OCEARCH hopes to tag more great white sharks starting in February with new expedition

Posted at 6:54 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 04:47:22-05

Katherine maybe the most famous great white shark this side of “Jaws.” People around the world follow her thanks to a tracking device. On Thursday, she looked to be several miles off the coast of Fort Pierce.

OCEARCH, the research organization responsible for tagging Katherine, is less than two weeks out from another tagging expedition.

While the focus of the expedition is in the Low Country, mainly Georgia and the Carolinas, we’ve learned the organization have permits with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to tag in Florida, if weather forces them elsewhere.

The six counties listed in the permit include: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, St. Johns, and Volusia Counties.

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Chris Fischer is the founding chairman of OCEARCH. He says the organization has about about 20 great whites tagged in the Atlantic. However, Fischer said researchers need more to finally answer some crucial questions.

“Where they’re mating, where they give birth, migratory range and publish papers necessary to manage them toward abundance."

This is exciting news to Jupiter Shark Diving guide Michael Dornellas.

“There's so little known about them. Anymore research that goes into it, the better,” said Dornellas.

Dornellas agrees with OCEARCH in that more research means protecting the great whites and the ocean they live in.

“The more we understand about these creatures, the better we can protect them,” he said.

There have been questions about the tagging methods. However, OCEARCH says it measures the shark's stress before and long after to make sure the animal is not harmed.