FRD Tags Two More Basking Sharks in the Pacific Ocean

Basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) have shown up once again off the coast of Southern California and sportfishermen and private boaters are reporting sightings from Carlsbad to the U.S./Mexico border. On Sunday, May 15, 2011, Dr. John Hyde and Owyn Snodgrass, both members of the FRD Large Pelagics Program, successfully tagged a 20-foot long basking shark four miles off Torrey Pines State beach. The Mk10-AF Transmitting Fast-GPS Tag made by Wildlife Computers is designed to record depth, temperature, and location data. This was the second basking shark tagged in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately the tag popped off prematurely and was found on the beach by a surfer in Mission Bay. Regardless of the premature release, the tag still recorded lots of valuable data giving scientists an opportunity to learn more about these mysterious sharks and why they are being seen off the coast of San Diego. Sightings have continued into the month of June and a third tag was deployed by John Hyde and Owyn Snodgrass on June 7th, 2011, five miles off Point Loma. NOAA biologists hope this third tag will stay on the shark for up to 8 months recording its movements and habits.  Watch a  video  of the second tagging effort and learn more.