The VICE Channels

    There Is a Website Called Shark Tracker and Guess What It Does

    Written by

    Lex Berko


    Rizzilient the Mako Shark's path off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. Each dot represents a moment where the shark surfaced for long enough that its rough geo-location could be obtained.

    Shark Week may be over, but sharks never stop being cool. So if your sea dog obsession wasn’t satiated by the Discovery Channel earlier this month, a non-profit called OCEARCH may have something to temporarily curb your addiction: the Shark Tracker.

    Shark Tracker is the fun face of a serious research project. To save the world’s dwindling shark population, which is currently under threat because of over-harvesting, we need to better understand the shark in its own ecosystem.

    That’s where OCEARCH comes in. Researchers aboard the non-profit’s boat have spent the last month off the shore of Cape Cod capturing sharks and attaching what is called a SPOT tag to their dorsal fin. SPOT stands for Smart Position and Temperature Tag. Afterwards, they carefully place the probably peeved shark back into the sea and can begin to track its movements as it journeys through the ocean. The results of that tracking as well as those from earlier expeditions off the coasts of Florida and South Africa are what comprise Shark Tracker.

    Beyond mapping a shark’s travels, the website also offers a profile of each predator, including names given to them by the researchers. And what badass names they are: Rizzilient, Vindication, Redemption. Happily, there is no Jaws.

    Catching, tagging, and releasing Cat the Great White with the OCEARCH team.

    Updates on the data are sporadic. Only when a shark surfaces for a substantial period of time does the SPOT tag accurately take note of the animal’s location. Nevertheless, Shark Tracker is definitely worth a peek for curiosity's sake.