Mako Shark Joins the Snowbirds in Migrating Back Up North
“Rob” is swimming northward just in time for summer
“Rob,” a five and one-half-foot male shortfin mako shark, is officially a snowbird. Tagged off the coast of Ocean City, Md. in June of 2017, Rob is currently pinging off the coast of North Carolina after spending the winter and spring swimming along the eastern coast of Florida and Georgia.
“We’ve been tracking mako sharks for some time now, and we continue to see new aspects about their migratory behavior,” said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., the director of NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute and a professor in the university’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “Our research has recently revealed that makos are overfished in the western Atlantic Ocean; a good understanding of their migratory patterns is essential to improve conservation and management of this shark so its population size can recover.”
Rob is one of more than 150 sharks of different species tagged by scientists from Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) in the last decade. According to data received from Rob’s tracker, he has travelled 6,675 miles in 328 days and shows no sign of slowing down.
The data collected from these tagged fish is used to study migration patterns. Many of them can be followed online in near real-time at www.GHRItracking.org. Understanding where these animals live and travel is essential to proper management.
GHRI tracking data recently confirmed that the fishing mortality rate for mako sharks in the NW Atlantic Ocean is 10 times what was previously thought. Because of this and other data, the National Marine Fisheries Service recently instituted increased protections for shortfin mako sharks, an economically and ecologically important species.
Rob is the mako’s nickname, which is tracked on the map by his sponsor’s name Advanced Roofing 3.
About the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation: The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) conducts scientific research and hosts educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. The GHOF also funds affiliated researchers working to better understand our ocean ecosystem and educators helping to foster the next era of marine conservationists. The GHOF will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a properly balanced ocean ecosystem. www.GHOF.org
About NSU’s Guy Harvey Research Institute: Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University. The mission of NSU’s GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. The institute is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of NSU’s GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and NSU. Please visit http://cnso.nova.edu/ghri for more information.