It’s been a while since I’ve written about the great white shark presence off the coast New England, and I’m a little behind on the story now. According to the Cape Cod Times, eight white sharks have been tagged off the coast of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, and should at this moment be commencing their journey south for the winter. Five have been tagged with satellite tags, and three are carrying acoustic tags.
The fact that some of these sharks have acoustic tags excites me. The idea behind the acoustic tags is that several institutions and Universities along the east coast have acoustic receiver arrays deployed at strategic points, and hopefully these sharks will move close enough to these arrays to tip off researchers as to when they appear at certain points along the coast. So why am I excited about this? Because the Rulifson lab deploys an acoustic array during the late fall and winter to detect spiny dogfish, and in the past has picked up sturgeon and sand tiger sharks from other studies. How awesome would it be if they picked up one of the New England great whites?
I actually just saw a public talk by Dr. Demian Chapman about white sharks in the northeast and in general. Not being a shark biologist, I was pretty surprised at some of the things I learned. Some of the most interesting things I learned was about some of their migrations – using satellite tags, he talked about how sharks from South Australia ended up in Fiji, sharks from the California ended up in Hawaii, and one tagged shark from South Africa ended up near Australia (a whopping 5200 mile journey!). All of these migrations had the white sharks spending considerable amounts of time in the open ocean. However, the Cape Cod white sharks seem to just migrate down the coast toward Florida. Anyway, I could write paragraphs about all the cool stuff I learned on here, but maybe I’ll just leave that for my blog.
I hadn’t thought of that before, but the fact that the U.S. Atlantic population doesn’t seem to have a major open ocean component to their migrations is interesting and might be significant. Do you know if there’s any video or synopsis of this talk available?