DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE PLIGHT OF HIGHLY VULNERABLE SHARK AND RAY SPECIES WORLDWIDE

 

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 2006 BAY OF FUNDY, CANADA. PORBEAGLE EXPEDITION

In the summer of 2006, Photojournalist Andy Murch was on a shooting assignment for Shark Diver Magazine. The assignment involved working in the middle of the Bay of Fundy with researchers from the University of New Brunswich and documenting the researcher's work which involved rod and line fishing of Porbeagle Sharks.

After long periods of waiting for the sharks to take the bait, a large female porbeagle finally swum up the chum slick and latched onto the offered bait. The animal was subsequently bought onboard the ship using a purpose built shark hammock to ensure its safety. After tagging, blood work and DNA sampling the animal was returned to the ocean where Andy was able to snap a handful of images before the shark disappeared into the depths.

 

Initially, the images from the encounter were published in a number of scuba diving magazines in Europe and North America but the images continued to generate interest in the scientific community and among conservation groups. Eventually they were utilized by the Shark Alliance to illustrate a proposal to list the porbeagle shark in CITES Appendix 1. Unfortunately the proposal failed on its first reading but the need for more images of rarely encountered species was planted in the mind of the photographer.  This expedition ultimately led to the foundation of Predators in Peril.