Shark tagging resumes

A 4.2m white shark photographed off Edwards Island last March.
A 4.2m white shark photographed off Edwards Island last March.
Scientists are again taking to the waters around Stewart Island in search of the much maligned white shark.

It is the fifth year a multidisciplinary team has visited the area to tag and photo-identify the sharks in an attempt to learn more about the protected species.

The combined Department of Conservation (Doc), National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) and Auckland University team is conducting the research from Doc vessel Hananui from today to April 6 around the Titi Islands and Ruapuke Island in Foveaux Strait.

Doc shark specialist Clinton Duffy said the team would be using berley to attract sharks.

Berley is a mixture of minced fish and fish oil.

Boat divers and kayakers were advised to avoid the areas where research was being undertaken for at least 24 hours.

"Fragments of berley may settle to the bottom and continue to hold a shark or sharks at the site for several hours after berleying has ceased," Mr Duffy said.

The main study areas for the trip were Bench, Edwards and Ruapuke Islands.

The location of the vessel would be relayed daily on fishermen's radio.

Last year, 28 sharks were photo-identified.

These included five sharks previously seen in 2009 and two the team had seen every year since 2008, Mr Duffy said.

The tags put on the sharks pop off and float to the surface after a pre-determined time.

It is hoped the tags will transmit data such as dive times, depths and water temperatures.

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