Saturday, April 12, 2008

Great White sharks to be tagged in Australia

SCIENTISTS will soon start tagging great white sharks off the Bellarine Peninsula and Surf Coast as part of a national research project.

CSIRO senior research scientist Barry Bruce said the idea was to track the behaviour and movement patterns of white pointers.

"We've been investigating white sharks for about 20 years," he said.

"We began our research in Western Australia and then moved to New South Wales and South Australia."

The scientists want to expand their research to Victoria to see whether the sharks behave the same here as in other waters.

Mr Bruce said the CSIRO used several different tagging systems.

"The tags store information on shark movement and behaviour for several months before releasing from the shark, floating to the surface and transmitting their information via satellite," he said.
The satellite-tracking tag transmits a signal every time the shark surfaces, allowing scientists to plot its course.

The CSIRO has begun identifying sites for the project, and, subject to funding, will start tagging sharks later this year.

Mr Bruce said the research already conducted showed just how far great white sharks move.
"We've had white sharks go from South Australia and then show up in Rockhampton," he said.
Mr Bruce said abalone divers and Surf Lifesaving Victoria supported the research.

"With Surf Lifesaving Victoria, it is obviously a public safety issue. If we know where the sharks are most likely to be, we can avoid those areas," he said.

"They are a protected species, and this information helps us to protect them effectively as well as manage our interaction with them."


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