Tracking Blue Sharks

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This past summer, OTN personnel successfully fitted 20 female juvenile blue sharks off of Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, with Vemco V16 (16mm) acoustic tags to track their movements in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. The Deep Panuke E&T and R&D Fund support the work to understanding how the North Atlantic’s top predators’ use migratory pathways and hotspots. The project also served to enhance the acoustic telemetry infrastructure in the North East Atlantic.

Tagging was conducted as part of a summer course (Biology and Conservation of Sharks, Skates and Rays) for senior undergraduates at Dalhousie University, which trained 23 students in shark capture and tagging, and telemetry techniques.

Six VR2W acoustic receivers were deployed around Sable Island in late summer 2013 to support blue shark tracking. Additional acoustic receivers were placed on offshore oil and gas infrastructure belonging to Encana, ExxonMobil, and Statoil. A receiver was also placed on an ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle), which inspected the Deep Panuke pipeline.

At present, a total of 4,212 detections of the tagged sharks have been retrieved, mostly from the inshore portions of the OTN Halifax acoustic telemetry line. Additional detections were made on autonomous marine vehicles belonging to OTN, and on the newly-deployed Sable Island receivers.

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