White sharks are some of the most infamous and dangerous animals on the planet. Yet, a particular part of their lives has remained shrouded in mystery for decades. No one knew where they mated in the ocean, but now, scientists are closer than ever to uncovering the secret.
OCEARCH is a non-profit, data-centric organization that conducts research on white sharks, including safely tagging and tracking white shark species worldwide. The organization made its first tag of an Atlantic white shark in 2012. Over ten years later, they managed to tag almost 100 sharks. This initiative has helped scientists get closer to discovering the mystery of where they mate. In the enormous waters of the Atlantic, these giant beasts have managed to keep their mating location a secret. There are nine white shark populations around the world, yet no one has come even close to figuring out this mystery. Chris Fischer, founder and expedition leader of OCEARCH, said, “This is a 400 million-year-old secret. The ocean’s not going to give it up easy.”
The populations of white sharks have been decreasing in recent years. Overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss are the main reasons why. Many conservation efforts are trying to protect this great species because they are critical to maintaining the ocean’s ecosystem. As Fischer said, “They’re the system manager of the ocean. As they go, the ocean goes.” So, it has become even more critical to discover where they mate in order to ensure further protection and safeguard these magnificent species. Scientists believe that the mating location is somewhere off the coast of the Carolinas during the summer migration period. However, they must still complete further research before claiming a big win. Per CBS News, they will need to collect blood samples to further their research. They were able to capture a shark off the coast of the Outer Banks. In 15 minutes, they collected blood samples and tagged the shark before letting her swim off. Now scientists will be able to track her movements for the next decade.
The mystery of where white sharks mate has been kept in the dark for hundreds of years. As scientists close in on what may be the answer, they might be able to help with conservation efforts and preserve this great population.