Blog Tags: Great White Sharks
If you’re like most ocean lovers, you’ve probably spent a few nights this week tuning in to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. But as we celebrate our collective love of sharks, we should also take a moment to reflect on the many threats that sharks face.
From whales to sea turtles and caribou, both terrestrial and marine animals are satellite-tagged around the world. Satellite tags—radio transmitters that submit signals to orbiting satellites—are an effective way to study animal behavior, including foraging and migration patterns.
Do you think you can name the largest shark species swimming in our oceans? Great white sharks probably come to mind first, but it turns out that those behemoths aren’t actually the largest out of the hundreds of existing shark species.
These cartilaginous fish have been navigating the world’s oceans for roughly 450 million years—even before the dinosaurs—so they’re naturally worthy of celebrating.
In honor of Discovery’s Shark Week, The Beacon will be celebrating the wonders of sharks through Friday. With over 350 shark species, the class Chondrichthyes is full of biodiversity, from sawfish to manta rays and famous great white sharks.
This week, we’re asking our readers to weigh in your favorite shark species. You have until Thursday, August 14 at 11:59 p.m. to pick one of the shark species below (take a look beneath the poll for a glimpse of each species), and whichever shark gets the most votes will be featured on The Beacon on Friday with a full species bio.
- A former BP engineer won a new trial on Thursday. A U.S. District judge concluded Mix—who was originally convicted for obstructing justice related to the 2010 spill—didn’t have an impartial jury. The New York Times
In the ongoing fight to protect the distinct population of great white sharks off the coast of California and Mexico, Oceana submitted a critical analysis of the federal Biological Review Team’s (BRT) status report used by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as the basis for their decision not to list this West Coast population of apex predators under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Because you can’t keep pulling out the same stale old facts at your Shark Week parties, we're going to hook you up with some fresh new shark facts to astound and amaze your friends and family! When we told a few of these shark facts to the basking shark in the photo below, his jaw dropped:
1. The basking shark uses its enormous mouth to filter plankton out of up to 395,000 gallons (1.5 million liters) of seawater through the huge gills that almost encircle its head
2. The curiously named cookiecutter shark is a parasite that bites circular chunks out of its prey. Holding onto its victim by suction, it twists itself around, using its razor-sharp lower teeth to bite out a cookie-shaped piece of flesh. As if that wasn’t freaky enough, the nocturnal cookiecutter shark lures its victims with glowing green bioluminescent lights on its belly.
While we’re going to file this under the “don’t try this at home” category, a promotional video for the GoPro underwater camera showing a free diver from Hawaii swimming with a great white shark is bringing immense amounts of attention to this majestic predator, and encouraging many to rethink the great white’s fearsome “Jaws” reputation.
The video, entitled “A Blonde and a Great White Shark” shows diver Ocean Ramsey (yes, you read that right) approaching a great white shark and stroking the shark’s back before gently holding its dorsal fin while it swims through clear azure waters. With more than half a million views, the video, appropriately released on Valentine’s Day, shows that the great white shark as a magnificent ocean creature to be respected, loved, and protected, rather than a deadly man-eater to be feared. Ramsey’s website, www.waterinspired.com, quotes the Senegalese environmentalist Baba Dioum: “ ‘In the end people will only protect what they love, and only love what they understand . . .’ I hope that by sharing my experiences with sharks I might inspire others to take action and help protect these amazing creatures before it's too late,” Ramsey writes.
As 2013 rapidly approaches, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year at Oceana. Thanks to your support, we were able to achieve more than a dozen major victories for the oceans! You signed petitions to lawmakers and companies, submitted seafood samples and participated in rallies and events, and it made a difference. Here are five of the major victories we won in 2012 as a result:
1. Alibaba.com stops selling manta ray products
When Oceana discovered that the online international marketplace Alibaba.com was selling manta ray products, we asked for your help in stopping it. Nearly 40,000 of you responded by signing our petition, and Alibaba listened, removing manta ray leather products from the website.
2. Victories for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle
2012 was a good year for endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles. We helped establish the first permanent safe haven for leatherbacks in continental U.S. waters this year. The government designated nearly 42,000 square miles of critical habitat off the West Coast. The Pacific leatherback was also designated as California’s official state reptile following a bill sponsored and supported by Oceana with the support of thousands of California citizens and more than 30 conservation groups.
Shark Week is almost over, but one of the most exciting shows of the year is airing tonight.
Tonight at 9 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific) tune in to Discovery Channel to watch “Great White Highway,” which follows the secret lives of great white sharks off the Pacific Coast. And perhaps you’ll recognize the narrator – he’s the one and only actor and Oceana board member Ted Danson.
Here’s the show's description:
Right outside the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is home to some of the biggest great white sharks in the world... but only for part of the year. Teams of scientists from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey Bay have spent years tagging and tracking these sharks to find out why they come here, why they leave and where they go when they do — out into the Pacific on the Great White Highway. But the sharks have kept much about their lives completely secret, leaving researchers with little information about what they spend their summers doing and almost no idea about where they mate or bear their young. Now, armed with new technologies, the team is hoping to wire the ocean and find out how these sharks live their lives — and why California is one of the biggest stops on the Great White Highway.
And if you haven’t already, add your name to our petition to list the US West Coast population of great whites on the endangered species list.