Park West Sponsors Mako Shark with Guy Harvey
Cheer on the Park West Gallery mako shark in real time as it races against other sharks to see which can swim the most.
The shark is part of the “Guy Harvey’s Great Shark Race” tracking project. Sponsored sharks are monitored simultaneously to see which travels the longest distance in a six-month time period.
Park West Gallery’s sponsored shark is named “Parkie.” The Guy Harvey Research Institute tagged the female mako on April 25, 2016 off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. As of December 5, Parkie is in second place having traveled 4,208 miles (6,772 km). The public can follow Parkie and other sharks’ journeys in real time at www.ghritracking.org.
The current first-place shark is sponsored by Sea World Parks and Entertainment. The mako has traveled 6,138 miles (9,876 km) as of December 4.
A Conservation Competition
The institute has been tracking various species of sharks for 17 years. Among them are mako sharks (isurus oxyrinchus), which are the fastest sharks living today, reaching speeds up to 60 MPH.
The migratory habits of makos made them perfect candidates for the project. The institute captured the sharks and attached high-tech miniature computers to them. These satellite tags allow researchers to track the sharks in real time for three years. Harvey says the goal of the study is two-fold: a better understanding of the species and conservation.
“These highly-migratory animals travel tens of thousands of miles in their life, they may travel 10,000 miles in a single year under their own steam,” Harvey says.
Harvey says due to the long distances these sharks swim, they tend to cross international borders frequently. In doing so, issues arise when they are caught because some countries have catch-and-release policies while others do not. This can lead to population decreases from over-fishing. In fact, this species of mako shark is listed as “vulnerable to extinction.”
“The need for regional cooperation in terms of not only studying but management of the species is of the utmost importance,” Harvey says.
Other types of sharks tracked in the program are tiger sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and sand tiger sharks. In addition to sharks, the project tracks Harvey’s favorite marine animals: blue marlins and sailfishes.
The tracking project is carried out in cooperation with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Nova Southeastern University.