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August 01, 2012

Big Tiger Shark Lurks off Long Island

Scientists have tracked a large tiger shark from the Bahamas to the waters off Long Island, New York, and are following two others on very different paths.

 

While the focus of the nation these days is on the increasing presence of white sharks off Northeast beaches, they’re not the only species of large shark scientists are keeping an eye on in that region.

A very large tiger shark, nicknamed Chantal, is also spending time in the area, lately well off Long Island, having traveled there from the Caribbean.

A collaborative project led by the Marine Conservation Science Institute (MCSI) is tracking three large tiger sharks tagged in January off the Bahamas, according to a report by Pete Thomas, who says all three sharks can be tracked with an iPhone/iPad app called Expedition White Shark.

Chantal is far north for tigers, which prefer warmer waters, but is taking advantage of the Gulfstream-warmed temperatures this time of year. However, the other tagged tigers did not emulate her movements.

One has gone far into the Gulf of Mexico, now off Texas, and the other moved a relatively short distance to prowl the waters off Florida’s Atlantic coast. 

Unlike the white sharks that the MCSI — along with the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Bimini Biological Field Station — also tracks, the tigers have stayed farther offshore. 

Tagging studies like these hope to tell scientists more about the movements of large sharks. Read more about the tracking of tiger migrations in the Atlantic and what scientists have found so far here.