“May be the most important fish we’ve ever caught in our lives.” says Expedition Leader Chris Fischer. Last night was undoubtedly a monumental leap forward in the science of the great white shark. For the first time ever in North Atlantic waters, the OCEARCH Team along with Lead Scientist Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Dr. Nick Whitney of MOTE Marine Laboratory and Heather Marshall, successfully SPOT tagged and placed accelerometer on a great white shark in the waters of our very own backyard, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Dr. Greg Skomal was given the privilege of naming the first shark. To honor the founder of Mote Marine Laboratories he chose to name the almost 15 foot shark who weighed an estimated 2500 pounds, Genie after Eugenie Clark. Eugenie who became known as “the shark lady” started studying sharks back in the 50s and still does to this very day. “She’s a very special lady who inspired us all.” says Skomal.
For Captain Brett McBride and the rest of the crew, “There was a lot riding on this shark. Until she was released, you could see it in their eyes, everyone was so focused.” Genie gave a us a few strong tail beats before she happily swam off the lift.
“We grounded it out from the dark hours of the morning and into the night.” says Chris Fischer. Then they were greeted by a twelve foot shark, but it wouldn’t take the bate. About an hour later, along came Genie. She was by far, “the most inquisitive shark the OCEARCH has ever encountered” said Chris Fischer . It swam around the Contender for just over an hour using all its senses to gather in her surroundings. She continuously nudged at the Yamaha Outboards and even came up out of the water long enough to get a good look at the crew with her deep blue eyes.
While the mission is to get as many tags out as possible, Fischer says, “More is more, but one is done.” Genie did much to raise the spirits of the crew who had been at it for days, out on the Contender and SAFEboat for hours at a time looking for any signs of the great whites of Cape Cod. As Genie safely left the lift last night, high fives, hugs and smiles galore could be seen from all on deck. Genie and the OCEARCH team made history tonight as Chris Fischer stated, “The beginning of solving the puzzle of Jaws, has happened today.”
Dr. Nick Whitney of MOTE Marine Laboratory holds the accelerometer tag that will pop off the shark today and give us a plethora of information immediately.
Dr. Nick Whitney of MOTE Marine Laboratory and Heather Marshall are super excited as they prepare to tag the first shark of the expedition.
Captain Jody on the Contender “walks” Genie onto the shark lift to the awaiting scientist on the OCEARCH.
Captain Brett brings the animal onto the shark lift.
Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries gathers blood samples from the animal.
Spirits are high as Genie swims off the shark lift outfitted with two tags.
Lead Scientist Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and Heather Marshall process the blood samples immediately after the animal was released.
These blood samples will allow the scientists to gauge the stress the animal is under as well collect general physiology information.
Dr. Nick Whitney of MOTE Marine Laboratory and Expedition Leader Chris Fischer enjoy a moment of celebration after Genie swam off strong.