Welcome to NewEnglandSharks.com
This website is about the shark species found in New England waters.
I am available to do several types of PowerPoint shark presentations to clubs and groups.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shark News Last updated: May 5, 2013
Info on current shark goings on
White shark info gets lost to shark biologists because of stringent FEDERAL
possesion rules. Here is a discussion on that subject, about a large white off Chatham
MA on December 18th 2010
On July 30, 2012, around 3:30 PM, a white shark bit the feet and leg of a swimmer/body surfer, at
Ballston Beach Truro Mass. The beach is on the ocean side of Cape Cod.
Truro is the next town to Provincetown.
Google - "Ballston beach shark attack" for press details. -Tom
Updated - May 5, 2013 White shark tagging info.
Since 2009, the Massachusetts Div. Marine Fisheries, has tagged 34 white sharks at Chatham,
Mass. Presently the State is out of tags and tag money for white sharks. It's expensive.
The tags are about $4,500, plus you need to hire a boat, and a spotter plane.
The State has used different types of tags, some only yield data after months have passed.
Chris Fischer on the "Ocearch" platform boat, came to Chatham Mass., the end of last summer and
tagged 2 white sharks in mid-September 2012 using both spot tags, and acoustic tags.
With the present battery life of these shark tags, they could give reliable results for years.
The two white sharks that were tagged by Chris Fischer off Chatham Mass. were named Genie
(after Dr. Eugenie Clark) and Mary Lee (after Chris Fischer's mother)
Fischer uses a spot tag, which is a different type of tag than the State has used. The spot tag, which
is bolted to the dorsal fin, after the shark is removed from the water on a platform, gives the Lat/Lon
of the shark when its dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water. The longer the dorsal is up, the more
accurate the positioning. So you get immediate knowledge of where and when the shark is swimming
on the surface with this type of tag. You don't have to wait months to find out where the shark was.
(Unless the shark stays down below the surface, which some sharks do for months at a time.)
The State tags get detailed data on salinity, depth, water temp etc.- but you have to wait months for
the programmed tags to release, and the information sent by satelite.
Acoustic tags were also added to these two white sharks Genie and Mary Lee, and will send a
constant signal that can be picked up by hydrophones strategicaly placed in the ocean along the
coast, if the shark passes close enough to these receivers.- roughly within 1,000 feet. Or as
biologists like to say, 300 meters. About 25 of these receivers will be placed by the State from
Nantucket to Provincetown on the east side of Cpe Cod.
A friend of mine was onboard for the tagging of Mary Lee and told me it turns out that Mary Lee is a
great shark for a spot tag because she spends more time on the surface than most of the other
whites. Mary Lee seemed to have broken the surface on a daily basis on her trip south to Florida
from Chatham, Mass., and on her northward swim -according to her tracking records.
Genie on the other hand, on its trip from Chatham, Mass. to Florida went down off the south side of
Nantucket Is. on Sept. 30th and didn't go to the surface until December 9th off Savanna, Georgia.
On the East Coast there is data on how the white sharks travel south; but not much on how they
travel north. This type of tagging by Chris Fischer should really help in getting that knowledge.
It is more difficult down south to tag whites because they don't have a seal colony like Chatham
Mass. to focus the sharks into a certain area where they can be spotted and tagged in shallow water.
We usually don't expect whites to return to the Mass. area until May-June. The hydrophones that
will pick up the white shark signals are removed for the winter because the winter storms could
cause the loss of the hydrophones. The hydophones were put back in place starting the end of April,
and should all be in place by the end of this month. (May 2013)
About 25 of them will be in place from Nantucket up to Truro on Cape Cod's ocean side-so if a white
shark with an acoustic tag on it gets within a thousand feet of any of these receivers the signal
should be recorded. In addition to the two whites tagged by Fischer, the State has at least a dozen
more white sharks with acoustic tags on them.
With today's technology, if Mary Lee keeps going to the surface we will know where she is daily, for
years- unless of course she stays down, and we won't get satellite info for that period.
Fischer has an interactive website where you can follow the tracks of his tagged white sharks around
You can vist it here
If that link don't work try clicking or typing in http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com/
Remember the plotted points on that website are where the dorsal breaks the surface, and a signal is
received by the satelite. The straight lines between dots only connects them, and does not imply the
shark swam in a sraight line. Also some of the connecting lines might cross land connecting the dots.
Obviously the shark didn't-except in the case of shark Brenda Fassie that was taken in a gill net off
Africa and brought ashore. -Tom
For information on tracking white shark Mary Lee see bottom of page.