several species of sharks and is an important area for monitoring the health and distribution of shark populations. Although relatively rare in New England, great white sharks, are known to visit local waters, where they are sometimes seen feeding near seal colonies.
Last May, peer-reviewed journal Current Biology published Skomal's research on the migratory patterns of basking sharks. Using similar tagging technology, Skomal and his team documented the migratory habits of these large sharks, identifying previously unknown winter habitat - a discovery that has implications for the species' conservation. Click here to find out more about DMF's basking shark research.
DMF's shark research program is one of eight marine fisheries research programs funded through DMF's Recreational Marine Fisheries program. The shark research program is beneficiary of several federal grants. Click here for more information about the DMF's shark research program.
Must have been a jewish shark. Left MA for FL as soon as the weather turned cold.
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Sounds like someone needs to start up a ‘Shark Obedience School’. (at least it would create some jobs.)
Then, we could just order the Sharks to ‘stay’ while we attach the collars.
Sharks will eat just about anything.
This is just great! Is the White shark targeting Crist?
And why can’t we do this with the Al Qaeda members we release!
LOL, I think its Martha
White sharks can withstand the widest temperaure range of just about any shark specie; water temps from the 40s to the 80s. We had one taken here, off Plymouth Mass. in mid winter in 1938.
I would guess they follow the whales south down the coast. - tom
Me no like sharks.
Sounds bad.... but I always make sure there’s someone further out in the ocean than me.
For heavens sake I was joking, JOKING,
LOL....my strategy as well....its worked so far.
Sharks, like most fish like easy targets.- Tom
This attack occured only a few days ago in South Africa at Fish Hoek beach. Excerpt from http://www.theherald.co.za/article.aspx?id=518503
Kyle Johnston, of Diep River, said he and his friends had been swimming near the man when the shark struck.
We were swimming only about 15m away from the guy. We were at about chest depth and he was a little deeper.
We looked at the walkway and saw people waving towels at us, then we looked further out to sea and saw what looked like blood, and a mans leg come up.
I was floating and I thought the people waving at us were joking, but then I looked back and saw a fin and blood, said his friend Dane Leo.
Irishman Denis Lundon saw several bits of fish that might have been parts of a single shark emerging from the water, then a swimmer being thrust chest-high out of the sea.
I jumped, waved my hat and roared and screamed at swimmers to get out of the water. I never want to experience this again. Im going to block it out of my mind, he said.
We saw the shark come back twice, said Lundons friend, Phyllis McCartain, from Arundel in England.
It had the mans body in its mouth, and his arm was in the air. Then the sea was full of blood.
Kathy Geldenhuys was sitting on a nearby bench with her husband at the time of the attack.
: My husband had just pointed out how far the man was swimming from the other people. He asked what would happen if he was attacked by a shark, because he was so far away. The words were hardly cold when the shark attacked that man.
The shark attacked twice; it turned and attacked the man again; I just saw the blood on the water.
Geldenhuys said she had not seen the shark before it attacked the man. Only when it was attacking did I see the fin, but then I could see the whole body under the water. It was a very big shark.
Later, Coppen described the shark as being longer than a minibus and the rubber ducks lifeguards use.
It was this giant shadow heading to something colourful. Then it sort of came out the water and took this colourful lump and went off with it. You could see its whole jaw wrap around the thing which turned out to be a person, Coppen said.
I know you were joking but I just wanted to pass on some white shark info to fellow Freepers.
Most people think whites need warm water because their notoriety comes from attacking swimmers- and we don't swim in cool or cold water. So almost every attack on swimmers is in relatively warm water. The shark itself is primarily a cool water shark, but it can go into colder or warmer water if it wants. - Tom
Massachusettes to Florida? It’s a sign! What’s going on in Florida State politics?
Although it may get a bit tricky for the shark when a mid-western state needs attention.