A ten-year long study examining the behaviour of Great White Sharks in New Zealand waters has uncovered some surprising facts about this enigmatic creature. They have used various types of tags to gather data on light, depth and temperature, together with one that produces an electronic marker to show their movements. Ninety-five sharks were tagged in total, the majority of which were around the Chatham Islands and Stewart Island.
It was found that most migrated to the tropics during winter and actually spent more time out of their native waters than in them. One individual was recorded covering over 2000km in 20 days from New Zealand to near Sydney, Australia. Contrastingly, those indigenous to Australia tend to stay close to the coast and rarely venture out into the open ocean.
Another interesting observation established that they travel in incredibly straight lines. The researchers also found they surfaced mostly in the afternoons, the reasons for which are still unknown. They were also regularly diving between 200 and 800m, with the record dive being a remarkable 1246m.
It’s hoped the great mass of data showing their travels could help to conserve this protected species, by cross-referencing their distribution against the movements of commercial fishing vessels, who can unintentionally catch them in their nets.