Sharks tagged off the coast of Whitsundays/Mackay.
Sharks tagged off the coast of Whitsundays/Mackay.

TRACKER: The mega sharks lurking off our coast right now

LAURA, Shayna, Jon, Alan and Gareth - they are ordinary names, but they belong to some of the sharp-toothed predators lurking off the Mackay and Whitsunday coastline right now.

A data-centric organisation built to help scientists collect previously unattainable data in the ocean has provided a rare insight into the movements of various sharks in our region.

The satelitte tracking website provides data on nine tagged sharks in waters along the Whitsunday and Mackay coast including each shark's size, species and movements - including just how close they have come to our beaches and recreational areas.

The sharks were tagged by BioPixel Oceans Foundation at Cid Harbour in December 2018 and June 2019, as part of a Queensland Government-commissioned research project following three horrific shark attacks in the area.

The largest shark tagged is Shayna, a 3.8m (12ft 8 inch) Tiger Shark weighing a whopping 992 lbs - or about 450kg.

Shayna is one of the sharks tagged off the coast of Whitsundays/Mackay.
Shayna is one of the sharks tagged off the coast of Whitsundays/Mackay.

Shayna - Female adult Tiger Shark, 3.8m (12ft 8 inch) weighing 450kg (992 lbs). Tagged on June 10, 2019 at the Whitsunday Islands.

Shayna was first pinged on June 27 out near Jacqueline Reef. She spent a fair bit of time out in this area, before moving way down to the Middle Island area in late July.

Shayna seems to plod along, perhaps due to her huge size, and remained in this area for quite some time, circling the islands off the coast of Mackay.

She was pinged at South Island on September 8 and east of Cape Hillsborough on September 13.

After spending some time around Southampton Reef, she made her way back north on September 22 and was last pinged on October 3 in the Shute Harbour area.

 

Laura does not like to stick to one area.
Laura does not like to stick to one area.

Laura - Female adult Tiger Shark, 2.8m (9ft 3 inch) weighing 151kg (335 lbs). Tagged on June 12, 2019 and first pinged on July 1 out near Hardy Reef. Laura is also active and has covered 5361km since she was tagged.

She was last pinged on October 22 at 4.19am heading north between Hamilton Island and Cow Reef. Laura does not like to stick to one area and has been pinged very close to Conway Beach and Whitehaven Beach.

She has travelled much further south than the other tagged sharks and was pinged all the way down at Paul Reef, east of Clairview. On her way south, she was pinged near St Bees and Scawfell islands.

Jon zigzags along our coastline.
Jon zigzags along our coastline.

Jon - Male sub-adult Tiger Shark, 2.6m (8ft 7 inch) weighing 114kg (253 lbs). Tagged on June 10, 2019 and last pinged on October 21, at 10.49pm near Whitsunday Island. Unlike his other Tiger Shark friends tagged in June, Jon has been very active.

His travel log shows him zigzagging around the Whitsunday and Mackay coast, even visiting beaches in the area. He has been pinged close to Coral Beach, at a bay near Woodwark, around Hook Island, Hayman Island, Armit Island, Border Island and as far south as Credlin Reefs east of Mackay.

 

Gareth has not been pinged many times.
Gareth has not been pinged many times.

Gareth - Male adult Tiger Shark, 3.14m (10ft 4 inch) weighing 219kg (485 lbs). Tagged on June 10, 2019 in the Whitsunday Islands. Gareth, who was tagged around the same time as his Tiger Shark mate Alan, was first pinged on August 3.

 

Gareth hasn't been pinged many times, but his last was on August 29 at 10.48pm in waters between Ball Bay/Cape Hillsborough and Ingot Islets.

He was last pinged near Sawmill Bay.
He was last pinged near Sawmill Bay.

 

Alan Joyce - Male adult Tiger Shark, 3.3m (11ft) weighing 270kg (597 lbs). Tagged on June 11, 2019 in the Whitsunday Islands. Having only been tagged in more recent months, Alan's tracker has not picked up much activity yet. He was last pinged on July 6 at 12.30pm, swimming near Sawmill Bay.

 

Ingo likes to travel large distances well off shore.
Ingo likes to travel large distances well off shore.

Ingo - Male sub-adult Tiger Shark, 2.28m (7ft 6 inch) weighing 70kg (156 lbs). Tagged on December 16, 2018 in the Whitsunday Islands. Ingo appears to like to travel longer distances and remain in places longer.

He was last pinged August 1 at 3.29am, swimming east of the Lindeman Group of islands.

Before that, he had travelled a large distance well off shore, travelling out around Callum Shoal and near Circular Quay Reef.

Ingo also likes hugging the coastline at times, and has been pinged around Hayman, Whitsunday and Hook Islands.

Bec Piper proved to be an active shark.
Bec Piper proved to be an active shark.

Bec Piper - Female sub-adult Hammerhead Shark, 2.3m (7ft 10 inch) weighing 63kg (141 lbs). Tagged on December 15, 2018 in the Whitsunday Islands.

Bec Piper appears to have lost her tag, having last been pinged east of Hideaway Bay back in late April. However she covered a lot of ground while her tag was still active, swimming dangerously close to Whitsunday coastlines.

She was pinged very close to beaches at North Molle Island, Hook Island, Whitsunday Island, Hayman Island and Mansell Island. The farthest she travelled was out past Plaster Reef.

 

Naia swam 4262km between December and August.
Naia swam 4262km between December and August.

Naia - Female sub-adult Tiger Shark, 2.4m (7ft 11 inch) weighing 84kg (187 lbs). Tagged on December 18, 2019 in the Whitsunday Islands.

She has travelled 4262km around the Whitsunday and Mackay area since she was first pinged on December 28.

Her latest ping was on August 21, 2019 at 6.50pm just east of Gloucester Island.

Previously, she has been pinged close to the coastline in waters off Bowen beaches, Abbot Point, in the Elliot River and around much of Whitsunday Island.

 

Sero has been on a trip around Australia.
Sero has been on a trip around Australia.

Sero: Female adult Tiger Shark, 3.4m (11ft 2 inch) and weighing 286kg (631lbs). Tagged on December 16, 2018 in the Whitsunday Islands. She was first pinged east of Horeshoe Bay Beach at Bowen on August 10.

Her last ping in Whitsunday waters was recorded well offshore, further north, adjacent to Abbot Point on August 12 - but since then, she seems to have gone on an around Australia trip.

Fascinatingly, Sero has travelled a huge distance in the past month and was last pinged on October 21 in the middle of the ocean south of Bali - perhaps visiting some rellies?

 

Sero might be visiting some relatives in Bali.
Sero might be visiting some relatives in Bali.

All data was displayed on the website Ocearch.



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