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Fun Science FRIEDay – Shark Daycare

A great white shark nursery in the North Atlantic that was discovered in 1985 south of Cape Cod in the waters off Montauk, New York  has received renewed attention due to the increased activity of white sharks off cape cod in recent years. The nursery was first documented in 1985 by Casey and Pratt who deduced the presence of a nursery based on the number of juvenile sightings and landings in the area. This work was followed up recently  by OCEARCH (an organization dedicated to generating scientific data related to tracking/telemetry and biological studies of keystone marine species such as great white sharks), which tagged and tracked nine infant great whites to the nursery, located a few miles off Montauk.

Great White Shark. Image courtesy animals.NationalGeographic.com

Great White Shark. Image courtesy animals.NationalGeographic.com

Photo of a great white shark in Mexico by Terry Goss, WikiMedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_shark.jpg

Photo of a great white shark in Mexico by Terry Goss, WikiMedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_shark.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white shark is rare throughout most of the western North Atlantic, but the sighting in and around the cape correlate with presence of the only known nursery in the North Atlantic:

 

Great whites can live up to 70 years old and they can grow up to 25 feet long and weigh 5,000 pounds.  Despite the fearsome reputation of these majestic creatures, shark attacks on humans are extremely rare — the odds are about one in 12 million. Most shark attack victims survive as bites on humans by sharks are normally exploratory or a case of mistaken identity. This discovery could lead to restrictions on human activity around the nursery in a conservation effort to protect the sharks. Globally 200,000 sharks are killed per day; by contrast, about 10 to 12 human lives are lost yearly as a result of shark attacks.

You can learn more about shark conservation and track shark movements in real-time at the OCEARCH website!

 

Happy FSF!

*Editors note*

Article was amended to take into account the discovery of this nursery in 1985.