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Ever wonder where tiger sharks hang out in Hawaii?
I don’t! Well, as a surfer, I tend to block out those thoughts while I’m in the water, but for research purposes, I can see why scientists would want to track them. Thanks to satellites and system maps, their findings have been posted to a special website dedicated to tiger shark tracking.
Out of curiosity, I visited the site. The homepage welcomes visitors with a map of the Hawaiian Islands. From there, you can “pick a shark” listed on the left-side of the page. Their length and gender have also been noted in this column of seven tagged sharks.
I clicked on the shark numbered 133361 and watched as an animation of the shark’s movement played out on the map. It appears this particular female tiger shark spends most of her time cruising the waters in between Kahoolawe and south Maui. Apparently, all shark tagged for this study had been tagged near Maui waters and therefore, show most activity right off of that island.
On the website, a disclaimer warns users that this site is not meant to be a warning system, nor is it meant to provide real-time monitoring. Instead, it is a way to better understand the species as a whole. This is in light of recent shark attacks and increased boldness of large sharks in Maui waters, as reported by spear fishers.
It will be interesting to see how this study affects tourism for Maui, especially since south Maui happens to be a very popular hub for tourists. It’s where many people go for surf lessons, snorkeling expeditions and other boat tours to nearby islands.
To learn more about the project, visit the site: www.oos.soest.hawaii.edu/pacioos/projects/sharks/.