Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


New Zealand’s Great Whites Tagged for First Time

18 April 2005

New Zealand’s Great Whites Tagged for First Time

Data Gathered Will Enable Researchers to Follow Elusive Sharks Through Habitat

Wellington, NEW ZEALAND (April 15, 2005) For the first time, great white sharks in New Zealand waters have been fitted with satellite tags, which will allow researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to follow these fish as they move through their aquatic environment.

Working in the Chatham Islands—located to the east of New Zealand’s North and South Islands—the team has fitted four sharks with pop-up archival tags, devices that collect detailed information about the depth, temperature, and light levels of water through which the animals travel. After a few months, the tags detach from the sharks on pre-determined dates and float to the ocean surface, where they broadcast their data to scientists via satellite.

“The Chatham Islands are definitely an important spot for white sharks, and if we obtain sufficient financial support we are likely to develop an incredibly important and successful research project,” said WCS scientist Dr. Ramón Bonfil, who has tagged more than 40 great white sharks in South Africa over the past few years. The research team, comprising scientists from WCS, DOC, and NIWA, is currently seeking funding for the project’s core activities; the overall budget for this 3-year project is approximately $580,000.

Specifically, researchers hope to gain key scientific information on the ecology of great white sharks in New Zealand waters as well as ascertain threats to the survival of this long-lived, slowly reproducing species. In addition to using remote sensing technology, the scientists will employ genetic methodologies to determine if New Zealand’s great whites are interrelated to other populations. Once collected, these data will be integrated into national policy initiatives for the protection and management of the species.

“An important first step in the conservation and management of any species is to identify critical habitats and migration routes,” said Clinton Duffy of the New Zealand Department of Conservation. “White sharks are difficult to study due to their naturally low abundance, large size and mobility. This technology provides us with a window into their lives for the first time.”

Great white sharks recently received a significant boost in protection on an international level from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which now lists the species on Appendix II, which greatly limits trade in great white body parts and products across international boundaries. Great whites are also fully protected in several countries, including the U.S., South Africa, Namibia, Australia, and Malta. New Zealand currently has no legislation to protect the species in its waters.

Reaching some six-and-a-half meters in length (21 feet), the great white shark is a member of the mackerel shark family, an assemblage of sharks that includes the mako and the porbeagle. Traditionally, the great white was considered by the scientific community to be the most aggressive and dangerous of all shark species. This assumption was elevated to the public level by Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film “Jaws.”

Since then, field studies on the species have revealed that the great white shark is rarely a man-eater. Most attacks occur when great whites confuse humans with their preferred prey—sea lions, seals and other marine mammals. In fact, great white sharks, along with many other shark species, are now thought to be endangered by a combination of game fishing and commercial harvests for fins, which are highly sought in Asia’s fish markets for shark fin soup. There are no exact figures on regional or worldwide populations of great whites.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news