CAPE COD, Mass. (WWLP) - A great white shark was tagged and safely released by Ocearch scientists off the coast of Chatham.
22News reporters Elysia Rodriguez and Yoojin Cho traveled to Cape Cod and saw the tagging process in action.
22News was the only station on board the Ocearch vessel when Betsy was brought up, now she's back in the ocean and you can track her every move.
Betsy is now equipped with nearly 10 thousand dollars worth of tracking equipments.
22News has an exclusive look at how it all happened.
22News joined the crew Ocearch Thursday for what turned out to be their lucky day. After days of searching, researchers finally pulled in a great white shark; an intense and well-rehearsed process.
A crew on a small fishing boat used a barbless hook to tow the shark to the research vessel. That's when the organized chaos began.
Once on board, the crew had 15 minutes to do a series of 12 tests and put the tracker on the shark's fin.
“This is like a great pit crew at the Indianapolis 500,” said Dr. Robert Hueter of MOTE Marine Laboratory. “We are all organized here to do everything from taking blood to picking parasites off the shark to inserting a transmitter in the belly to putting an outside transmitter on them, acoustic tags.”
They cover the sharks eyes and pump water through its gills to keep it breathing and calm.
The shark, the crew named Betsy, is 12 and a half feet long, 14-hundred pounds and the first juvenile female shark ever tagged
Closer to home than many once thought. “I got really interested in the great white when the movie Jaws came out. At that point, we knew nothing about it, and we didn't think there was any in the area,” said Sharon Bassett of Nantucket.
Marine Scientist Greg Skomal of the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, told 22News, “Now we have an area right here off of Cape Cod where there's plenty of seals, and the white sharks are showing up here.”
However, up until recently scientists knew very little about these ocean predators. “Just thrilled because it keeps us inching closer to having enough fish tagged, so the science team can solve the puzzle of their lives,” said Chris Fisher, the expedition leader.
Now this crew has Betsy, a 14 hundred pound piece of that puzzle they will follow and study for years to come.
“You race, race, race and hope you get everything done that you need to get done, but once you take a breath and settle into it and realize that you're looking at one of the most beautiful animals on earth, that kind of settles you down a little bit. Your heart starts to slow down; your work methodically, and when she slides out, she swims away, it's the best feeling in the world,” said Greg.
One thing the researchers have already learned is that the great whites off the coast of Massachusetts are relatively shy and typically like to stay away from boats and humans.
If you want to track Betsy yourself, Click Here.