Sharkproject, a shark conservation organization based in Europe, is teaming up with one of the most well-known shark researchers, Dr. Mauricio Hoyos, from Mexico to unlock the “Great White Mystery” of Guadalupe Island. Even though these sharks have received a lot of attention from researchers over the last years, much is still unknown.
Guadalupe has one of the biggest Great White shark populations in the world. Every year, between August and January, Dr. Hoyos spends 4 months to study these sharks. Joining his team are marine biologist Yannis Papastamatiou from the Florida International University, and world-renowned freediver Frederic Buyle. This makes them one of the most experienced teams around.
The sharks never have to be hooked or wrangled onto boats, which is what often happens with conventional tagging projects. This is currently the least invasive method of shark tagging.
To improve the data, they have been using a new generation of satellite tags that shed light on the movement patterns, migration routes, mating, feeding and interaction of sharks, while they are near Guadalupe and most importantly, once they leave and head for the open ocean.
The newly developed tags are capable of sending and receiving signals. This will not only enable the researchers to follow the sharks over a long period of time, but it will also receive and record the interactions of other tagged sharks. The tags remain on the shark for one year. When they return to Guadalupe, the researchers remove the tags which is done once again, by free divers. The information gathered will be invaluable to shark conservation efforts. Once the seasonal migration routes have been recorded, the corresponding areas can be better protected. The governments of the US and Mexico have agreed to put protective measures in place once the scientific data is produced.
Through outreach work in Europe, Sharkproject was able to finance 7 tags, which were placed on sharks during the 2017 season.
This project aims to purchase several more tags for the 2018 season.
Great White Shark Research- Guadalupe Island