Ocearch captain Brett McBride tagging a mature tiger shark, named Jedda, off Fraser Island.
Ocearch captain Brett McBride tagging a mature tiger shark, named Jedda, off Fraser Island. Contributed

Tiger shark tagged off Fraser and you can follow it

BEACH-GOERS can now track a 3.5m female tiger shark in near-real time as she travels the waters near Fraser Island.

This shark, named Jedda, will hopefully be the first of many tiger sharks made traceable by a team of nine researchers onboard a one-of-a-kind research vessel MV Ocearch.

The non-profit organisation Ocearch is behind the project and one of the main aims was to create safer beaches by allowing beach-goers to see the current whereabouts of sharks in the area.

James Cook University's Adam Barnett described the project as a great opportunity to find out where the sharks were spending their time.

"We have the chance to tag more tiger sharks with satellite technology over a period of a few weeks than our team has in the past 14 years in Queensland waters," he said.

Aside from giving Australians access to the sharks' locations in near-real time, Dr Barnett said the new technology would help scientists access data they couldn't get until now.

"Having hands-on, safe access to live mature tiger sharks will be a significant boost to research," he said.

"Allowing us to conduct projects that are undoable in the water, providing data we could never have dreamed of achieving."

According to Ocearch, the new platform reduces the stress levels of the shark when comparing them to other species caught using other methods.

Expedition leader Chris Fischer said it the new data might help ensure the sustainability of the often-feared creature.

He said the data collected from similar expeditions in the past had influenced policies in other counties creating better outcomes for both sharks and people.

"The new data will help provide Australia with a better understanding of when, how and why tiger sharks forage particularly near public beaches," Mr Fischer said.

"This project is about delivering previously unattainable data to public safety officials and conservation managers.

"It's our goal to create the most inclusive, open-sourced shark project with the Australian people in history."

After the tagging and studies of the sharks around the Fraser Coast area are finished, the team will be heading north to Mackay and Cairns.

Visit www.ocearch.org or use the Global Shark Tracker App available for Apple or android platforms to track Jedda the shark.



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