Open Source Sharks

How we can all track and save the Carcharodon carcharias

Unfortunately, like many of our planets wonderful animals, the world’s largest known predatory fish, the Great White Shark is on the WWF vulnerable list.

Not quite endangered I hear you scream, but why let it get to that?

The Great White, along with countless other species of shark are among the 100 million killed per year (thats more of a conservative estimate, the true number is thought to be at least double that). I won’t go into how barbarically they are killed, but when you have dishes that only use the fin, you catch my drift.

Now for the not so drab bit. A non-profit organisation called Ocearch has enabled researchers to tag and monitor the movements of around 80 great white sharks and a number of other seafaring predators by catching them and tagging them with various bits of tasty tech.

So what are our not so little ocean friends kitted out with? Well, when they catch a shark for monitoring they give it a whole host of new toys including a SPOT tag which transmits the sharks location every time a fin pops out of the water; a fitness tracker/accelerometer to capture data on pitch, roll, depth and tail beats per minute; a pop-up tag to monitor its dive profile; and an acoustic tag which alerts the researchers if the shark has swam past a receiver. If thats not enough they give it a good old once over and take blood and parasite samples, body measurements and muscle biopsies.

So what can we do with all this yummy data? Some data visualisations on migration patterns perhaps, heat maps of favourite feeding spots or just a simple map showing great places in the pacific to hangout. The possibilities are endless, and I for one would like to get my hands on some live data, because for me the only way to bring attention to a great cause, is to innovate and capture peoples imagination.

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