NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – Wrestling a great white shark out of the water is an unconventional and risky way to tag and track the animals, but that risk is paying off and teaching researchers more than they’ve ever known.
A team that has been using that technique to tag sharks around the world is now ready to work off of Cape Cod.
The crew on the 125 foot research vessel OCEARCH travels the globe to tag great white sharks and learn about them.
“We don’t do this just to make a TV show,” says Captain Jody Whitworth. “We actually do it to bring research to the scientists.”
Right now, the ship is docked in New Bedford, but they will soon be out in search of sharks.
The ship and crew were recently working off the coast of South Africa, where they tagged dozens of great whites.
First, they hook the animals, then steer them onto a platform that brings them onto the ship for a few moments where the four to five thousand pound animals are tagged.
The great whites they tagged in South Africa often roamed hundreds of miles out to sea, but then returned to the shore, where there’s an abundance of seals.
It’s not a job for the weak of heart and the rewards are not monetary, but rather, the acquisition of knowledge.
The OCEARCH crew will give all of the information they get to state marine biologists.