FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – A tiger shark named “Andy” now holds the record for distance traveled by a Guy Harvey Research Institute-tagged shark.
Tagged in Bermuda in 2014, the shark covered 33,820 miles in 1,113 days — equal 1.5 trips around the world in a little more than three years — and is still going, with the Nova Southeastern University’s GHRI researchers tracking its movements for the benefit of science.
The GHRI tags sharks with satellite tags to study their migration patterns and interactions with fisheries. More than 150 tiger, mako and oceanic whitetip sharks have been tagged by GHRI researchers, but Andy has surpassed them all.
Earlier this year, a shark broke the record for Atlantic makos. It accrued 13,000 miles in 600 days, but “Andy” the tiger shark has traveled at a faster, more impressive pace.
The satellite tags used in this study report a shark’s location every time the dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water. Because tiger sharks spend less time on the surface than other species, the battery in their tags tends to last longer than other tagged sharks, including makos.
Andy, named after the angler who caught the shark, is currently near the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Andy, and all GHRI tagged sharks, can be followed online in near real-time at the GHRI’s website.
The GHRI’s research of western North Atlantic Ocean tiger sharks has shown definitive, seasonal migration paths of the species between Bermuda and the Bahamas. These findings, along with input from the Bahamas National Trust and Pew Charitable Trusts, compelled the Government of the Bahamas in 2011 to declare their federal waters a shark sanctuary, prohibiting commercial harvesting.