For the first time, researchers have captured, tagged and released a great white shark off the coast of Florida.
Scientists from the group Ocearch caught the one-ton female Sunday afternoon near the Mayport Naval Station off the coast of Jacksonville.
The shark was 14 feet long and weighed 2,000 pounds. The researchers took blood and tissue samples from the shark, which they named "Lydia."
The researchers say there is much unknown about great white sharks and their mating habits, so the team hopes to understand the fundamental parts of their lives, in order to protect their future.
So they installed four tracking devices meant to log the shark's travels through satellites and undersea acoustic monitoring.
They will track details of the shark's body movements and tail beats, and the blood and tissue samples will be used for genetic analysis. The goal is to compare shark populations in the western and eastern Atlantic and off the African coast.
"We don't know exactly when and where they mate or where their nursery is, those areas where they're vulnerable," said Dr. Nick Whitney, with Ocearch. "So we have to solve the puzzle of their lives so we can insure their future cause there's no robust path forward for the ocean without lots of sharks in it."
The Ocearch team is attempting to tag a healthy sampling of sharks from Cape Cod to South Florida.
"The more, the better," Whitney said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
You can track "Lydia" and other sharks on Ocearch's website:
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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