19 Jan 2011

Underwater equipment to track Great White sharks

10:11 pm on 19 January 2011

Scientists plan to install underwater acoustic equipment to track the movements of Great White sharks.

The Department of Conservation scientists will head to Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands toward the end of March.

Marine scientist Clinton Duffy says the most anticipated project will be creating underwater listening posts off Stewart Island.

Twenty-five stations and about 10 acoustic tags on sharks should provide good information about their movements, he says.

DoC scientists tagged 25 Great Whites between 2005 and 2009 in waters surrounding the Chatham Islands and Stewart Island.

Public help sought to find female shark

Mr Duffy is urging the public to report sightings of a Great White shark off the coast of Coromandel to help the DoC track its movements.

The four-metre-long shark is thought to be a female called Miranda that scientists tagged in 2008 near Stewart Island.

Mr Duffy says sightings were reported on Monday of a shark with two tags just off Cooks Beach at Whitianga, and it can only be Miranda.

Formally identifying the shark will help provide an idea of where she has travelled, he says.

Scientists had given up tagging Miranda because she could rip off the tags.