Though four young great white sharks were tagged and released by scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium in August, this year's shark season in the Santa Monica Bay closed without a viable candidate for the aquarium's exhibit, according to Ken Peterson, communications director for the aquarium.
We've concluded our 2012 white shark field season in southern California. This year, we've tagged and released four animals. None proved to be a candidate for exhibit in Monterey.This was the aquarium's 9th annual shark season, a project that has resulted in six 'young of the year' taking up residence in the great white exhibit. Of those six, all of whom were released, four survived and were tracked, one died when it was caught in a gill net, and one died soon after leaving the aquarium. Detailed info about those sharks is here.
Colleagues with CSU-Long Beach and the Southern California Marine Institute - our Rapid Response Team - will still respond if a commercial fisherman accidentally nets a juvenile great white shark. Otherwise, we'll resume our field program next summer. If they haven't left already, the pen and purse seiner should depart Paradise Cove shortly.
The aquarium's great white shark exhibit is a huge draw, both for visitors eager to see the predators in person, and for criticism by animal activists, who say penning the sharks, even in the name of research, is inhumane. Here's the aquarium's main great white shark page, with links to its research, preservation and rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, on the left is John O'Sullivan, curator of field operations for the aquarium, and on the right is Chris Lowe, of the shark lab at CalState Long Beach, releasing a tagged juvenile great white in Santa Monica Bay on August 16.