Big Tracks, Surprising Findings from 2015 Shark Tracking Project

February 19, 2016 at 1:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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GHRI 2015 All TrackingBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

The yellow, green, pink, and white dots and blobs on this Google Earth graphic cover such a large portion of the globe that it is difficult to show the entire picture.  And that means a heck of a lot to marine scientists like Drs. Guy Harvey, Mahmood Shivji, and Brad Wetherbee of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University near Fort Lauderdale.

The dots and globs represent the paths of some 40 sharks rigged with satellite tags that the scientists tracked in 2015:  three tiger sharks (green); 20 makos (yellow); seven oceanic whitetips (pink); and one dusky, four hammerheads and a sixgill (white and barely visible off Boca Grande, FL and Bermuda).

“Pretty impressive.  A huge part of the ocean,” noted Wetherbee of the sharks’ movements.

Satellite tags, which cost upwards of $4,000 apiece, are technology’s most precise method of monitoring the animals’ movements minute to minute.  Funded by the non-profit Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the transmitters are affixed to the sharks’ dorsal fin, sending their locations to a satellite that beams the information to the researchers’ computers.  Wetherbee then plots that information on Google Maps.

What this worldwide splash of color represents is a blueprint for protecting sharks from habitat loss and overfishing. And the tracking data has turned a few shark theories on their heads.

According to Wetherbee, tiger sharks– previously believed to be a coastal species– are nothing of the kind.  The data shows they spend half their time in the open ocean thousands of miles from shore, but in winter show a snowbird-like affinity for coral reefs in the Caribbean and Bahamas.  One tiger nicknamed Harry Lindo covered 27,000 miles– the longest distance ever tracked for the species.

Mako sharks seem to stick to the open ocean– cruising the edge of the Continental Shelf off the U.S. east coast then making long trips north to New England and Canada.

The oceanic whitetips tend to wander around aimlessly, though whatever they’re doing isn’t aimless to them– sort of like a bee flying over fields and alighting on several flowers in one field but totally ignoring those in another.

The makos and whitetips were named competitors in the Great Shark Race of 2015 created by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Research Institute to encourage businesses and individuals to sponsor satellite tags.  The shark covering the greatest distance in six months– a shortfin mako named Ebenezer that swam 7,387 miles–was declared the winner.  Ebenezer– named by Ebenezer Thomas Primary School in Tortola, British Virgin Islands– was sponsored by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin United.  It was tagged off Ocean City, Md. on May 27, made it to Newfoundland in the allotted time, and is still transmitting.


Unlike those free-swimming makos and whitetips, Wetherbee noted that hammerheads tend to stick to coastlines in the U.S. and avoid long-distance travel.  Sixgills, he said, stay in deep water and don’t go very far while duskys seem attached to certain sites, but still may travel a few hundred miles.

“There are sharks without a country, moving through 10 to 15 different countries,” Wetherbee said. “They are all over the place.”

The research has important implications for shark management:  knowing what countries’ waters the sharks use suggests who is responsible for managing that population and where the animals are most likely to be harvested by fishers.

“Shark populations have been overfished quite a bit.  Managing these populations is going to take international cooperation,” Wetherbee said.

Mako sharks, while not classified as overfished, could still be in trouble as they are heavily targeted by commercial longliners and recreational anglers in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“Makos are in a lot of areas with tuna and swordfish,” Wetherbee said.  “Everybody is after these makos because they are good to eat.”

Indeed, 13 of the 49 makos tagged by the GHRI scientists over the past four years have been caught and killed by commercial fishers.  The tiger sharks, fortunately, escaped those gauntlets.

Wetherbee, Harvey and Shivji plan more shark-tagging expeditions in 2016, hoping to fit another 40 to 50 animals with satellite transmitters.


Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit.


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The Guy Harvey Great Shark Race – Competitive Conservation

February 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Conservation | Leave a comment
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Businesses and individuals can sponsor and name their own shark and watch online as it races other tagged sharks.

