Ocean giants such as the great white shark live on a frontier of conservation.
Like snakes, wolves, and grizzly bears, they are dangerous and yet also part of the nature we love. For both reasons they cannot be ignored. Like all wildlife they play a role in their ecosystems that we could lose by mistakes of science or an overreaction of caution.
Until recently, there were few ways to study sharks as closely as we do other species. OCEARCH made the science possible by launching a special ship, the MV OCEAN, equipped to catch and release the largest of great white sharks. While captured sharks are on the platform of ship, scientists can measure and test them and attach a beacon for tracking their movements after release.
OCEARCH is using fascination with sharks as the opportunity to teach conservation. As it tracks them using electronics and computer mapping, OCEARCH is learning the same basic biology we have studied in other animals for decades. The techniques of catching, releasing, and tracking sharks are adding subjects to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) school lesson plans. What we learn of the great whites’ ocean habitat is an opportunity for greater stewardship of the oceans.
Watershed Results supports OCEARCH, the leading organization in shark conservation. With a boat large enough and designed to catch and release sharks for science, OCEARCH has created a mobile laboratory where scientists and students can study and learn.