FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – May 9, 2016 – The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) recently hosted a cage dive and tagging expedition in Isla Mujeres, Mexico in advance of the second annual Great Shark Race. The Isla Mujeres expedition, the first of the series, saw eight mako sharks fitted with satellite tags (video).
During the Great Shark Race, which is modeled after the International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) marlin race, mako sharks are tagged and tracked in real time over a six-month period. The mako sharks are fitted with a satellite tag to enable researchers and the public to follow them online in near real-time via the GHRI Tracking Website (nova.edu/sharktracking).
The race benefits the GHOF, which conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. The GHOF will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem.
“The Great Shark Race is fun, but it is all about the groundbreaking research that allows us to obtain relevant data to better understand mako shark migration,” said Dr. Guy Harvey, the world renowned artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer. “The Great Shark Race is a way to engage, enlighten and educate the public in our ocean conservation efforts. The information we gather is essential for proper fisheries management and conservation of mako sharks.”
A limited number of tags are available for individuals and companies to name a mako shark and compete with last year’s reigning champion Ebenezer, the shark that was sponsored by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite Foundation. Ebenezer logged 11,000 km, or nearly 7,000 miles, during a six-month period.
“Given the large reductions and declining population trends in many places, mako sharks are in need of much better management and conservation,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., professor at NSU's Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography and the director of NSU's GHRI. “Makos are known to travel long distances but hardly anything is known about the details of these movements in terms of their timing, orientation, scales of movement, differences between sexes and sizes and what factors drive these migrations. This knowledge is essential for understanding the ecology of this magnificent animal and to assist in developing effective conservation measures based on science.”
In addition to Isla Mujeres, mako sharks will be tagged off the coast of Ocean City, Md. later in May, which is part of the Great Shark Race. The winners of the Great Shark Race will be announced in December. For more information, visit www.GreatSharkRace.com.