Research begins after crews tag great white
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Research has begun on a great white shark that was recently tagged off the coast of Chatham.
The catch was only the beginning.
Thursday night, for the first time in history, a North Atlantic great white shark was hooked, tagged, and released. Now, scientists can start the unprecedented research.
"We're going to solve a puzzle that's been a mystery for 400 million years," said Chris Fischer, OCEARCH.
When the crew of OCEARCH arrived on the Cape, they spoke with shark experts like Dr. Greg Skomal, who admitted there's a lot they don't know about great whites.
"He said, 'you're not going to believe it, but we barely have anything before 2009,'" Fischer said.
Genie, the first and only catch so far, is already yielding results. The near 15-footer has been popping up on their shark tracker.
Skomal says they'll soon know where these sharks breed, where they give birth, and maybe even where and when they feed -- thanks in large part to the shark wranglers who caught Genie.
"They're going to be sharing everything they do with us, and vice versa, and most importantly, we'll share with the public and with -- most importantly -- beach managers so that they know about the biology and how the behavior of these sharks is," said Dr. Greg Skomal.
OCEARCH'S Chris Fischer has lofty goals; he hopes their research saves the great white. Around the world, millions of sharks are illegally killed for their fins. Fischer says, while sometimes scary, sharks are necessary.
"If you remove them from the system, then the system will collapse and we will end up with nothing," Fischer said.
The OCEARCH team is still hoping to tag a few more great whites this week. But as they're learning, fishing off the coast of Cape Cod isn't exactly easy.
"If this is the only shark we do this to, we're going to learn a lot from her," Dr. Skomal said.