Shark Tagging

Up close and personal with ocean giants, all in the name of science.

"We lack the fundamental data on these giant sharks because in the past they've been too big for scientists to study alive." Not anymore. Chris Fischer is leading the "Ocearch" expedition off the WA coast. A million dollar mission, baiting and catching tiger sharks at Ningaloo Reef. Then bringing them back to the mother ship, which has a 40 tonne hydraulic lift. The sharks measured, weighed, tagged and blood samples are taken. "With a tag on its dorsal fin, you can then track the shark from your computer or phone. When the fin breaks the surface of the water, the tag sends a signal or ping to a satellite above."

The scientists hope to learn the migration patterns of sharks, when they're feeding, mating and giving birth.

And they say tracking them will keep us safer. "When the seasons change and they start either moving down the coast to the south or up north people will be able to see the sharks coming and going through the areas that they utilise when they go down to the beach."

The researchers blame WA's controversial culling of great whites on a lack of information. Chris "And that's why we've offered multiple times to come down for free and tag white sharks for the West Australian government as well as down in South Australia so that we could have an abundance of data like you're going to have on these tiger sharks."

In the meantime, this science lab at sea will move down our coast, tagging tigers off the Abrolhos Islands and Jurien Bay.

The expedition finishes in 10 days when the ship will arrive in Fremantle.

For more information on the Ocearch shark tagging expedition off the WA coast, head to their website www.ocearch.org or download the free Ocearch app on your smartphone.