Caught and tagged off Ocean City, Maryland, and named for an Ohio elementary school, a fast tracking, young mako shark, dubbed “St. Marys”, is visiting the waters off Halifax today.
The five-and-a-half-foot juvenile male shark is among 35 mako sharks satellite tagged and being tracked by scientists from the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University. The institute began tagging mako sharks in 2009 to study their migratory patterns and now undertakes expeditions worldwide to study them. The school's marine experts have tagged mako sharks as far away as Mexico and New Zealand. In addition to makos, GHRI and Save Our Seas Shark Research Center scientists are also tracking tiger, oceanic white tip and sand tiger sharks, as well as blue and white marlin.
St. Marys, caught and tagged on May 17, 2014, has traveled over 2,100 miles (3,500 km) since it was released off Maryland, according to Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of Nova Southeastern University’s GHRI and Save our Seas Research Center. Shivji said his researchers have special interest in understanding mako shark migratory behavior because this information is essential for proper fisheries management of this internationally roving species.
The public can follow St. Marys and other shark movements in near real-time courtesy of an interactive site set up by GHRI
The website is an educational outreach component of the institute’s quest to study shark and billfish long-distance migration patterns, with the ultimate goal being to better understand and protect them, as some species are threatened or endangered.