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A dead whale’s carcass is the perfect place for researching the fairly elusive great white shark. The decaying corpse is usually a dinner bell for a range of animals, especially great white sharks which are often seen scavenging on the floating body. On February 27, 2021, an airplane crew spotted a North Atlantic right whale dead off the coast of South Carolina, along with several great white sharks feeding on the carcass.
Captain Chip Michalove, the owner of Outcast Sport Fishing, has caught, tagged, and released over 30 great white sharks for scientific research. When he heard of this temporary feeding ground he set out to try to find the carcass with the hope there were still a few sharks to possibly catch and tag for scientific research.
Michalove and his crew were able to tag two of the sharks with a SPOT (Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting ) tag on the fin so that scientists at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy can track the shark’s movements in real-time.
Naturally, a high level of risk is involved when tagging sharks for research. Michalove told Fitsnews they had a close call when a shark attempted to bite the motor off the boat:
“At one point, a big (great white) grabbed the motor and shook it hard, so we had to raise the motor out of the water. Another one circled the boat several times. It was like being in a zoo with all apex predators. Just unbelievable.”
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Michalove also said they saw at least seven sharks, the biggest one being 16 feet.
The North Atlantic right whale is endangered and among the rarest of all large whale species and, indeed, of all marine mammal species according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Michalove and his crew made sure to keep a good distance from the whale as it’s illegal to touch the endangered animal, even when it’s dead.
Watch their experience in the video below.
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