Project White Shark — Shark Fin-gerprints
Sal: There! There! There! Fin! Fin! Fin! Sal: Nice! ID? You got the ID?
Scot: Yeah Sal: Each shark fin is like a fingerprint. It has a unique series of notches and ridges
along the trailing edge that allows us to distinguish one shark from the other. Scot: They’re a visual predator. When they actually see a seal it’s a visual attack, so we’ve set up
this situation where you have a decoy that looks like a seal, and we float that on the water surface. When the shark sees it and comes up to it, we pull it away from him so it doesn’t bite it if we can avoid that And then we can try and get still
photographs as it’s coming in. And then underwater video of it next to the boat. Sal: There it is–it’s him again! Oh come on–no,no, no!
You missed it! Scot: (Laughs) There we go–alright. I got the fin now! Sal: Some of the fins are more unique than others. Some have big sections missing, or have distinctive notches. Middle Notch, who we saw the other day is one that you can immediately identify. Sickle-Fin we saw yesterday eating an elephant seal. And they earn
their name usually by some unique pattern on their fin. Middle Notch, Flat Top, Leno. We’ve been able to show that the fins
remain unchanged over decades. So if you get a good ID of a shark, you’ll be
able to re-identify that shark 5, 10, 15, 20 years later. So that’s the first thing
that we do when a shark comes to the boat, is really try and get a picture of the fin. Scot: It might sound easy to do, but it’s not. The shark is unpredictable to a certain extent.
There’s always something that could go wrong. Sal: When they [decoy camera] get eaten and swallowed! Scot: Oh! Woo! You see that? Sal: Yeah, ha, I saw the end of it!