Meet Einstein, Ocearch’s Newest Hammerhead Shark

Dustin Wicksell

Non-profit group Ocearch has added another hammerhead to their stable of tracked sharks, and this Texas native has been named in honor of famed mathematician Albert Einstein.

The shark was tagged on June 2, near an oil and gas rig off the southern Texas coastline. According to the Ocearch website, scientists from the Harte Research Institute’s Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, were responsible for documenting Einstein. The hammerhead’s name was bestowed by Debbie and Sam Isaacs as a direct tribute to Albert Einstein.

In the month since Einstein was first recorded by researchers, the shark has traveled just 252 miles. Ocearch equips each shark that they track with a transponder that alerts researchers each time the shark’s fin breaks the surface, and every animal exhibits a unique range and pattern of travel. Over the last few weeks, Einstein has been recorded a handful of times around South Padre Island. However, on June 24, the hammerhead signaled off the coast of Corpus Christi.

Tracking a shark like Einstein will give researchers necessary insight into the migration and habits of the species, considered an apex predator. Hammerhead sharks are believed to be in decline worldwide due to overfishing and brutal finning practices, a cause of concern among marine scientists.

Earlier this month, Costa Rica saw protests spurred by authorization of the export of 1,611 kilograms of hammerhead shark fins. As Al Jazeera reported, the actions were taken in spite of the recently signed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international treaty known as CITES. This agreement is meant to protect threatened species like hammerhead sharks, but is loosely enforced and regularly skirted by fishermen in some nations.

Earlier this week, another hammerhead shark made headlines when it was observed swimming unusually close to shore in Ocean City, Maryland. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the shark caused beachgoers to flee the water for nearly 24 hours, before authorities observed it swimming back out to sea. Some researchers pointed to the shark’s unusual actions near shore as evidence that the animal could potentially have been sick or injured.

Though Einstein is just a month into his tracking career, the shark already has a social media presence, much like other animals followed by Ocearch. Chessie, a massive tiger shark tagged off Hilton Head, as well as great whites Mary Lee and Katharine, have proven to be immensely popular on Twitter, where they have now been joined by Einstein the hammerhead.

[Image via Ocearch]