PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Using newly deployed technology, researchers this summer detected the presence of two great white sharks off the coast of Rhode Island.
On Tuesday, the Atlantic Shark Institute reported that an 11-foot male visited the Block Island Wind Farm in July while a 12-foot female was detected near Block Island’s Southwest Ledge later that same month.
The Rhode Island-based nonprofit said it worked alongside the R.I. Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Marine Fisheries to deploy three acoustic receivers this past spring. The devices record coded pings that emit from tags fastened to marine life, which can be picked up as far away as several thousand feet.
It marked the first time that great white sharks have been confirmed in Rhode Island waters using this technology, according to Chairman Jon Dodd. He said the institute anticipates more detections when they retrieve the receivers in late fall.
“We expect that this will be the first of many critical shark findings in the partnership between the Atlantic Shark Institute and the DEM,” Dodd said.
“We believe these detections are the tip of the iceberg as it relates to shark science in RI waters,” Executive Director Joe Romeiro said.
The institute said it plans to expand its array of receivers next year to allow for more thorough tracking and discovery.
“We’re currently discussing several new research studies with the DEM to start as early as 2020 that will provide even greater insight into what’s going on with a variety of shark species in RI waters,” Romeiro added. “All in all, it’s an exciting time to be studying sharks in RI.”
“Our partnership with the Atlantic Shark Institute is helping to advance our goals of tracking and better understanding sharks and of establishing a monitoring system to protect public safety,” DEM Director Janet Coit noted.