Lost Mako Shark Tag Recovered in North Carolina

The recovery of satellite-transmitting tags is critical for migratory research.

Mako shark
The satellite tag attached to this mako's dorsal fin transmits crucial data to researchers.Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

A female mako shark tagged in mid-2015 off the coast of Ocean City, MD as part of the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University's ongoing shark migrations study, was caught off North Carolina by a commercial fishing vessel.

Mako tracking
Back From BermudaGuy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Before its capture, the mako shark had an amazing swim, traveling more than 8,500 miles in 557 days. The tracks of this mako and other sharks being studied by the GHRI can be viewed at www.ghritracking.org.

Satellite tag
Satellite TrackingGuy Harvey Ocean Foundation

The satellite tag, which transmits crucial data for researchers, was attached to the mako’s dorsal fin. The satellite tag has been traced to Manns Harbor, North Carolina, and is in the process of being recovered.

GHRI Satellite tag
Recycling TagsGuy Harvey Ocean Foundation

These transmitters are used to provide a high resolution track of the mako sharks’ seasonal movements. This shark’s tag was sponsored by the Finke Family in honor of the Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, N.C.

The tags are funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), a not-for-profit organization that conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment.

“We’re happy to have recovered the satellite tag but disappointed about the loss of the mako,” said GHOF’s Executive Director Greg Jacoski. “It’s important for us to recover tags because of the value they have for our research efforts. Recovering the tag not only allows GHRI researchers to check the tag’s condition but also allows us to refurbish and reuse the tag which is cost effective for us.”

mako shark
Release A Tagged SharkGuy Harvey Ocean Foundation

A surprisingly high proportion, nearly 25 percent, of the makos tagged by the GHRI, have been caught in US and Canadian fisheries. Fortunately, with the assistance of the fishermen, most of the tags have been retrieved. Although researchers benefit from the tag recovery, the tag is much more valuable attached to a live shark as it continues to provide valuable data on the long-term movements of the sharks. The GHOF encourages all anglers to release tagged sharks.