Great white shark researchers tagging dozens of top predators are headed back to Cape Cod next month, while also exploring another part of New England for the first time.
Shark scientists with OCEARCH — a nonprofit with a popular global shark tracker — are returning to the Massachusetts coast on Aug.
But they are also expanding their scope to reach a new part of the Northeast: the waters of New Hampshire.
The Granite State Coast has been a missing piece of their great white shark research. They are tagging the sharks along the Cape and Maine and Canada but not from New Hampshire.
“We know that the area around Cape Cod and Nantucket Island is a summer gathering place for white sharks,” said OCEARCH chief scientist Bob Heuter. But not all white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic spend their summers off Cape Cod, he said, noting that many migrate as far north as Newfoundland and the Grand Banks, where prey species are also plentiful.
“In between, the productive waters of the Gulf of Maine support the movements of white sharks, but the extent to which these sharks use the bay is not well understood,” Huter said. “So for our research this summer, we’re returning to Nantucket and Cape Cod, and exploring the gulf off New Hampshire, in our quest to understand the full life cycle of white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic.”
OCEARCH began its Northwest Atlantic white shark study nine years ago off the coast of Massachusetts.
This summer research will be OCEARCH’s 41st ocean research mission.
“Expedition New England” will depart New Bedford on August 1 and move ashore to New Hampshire with plans for a final docking on August 20.
“Completely worked with 70 white sharks, tagged and released, OCEARCH’s Northwest Atlantic White Shark Study is the most comprehensive research study ever conducted,” said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH founder and expedition leader.
During the research trip, the scientists plan to assess the health of each shark and tag the sharks to track their long-term movements. They also run microbiological studies of white shark teeth and mouths to determine the best antibiotics to give a person if they are bitten by a shark.
Community events are planned throughout Campaign New England. On July 31, OCEARCH will host a virtual STEM education camp for students and teachers around the world.
OCEARCH has collaborated with Cisco Brewers to host Great White Shark Party community events that will help raise funds for OCEARCH’s research campaigns.
OCEARCH Tracker shows real-time locations of sharks around the world, including Cape Cod, Maine, Australia and South Africa. When a tagged shark briefly breaks the surface, the tracker is updated, which sends a signal to the satellite system.
To see where some of the tagged sharks are in the ocean, visit the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker osearch.org/tracker. Those with an iPhone and Android can download the free OCEARCH Shark Tracker app.