Apr.08, 2015 at 5:10 pm, under Shark Videos
A video shot off Gansbaii, South Africa of a white shark bumping a cage, after charging a hang bait, has been making the rounds in the (largely tabloid) media today. Some of the more creative news outlets have referred to the shark in the video as “trying to bite through steel bars of diving cage” and “charging the cameraman.” However, the behavior seen in the video does not appear to document anything beyond the shark going after a bait in close proximity to the cage and then bumping the cage after the bait was pulled away. The white shark does get briefly “tangled” with the bars of the cage, but eventually swims off without further incident.
White sharks do not have the ability to swim backwards, so when they are charging a bait momentum will often cause them to continue in the same direction, even if the bait is pulled away from them. Additionally, when attempting to bite prey, white sharks will often roll their eyes backward as a protective measure, rendering them temporarily blind, which can also contribute to collisions if bait is close to cage. The behavior exhibited in this video seems consistent with a shark merely going for a hang bait and subsequently bumping into the cage as a result.
Mar.17, 2015 at 5:28 pm, under Shark News Stories
As part of Georgina Harwood’s 100th birthday celebration, she went on a great white shark dive off Gansbai, South Africa, yesterday. In addition to the shark dive, Harwood also celebrated turning 100 with a skydive two days earlier. Harwood, a great-grandmother, began skydiving when she was 92, but this was her first shark dive.
Her recent skydive was done, in part, to help raise money to buy life-jackets for volunteers at South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute, according to a HuffPost UK article.
If you’d like to donate to Harwood’s life-jacket fundraiser, you can do so here.
Mar.05, 2015 at 3:38 pm, under Shark News Stories
The catch and release of a young great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off of a Florida beach near Panama City has been making headlines for the past few days. According to a photo on Dark Side Sharker’s Facebook page, fisherman Derrick Keeny landed the shark on March 1, 2015. The male white shark measured 9’8″ and is believed to be the first of its species to be landed from a beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The fisherman tagged the shark as part of the NOAA/NMFS Cooperative Tagging Plan and released it back into the ocean.
While the fishermen involved in the catch seemed to be well-intentioned with the tagging and release of the shark. Some shark researchers and conservationists called into question the legality of bringing the shark up onto the beach and posing for pictures, which is in violation of Florida’s protected species regulations, which specifically prohibit delaying the release of the shark for measurements and photos. It has yet to be reported whether the fishermen involved will be subjected to any legal repercussions.
The Australian Museum recently received a new intact goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) specimen. The specimen is that of a young male and measures 1.26m in length. The shark was caught off Eden, New South Wales in water that was “several hundred meters deep.” This marks the fourth goblin shark in the museum’s Ichthyology Collection.
The goblin shark is a deep-water species that is rarely encountered by humans. It is known for its rather unconventional appearance, which includes pink skin, a flattened snout, and a jaw that can extend forward to capture prey. Adult goblin sharks are thought to typically reach lengths between 3-4m. Though, a specimen caught Gulf of Mexico in 2000 was estimated to be between 5.4 and 6.2m.
For more information about the recently added goblin shark, check out The Australian Museum’s website.
Feb.24, 2015 at 3:56 pm, under Shark News Stories
Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) grow and reach sexual maturity at much slower rates than previously believed, according to a press release from NOAA Fisheries. A study completed in 2014 and published online last month in the journal of Marine & Freshwater Research used carbon-14 dating and vertebral band pair counts of 81 white shark specimens, collected in the western North Atlantic Ocean, to develop a growth curve for the species. According to the results, female white sharks reach sexual maturity at approximately 33 years of age, while males reach maturity at approximately 26 years. Additionally, the results of the study indicate that the life-span of white sharks could exceed 70 years, which places them among one of the longest living species of fish.
The latest findings on the growth rates and life-span of white sharks provides important information for conservation efforts of the species. Low reproduction rates coupled with slow growth and maturation rates could potentially put the species at greater risk for population decline, since losses in populations are not quickly replaced. Great white sharks are a protected species in U.S. waters and legally must be released live, if captured. However, individual white sharks are sometimes killed as a result of incidental by-catch from commercial fisheries, so it is important that these types of incidents be managed to protect the welfare of white shark populations, as a whole.
For more information, check out NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center press release,
and the Marine and Freshwater Research journal article,