White Sharks in the North Atlantic
Presented by Dr. Greg Skomal, Senior Marine Fisheries Scientist, MA Marine Fisheries
Despite its well-established presence in the North Atlantic, the white shark is not considered an abundant species and efforts to study its life history and ecology have been hampered by the inability of researchers to predictably encounter these sharks. However, with the protection of marine mammals over the last 40 years, the western North Atlantic gray seal population has rebounded and there is strong evidence that white sharks have expanded their foraging strategies to include active predation on these animals off Cape Cod, MA. For the first time, researchers have predictable access to white sharks in the North Atlantic. From 2009-2014, we tagged 56 white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod with coded acoustic transmitters and/or satellite-based tracking tags to examine fine- and broad-scale movements, habitat use, site fidelity, residency, and feeding behavior of this species along the east coast of the US. In 2014, we began a multi-year study to estimate local and regional white shark population sizes. This presentation highlights the results of this research.
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