The White Shark Chase
Sicilian Channel and Tunisian Coast 2023
This picture epitomizes the expedition’s subject and objective. Mediterranean White sharks are still hanging in the region despite their poor conservation status. The white shark chase aims to increase our knowledge on their status and life history for developing efficient conservation and recovery plans.
We are ready to set sail for the White Shark Chase, an unprecedented expedition to detect, film, and eventually tag Mediterranean White sharks? This is one of the most endangered and least known white shark populations globally that we would like to know better to promote effective conservation and recovery programs.
Centuries of coastal fishing, and more recently, industrial exploitation have severely impacted this population, which, in the last few decades, has declined to very low levels of abundance. They were historically abundant and widely distributed in the region, and now they are critically endangered. We don’t know how many sharks are left and still know very little about their ecology and biology to protect them. Because they are scarce and have no aggregation areas similar to other regions, studying them in the field has always been challenging.
With this expedition, we plan to track these animals in the field by using a highly integrated approach, with cutting-edge technology and the help of local communities, which will act as a distributed alert network in the Sicilian Channel while we are cruising the area.
The Ferretti Lab in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department (FWC) at Virginia Tech is responsible for an ongoing research and educational program in the Kennedy Tree Farm lake systems in Dillwyn, VA. Through this program, FWC students have the opportunity to conduct research and educational activities on the Kennedy family property in order to learn how to assess pond health, create sustainable management plans for recreational fishing, and processes to improve freshwater ecosystems’ structure and function. These activities can support multiple FWC courses, where students can use the Kennedy Family Tree Farm ponds as natural labs to develop course projects and participate in hands-on activities.
This Fall, we are organizing our third ever fishing tournament, during which participants will collect data on species composition and measure fundamental biological characteristics (e.g., morphometrics) in order to assess population structure of the fish stocks occurring in the four lakes. For more info and registration (free) please contact Brendan Shea (email@example.com), Jeremy Jenrette (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Dr. Francesco Ferretti (email@example.com). There is a cap of 32 participants, so we will close the registration when we reach this number. And there will be prizes!