Tagged Atlantic

Study indicates great white sharks grow and mature slowly

great white shark head-on image
A recent study indicates great white sharks growth rates are much slower than previously thought.

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,

“White Sharks Grow More Slowly and Mature Much Later Than Previously Thought,”

and the Marine and Freshwater Research journal article,

“Age and growth of the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, in the western North Atlantic Ocean.”

NMFS encourages live release of mako sharks

From NOAA:

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) encourages the live release of North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) due to overfishing occurring on the population. In order to promote the live release of shortfin mako sharks, NMFS has developed a web page where commercial and recreational fishermen can contribute information about shortfin mako shark releases and populate an interactive web map. The shortfin mako live release web page contains current information on shortfin mako stock status and regulations, along with details on tagging programs and safe handling and release guidelines.

You can find the main shortfin mako live release webpage and web map at the following links.

For further information on the web page, or to request outreach materials, please contact the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division by phone at 301-713-2347, or by email at shortfinmako@noaa.gov.

A “Shark Week” worth mentioning

The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores will be featuring Shark Week from July 26 through August 1. According to their website, Shark Week will “offer a close-up look at these mysterious and often misunderstood predators,” and will offer family-oriented activities including:

  • touching a bamboo shark
  • competing for prizes in Shark Jeopardy
  • classroom activities for children involving shark-related crafts and games
  • a chance to have your picture taken in the replicated jaws of a huge, prehistoric megalodon
  • viewing shark-feeding programs
  • talking to Aquarium divers as they swim with sharks in the Live Dive programs

Sand Tiger Shark at NC Aquarium - Pine Knoll Shores (Living Shipwreck exhibit)
Sand Tiger Shark at NC Aquarium - Pine Knoll Shores (Living Shipwreck exhibit)

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Great White Shark netted off the coast of Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island’s ABC-6 News reported on June 23 that a 10-foot Great White Shark was captured in a fishing net and hauled aboard a fishing boat June 3rd off the coast of Narragansett, RI. One of the fishermen on-board the boat spoke with an ABC-6 reporter, choosing to remain anonymous, and informed him that the shark was released back into the water, in accordance with federal law. However, the crew also said that the shark seemed “fatigued” after being hauled in. ABC-6 also reports that there were reports that a great white was found washed ashore within a few days after the shark was captured and released.
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