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Dear Mr. Shark, if we put you in an aquarium, please don't breach all up on me.
September 30, 2003 9:31 PM   Subscribe

The Shark That Won't Be Caged: everyone knows the Carcharodon carcharias--usually by its popularized name The Great White Shark--but not many people have ever seen one, due to the fact that one has never survived for any significant length of time in captivity. Until recently, it was thought that the shark's sensitivity to electrical fields was the culprit, but an aquarium in Monterey Bay is out to prove that theory wrong (additional stories on attempt:1, 2). A previous, accidental capture of a Great White in a tuna net off the coast of South Australia suggests that it could be possible if the stress level can be kept low enough.
posted by The God Complex (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I understand there's a very strong contingent of people who don't believe animals of this nature should be held in captivity, but I have to admit that the first thought that struck me was this would be extremely cool, if a little trauma-inducing (for me, not the shark).
posted by The God Complex at 9:33 PM on September 30, 2003


Those Great Whites are so high strung, they get overwraught so easily. Not like the Cephalopods. No, not at all.
posted by troutfishing at 10:21 PM on September 30, 2003


They taste great served with chips, salt and a bit of vinegar. Yummy.
posted by Jubey at 12:12 AM on October 1, 2003


Absolutely fascinating creatures -- I have always considered Great Whites to be "perfect eating machines." Captivity? Why not - the media buzz and attendant knowledge gleaned from the captivity, along with likely increased funding/donations, would likely benefit both sharks and humans.
posted by davidmsc at 12:51 AM on October 1, 2003


Have these people never seen Jaws 3?
posted by ciderwoman at 5:00 AM on October 1, 2003


Why would anyone want to see Jaws 3? It was terrible!
posted by ZachsMind at 6:09 AM on October 1, 2003


I would just lke to say that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is by far the best aquarium I have ever been to (and I've been to a lot). If you ever get the chance, you should really take the time to check it out. Also, they seem to really focus a lot of their energy into conservation and research.
posted by maceo at 9:12 AM on October 1, 2003


All shark news, all the times.
posted by piskycritter at 9:20 AM on October 1, 2003


would likely benefit both sharks and humans

I think this, too. Sharks are being slaughtered in frightening numbers for unproven cancer treatments and other reasons. Anything that gets people to see them as the fascinating creatures they are and not just death machines is probably worth trying.
posted by biscotti at 10:16 AM on October 1, 2003


Anything that gets people to see them as the fascinating creatures they are and not just death machines is probably worth trying.

I'm not sure giving people a close up look at them feeding is the best way to accomplish that though! All those videos of them chomping stuff is what's given people this impression in the first place, well, that and Jaws.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:39 AM on October 1, 2003


I'm not sure giving people a close up look at them feeding is the best way to accomplish that though!

Hmmm...maybe I'm a freak then, because I find that fascinating...

Having seen piranhas feeding close up recently, I was amazed to find that they didn't do it at all the way I'd imagined, much more leisurely and much more careful. I expect that being able to watch a shark swimming around and going about its sharky prey-finding business and not just ripping into a dead fish on a line with gnashy teeth and rolling eyes might educate people a bit. But perhaps not.
posted by biscotti at 12:30 PM on October 1, 2003


Having seen piranhas feeding close up recently, I was amazed to find that they didn't do it at all the way I'd imagined, much more leisurely and much more careful. I expect that being able to watch a shark swimming around and going about its sharky prey-finding business and not just ripping into a dead fish on a line with gnashy teeth and rolling eyes might educate people a bit. But perhaps not.


From the article it seems that they would probably feed it salmon fillets most of the time (see the last link), but I agree, it would be very cool if they had something like that. I know I'd make the effort to check out the aquarium the next time I headed down the coast to California.
posted by The God Complex at 12:34 PM on October 1, 2003


From the article it seems that they would probably feed it salmon fillets most of the time

Yep. I meant more that it's thought that sharks spend most of their time looking for food, so one would assume that most of this shark's activity would be prey-finding in nature, whether it actually found any prey or not. It would also give us a chance to see what (one, captive) shark does with spare time.
posted by biscotti at 3:04 PM on October 1, 2003


Oh, I'm not saying it wouldn't be educational or cool, I'm just saying that watching a great white shark, up close, rip a salmon fillet to shreds in a froth of chum and blood would not educate folks to think of them as gentle and friendly.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:32 AM on October 2, 2003


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