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Laura Klappenbach

Great White Shark Traverses Indian Ocean

By October 7, 2005

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A satellite tracking study conducted by marine biologist Ramon Bonfil has—for the first time—revealed a transoceanic journey of a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) from South Africa to Australia and back.

Bonfil began tagging great white sharks in the waters off the coast of South Africa four years ago. The devices he attached to the sharks recorded a wide range of information about the tagged sharks including their speed, direction, and depth. When the tracking devices popped off after a period of time, they floated to the surface, where they transmitted the collected data via satellite.

When one shark (tagged off the coast of South Africa) appeared off the coast of Australia, Bonfil knew he had made a significant discovery. The distance travelled by this shark was further than anyone had previously known a shark to travel. Additionally, the journey is amoung the longest distances any species of fish is known to migrate. Because the route was rapid and direct, Bonfil believes the shark intentionally made the migration possibly to breed.

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