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Following a nearly seven-month odyssey spanning over 25,000 miles, the winners of the Nova Southeastern University Guy Harvey Research Institute’s The Great Shark Race have been revealed.
Divided into two categories, The Great Shark Race featured shortfin makos — the world’s fastest marine animal that can reach up to 44 mph — as well as the colossal whale sharks.
“As we continue the long-term project of working with GHRI researchers at NSU, we learn more and more how important sharks are to preserving healthy ocean ecosystems,” Guy Harvey, a world-renowned artist, conservationist and scientist, said in a statement.
“The Great Shark Race 2021 was a success and brought in much-needed funds to continue our research,” said Harvey, who serves as chairman of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. “We sincerely thank all who supported us during this race. It is an amazing educational opportunity and a critical research initiative.”
In the shortfin mako category, Cuddles, sponsored by Penmanship, was declared the winner after logging 3,207 miles. Close after, Caison, sponsored by Ceterified Contracting Group, Inc., placed second with 3,073 miles traveled, while Fishangler, sponsored by Fishangler App, rounded out the contest with 2,627 miles traveled.
For the whale shark division, AGT-Milo2, sponsored by Advanced Green Technologies, came out victorious, traveling 4,177 miles. Glass Cutter, sponsored by Miller Glass and Glazing, Inc., placed second with 2,761 miles followed by Diablo, sponsored by Crawford Roofing, Inc., with 2,717.64 miles; Contagious Energy, sponsored by the Moss Foundation, with 1,979 miles; and Speed Racer, sponsored by Boatyard Restuarant, with 873 miles.
“Everyone loves a contest, so we thought this could be a great, fun, engaging way to raise public awareness about the dire status of both these endangered shark species and an effective way to attract sponsors to further fund this long-term research,” Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D., director of NSU’s GHRI and Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center, said in a statement.
“The announcement was timed to Shark Week when the spotlight shines brightest on sharks,” he said. “From the work we’ve done, we know that both these species can travel up to 12,000 miles in one year so our goal is to use new data to understand where they go when they go and potentially why they travel to these specific locations.”
The event utilized the latest in ocean wildlife tracking technology to measure race results, applying a fin-mounted satellite tag on each shark to track them in near real-time.
The tags also relayed vital data back to researchers, including the distance each shark covered as they swam around the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean.