Ocearch researchers have encountered and tagged a massive great white shark off the East Coast of America, and the first footage of the unusual predator has made its way online.
The white shark was filmed writhing on the elevator platform of the Ocearch ship, as the Daily Mail reports, removed from the water for a tagging session that lasts no longer than 15 minutes. The shark in question is a massive specimen, measuring over four meters long and weighing two tons, meaning that it rivals some of the largest in the Ocearch stable.
Once hoisted out of the water, researchers tag the sharks with satellite transponders, which signal every time the great white’s fin breaks the surface. In this manner, scientists are able to document the sharks’ migration patterns, in hopes of uncovering further details about the poorly understood species. As shark researcher Brett McBride (who helped to tag the massive great white) observed, scientists know little about the lives and mating habits of white sharks.
“The reason we are tagging the great white shark is because there is almost nothing known about them, we don’t know where they breed, we don’t know where they give birth, if you don’t know where they breed and give birth then how do you protect those sites?”
Along with attempting to better understand the white sharks, researchers also have other reasons for tagging them, as AOL News points out. By accumulating data on the sharks’ migratory patterns and habits and then presenting it to policy makers, Ocearch hopes to help deter shark finning, which claims as many as 73 million of the animals each year. As the Inquisitr has previously reported, the practice is particularly brutal, as the sharks are stripped of their fins and left to die.
Though the name of the shark in the footage has yet to be released, it joins an impressive roster of animals, many of which have garnered a strong fanbase. Several sharks tracked by Ocearch have social media profiles, which have attracted no shortage of attention for the species.
In regards to its status as one of the world’s fattest white sharks, however, the animal may have some competition as well. Earlier this year, researchers released new footage of Deep Blue, one of the world’s largest great white sharks, swimming off the island of Guadalupe.