Both sharks were satellite-tagged off Hilton Head, South Carolina
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 March, 2017 - OCEARCH and its collaborative team of multi-institutional scientists tagged their first two sharks of the Lowcountry research expedition -- Hilton, a 1,326-pound, 12.5-foot, mature male great white shark named after the community in Hilton Head Island, and Weimar, a 304-pound, 9.4-foot male tiger shark named after OCEARCH's long time supporter, Ruth Weimar.
Weimar generously welcomed OCEARCH and helped coordinate education outreach efforts, reaching more than 4,000 students from various schools and organizations, in Savannah and Brunswick, GA, on and off the MV OCEARCH vessel.
Both sharks were satellite-tagged off Hilton Head, SC. "It's the first time we've tagged a great white shark and a tiger shark on the same day, in the same location," said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader.
The goal of this expedition is to gather data on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of sharks in the North Atlantic Ocean, and to increase the sample size of the Great White Shark research started in 2012 in Cape Cod, MA. OCEARCH and its collaborating scientists have a total of 21 satellite-tagged white sharks of various life stages swimming around the North Atlantic.
"With the warmer than expected water temperatures, we thought we might see a tiger shark before the end of the expedition," said Bryan Frazier, Lowcountry expedition lead scientist and Marine Biologist at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. "But to catch a white and a tiger on the same day was completely unexpected and will be quite beneficial to our research."
"The real-time tracking of the sharks' movements, long-term satellite and acoustic tracking, health assessments through blood, parasite and mucus sampling, and more, will allow us to understand how the different species interact and use the habitat off the South Carolina coast," Frazier added.
Hilton and Weimar's tagging also marks the anniversary of Great White Shark Lydia who was tagged by OCEARCH in 2013, off Jacksonville, FL. Since her tagging, Lydia has traveled 35,566 miles and was the first shark documented to have crossed the mid-Atlantic ridge. Researchers hope Hilton and Weimar will provide impressive tracks as Lydia's.
As Hilton and Weimar's fin breaks the surface, their satellite tags will transmit their locations. You can follow the sharks tagged during Expedition Lowcountry by accessing the near-real time, free online Global Shark Tracker or by downloading the Global Shark Tracker App available for Apple and Android platforms.
OCEARCH and its collaborating scientists will continue to tag and sample sharks off the Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina coasts until March 15.