Huge Greenland shark as it approaches Harbor Branchs Johnson-Sea-Link submersible
Credit: HARBOR BRANCH/Youngbluth
Gently ramming the Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles acrylic front sphere
Credit: HARBOR BRANCH/Youngbluth
During a recent submersible dive 3,000 feet down in the Gulf of Maine a HARBOR BRANCH scientist and sub pilot had the first face-to-face meeting ever in the deep sea with a rare Greenland shark. The docile 15-foot creature gently rammed into the submersible’s clear front sphere before turning and swimming slowly away. The entire encounter was captured on video, a clip of which can be viewed by clicking under the shark’s photo at: http://www.at-sea.org/missions/maineevent4/day14.html
HARBOR BRANCH researcher Marsh Youngbluth and his team were in the region studying a large jellyfish known as Nanomia cara, which can cause commercial fish catch declines by out-competing fish larvae for certain foods and by filling and fouling fish nets. He and submersible pilot Tim Askew, Jr. were startled by the huge shark’s appearance and feared at first that it might damage the submersible or its scientific sampling equipment, though no harm was done. After the shark swam away from the submersible Askew followed it for several minutes.
Though in the early 1900s Greenland sharks were fished commercially, they have rarely been captured on video and never before from a manned submersible in the deep sea or under natural conditions. All past filming encounters involved sharks lured with bait or captured on fishing lines and brought near the surface.
Mark Schrope | EurekAlert!
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