FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida -- – On your Mark! Get Set! GO! That's usually the refrain heard at the start of most races. However, Nova Southeastern University (NSU), the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) are putting on a totally different race. And unlike other races, in this one you don't have to run – that's because satellite-tagged sharks will be doing all the work.
One of the world's leading shark research groups, NSU, GHRI and GHOF are launching the Guy Harvey Great Shark Race (GSR). This race allows businesses and/or individuals to sponsor sharks through the purchase of satellite tracking tags, which enable researchers and the public to follow these animals via the Internet as they travel in near real-time. The knowledge gained about the sharks' movement patterns helps to better manage and conserve these important, open-ocean species, about one-third of which are threatened with extinction.
The way the Great Shark Race works is simple: The race consists of two "divisions" – the Mako Shark Division and the Oceanic Whitetip Shark Division. Participants sponsor satellite tags ($5,000 each,) which are affixed to either a mako shark or an oceanic whitetip shark. Then the shark in each division that travels the furthest in six months wins. But it's the shark's sponsors who really win – a Florida Keys fishing vacation!
"We want to have some fun, but even more importantly use the race to bring added awareness to the plight of these magnificent animals," said Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., professor at NSU's Oceanographic Center and the director of GHRI. "It's vital that we learn the migratory patterns and other aspects of these animals' lives so we can ensure they survive and thrive for years to come."
Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring a shark (or two!) can get more information by visiting www.GreatSharkRace.com. Each tag-sponsorship is $5,000 – with the data they provide scientists about these amazing marine animals being priceless.
The GSR kicks-off on Thursday, April 2 after GHRI researchers return from an expedition to Isla Mujeres, Mexico to deploy satellite tags on mako sharks. The second leg of the race starts on June 1, 2015, when researchers will be in Grand Cayman to tag oceanic whitetip sharks. The fin-mounted satellite tags utilize the latest in tracking technology to allow researchers and the public to follow the sharks online.
"This is a great way for people to get directly involved with this cutting-edge shark research," says world renowned marine artist and scientist Guy Harvey, Ph.D. "Plus, participants can promote their support and have bragging rights as family, friends and business associates follow their own shark online."
All human GSR participants will receive a custom GSR certificate featuring the name of their racing shark, limited edition GSR artwork signed by Guy Harvey and publicity to the 750,000+ Guy Harvey social media followers. The sponsor of the winning shark will receive a fishing trip for two to the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, in Islamorada, Florida. Sponsors of tags that report for one-year or longer will receive a signed copy of Guy's Book Fishes of the Open Ocean.
For those looking to catch their own shark to tag, Guy Harvey Outpost Expeditions is offering the opportunity to fish along-side the GHRI researchers and have a front row seat on the water as their shark is wrangled, tagged and released. For more information, visit www.GuyHarveyOutpost.com/Expeditions.
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