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Scientists solve porbeagle birth mystery

Scientists solve porbeagle birth mystery

Postby Cetacea » 2/8/10

Scientists solve porbeagle puzzle
Satellite tracking system shows sharks swim to Sargossa Sea to give birth

In the deep, clear waters of the Sargasso Sea just by the Bermu­da Triangle, chunky porbeagle sharks are giving birth.

“In the fish world this is pretty exciting news," marine biologist and shark expert Steve Campana said Thursday.

It’s exciting because until now researchers didn’t know where this smaller relative of the great white shark delivered its pups.

“We’ve been trying to find this out for 10 years," Mr. Campana said.

Porbeagle sharks are caught off Nova Scotia where Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the shark fishing industry are try­ing to rebuild declining popula­tions, Mr. Campana said.

Shark populations around the world are crashing due to the in­tense level of fishing created by the demand for shark steak in Europe and cartilages and fins in places like the Orient.

The porbeagle population hasn’t fully recovered from some hard fishing in the 1960s that de­pleted its numbers, the scientist said. Knowing more about it would help scientists regulate the shark fishery better.

The porbeagle weighs about 200 kilograms and measures about 2.5 metres in length. Scien­tists knew females were getting pregnant in Canadian waters and carrying their embryos for nine months before heading off­shore to deliver up to four pups each. They just didn’t know where they were going.

“We finally got our answer," said Mr. Campana.

They found out by tagging fe­male porbeagle sharks and following their movements with a satellite tracking system.
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