URI grad student working to understand mako shark movement

Manz W Shark
URI graduate student Maria Manz handles a mako shark during a shark research trip in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Brad Wetherbee)

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (AP) — A University of Rhode Island graduate student is using mako shark tracking information to improve international management of the overfished species.

Mako sharks are among the fastest fish in the ocean, and they travel great distances, seldom spending long in the waters of any one nation, so no nation wants to take responsibility for protecting them, URI shark expert Brad Wetherbee said, according to a statement from the school. Wetherbee has been tracking the sharks for 20 years.

Graduate student Maria Manz is using the tracking information to pinpoint which nation should take charge.

By analyzing 60,000 data points indicating the locations of tagged mako sharks, Manz will be able to identify in which jurisdictional waters the sharks spend most of their time and at what time of year.

In addition, she is assessing how mako shark movements intersect with recreational fishing areas and planned offshore wind development regions along the East Coast.

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