Friday, 7 October 2016

How US scientists tagged and tracked 770kg shark

She isn't quite an adult, but at 3.8m long and weighing in at just under 1700 pounds (770kg), scientists were eager to tag Miss Costa to follow her feeding and living habits.

They got their chance when the white shark first appeared in late September off the coast of Nantucket in Massachusetts. An added bonus came on Monday when her GPS-like tracking device showed her swimming near the surface just off the coast, east of the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
While it might surprise the average beachgoer to hear that the shark, nicknamed Miss Costa, was spotted along Virginia's coastline, scientists who specialise in studying sharks said it isn't all that rare.

"It's not unusual for white sharks to come into the Carolina area close to the coast in winter time," said Robert Hueter, who is the lead scientist on the expedition run by, a research operation on sharks.

He said Miss Costa is likely headed to her winter feeding grounds in Florida.

The shark is one of dozens of sharks the group tracks. They are often named for the sponsors involved (Miss Costa is named for Costa Sunglasses).

The information scientists are able to track and glean once a shark is tagged is important, they said, to understanding the animals and helping to preserve their habitat.

Using a 38m boat and a special hydraulic lift, scientists are able to get access to the sharks for a brief time. In about 15 minutes, they take genetic samples, blood and other samples, then attach a transmitter to the shark's dorsal fin.

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