Tagging is the procedure where a satellite tracking unit is attached to the shark’s dorsal fin. Large shark research scientist, Dr. Jonathan Werry is the original designer and manufacturer of the world’s 1st safe and stress-less harness satellite tag system. Dr. Werry observed how other tagging techniques can stress the shark, so he developed this unique harness technique that allows sharks to calmly relax in the specially designed harness next to the side of a boat. This unique world 1st system allows the natural flow of water across the sharks body and gills and has been successfully used for large sharks, including Great White (e.g. Rachael), Dusky whaler (e.g. Wendy and Harriett), Tiger (e.g. Bow), and Bull (e.g. Lil Fella) sharks.
Why are we doing this?
Survival of the Planet: What happens on land directly impacts the ocean. The two are intricately linked. Large sharks act as “pollution barometers” mirroring the conditions on both land and ocean. Tracking where sharks go helps identify what type and where toxins are entering the oceans food chain. Whether we like it or not, sharks are more important to human survival than has previously been understood and tracking their movements is now critical.
Conservation: Sharks help maintain the delicate balance of marine life. Our research is designed to understand the migratory patterns and environmental drivers of shark movements for informed conservation and management strategies and the identification of important shark habitats.
Human safety: Our research contributes direct benefits to humans by unravelling the factors that lead to hazardous shark-human interactions. Shark attacks are extremely rare and in many cases involve specific triggers or environmental conditions. Sharks have more to fear from humans than we do from them. In fact, there were only seven shark-related human deaths in 2012 compared to 30 to 100 million sharks killed annually by people. Understanding what drives shark movement helps to identify periods when shark interaction risk is higher in specific habitats and can be used to educate people about simple ways to avoid an interaction.