While it is common knowledge that big sharks often lurk off the coast of the East End, for the most part people are spotting sand sharks, makos, threshers, tiger and bull sharks.
But last week, a group of researchers including a Southampton High School teacher, his students, a scientist from the South Fork Natural History Museum, an official from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several university educators, became the first to attach a satellite tag to a great white shark pup in the Atlantic Ocean—just a few miles off the beach in Southampton.
The scientists estimate the 4.5-foot shark is less than a year old, and she is the smallest white shark to be electronically tagged off the east coast.
“Bringing this opportunity to the students of Southampton High School is a professional high for me” said marine science teacher Capt. Greg Metzger. “Those students that are directly participating have accomplished a milestone in shark research that can never be taken away from them.”
The shark was hooked on rod and reel and secured, while the team collected biological data and attached the pop-up satellite tag and a conventional tag. After the hook was removed, the shark swam away “in great condition,” according to a press release from the group.
“We’ve known for some time that the south shore of Long Island has a high concentration of juvenile white sharks, among other species” said Tobey Curtis of NOAA. “This collaborative effort will hopefully start to give us new scientific insights into the activities of the sharks in this region.”