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Old 09-03-2006, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Great white shark introduced at Monterey Bay Aquarium

Great white shark introduced at Monterey Bay Aquarium
Chuck Squatriglia, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, September 1, 2006

(09-01) 12:29 PDT MONTEREY -- A great white shark caught outside Santa Monica Bay has been introduced to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's massive Outer Bay exhibit, marking the second time in as many years the aquarium has attempted to keep one of the fearsome predators in captivity.

Aquarists introduced the shark, a juvenile weighing 104 pounds, to the 1 million-gallon tank late Thursday after carting it north in a 3,000-gallon tanker called the "tunabago." The shark, a male measuring 5 feet 8 inches long, seems to be adapting well, officials said.

Aquarium collectors caught the fish with a hook and line Aug. 17 and placed it in a 4 million-gallon, open-water pen off the coast of Malibu. Researchers from the aquarium's White Shark Research Project saw the animal swimming actively and feeding on fish within the pen, suggesting it would be a good candidate for the aquarium's Outer Bay exhibit.

The shark is the second of its kind to be kept in captivity by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is the only aquarium in the world to successfully house a great white shark for more than 16 days. Previous efforts ended in sharks promptly dying or being released.

The aquarium gained worldwide attention -- and several million dollars in ticket sales -- through the winter of 2004 and 2005 when it kept a female white shark in captivity for 198 days. Researchers released the shark after it killed two soup fin sharks and showed increasingly aggressive behavior.

Still, aquarium officials said the experience provided invaluable insight into great white shark behavior and allowed researchers an unprecedented opportunity to study the mysterious fish. It also introduced thousands of people to an animal perhaps best known through the depiction of the human-gobbling great white in the film "Jaws."

Julie Packard, the aquarium's executive director, called the great white "the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history."

"I can't overstate the impact of this single animal on advancing our mission to inspire conservation of the oceans," Packard said today in a statement.

That first shark also was a boon for the aquarium, as more than 1 million people filed past the thick glass of the Outer Bay exhibit to catch a glimpse. Overall, aquarium attendance rose 30 percent. Aquarium officials said follow-up surveys of visitors showed many came away with a deeper understanding of the need to protect great white sharks and preserve the ocean environment.

Since 2002, the White Shark Research Project has worked to deepen scientists' understanding of the fish and to bring one back to the aquarium. Researchers with the project have tagged and tracked seven juvenile white sharks off the Southern California coast. Other researchers funded by the aquarium tagged and tracked 29 adult white sharks caught around the Farallon Islands and off Point A?o Nuevo during 2005.

The Monterey Aquarium is open from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Labor Day. Beginning Sept. 5, its hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.

The shark also can be seen occasionally via streaming video at
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Old 09-05-2006, 01:52 PM   #2
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I was there in 79 when they tried it for the first time...Shark ended up dying I think.
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Old 09-30-2006, 12:41 PM   #3
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I missed the last one. going to make an effort to go see this one.
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Old 10-15-2006, 12:20 AM   #4
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WOW....going there next weekend. Now I am REALLY looking forward to seeing that greatwhite.

Thanks for letting use know Scubapro!
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