Grim the great white shark is back from Fiji

20:27, Mar 21 2011
GOT YOU: Grim is hooked while a spot tag is attached to his dorsel fin. He has since swum to Fiji and back.
GOT YOU: Grim is hooked while a spot tag is attached to his dorsel fin. He has since swum to Fiji and back.

After holidaying in a tropical Fijian lagoon, a well-known Stewart Island resident has returned.

Grim, a 2.8-metre great white shark, became the first of his kind in New Zealand to be fitted with a spot tag last March off the coast of Stewart Island.

Since then a team of Conservation Department and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientists have been following his journey.

GOT YOU: Grim is hooked while a spot tag is attached to his dorsel fin. He has since swum to Fiji and back.
GOT YOU: Grim is hooked while a spot tag is attached to his dorsel fin. He has since swum to Fiji and back.

After leaving Stewart Island in May, he made his way up the east coast of the South Island before lingering about Bay of Plenty.

He then decided to spend time at the Ranfurly Bank off East Cape before heading up through the Kermadec Islands to Fiji.

DOC marine biologist Clinton Duffy said Grim first appeared inside a lagoon near the Plantation Island resort and spent most of his time in the channel between the two main islands. He then began his trip back to New Zealand, but readings began to slow as the spot tag battery weakened.

Advertisement

In early January he was back at Stewart Island and was photographed last month by a cage diving operator.

Mr Duffy said both Grim and the tag were looking in good condition, even after their huge journey. "He was a pretty beefy guy to start with and he hasn't lost any weight despite all that swimming."

The information had provided a leap forward in great white shark migratory pattern research, with scientists now able to prove the previously assumed link between Stewart Island and Ranfurly Bank as feeding areas.

Mr Duffy has just arrived at Stewart Island with his team for this year's three-week expedition.

Since they started working on the island in 2007, 46 individual sharks have been identified. This year the main focus will be the installation of acoustic array moorings and fitting sharks with acoustic tags.

The 25 moorings will be installed in areas sharks are known to frequent and will record every time they pass within 500 metres.

The equipment will help scientists learn more about the movements of great whites, including how often and for how long they visit certain locations.

The Dominion Post