Full video of injured shark shows numerous natural injuries

Junior the Great White shark, before and (long) after being caught by Dr. Domeier's team. Image courtesy FijiSharkDiving.Blogspot.com

Several months ago, still photographs showing an injured great white shark surfaced. The shark in question was previously captured by a shark research team lead by Dr. Michael Domeier on the TV show “Shark Men” – and the capture of this shark didn’t go as planned. These still images were taken from a video, and in response to the ensuing controversy, Dr. Domeier’s team claimed that when the full video is viewed, you can see that the injury comes from another shark and not from capture injury. No clear sharkbite injuries are visible in the original still image.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the full video, which had been in the possession of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries pending an investigation.

Here, for the first time available to the public, is the full video from which the above images were taken.

This is the entire video that NOAA sent me, I have not edited it in any way. The first 45 seconds show Junior completely uninjured before he was captured by Dr. Domeier’s research team. The rest, taken much later, shows the injury seen in the image above.

The latter part of the video also shows Junior with numerous injuries near the wound on his jaw. These injuries are clearly bites from other sharks, and were not visible in the previous still image.

Still from the full video. Arrow points to sharkbite injuries

Still from the full video. Left arrow points to clear sharkbite injury, right arrow points to originally seen jaw injury

Still from the full video. Left arrow points to clear sharkbite injuries, right arrow points to originally seen jaw injury.

The full video clearly shows that Junior’s injuries are caused by intraspecies conflict and not a direct result of the capture method. The concern that the tagging method seriously injured this shark is not supported by the evidence at hand.

Dr. Domeier’s team was able to attach a satellite tag to Junior during his original capture. Data from that tag shows that Junior is still swimming.

UPDATE: The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has posted the video on their website along with some background information. This was done partially in response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by myself and others.

May 3, 2011 • 2:55 pm