Those of you familiar with nonprofit organisation OCEARCH and their adventures in marine research will be excited to hear that four new sharks have been added to the roster – with two of them available for your online tracking pleasure!

A collaboration between fishermen, scientists and conservationists, OCEARCH is dedicated to studying and protecting our oceans – and the apex predators that inhabit them in particular. They've already tagged many shark "celebrities", including Lydia, the first great white to be tracked across the Atlantic.

Among the newbies are Joseph, a ten-foot tiger shark, and Buddy, a seven-foot hammerhead. Both were tagged as part of the team's first-ever research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, which kicked off back in October. OCEARCH and the Harte Research Institute (HRI) also managed to tag a six-foot bull shark and an eight-foot hammerhead with the help of world-class fishermen and the trusty researched vessel M/V OCEARCH. 


The team captures adult sharks and manoeuvres them onto a large custom lift, allowing researchers precious time to carry out tests, take samples and tag the animals. After 15 minutes of work, the sharks are carefully released back into the water. The entire process has no lasting impact on the shark, but it does provide scientists with previously unattainable scientific data.

“The OCEARCH vessel is equipped with a lift system that safely lifts the shark from the water giving us unprecedented access to the animal," explains Dr Greg Stunz, HRI Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health. "The method is key for efficiently attaching tags, drawing blood, assessing reproductive status using ultrasound technology, along with a host of other scientific data collection methods that would otherwise be impossible on such a large, powerful and dangerous animal.”

Bringing the M/V OCEARCH to the Gulf allowed the team to study other important shark species as well, including tiger and mako sharks. The researchers hope to learn more about the animals' migratory and reproductive habits in the area, while also observing how they interact with the local reef systems. 

The best part? Thanks to the GPS trackers, anyone can follow the movements of their favourite tagged sharks in near-real time. 

Keen to do some tracking? You can download the free apps for Android and IOS, or head on over to the online tracker on the OCEARCH website.