The White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship is proud to introduce you to our assistants:

Alex RILEY (Nottingham, England) and Giacomo PALAVICINI DE WITTE from Mexico are assisting the White Shark Trust fieldwork at Dyer Island.

On the 24th of May 2004, Benjamin WESTROPE (Wilmington, North Carolina, USA) returned from Mossel Bay where he was assisting the joint Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) research expedition to attach near-real-time SPOT Satellite transmitters on White Sharks.

Ramon Bonfil, Shannon O'Brien and Heather from the Wildlife Conservation Society also returned from Mossel Bay where they managed to attach eight near-real-time satellite transmitters on the dorsal fins of White Sharks.

On the 25th of May 2004, the ocean was still too rough to launch Lamnidae... The FRS Sardinops has arrived in Gansbaai, and the joint WCS / MCM team was hoping to attach the remaining three satellite tags on White Sharks around Dyer Island. In the evening, we celebrated Ben, Ramon, Shannon and Heather's return to Gansbaai...
On the 26th of May 2004, the weather and sea finally calmed down, and we launched Lamnidae to help the FRS Sardinops and the WCS / MCM team tag the remaining three White Sharks. Giacomo was invited on board the FRS Sardinops to help the team with the tagging of the Shark, while Alex came on board Lamnidae to help the team catch the White Sharks.
On board Lamnidae, we were joined by Stephan Swanson (MCM), Linda (MCM), Wayne (Natal Sharks Board), Tom Peschak (University of Cape Town) and Michael Rutzen (Shark Diving Unlimited). Our job on Lamnidae was to chum for White Sharks and catch Sharks. Ben remained on shore to welcome his girlfriend Nikki who is coming to visit us (actually him) for a couple of weeks...
During 2003, the White Shark Trust supported the joint WCS / MCM team with the tagging of White Sharks with PAT tags which did not involve the catching of the Sharks, but we refused to take part of the SPOT satellite tagging which involved the actual catching of the White Sharks.

Our phylosophy at the time was that we believed in alternative methods of transmitter attachments which did not involve the hooking of White Sharks. This method was being developed by CSIRO in Australia. At the meeting in New York organised by WCS, the Australians informed us that their device was not working and they were themselves going back to the tested hook / release system.

Due to the importance of this project for the White Sharks (i.e. crucial movement information to support the CITES proposal), we decided to take part of the tagging programme this year and assist the WCS / MCM tagging effort during their field work around Dyer Island. This is a controversial method, but to date 15 White Sharks have successfuly been tagged with this method by the research team.
Not exactly our typical meal on board Lamnidae... the benefit of having the FRS Sardinops around, nice warm meal served on plates...

We observed six different White Sharks today, and we managed to attach two SPOT satellite transmitters on the dorsal fin of our second and sixth White Shark.

Below is a selection of photographs taken by Heather FENER during this satellite tagging expedition in Mossel Bay, at Dyer Island and in False Bay during May 2004. Heather was hired by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to document the expedition.