Capturing great white takes months of preparation

(Source: Robert Snow/OCEARCH)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WCIV) -{}The OCEARCH crew preps for months for expeditions like the one off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla., that landed the find of a lifetime -- a 14-foot white shark off the East Coast.

"OCEARCH brings a capacity to shark research unlike anything we have ever had before," said Dr. Bob Hueter, scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory. "We have never had a ship like this, never had a crew like this -- the expertise -- it's amazing."

And what's really amazing is how well choreographed all of the procedures are. All involved have approximately 15 minutes to do everything on their checklist so the animal can get back in the water.

"Part of the samples that we are taking will be tissue samples from a little bit of muscle from the shark and then blood samples," said Hueter. "Those samples are designed to go for all kinds of different things, including genetics."

Something else that scientists took time to do was pick parasites off the female Great White. They were scraped off of various spots such as the pelvic fins, the mouth, the dorsal fin, and the gills.

All the data will be analyzed so more can be learned about the ocean's greatest predator. Crew members also took the time to attach a new device called an accelerometer to Lydia.

"(It's) a{}device that measures the animal's movements up and down, left and right, orientation," said Hueter. "It will allow us to see the very fine movements of the shark after the release and see what it's swimming behavior is and maybe even catch a feeding event."

The whole process went smoothly thanks to teamwork from the entire crew, which includes fishermen, multi-vessel managers and scientists.

"They did it for the mission for the future and they did it for our kids, and that's why we are able to make great things happen because they put the sharks first. Everyone on this boat puts the ocean first," said Chris Fischer, founder of OCEARCH.

Protecting the ocean's giants while helping people replace fear with fascination. That is why OCEARCH does what they do.

White sharks themselves are not yet declared an endangered species in the U.S., but they are very close in terms of having limited numbers and obviously people have a great interest in them.

The crew of the OCEARCH vessel has been out to sea since Feb. 20. The crew was making preparations to move to another area farther up the coast Sunday when the fishing crew radioed back to the research vessel that it had hooked a shark.

Fore more on that find, click here.