Tagged Sharks Shed Light on Movement in Atlantic

When commercial fishermen off the coast of North Carolina hooked a mako shark with a tracking device on its dorsal fin, the journey of this spectacular predator had come to an end.

But unlike most sharks that are destined for the dinner table, this mako told a story through its tracking device which scientists have been monitoring for the past 18-months, according to the Charlotte Observer.

So little was known about the migration and movement of sharks, that the researchers have been gaining some big insights, such as the 8,500 miles that this particular shark had traveled throughout the north Atlantic ocean.

You can log into the shark tracking site to see animated versions of the paths of dozens of shark as they transmitted pings back to the researchers. The project is carried out by Nova Southeastern University and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

What’s interesting about the data is that not all sharks behave the same, even within the same species. Among mako sharks, most of them appear to remain near the eastern coast, though several take longer journeys into the north and central Atlantic.

The mako that was most recently recovered traveled on average 15 miles per day over 557 days and made a big loop into the Atlantic north of Bermuda last spring. Makos in general can swim up to 60 miles per hour in short bursts to chase prey.

Photo credit: Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation