Good white shark leaves its mark in shark-on-shark assault


When Charles Bangley hauled a two-metre-very long blue shark on board a fishing boat off Nova Scotia’s Jap Passage in late August, he considered it was just an additional program shark catch. But he was erroneous. This fish was a victim of shark-on-shark violence.

“When this shark arrived up on to the deck, it grew to become incredibly clear virtually promptly that there was a big wound on the back again.”

Bangley is a biologist at Dalhousie University. He experiments sharks, so the hurt blue shark he caught was not in any threat — at the very least, not from him.

Chris Harvey-Clark says he estimates the shark that attacked the one they observed was ‘between 4. and 4.4 meters in length’ based on the bites. (Submitted by Chris Harvey-Clark)

Bangley heads up the Ocean Technological innovation undertaking at Dalhousie. He teaches marine biology students how to tag sharks electronically so that their movements can be examined. But what he observed on this specific shark, shocked him.

“Once we had it form of laid out on the aspect of the boat, where we consider our measurements, issues like size, and girth and all that, we could essentially incredibly clearly see this massive chunk mark that was on the back again of the shark “

The chunk was new, probably only a several hrs outdated. Bangley requested his Dalhousie colleague Chris Harvey-Clark to take a look at the wound. Harvey-Clark is a marine biologist, shark expert and writer of the e book Maritime Maritime Daily life,

He understood what he was hunting at. “It had certainly common characteristic bites of a huge white shark on it.”

Harvey-Clark was ready to use the chunk mark to estimate the size of the shark. “Someplace amongst 4. and 4.4 meters in length. So it was a superior size shark. You wouldn’t want to bump into the shark on a darkish evening.”

And Harvey-Clark appreciates all about bumping into great white sharks. Very last year, he was scuba diving in the approaches to Halifax harbor when he saw some thing really substantial swimming nearby.

“Acquiring a 4-metre-lengthy white shark excitement you regularly, coming in checking you out, heading absent, coming back every single time, circling inshore so if you have been a seal your path is slash off. That is a terrifying experience.”

Transforming seasons for white sharks

Frightening more than enough that Harvey-Clark admitted he’s not accomplished as considerably diving this calendar year as he normally would. He’s not afraid of white sharks, but he has a balanced regard for 1 of the ocean’s top predators. And he thinks we’re certainly looking at more of them in Nova Scotia’s waters.

“We used to feel shark period was July to September. Properly, shark period is now additional like June to at the very least November. And that was what astounded me when I encountered the shark very last yr. What is a white shark carrying out below in November? really should be heading south by now.”

No a person really understands how several white sharks are out there. They come here to feed on seals, and there is no scarcity of food. Harvey-Clark estimates there are about 440,000 seals in the Maritimes and they deliver yet another 87,000 seals each year. That blend of plentiful foods and a warming ocean helps make Nova Scotia waters a lot more eye-catching to terrific white sharks and other shark species.

Chris Harvey-Clark took this picture of a great white shark in Mexico various a long time ago. Since of tough problems in Halifax when he observed a related animal final calendar year, he’d left his digital camera in the boat and did not seize a shot of the shark. (Chris Harvey-Clark)

Which is why shark tagging programs are so vital. They expand our know-how of wherever sharks stay, feed and breed. And that’s crucial for comprehension the wellness not just of the sharks, but also of our oceans.

That work is also carried out by one more Nova Scotia-based research team, the Shark and Ray Conservation Centre, headed by one more Dalhousie shark researcher, Manuel Dureuil. He compares the role of sharks in the ocean to wolves in the Yellowstone Nationwide Park. When wolves were being reintroduced to the park as top rated predators, they aided restore harmony to a destroyed ecosystem.

“It is equivalent in our oceans,” Dureuil says, “but we just don’t see it. We don’t see how degraded it is and we hardly ever see the important function that sharks can participate in in stabilizing other populations.”

One point all these shark researchers share is a enthusiasm for these historic animals — Harvey-Clark notes they have been in our oceans for 450 million years, “which is extended than trees have been around” — and a drive to get extra men and women to have an understanding of that sharks are not inherently hazardous, but a very important section of our underwater entire world.

Advantages of shark tagging for learners

Manuel Dureiul says that when students get aspect in tagging sharks, they get the special chance to in fact see the animals up near.

“The shark is on the lookout at you and you see a significant, predatory, wonderful animal. You might be not afraid of it. You’re just fascinated by it. It’s unbelievable. They are these types of lovely creatures.”

They are also remarkably resilient. The blue shark attacked by a fantastic white will probably recover rather rapidly from the experience.

In 2014, the Division of Fisheries and Oceans estimated 8,000 blue sharks are caught as bycatch in Canadian waters each yr. (Nick Hawkins)

“They heal from wounds like that, and very, extremely quickly,” says Charles Bangley. “So I would say by this time next year, you’d have some good scarring on that shark from that bite, but it would not be any place around these large open up wounds.”

Resilient or not, the wounded shark was turned down for the tagging software. The electronic tags are inserted surgically and are high-priced. The scientists felt this shark experienced absent via more than enough. It was dropped back into the ocean.

David Pate is a journalist, broadcaster and writer in Halifax. His most up-to-date undertaking is the podcast “Countrywide Anthems: The Worst Tracks in the Environment.”

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