The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey Bay, California has just added a juvenile great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) to its million gallon Open Sea Exhibit, the sixth time the aquarium has held a juvenile great white shark in captivity. The four foot seven inch, 43.2 pound shark was captured in a purse seine net off the southern California coast near Malibu, a popular surfing beach. The aquarium is hoping that the white shark will serve as ambassador to its species while housed in its temporary digs before it is released.
The aquarium first successfully kept a juvenile white shark back in August 2004. That shark was caught off Huntington Beach, California by commercial fisherman. This animal started the Project White Shark exhibit at the aquarium. The previous juvenile great white sharks were released fitted with a device that tracked their movements including how far that the sharks dived.
The sharks have stayed at the aquarium for as little as 11 days to more than 200 days. All the sharks are monitored daily and in the event that the shark isn’t doing well, as in the case of shark number 4, a female that was kept for just 11 days due to it only eating once, or in the case where the shark became overly aggressive to other fish in the tank, as is the case with the 5th shark at the exhibit, they are released. All the sharks are just temporary visitors and are eventually released when circumstances in the shark’s behavior warrant their release.