DNR tagging tiger sharks along SC's coast
JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Researchers say they are making progress in a new project that studies ocean life along the South Carolina coastline. They're tracking tiger sharks, learning more about the mysterious species.
So far this year, researchers have tagged five tiger sharks off the coast of South Carolina. Even though their project is just a few weeks old, they're already seeing some results.
"Currently she's about 20-30 miles off shore," explained Bryan Frazier, a marine biologist with the Department of Natural Resources on James Island.
He uses a computer watch the location of each tiger shark that's been tagged.
"And you can see the movements are much closer to shore," said Frazier as he shows how GPS technology can pinpoint where they're swimming.
"When this copper sensor comes out of the water, it actually starts transmitting," said Frazier as he described how the tags work.
Photos show him and a professor from the College of Charleston tagging tiger sharks off the coast of Beaufort. They want to learn why the sharks are entering our coastal region through Port Royal Sound and Saint Helena Sound.
"We think these tiger sharks have some fidelity to this region. We think that they may be staying here at least over the summer months. So what we're really trying to do is find out more about them," said Frazier.
He and other researchers want to know how long the tiger sharks are staying here, what they're doing, and what they're eating. They already know that humans aren't a target.
"We don't think these sharks are posing any problem to people. They've been here for a long time. We have very little shark interaction with the public, given how many people are in the water on any given day. And how many sharks there are," said Frazier.
He says five more tiger sharks still need to be tagged this year. Researchers tell ABC News 4 it's an ongoing effort to learn more about the mysteries of what's swimming off the coast.
Marine biologists have learned tiger sharks feed on sea gulls and other birds. You can track the tagged sharks on ocearch.org.