OCEARCH and a team of scientists, including researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, are on a mission to save the lions of the ocean – sharks.
OCEARCH, recognized as a global leader in shark research, partnered with UNCW, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, SeaWorld and eight other institutions to implant acoustic tags in sand tiger and other sharks off the coast off Wrightsville Beach.
The shark expedition, OCEARCH’s first off North Carolina, took place June 15-22. Researchers plan to track the sharks to determine their habitats including breeding, gestation and pupping grounds and their residency time in N.C. waters.
“North Carolina is a crucial component of our large sharks’ success and the success of the entire North Atlantic Ocean,” said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH founding chairman and expedition leader. “That is one of the reasons why we are here. We want to help accelerate and launch the shark science in the region so we can learn more about sharks faster and help them thrive here and throughout the North Atlantic.”
An estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year around the world, said Fischer, and scientists lack the fundamental data to manage them back to abundance.