Today, shark research groups and government agencies from the northeastern US and Canada announced the establishment of the New England White Shark Research Consortium (NEWSRC). The consortium provides the first ever collaboration of these entities to jointly study the white shark throughout its entire northeast US-Canadian range. With growing sightings of white sharks from Rhode Island to Canada, this is the perfect time to create a unique consortium to increase understanding of white shark life history, including their migration, residency, habitat use, reproduction, and predatory behavior, factors that drive human-white shark interactions, and broader perceptions of white sharks by coastal communities.
The NEWSRC consists of scientists and researchers from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, the Center for Coastal Studies, the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth – School for Marine Science and Technology, the New England Aquarium, Arizona State University, the Atlantic Shark Institute, the NOAA Fisheries Apex Predators Program,and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The coordinated and collaborative effort will use new and innovative technologies and research methods to study white sharks within the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Using the collective knowledge and resources of the group, the consortium will not only advance the current knowledge of the species, but also enhance public education and safety within this region. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the white shark is on the IUCN’s Red List and the population is considered Vulnerable, which makes this research that much more important.
The Consortium will be unparalleled in scope and methodology, maintaining hundreds of acoustic receivers throughout the northeast to detect white shark movements from Rhode Island to Canada. It will conduct research on multiple life stages using a variety of tagging technologies, such as acoustic transmitters, data loggers, and satellite-linked tags, as well as conventional tagging and tissue analysis.