Tagged shark clocks up the miles

A SHORTFIN mako shark tagged in New Zealand five months ago is providing scientists with remarkable and previously unknown details of the migratory movements of this species. 

The juvenile mako dubbed “Carol” has been fitted with a satellite reporting tagging device know as a SPOT tag which has provided data for a collaborative research team from the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University and the NZ National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

The SPOT tag has reported Carol’s location to the satellite several times daily, revealing the shark is spending a lot of time at the ocean surface.

“The unexpectedly frequent daily detections are providing us with a really high resolution view of the migration of this animal,” said GHRI Director Dr. Mahmood Shivji.

“We”ve found that Carol has traveled over 5,700 miles in five months, averaging 60 miles per day during some parts of her migration … and this is just a juvenile shark!”

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Image: Steve Cooper

“Conventional identification tags tell us little about the timing of mako shark movements, the route that they take or distance traveled,” said Dr.Malcolm Francis, who is leading the NIWA effort on this study.

“The SPOT tag, revealing Carol’s detailed travels from New Zealand to Fiji and back,
shows theses sharks have an amazing internal navigation system that keeps
them on course over long journeys.”

Based on the results of this initial trial, the GHRI and NIWA are expanding their mako migration study off New Zealand starting in January 2013

To follow Carol’s travels on a GHRI interactive website go to:

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