A group of researchers has managed to tag the first ever great white shark pup off the East Coast of the United States, a few miles south of Long Island in an area long thought to be a nursery for the species.
The shark was documented by a group known as the Long Island Shark Collaboration, according to Patch.com. Based out of Southampton, the group describes itself as a “research and education platform aimed at improving our knowledge of the sharks of New York’s coastal waters” and includes high school students David Nichols and Alec Giufurta, alongside Captain Greg Metzger, a Marine Science teacher at Southampton High School. Jessica Quinlan (of the South Fork Natural History Museum), as well as Dr. Molly Lutcavage and Dr. Tim Lam (Large Pelagics Research Center, UMass Boston), and Tobey Curtis (NOAA Fisheries Service) are also involved in the collaboration.
— Lydia Shark (@RockStarLydia) September 9, 2015
The great white shark was caught with a rod and reel on August 25, and measured just 4.5-feet-long, making it likely less than a year old. The female shark was outfitted with both a pop-up satellite tag and a conventional NOAA Fisheries Service Cooperative Shark Tagging Program tag, while the group collected its measurements and other relevant biological data, according to 27East. The shark is considered the smallest great white ever to be tagged off the East Coast, and swam away after its experience unharmed.
— Atlantic White Shark (@A_WhiteShark) September 9, 2015
The area south of Long Island, known as the New York Bight, has long been understood to be a nursery area for great white sharks. Earlier this year, a massive white shark named Mary Lee made headlines when she migrated into the area, amid speculation from some researchers that she could be doing so in order to give birth. First tagged in Cape Cod several years ago, the shark later returned south, and has most recently been observed around the Outer Banks.
Capt. Greg Metzger of Southampton High School measures the baby White Shark at 4.5 ft long. More details to follow! pic.twitter.com/CQ18mUgwTg
— Shark Collaboration (@LISharks) September 8, 2015
The Long Island Shark Collaborative is hardly the only group working off the East Coast to help study white sharks. Last year, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, which is based out of Cape Cod, recorded 68 different great whites in the region. So far this summer, they have documented 80 individual sharks, with another month to go in their season.
While Metzger observed that those students who participated in the effort “have accomplished a milestone in shark research that can never be taken away from them,” Curtis shared his hopes that the collaboration will help to shed new light on the habits of juvenile great white sharks off the coast of Long Island.
[Image via YouTube / JessieQ89]