The recent footage of a great white shark spotted near St. Andrews surprised many in the province, but it has also sparked a new interest in the predators.
The video of a great white shark prowling the waters off St. Andrews in the Bay of Fundy may be unusual, but sharks are no strangers to the region.
Nicole Leavitt, a marine biologist with St. Andrews Sport Fishing, said she sees and films other sharks all summer long.
A recent video taken by her family business shows a 200-kilogram, three-metre long porbeagle shark.
The porbeagle shark is often mistaken for the great white shark because of its similar body profile.
St. Andrews Sport Fishing combines tourism with shark research.
Tourists do much of the manual labour, usually struggling for close to two hours with the sharks to get them close enough to the boat, so the researchers can tag and then release the sharks.
Leavitt said she hopes this research will give scientists a better understanding of what sharks are doing in the Bay of Fundy.
“We really don't have a single clue what's going on with the shark populations in the Bay of Fundy,” she said.
Leavitt has been working with scientists at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John for the last three years on this shark research.
The recent spike in interest among tourists is helping to fund the research.
“The fact that there is more awareness about sharks in the Bay of Fundy, and the fact that there needs to be more conservation of our sharks in our area, is fantastic,” she said.
The tours will continue into the fall. The hope is the data will help biologists learn more about a vulnerable species over the coming years.
Leavitt said if she spotted another great white shark off the coast of St. Andrews, she’d definitely try to catch and tag the shark.