Posted by: carlsafina | Wednesday, July 11 07

Welcome to the Hotel Californshark – Days 6 and 7

Makos in the north, baby Blue Sharks in the South. That’s part of the pattern we’re seeing.

Yesterday morning, our first set—in 900 meters of water only about 15 miles from Santa Monica Bay—garnered a Shortfin Mako of about 200 pounds and a five-foot Blue Shark.
De-hooking Big Blue - Day 6

The Mako—a tough customer—got outfitted with the two kinds of electronic tags, as I described earlier in the trip. The combined price of the two tags is $5,500 per shark. It’s a commitment to science that must not be wasted when it comes time to use the information to manage fisheries.

Resisting Mako - Day 6

More of the Makos are bearing wounds from Humboldt Squid, and one of the Blue Sharks coughed up a couple of squid beaks. It’s a violent world in every dimension.
Squid Beaks - Day 6

This morning’s breathless dawn found us in a slick molten-looking sea 40 miles off San Diego. The overcast that had broken yesterday returned; turning the water slate gray under a dense ceiling.

Whales and dolphins have kept us in good company all week. While we were setting this morning a pod of big, blunt-headed, high-finned Risso’s Dolphins followed a Minke Whale’s appearance. The afternoon brought Short-beaked Common Dolphins.

Short-beaked Common Dolphins

We’ve moved south of most Makos and are into water where swim the tiniest Blue Sharks I’ve ever seen. Many of our hooks came back bare or with bait bitten in half, apparently from sharks too small to get hooked. The 21 sharks we caught were mainly less than three feet. And though we lost the largest Blue of the trip—nearly nine feet long—we also caught perhaps the smallest Blue Shark of this tagging project: less than two feet from nose to tip of tail—virtually newborn.

Baby Blue

In all we tagged 21 Blue Sharks today.

Carl Safina

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Responses

  1. Dr. Safina,

    your work is very interesting. i used to work in Monterey Bay and would see hundreds of blue sharks per day. however, now…not so much.

    anyway, i study minke whales along the north american west coast, and was wondering if you have sighting information (date, locations) of the minke whale you saw. and any photos would be great! we can identify individuals based upon dorsal fin shape and scars.

    thank you very much for your time and continued good luck with the field work,

    jon stern

    Jon– Had I known! Actually the views were a bit distant and fleeting. No photos, but perhaps next time I will shoot first and answer questions later. – Carl


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