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Thread: Monterey Bay Aquarium

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    Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Our New White Shark Goes on Exhibit

    The Aquarium has a new white shark, collected August 12 near Malibu, California, and placed in our Outer Bay exhibit on August 26. This is our fifth white shark. Our first was with us for 6 ˝ months; our second, for 4 ˝ months; our third, for 5 months; and our fourth, for 11 days. All were successfully returned to the wild.

    White Shark Caught August 2009
    For the fifth time, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has placed a young white shark on exhibit. The five-foot, three-inch shark was collected by Aquarium staff August 12 near Malibu, California with the help of a spotter plane and a commercial fishing crew using a purse seine net. The shark remained in an ocean holding pen for almost two weeks while we confirmed that she was feeding and swimming well.

    On August 26 we brought her to the Aquarium and placed her in the million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit. We hope she'll remain on exhibit for several months as a way to change public attitudes and promote protection for this magnificent and much-maligned ocean predator.

    White Shark Caught August 2008
    Our fourth white shark was collected on August 16, 2008 in waters off Southern California with the help of a commercial fisherman using a purse seine net. On August 27 we brought the shark to Monterey and placed her in the Outer Bay exhibit. She remained on exhibit for 11 days before being tagged and released to the wild on September 7.

    While she was swimming well on exhibit, the shark fed only one time during her stay, and the Aquarium's animal care staff decided it was best to return her to the ocean. "These decisions are always governed by our concern for the health and well-being of these animals under our care," said Jon Hoech, director of husbandry for the Aquarium. "It became clear that it was time to release her."

    Like the three other white sharks exhibited at the Aquarium, she carried a tracking tag to document her movements. The tag popped free on October 8, four months ahead of schedule, and was recovered near San Miguel Island in the Santa Barbara Channel on October 23. Data from the tag showed that she remained in waters around the Channel Islands, where we released her on September 7, and that she was doing well in the wild.

    White Shark Caught August 2007
    This white shark was caught accidentally in a commercial sea bass net in August 2007 off Ventura, California. During his 162 days at the Aquarium, he grew from 4 feet 9 inches and a weight of 67 1/2 pounds to his release size of 5 feet 10 inches and 140 pounds. When we released him in Monterey Bay in February 2008, he was fitted with two tracking tags. One remained with him for 148 days, documenting his migration along with the water temperatures and depths he favored. The second was a “Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT)” tag that communicated his position via satellite each time his dorsal fin broke the surface of the water. From that tag we learned that the shark traveled south to Mazatlán, Mexico in his first 50 days back in the wild. The public was able to track his movements almost in real time at the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) website.

    White Shark Caught August 2006
    In August 2006, our husbandry staff caught a somewhat larger white shark in Santa Monica Bay. This year-old male thrived and grew for 137 days before we returned him to the wild in January 2007. During his 137 days at the Aquarium, he grew from a length of 5 feet 8 inches and a weight of 103 pounds to his release size of 6 feet 5 inches and 171 pounds. He was fitted with a 90-day tracking tag that documented his travels to the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico—a journey that took him more than 2,000 miles and to depths of 1,000 feet.

    White Shark Caught August 2004
    Our first white shark, a female, was in the Outer Bay exhibit for 198 days—the longest-ever exhibit of a white shark.

    We received the shark in August 2004 after she was caught inadvertently by commercial fishermen in Southern California. She was held in an ocean pen, where she remained in good health, navigated the pen well and began feeding. On September 14 she was transported to Monterey and placed in the million-gallon exhibit. During her stay she grew from a length of 5 feet and a weight of 62 pounds to 6 feet 4˝ inches and 162 pounds. She was fitted with an electronic tag and released on March 31, 2005. In the 30 days after her release, she traveled more than 100 miles offshore and dove to 800 feet before the tag popped free near Santa Barbara.

    During her stay, she was seen by nearly a million visitors and became, in the words of Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard, "the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history."

  2. Thanks, Robert.

    The guy in the white baseball cap is my cousin John O'Sullivan. He is so proud of what they do and how they care for the animals. What a guy!