Año Nuevo on the Northern California coastline is not only famous for its elephant seals and uncrowded surf, but also for its dangerous predators. Come mating season, male elephant seals engage in bloody battles over their lady friend counterparts, creating the perfect lure for hungry sharks. Therefore, scientists frequent Año Nuevo and the surrounding Monterey Bay area as a research site.
In light of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, tonight’s guest on Off the Lip Radio Show founded the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, and will share his interesting conclusions from endless studies about what many surfers refer to as “the man in the grey suit.” Tune-in to discuss the mako shark and great whites that have defined Sean R. Van Sommeran’s every waking moment.
In fact, you may need a bigger boat…
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The word “shark” almost invariably raises sinister, alarming images in the minds of most people. According to the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation (PSRF) established in 1992 under the direction and leadership of Sean R. Van Sommeran, the average shark is neither menacing nor malevolent. In fact, sharks considered “man eaters” like Great Whites are like many other large predators, similar to mountain lions or bears, which are essentially indifferent to humans in most circumstances.
In addition, less than two dozen of the approximately 400+ species of sharks are capable, let alone inclined to consume a live human. In this video below, the PSRF studies white sharks at Año Nuevo Island, in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
*This video contains graphic imagery.
The Pelagic Shark Research Foundation’s Año Nuevo Island white shark study was established in 1992 and began ID tagging sharks in 1995; attachment of ultra-sonic acoustic transmitters was initiated in 1997 in collaboration with University of California. The PSRF began tracking these sharks with archival satellite transmitters in year 2000 triggering an avalanche of data and overturning the conventional academic wisdom that regarded white sharks as coastal predators. The data showed that these Eastern Pacific white sharks were in fact open ocean deep sea predators which traveled far and wide from the coastal seal colonies.
During the course of its two decades of field experiences, the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation research team gathered a unique understanding of these animals while specializing the use of low impact non invasive methods.
Videos by Sean Van Sommeran | Produced by Callaghan Fritz-Cope
The mako sharks are likely to be the fastest of the Lamnid sharks, second only to the white shark as largest heaviest apex predatory open ocean species of shark. They may live for up to 30-50 years, and take 15 years just to reach maturity.
They are apex predators that as adults eat other sharks, large fish like tuna and swordfishes, and are known also to take sealions/seals and dolphins/porpoises. They are endangered because of their value to commercial fisheries and trade and are attractive to big game trophy fisherman, owing to their fierce reputation and power.
The mission of PSRF is to develop and assist projects that contribute to a better understanding of elasmobranchs, with an emphasis on those which contribute to their conservation and management. PSRF has developed a multifaceted approach to dealing with the issues involved consisting of: (1) research conducted by PSRF, (2) research projects sponsored or assisted by PSRF, and (3) an educational outreach program.
Off the Lip Radio Show features legendary surfers and skateboarders in their Santa Cruz, California studio. You can listen in on KSCO 1080AM radio in the Bay Area every Tuesday evening starting from 7PM PST. Now, you can watch the YouTube Live stream from inside the studio right here on TheSurfChannel.com!