Davie, FL – February 2, 2015 – The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University, one of the world’s leading shark research groups, are launching the Guy Harvey Great Shark Race (GSR). This race allows businesses and individuals to sponsor sharks through the purchase of satellite tracking tags. These tags enable researchers and the public to follow these sharks online in near real-time. Whoever’s sharks travels the furthest in six months wins a Florida Keys fishing vacation.

Great Mako Race 2015

The GSR kicks-off on April 2, 2015 after GHRI researchers return from an expedition to Isla Mujeres, Mexico to deploy satellite tags on mako sharks. The second leg of the race starts on June 1, 2015, when researchers will be in Grand Cayman to tag oceanic whitetip sharks. The Smart Position or Temperature (SPOT) tags utilize the latest in tracking technology to allow researchers and the public to follow the sharks online in near real-time.

According to the IUCN, one-third of open ocean shark species are threatened with extinction. The data gathered in this race allows researchers to better understand the migration patterns and habitat utilization of these apex predators. This information is key to knowing where these sharks live and which areas should be protected.

“This is a great way for people to get directly involved with this cutting-edge shark research,” says world renowned marine artist and scientist Guy Harvey. “Plus, participants can promote their support and have bragging rights as family, friends and business associates follow their own shark online.”

All participants will receive a custom GSR certificate featuring the name of their shark, limited edition GSR artwork signed by Guy Harvey and publicity to the 750,000+ Guy Harvey social media followers. The sponsor of the winning shark will receive a fishing trip for two at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, in Islamorada, FL. Sponsors of tags that last one-year long receive a signed copy of Guy’s Book Fishes of the Open Ocean. For more information, visit

Aerial Oceanside

For those looking to catch their own shark to tag, Guy Harvey Outpost Expeditions is offering the opportunity to fish along-side the GHRI researchers and have a front row seat on the water as their shark is wrangled, tagged and released. For more information, visit or 800-513-5257 or

About Guy Harvey Outpost

Guy Harvey Outpost seeks to foster sustainable ecotourism with reciprocal benefits – both for customers and for the residents of these communities living amidst waterfront settings of unique heritage. The brand mission is to inspire guests to travel with friends and family to unique destinations, promote sustainable tourism and the stewardship of resources for the benefit of guests today, and those who follow in the years to come, and to engage guests in environmentally responsible and memorable recreational activities that instill life-long memories and shape individual growth. For more information, visit

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by world renowned marine artist Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds scientific research and educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. It is the mission of the GHOF to help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem where fish, and other marine wildlife, flourish. For more information, visit

About Guy Harvey Research Institute

Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. For more information, visit

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Guy Harvey Interview on Fishing Florida Radio

June 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Bahamas, Conservation, Florida, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Marine Art, Sharks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ever wonder what fish Guy loves to catch above all others? You can find out by listening to his interview with Fishing Florida Radio. Guy discusses his recent shark tagging expedition in the Bahamas and how his childhood in Jamaica influenced his career path. CLICK HERE to listen to these stories and more!

Guy Harvey Receives Certificate of Appreciation on First Anniversary of USS Kittiwake Sinking

January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Guy Harvey, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Guy Harvey accepts a certificate of appreciation from CITA President, Harry Lalli and Acting Chief Officer, Leonard Dilbert during the Kittiwake Sinking Anniversary Reception at the Governor’s House. The event was held in recognition of the one year anniversary of the ship's sinking as an artificial reef.

Grand Cayman – January 5, 2012 – In celebrating the first anniversary of the sinking of the USS Kittiwake as an artificial reef, The Cayman Islands Tourism Association recently presented Cayman resident and celebrated marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey with a certificate of appreciation.

An ardent supporter of the project, Dr. Harvey was on hand a year ago and photographed the sinking of the USS Kittiwake and its short journey to the bottom, 64ft below the surface off the north end of Seven Mile Beach.  The Guy Harvey Research Institute served as one of the many original sponsors of the effort to make the USS Kittiwake an artificial reef. The effort received substantial support from the local dive and business communities as well as the government.

Watch the video below to take an underwater video tour of the USS Kittiwake with Guy:

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