An environmental research group identified the first great white shark nursery along the North Atlantic coast. Ocearch made a special expedition which was dedicated to the discovery.
The shark nursery is placed at the Long Island Bight, going from Cape May up to Montauk. The discovery is the most significant action of Ocearch so far.
Ocearch was founded by Chris Fischer, a TV star, and had been following white sharks for years. The group published important data on the marine animals and their movements.
Fisher notes that the goal of the Long Island expedition represents a new step in the group’s activity.
“It’s kind of like step two in the science. When we started this work back in 2012, 2013… the real question was where are these sharks in the North Atlantic giving birth? Because that’s where they’re most vulnerable,” said the Ocearch founder.
The discovery will help scientists understand more on the mysterious predators, which will result in better protection policies. The great white shark population had been declining in the last decades, and recent management strategies helped the species to regain their number.
At this moment, the great white shark has dramatic appearances near Cape Cod.
The Great White Shark Nursery
The experts say that the population found near Long Island is very special in its own way. Researchers didn’t have the chance until now to study the early life cycles of the predator, and the discovery of a shark nursery will help them better understand the species.
While the public is fascinated with the great white shark, the researchers have a hard time studying them because of the solitary nature of the predator.
In the last years, the seal population boom in Cape Cod brought along the sharks. The event convinced the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to move its research to Cape Cod. Meanwhile, Ocearch had been following sharks for almost a decade. The group performed muscle biopsies and took blood samples while tagging the predators. The goal is to tag a shark in 15 minutes.
In just one week, Fischer and his crew managed to tag nine great white shark puppies. The monitoring devices alert researchers when the fin of the animal reaches the surface.
Some have brought accusations that the tagging process might harm the sharks. However, Fischer points out that hurting the animal would interfere with their research. Thus they would never use a method that might damage the creature.
The nine babies that had been tagged from the shark nursery would probably stay in the area until they reach the age of 20. The tagging will offer researchers the opportunity to find out more about the marine predator.
Image Source: Flickr