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Nature & Environment Track Lydia the Great White Shark Online! OCEARCH Tags 2,000 Pound Fish

Track Lydia the Great White Shark Online! OCEARCH Tags 2,000 Pound Fish

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First Posted: Mar 04, 2013 11:00 AM EST
Great White Shark
How long can sharks live? Quite a while, it turns out. Scientists have discovered that great white sharks grow much slower and live significantly longer than previously thought. The findings could have implications for conserving this species in the future. (Photo : Mike Davison/Flickr)

Great white sharks are some of the most fearsome predators of the deep. Now, scientists are aiming to learn more about the creatures that are slowly disappearing from the world's oceans. OCEARCH, a non-profit organization, recently tagged a massive great white off of the coast of Florida.

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The great white, which researchers named Lydia, has become part of the catch and release operation that the non-profit organization is conducting. The group is currently supporting leading researchers and institutions that are seeking to attain new data on the biology and health of sharks.

Weighing in at about 2,000 pounds and measuring a massive 14 feet, 6 inches, the shark is medium sized when it comes to how big the species can grow. According to National Geographic, the predators can reach up to 20 feet in length and weigh as much as 5,000 pounds, making them the largest predatory fish on Earth. With mouths lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows, this shark primarily feeds on sea lions, whales and sea turtles.

Surprisingly little is known about these large sharks, which is what has prompted the latest mission to capture, tag and release great whites. Currently, shark populations are facing massive threats from overfishing and, in particular, the practice of shark finning. A newly released study estimates that about 100 million sharks are killed each year, a number that's unsustainable since it can take years for sharks to grow to maturity and then reproduce.

Yet this new research may allow scientists to more fully understand the species and where they go to reproduce, allowing them to target areas for protection. OCEARCH is currently tracking several great whites, most of them located off of the coast of Africa. They're also getting the public involved through their interactive, shark tracking site. The public can get updates about where a shark is located and how far it has travelled.

Want to track Lydia and the other sharks? Check out OCEARCH's tracker here.

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