There is a website that allows you to track the locations of sharks from all over the world.
Ocearch, a global non-profit organization, monitors more than 400 sharks – including great white, hammerhead and tiger sharks.
The organization tags sharks to conduct species research, help speed the ocean’s return to its natural balance, and provide protection for endangered creatures.
If a tagged shark’s dorsal fins come close to the surface of the water, it releases a “ping” that allows the website to track the animal’s location.
While sharks are the main focus, Ocearch also tracks other marine creatures — including turtles, seals, dolphins, and even a single whale.
How many sharks are there?
There are currently 432 sharks registered in the organization’s system.
Some of the latest sounds include the Isla Belle tiger shark (about 114 feet) tracked near Australia on August 5, and the gigantic Ali whale shark, about 20 feet tall and weighing 2,921 pounds, which was tracked near Papua New Guinea.
On August 2, a great white shark, which at the time of tagging was over 13 feet tall and weighed about 1,500 pounds, was stranded 60 miles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In Europe, there are two species of shark swimming in western Portugal – the machaca, an 8-foot blue shark, and the rezilent, a smaller female only 5 feet in height.
Where are most sharks located?
As you’d expect, there are plenty of sharks circling North America – with hotspots including the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and off the coast of New York.
Waters near Australia are also popular, and there are currently 20 sharks near Cape Town, South Africa.
The Mediterranean and the western coast of Central America are the most well-known among the turtles, and a group of seals was tracked near San Francisco, California.
Why does FAO track sharks?
Ocearch collects previously inaccessible data that will help conserve oceans, protect endangered species, and improve public safety.
The team has embarked on several expeditions over the past few years, all with the goal of gathering more information — and tagging more sharks to track and study.
The 44th expedition sets out in September in Canada, with a focus on great white sharks – 36 of which are currently in Canadian waters.
Previous research has revealed that Nova Scotia is an important location for searching summer forage for animals, and the team hopes to gather information to help guide responsible conservation efforts and public safety.
What about shark attacks?
The site was not created with the intent of tracking shark attacks, but Ocearch said its research will help improve public safety and awareness.
While shark attacks have recently returned to the spotlight, after a woman diving off the coast of Cornwall was bitten in the leg, attacks in the grand scheme of things are pretty rare.
The victim herself said she did not want the “strange incident” to “discredit the already persecuted species”.
Of these, 10 have proven fatal.
To put this into consideration, it is estimated that there are approximately one billion sharks in the world.
According to National Geographic, there is a 1 in 3.7 million chance of killing a shark. Some of the things that are statistically more likely to kill you than a shark include:
- champagne cork
- lawn mower
- the fall
In the UK, prior to the Cornwall incident, the Shark Trust reported that there had been no “unexplained bites by sharks in British waters since records began in 1847”.
Are sharks threatened with extinction?
Despite their huge population, sharks are considered an endangered animal.
While some shark species have sustainable populations, others are disappearing from the oceans at an alarming rate.
According to the wildlife charity WWF, major threats include poaching, damage to coral reefs and other key habitats, and increased demand for shark fins resulting in hunting and poaching.
ScienceDaily recently reported that two-thirds of the sharks in the global shark fin trade are at risk of extinction.
Where can I track sharks?
You can find out their names, find out where they were last spotted, and even find out their height and weight and what family of sharks they belong to.
You can also learn more about the Ocearch’s mission on their website, and enter a contest to join one of their missions where you can tag a shark.