Monterey Bay Aquarium releases shark into ocean

October 26, 2011 12:45:02 PM PDT
Monterey Bay Aquarium officials successfully released a young great white shark back into the ocean on Tuesday afternoon.

Aquarium staff had collected the shark off the coast of Marina del Ray on Aug. 18 to conduct research and educate the public on an often-feared marine animal.

The shark was released at about 1 p.m. Tuesday roughly 2 miles off the coast of Goleta, Calif., wearing two tracking tags that will help researchers better understand the movements of sharks as they mature, aquarium officials said.

One tag will transmit the shark's location to researchers, showing the water depths and temperatures it prefers. The tracking device is scheduled to pop free from the shark next April.

An acoustic tag with a five-year battery life will track when the shark swims near buoys along the coast of California and Mexico.

This is the sixth great white shark exhibited in the aquarium's million-gallon Open Sea exhibit to be released back into the ocean, aquarium officials said.

The fifth shark, released in 2009, swam south to Baja, where it became tangled in a fishermen's gillnet and died, Monterey Bay Aquarium spokeswoman Karen Jeffries said.

"Young ones get caught up as a by-product of fisheries," Jeffries said.

Since 2002, the aquarium and its research partners have placed tracking tags on 46 juvenile sharks.

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