Basking Shark Tracked To Bermuda

March 5, 2012

New Brunswick researchers are tracking Canada’s largest fish from the Bay of Fundy to the seas around Bermuda and Cuba, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports today [Mar. 5]

The basking shark can range in size from 22 to 39 feet, making them the largest fish in Canada. However, little is known about the giant fish.

The basking sharks are also very rare. The Atlantic basking shark is listed as a species at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Last summer, Andrew Westgate, a marine biologist, scoured the Bay of Fundy searching for basking sharks.

He and a team of marine biologists were looking to tag the sharks with a global positioning system tracking device that would allow the scientists to track the sharks’ movement.

“Even though they’re the largest fish that live in our part of the world, we know very, very little about them,” he said.

The team managed to tag six basking sharks and last week the first results came in.

One of the sharks was found north of Bermuda in the Sargasso Sea and the other was tracked just south of Cuba.

“We were really surprised. We had some expectations that they would leave the Bay of Fundy but we really didn’t know where they would go,” he said.

The marine biologists are still determining what the sharks are doing in the southern waters.

Laurie Murison, the executive director of New Brunswick’s Whale and Seabird Research Station, said it’s hard to say whether the sharks are migrating or just continually roaming the ocean.

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