Ocearch to tag great whites off Jacksonville's coast

By: Russell Colburn

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The group Ocearch will be in Jacksonville next week to tag more great white sharks.

Much of the expedition will occur right here off the coast with the goal of finding and tagging male great white sharks.

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Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, a shark expert and University of North Florida professor, is joining Ocearch on its first expedition in three years.

“Our goal now is to get some males and try to tag those animals,” said Gelsleichter. “Try to figure out where the males are going, maybe identify where mating is occurring, and to increase our tagging of females and hopefully get a better picture of how white sharks move in the Atlantic Coast.”

Lydia was the last great white tagged in the area by Ocearch. Now, Gelsleichter keeps an eye on her.

“She's the first white shark that is recorded to move halfway across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Lydia has traveled more than 35,000 miles.

Gelsleichter has had plenty of encounters with sharks, but never a great white. He hopes this time he’ll come face-to-face with a great white shark.

“White sharks have always been kind of the elusive species for us,” Gelsleichter said. “The exhilarating thing to me, is actually be able to allow the animal to go and seeing it swim away.”

He expedition will start March 16 and runs into the following weekend.

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