Thursday, June 14, 2018

What Does a 13 Foot Great White Shark Eat?

When a Virginia Institute of Marine Science longline fishing survey caught a black tip shark on Friday, a much larger great white shark couldn't turn down an easy meal.

Researchers just three and a half miles off Sandbridge were reeling in their 1.2-mile longline, equipped with 100 baited hooks, last week when a 12- to 13-foot great white showed up to see what all the fuss was about.

It wrapped its jaws around a 4-foot black tip on the line, tearing into it with a huge set of razor-sharp, serrated teeth as the crew scrambled to save the other 40 sharks they had hooked.

Great whites have been caught in that area multiple times over the years by recreational and commercial fishermen. But even the shark researchers were surprised by the bigger one, and another one about eight and a half feet caught on a different survey.

"We weren't expecting that one," said researcher Kaitlyn O'Brien, who shot pictures. "It made a real mess of our lines." With a full stomach, the shark swam away.

VIMS began studying sharks in the mid-Atlantic in 1973 with its Shark Survey. It's one of the longest running studies of shark populations in the world. The survey has shown a serious decline in shark numbers because of overfishing. That discovery led to the first shark management plan by NOAA Fisheries in 1993.
This is a few miles south of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. As far as I know, Great White Sharks have never been reliably reported in the Maryland portion of the Bay. Yet.

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