Seven juvenile white sharks were fitted with electronic tags near Port Stephens, NSW, in late October 2008 as part of research aiming to better understand shark movements and habitats, and devise strategies for monitoring their population status.
The acoustic tags were surgically implanted in the gut cavity using techniques developed for other species such as southern bluefin tuna. A three-centimetre incision was made, the tag carefully inserted, and the incision closed using sutures. The external satellite and data archiving tags were attached to the dorsal fin.
The acoustic tags transmit a unique series of pulses that are detected and decoded by listening stations moored to the seabed. Data can be downloaded from listening stations upon their retrieval.
Listening station arrays have been deployed by various research institutions in Australian coastal waters and gradually are being developed as a tool for monitoring movement patterns of a variety of species world-wide. Many of these deployments are coordinated under The Australian Acoustic Tracking and Monitoring System, a facility of the nationally funded Integrated Marine Observing System.
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