Last month Ocearch made an amazing discovery that could help us learn more about sharks: they report its team of fishermen and scientists has found the first known birthing site for great white sharks on the North Atlantic Coast.
Ocearch, a recognized world leader in generating critical scientific data to help advance the conservation efforts of sea creatures such as the great white, began the tagging expedition in 2012 and 2013 in hopes to answer the vital question, “Where are these sharks in the North Atlantic giving birth?” Chris Fischer, Ocearch founder and expedition leader, feels as though it is a vital question, “Because that’s where they’re most vulnerable.”
After 26 expeditions Fischer and his team in one day the caught and tagged 9 shark pups a few miles off Montauk-an unusual amount. “Definitely the nursery, likely the birthing site,” Fischer said. “Probably the most important significant discovery we’ve ever made on the ocean.”
"This is a historical moment and the first step in revealing the great white shark pupping ground," Fischer said in a statement. "It's this kind of scientific data that will help us collectively make more informed decisions about how to protect this incredible species."
So how could this discovery lead to conservation efforts? Primarily, sharks are slow growing creatures. According to Ocearch, a great white pup shark will swim the nursery waters until it reaches maturity at age 20. This would make it a priority to offer protection in the area. Restriction of human activity around the nursery would help.
The discovery will also lead to greater understanding of the sharks breeding patterns. It is theorized, sharks are feeding and breeding in Cape Cod and migrating to Long Island to birth. Tagging and tracking sharks will help provide the necessary data to understand the migratory patterns, mating and birth sites which are all areas we need to protect.
Ocearch’s ground breaking discovery last month will hopefully lead to more conservation laws so that sharks can live and breed without threats to their existence.