The Mysterious Megamouth SharkApril 10 2018
The Megamouth is one of our ocean's most enigmatic shark species. We know almost nothing about this iconic and mysterious deep-sea giant. Recently, Taiwan has had a spike in Megamouth encounters. When fishers catch a Megamouth, the crew cannot afford to release the shark, and they are sold in the fish markets. The captains on this very small fishing fleet have agreed to allow us to study, tag, and RELEASE these peaceful giants, if we compensate them for the price the animal would bring at the market.
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Although the Megamouth is a large species of shark reaching ~20 ft in length, it remained undetected by humans until about 40 years ago. Since its recent discovery very few Megamouths have been encountered with just over 100 individuals recorded in human history. However, a small fishing village in Taiwan is experiencing a large number of Megamouths a few weeks out of the year. These landings mostly go unreported and undetected by science. The fishers have contacted us with photographic evidence of these encounters.
For this expedition a small team will go to the rural fishing village and work with local fishers to catch and tag one of the most elusive and mysterious species of sharks on the planet. Working within the small window that Megamouths are accessible, we aim to collect data to study for years to come. Along with other information we will collect life history data, tissue for isotope analysis, and we will release Megamouths with 12 month satellite tags.
Almost nothing is known about Megamouth Sharks. We hope that the wealth of data we aim to collect will supply policy makers with the information they need to management this majestic species.