Speedy Quick Mako Shark Swims A Record-Breaking 13,000 Miles In Less Than Two Years


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Mako shark (Photo Credit: Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation)

A male mako shark is being dubbed the “Energizer Bunny” after traveling a distance of half the globe, or 13,000 miles (just over 21,000 km), in less than two years. According to researchers at the Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), it is the longest track recorded in the Atlantic Ocean by a tagged mako shark.

The scientists began monitoring the shark, named Hell’s Bay, in May 2015. In the first year, he traveled north along the east coast of the US before returning to the tagging site off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. In 2016, the shark made several round-trip journeys throughout the Atlantic, traveling east past Nova Scotia and as far south as Bermuda. This year, the shark appears to be repeating the travel pattern but is staying closer to the coast.

Photo Credit: Debate.org

The researchers say Hell’s Bay’s jaunts over the past two years have allowed them to identify clear seasonal patterns. The mako shark spends the winter and early spring far offshore and the rest of the year on or near the continental shelf.

While Hell’s Bay certainly deserves an award for the impressive mileage, Mahmood Shivji, the Director of GHRI, says one of the reasons it was able to do so is because he is still alive. In December 2016, the non-profit reported that a female shark, tagged about the same time as Hell’s Bay, had become a victim of a commercial long-line fishing boat. Before her unfortunate death, the shark managed to cover an impressive 8,500 miles over the 557 days the team had been tracking her. And, she is not alone. A recent GHRI study found that 22% of the tagged makos had been captured or killed by commercial or recreation fishermen.

Mako sharks, one of the fastest sharks in the ocean, can swim at speeds of 45 miles per hour while in pursuit of prey. Their rapid pace allows them to attack humans without warning, which is why the sharks are so feared and often killed.

Mako Shark (Photo Credit: Patrick Doll (Own Work CC-BY-SA- 3.0) via Wikpedia

Unfortunately, the situation is as dire for other members of the shark family as well. Experts estimate that between 70-100 million sharks are killed by humans each year. Given their low reproduction rate, this does not bode well for the species, many are whom are already on the endangered list. Hopefully, information gleaned from sharks like Hell’s Bay will enable researchers to educate the public on ways to protect these majestic animals for future generations.

Resources: phys.org, sharks-world.com

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  • bstiglic
    bstiglicWednesday, February 17, 2021 at 8:37 am
    I can't believe how many sharks are died, because of humans each year! It's devastating. Hammer head, tiger and basking sharks are my favorite species.
    • gold3nglare
      gold3nglareTuesday, November 17, 2020 at 10:55 am
      That would be scary if the shark was actually chasing something, and that thing was YOU! You wouldn't be able to outswim it!
      • lilchickens
        lilchickensMonday, December 9, 2019 at 7:29 am
        I wish I could be as fast as a Mako shark!
        • lilchickens
          lilchickensFriday, December 6, 2019 at 9:06 am
          mako sharks are the best!
          • zjack999
            zjack999Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at 12:34 pm
            so cool
            • IBluHusky08Friday, October 11, 2019 at 8:49 am
              The first two secs gave me a HEART ATTACK
              • you broThursday, October 3, 2019 at 7:53 am
                SO fast i wish i was that fast
                • OMGThursday, October 3, 2019 at 7:52 am
                  THAT THING IS FAST
                  • haloWednesday, September 18, 2019 at 9:12 am
                    • NautsFriday, September 13, 2019 at 6:14 am
                      Nick a little seafood into the sea, I imagine it's gonna be quite easy to lure a shark over to your spot.