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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s only a matter of time before the jaws of the Great Shark Race clamp down and all you want to do is eat, sleep and breathe aquatic predator news.
But for now the morsels of a preparatory cage dive and tagging expedition will have to suffice.
The event, which is the first in the series, was held by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
Eight mako sharks were fitted with satellite tags in advance of the second annual Great Shark Race.
During the Great Shark Race, which is modeled after the International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) marlin race, makos are tagged and tracked in real time over a six-month period.
Researchers and the public can then follow the sharks through the GHRI Tracking Website.
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 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 nearly 7,000 miles during a six-month period.
“Given the large reductions and declining population trends, mako sharks are in need of better management and immediate conservation,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., professor at NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography and the director of NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute. “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 developing effective conservation measures, such as time and area closures for shark fisheries.”
In addition to Isla Mujeres, mako sharks will be tagged off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland later in May.
The winners of the Great Shark Race will be announced in December.
For more information, visit www.GreatSharkRace.com.