Biologists tracking tiger sharks off of Port Royal Sound - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Biologists tracking tiger sharks off of Port Royal Sound

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PORT ROYAL, SC (WTOC) -

People have been tracking the movement of five tiger sharks that have been tagged off the Port Royal Sound on an online website.

Many people have long believed the Port Royal Sound is home to the largest concentration of tiger sharks on the East Coast.

The tiger shark study is a joint initiative between Dept. of Natural Resources builogists and a nonprofit research organization called OCEARCH.

One charterboat captain who has been taking the research teams out on the water said in the last month they've discovered more information about the habits of tiger sharks than the last 100 years.

It's still a big mystery as to what keeps bringing the tiger sharks back to the Port Royal Sound.

Each of the five tiger sharks measure between 11 to 13 feet long and weighs at least 650 pounds.

Every time the sharks come to the surface, it sends a satellite ping to the OCEARCH Tiger Shark tracking page, which viewers can see.

These sharks are swimming close, but some people don't seem to be bothered by them.

It's fascinating what scientists are learning about these creatures in terms of their breeding, feeding and traveling habits.

He said the five sharks they've tagged are traveling long distances but they seem to stay relatively close to the Georgia/South Carolina waters.

These tiger sharks vary in size and shape, and ultrasound tests showed one of them is even pregnant. 

Through the OCEARCH Shark Tracker, scientists learned that the first shark swam eight miles upriver all the way to I-95 in Brunswick!

Despite that, some people I talked to today say they're not afraid, even if they did get that close to shore.

"I think it's nice that they're doing the study just because it's interesting, but not concerned about it for the most part," said Beaufort native Alan Basnet. "Bigger fish in the sea or smaller fish besides us, they're easier prey than we are, so I'm not worried about anything attacking."

"We see a lot of dolphins around here, but I haven't seen any sharks," said Beaufort native Georgette Giles. "I haven't heard of anyone seeing any, but we're not scared. I mean, we've been coming here our whole lives and we've never had anything happen, so it's not really a concern."

"If I was scared of them, I wouldn't be able to see all the dolphins and I wouldn't be enjoying the water," said visitor Kenley Evans.

It's important to add that tiger sharks generally do prefer the deeper parts of the Port Royal Sound, not the muddy shallow waters.

DNR and OCEARCH still have about five more tiger sharks to tag for this study. 

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