The Shortfin mako shark “Ebenezer”, sponsored by Virgin Unite, is the champion of the inaugural Guy Harvey Great Shark Race
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – After six months of racing around the Atlantic Ocean, a clear winner has emerged in the inaugural Guy Harvey Great Shark Race. “Ebenezer”, named by Ebenezer Thomas Primary School in Tortola, BVI and sponsored by Virgin Unite, has travelled 7,387 miles (11,970 km) in six months to be named the Guy Harvey Great Shark Race Champion.
The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) and the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University created the innovative race that allows businesses and individuals to sponsor sharks through the purchase of satellite tracking tags. These tags enable researchers and the public to follow the tagged fish online in near-real-time as they travel around the Atlantic Ocean. The race consists of two divisions, a Mako Shark Race and an Oceanic Whitetip Shark Race. The shark that covers the greatest distance in six months is named the winner.
Originally tagged off of the coast of Ocean City, MD on May 27, 2015, “Ebenezer” is a Shortfin mako shark that was six-feet long when she was released. Since her tagging, “Ebenezer” travelled north along the continental shelf, going as far north as Newfoundland, and is currently swimming around the central Atlantic.
“The Ebenezer shark track has been truly remarkable,” says world-renowned artist and biologist Guy Harvey. “She has covered more than 7,000 miles in only six months. These mako sharks have proven to travel incredible distances and cross international boundaries in their open-ocean migrations.”
Richard Branson, Virgin Unite founder and sponsor of the “Ebenezer” shark shares in Harvey’s passion for conservation and excitement for the results of the tagging study.
“I am delighted that Ebenezer, the Virgin Unite sponsored mako shark, has won the Great Shark Race. Having covered more than 7,000 miles in six months, it just goes to show how remarkable these magnificent animals are,” Branson says. “The race has been a great way to raise awareness about the crucial cause of conserving sharks and informing the next generation about the wonder of sharks.”
The Guy Harvey Great Shark Race is part of a larger pelagic fish tagging and tracking program run by the GHOF and GHRI. All fish tracks, including sharks, marlin, and sailfish, are available at www.GHRItracking.org. The data collected by these studies help fisheries managers better understand the migration patterns of these ecologically and economically important species.
Shortfin mako sharks are highly prized by both recreational and commercial fishermen. To date, more than 25% of the mako sharks tagged as part of this study have been killed, including three of eleven race participants. In fact, “Ebenezer” took the lead after the shark that was winning at the time, “Bregardo”, was killed by a commercial fishing boat. Shortfin mako sharks are currently listed as “Vulnerable to Extinction” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
“Ebenezer” has earned her sponsor, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Unite, an original Guy Harvey painting and a dive trip with Harvey in Grand Cayman. The eight sharks remaining in the race, sponsored by Aftco, Hidden Oaks Middle School, Charlotte Latin School, Diver’s Direct, Gryco, Hell’s Bay Boatworks and Virgin Unite, are still vying for bonus prizes for sharks that continue reporting for a full year. So although the race may be over, the sharks are still competing for prizes and can still be followed online at www.GHRItracking.org.
The second annual Guy Harvey Great Shark Race is scheduled to start in the spring of 2016.
About Guy Harvey:
Guy Harvey is a unique blend of artist, scientist, diver, angler, conservationist and explorer, fiercely devoted to his family and his love of the sea. His childhood passion for the ocean and its living creatures not only inspired him to draw, but fueled a burning interest that prompted a formal education in marine science. Having graduated with honors in Marine Biology from Aberdeen University in Scotland in 1977, Guy returned home to Jamaica to resume his education, earning his Ph.D. from the University of the West Indies in 1984. Though he gave up a budding career as a marine biologist for that of a highly acclaimed artist, Guy has continued his relentless pursuit to unravel the mysteries of the sea, traveling the world to better understand the habits and habitats of the marine wildlife he paints. For more information, please visit www.guyharvey.com.
About the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation:
Established in 2008, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds scientific research and innovative educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation will help ensure that future generations will enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem where fish and other marine wildlife flourish. For more information, please visit www.GHOF.org.
About the Guy Harvey Research Institute:
Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University provide s the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. For more information, please visit http://cnso.nova.edu/ghri/.
Media Contact: Greg Jacoski
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation