Shark’s 8,500-mile odyssey ends on a N.C. fisherman’s hook

A tracking device attached to a shark’s dorsal fin.
A tracking device attached to a shark’s dorsal fin.

A mako shark caught by commercial fishermen off North Carolina traveled more than 8,500 miles after a tracking device was attached 18 months earlier, an ocean research group says.

Researchers studying shark migrations for the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., attached the device to the female shark’s dorsal fin in mid-2015 near Ocean City, Md.

A donation to the institute by Heather Finke sponsored the tag in honor of Charlotte Latin School.

A commercial long-line fishing boat caught the shark near Manns Harbor last month. The last of the tag’s 265 data transmissions from the sea to an orbiting satellite was recorded on Nov. 24.

Data show the shark swimming up and down the East Coast (click mako sharks > W. North Atlantic > Charlotte) between North Carolina and Rhode Island, making one big loop into the Atlantic north of Bermuda last spring. It traveled an average of 15 miles a day over 557 days.

“We’re happy to have recovered the satellite tag, but disappointed about the loss of the mako,” said executive director Greg Jacoski of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which supplies the tags. “It’s important for us to recover tags because of the value they have for our research efforts.”

Mako sharks are the fastest of the shark species, able to swim 60 miles per hour while chasing prey fish. The North Atlantic shortfin mako is found in Atlantic waters from the Carolinas to southern New England.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender