Maui Tiger Shark Tracking

Maui Tiger Shark Tracking

Voyager and Voyager Mobile are now tracking the movements of 8 tiger sharks, ranging in length from 9 to 14 feet, as they make their way around the Hawaiian Islands from their initial capture locations off the coast of Kihei, Maui in late October. Fitted with SPOT satellite transmitters, these sharks intermittently upload their locations over time as their dorsal fin breaches the water’s surface. Because satellite-based geolocation varies in positional accuracy, locations are quality-checked prior to posting online. Voyager maps and animates the movements of these tagged sharks (tag IDs 133***) as well as others that will be tagged in the future as the project progresses.

In addition, a separate PacIOOS tiger shark project page is now provided with additional features and background information: This user-friendly website embeds a Voyager map and provides buttons for animating the available shark tracks.

Voyager animation of tiger shark 133362, a 13.5 ft (4.1 m) female, October 20 to November 14, 2013 (click here for video):

Voyager Screenshot

Voyager animation of tiger shark 133369, a 9.3 ft (2.8 m) male, October 19 to November 14, 2013 (click here for video):

Voyager Screenshot

Maui has witnessed a higher number of unprovoked shark attacks than in previous years, and local spear fishers report increasing boldness of large sharks encountered in Maui waters. In order to select appropriate management responses to these events, tiger sharks were fitted with dorsal-fin mounted satellite transmitters to monitor their movements. This information will help determine whether sharks around Maui are more resident (more “site-attached”) than they are around the other Hawaiian Islands and whether they exhibit greater use of inshore habitats than in other locations.

With funding from the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), these data are being collected by Lead Scientists Drs. Carl Meyer and Kim Holland along with other members of the Shark Research Team of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UH).

Disclaimer: This is not a warning system and does not provide real-time monitoring. Sharks can move substantially since their most recently recorded positions. Geolocation estimates via the Argos satellite system can be off by a mile or more. Plus, there are more sharks in the ocean than the handful of those tagged for this project. As such, please use these data with the caution appropriate for any ocean related activity.

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Did you know?

PacIOOS is the first regional association that was certified as a Regional Information Coordination Entity (RICE) by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Certification provides NOAA and its interagency partners a means to verify that a regional association’s organizational and operational practices, including data management, meet recognized and established standards set by NOAA.