Great White Shark on display by Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium announced today it has put a great white shark on display in the Outer Bay exhibit for the second time in the aquarium's history.
In 2004 and 2005, a female white shark was on display in the aquarium's Outer Bay exhibit for approximately six months and became "the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history,'' according to aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. Attendance at the aquarium increased by approximately 30 percent, to more than 1 million people, during the 198 days the shark was on display, according to aquarium officials.
The new shark on display is a 5-foot-8-inch male weighing approximately 104 pounds. He was caught on Aug. 17 in Santa Monica Bay.
In contrast to the first shark, which was accidentally caught by fishermen and turned over to the aquarium, the new shark was purposely caught by aquarium animal husbandry experts for display.
"There are a lot of unknowns with sharks that are bycatch from a commercial fishery,'' aquarium staff veterinarian Mike Murray said. "We never know how long they've been in the net, or to what degree their health is compromised. We have much more confidence that we have a healthy animal to begin with when our team does the collecting.''
Part of the shark's display at the aquarium will include information about conservation. White sharks are in decline worldwide, in part because they're slow to reproduce and because of growing fishing pressure, the aquarium reports. White sharks are now a protected species in California and other U.S. coastal waters, as well as in South Africa, Australia, Mexico and other nations. Their fearsome reputation has also made them a target of trophy hunters and the curio trade, according to aquarium officials.
Aquarium visitors can see the new white shark daily through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily beginning Tuesday. It can also be viewed online via the aquarium's streaming Outer Bay webcam from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org.