Shark and Ocean Conservation: There’s an App for That

shark photo

The environmental organization OCEARCH is bringing attention to ocean conservation and saving sharks globally. In fact, there’s an app for that.

OCEARCH has developed a global shark tracker–an app and website that uses GPS to show shark movements worldwide. Researchers from OCEARCH have pulled great whites, tiger sharks, and other large species out of the water and attached GPS tags.

Every time the sharks surface they ping to satellites, which updates their location. Currently, about 100 species are known by name–like Oprah, a young great white found off the shore of South Africa and Katherine, a 14-foot long great white that weighs over a ton and has been patrolling the Straights of Florida. She was first tagged in Cape Cod last August. The app is shining a light on ocean conservation and saving sharks.

OCEARCH partners with world class fishermen and researchers to catch sharks, test them, tag them with GPS, and then release them back into the wild unharmed.

Great whites are “the lions of the ocean,” said founding chairman and expedition leader Chris Fischer, who founded the research institute in 2007, reported in the Tampa Bay Times. “They keep the balance in the oceans. Without them, there would be no fish.”

The ocean conservation organization has completed 19 expeditions, tagging 150 sharks, 50 of which are still pinging. They hope the interactive nature of the app will get people interested in what’s going in our world’s oceans, especially the plight of sharks.

“We need another global ocean movement,” he said. “It’s getting hammered.”

If you go to the website, you can get a global picture of where sharks are and even follow them on Twitter. Katherine currently has 7,500 followers.

“It’s all about the power of inclusion,” said Fischer, who grew up in Kentucky and loved fishing and the outdoors, reported in the Tampa Bay Times. “We’re transitioning a research program into a global ocean movement.”

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Image: Kelly Hunter