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Satellite Tracking of Sharks off Florida's Gulf Coast

A project of Mote Marine Laboratory in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Bucky's Baby Bull Shark Adult2010-05-012010-07-0161
Red Zone Bull SharkSub-Adult2010-05-232010-06-1018
Diamond Great HammerheadSub-Adult2010-05-222010-05-15-7
Shirley Great HammerheadSub-Adult2010-05-222010-06-0918

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.

Introduction



With many shark species threatened by over-exploitation worldwide, there is a vital need to obtain more information on the essential habitat, life history and movement patterns of these important members of marine food webs. A new opportunity to gain such information has stemmed from an alliance of scientists, sport fishermen and tournament operators in the form of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge. After its history-making debut in 2010, this innovative all-release shark tournament combines the high-stakes allure of competitive big-game sport fishing with cutting-edge science, practical conservation principles and informative entertainment. This trend-setting event, which is officially endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, is pioneering its way as an industry leader and model for the next generation of shark-release tournaments.

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge provides researchers from Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research an opportunity to outfit sharks off the southwest Florida coast with satellite-linked transmitters that track the sharks’ movements after release. The satellite tags are designed to transmit location and other information about a shark’s travels when it comes to the surface of the water. The data gained from tracking great hammerhead, bull, tiger and other species of sharks are valuable for management of the utilization of their stocks and also help the general public better understand and appreciate these much maligned ocean predators.

Project Partners

Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge is a catch-and-release competition off the southwest Florida coast. During this multi-day competition, teams comprising 2-3 anglers each compete by catching, tagging and releasing sharks while Mote Marine Laboratory scientists outfit a select number of sharks with satellite tags for conservation purposes, to learn more about the animals’ travels in the wild. Sharks are not brought back to the dock – instead, spectators are able to watch competition highlights broadcast to digital displays on site, allowing fans to cheer on their favorite teams all the way to the end.

The unique format of this innovative tournament was developed by Sean and Brooks Paxton, known as the Shark Brothers. Along with Co-Director and Associate Producer Capt. Robert Moore, they say: “Our shared vision for this tournament is to effectively combine the goals of sport, science and conservation. By leveraging modern broadcast technology, we’ll also be providing spectators on shore with an exciting and educational multi-media experience.” The group teamed up with Dr. Robert Hueter, director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, to create a science-based model for responsible sport fishing and conservation of sharks. Renowned marine wildlife artist and marine biologist Dr. Guy Harvey lent his name to the tournament and supports its conservation objectives.



Mote Marine Laboratory

Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent nonprofit marine research and education organization. Mote is dedicated to advancing the science of the sea through the study of marine and estuarine ecosystems, through its public aquarium and through an education division that provides unique programs for all ages. The laboratory’s roots lie in the pioneering shark research conducted by Dr. Eugenie Clark and continue today through the efforts of the Center for Shark Research, one of Mote’s seven research centers.



Project Sponsors

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by Dr. Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an organization of philanthropists, conservationists, scientists and educators focused on developing sensible strategies for promoting the conservation of our oceans and nurturing the next generation of marine scientists and guardians of our seas. Support from the GHOF helps to underwrite the cost of the satellite tags and science operations of the tournament.



Andros Boatworks Inc.

Andros Boatworks, Inc., a custom fishing boat manufacturer in Sarasota, Florida, is proud to provide boats to assist in the research and filming of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge. The Andros Offshore 32, which carries the Mote Marine Laboratory shark research team and two camera operators, is capable of reaching speeds of up to 62 mph in rough seas. This boat makes it possible to reach the anglers fast, reducing the time the sharks are handled for catch, tag, and release. Andros Tarpon 26 boats assist in carrying camera crews to video the safe releases of the sharks in the tournament.