Great White Shark Tracker: Sharks Return To Beaches, ‘Much More Dynamic’ Than Previously Thought
Great white sharks may visit beaches more than previously believed, researchers find.
Sharks appear to navigate with great accuracy, often returning to the exact same spot they visited the year before. This means that great whites may approach the shorelines along the east coast of the United States and around South Africa more than previously believed.
Dr. Gregory Skomal, senior scientist and head of Massachusetts Shark Research Program said, "We are seeing they are much more dynamic than we had previously thought."
The Telegraph reports that new technologies in satellite tracking of the predators reveal an intriguing picture of their lives, marking the long journey that sharks often make.
"What is fascinating is that they approach the shore regularly and have probably been doing this for thousands of years if not hundreds of thousands, but go completely undetected," Skomal said. "So I don't think there is any reason to be alarmed. They are not going out of their way to eat us so their reputation is somewhat undeserved."
As previously reported, OCEARCH is the Global Shark Tracker Project is responsible for tagging around 100 sharks since 2009. The non-profit research group is leading an additional mission off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts to tag as many as 20 enormous sharks.
Lydia, a 14ft, 6-inch female great white shark is one of the largest tagged by the team, and one of the most well traveled. Since March, Lydia has traveled more than 4,800 miles, swimming nearly 2000 miles out to the center of the Atlantic Ocean, before returning to the South Carolina coast.
The project, in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, seeks to better understand sharks, and inform the public about the importance of sharks.
OCEARCH does more than just tag sharks; the project involves recording the temperature, salinity, and depth of the water they have been swimming in while a GPA tracker helps record their swimming speed.
"One shark we tagged in 2011 has been returning to the same place around Cape Cod in very specific areas. She has area preferences and leaves around the same time in the fall," Skomal said.