hurray! still no sharks, but…


Thursday, June 2nd
Jimmy, our tagger, has left without tagging one single shark, nor having collected any DNA sample. He did his best, and more: he spent long hours in the sea, trying to get close to a shark. We often left him alone, to minimize the disturbance in the water and maximize his chances of tagging at least one shark. But to no avail: it is not enought to see a shark in order to tag it – it really has to come, quite literally, within his reach – or that of his gun.
Why the sharks have deserted the bay is still a mystery, but it’s a fact. It happens: we are dealing with wild animals, not with machines; and the sea has no cages or borders, it is not a zoo: animals come and go as they please, following rules we have not yet disclosed. After all it is precisely for its unpredictability that we love the sea…
The reason behind this very philosophic attitude is that we have made an incredible new discovery. We have collected photos and information on the catputre of two “big-eye” thresher shark, an extremely rare species in the Mediterranean. This species – which is obviously quite well recognizable by its two giant eyes – has only been seen a handful of times in our sea. The first sighting dates back to 1981; since then only 5 other animals have been reported, and only in the Sicilian Channel and in Sardinia.
I have a particular interest in this sharks, as a few years ago I’ve been fortunate enough to see some pictures taken by Egidio Trainito and Mario Romor of a 4-metre shark beached on the island of Tavolara, Sardinia. Within the “Mediterranean Observatory” project ( But it was not all: it was a pregnant female and it was bearing two embrios and 5-6 eggs. And imagine the surprise as a mortal wound was found on the shark’s head, where a 15cm-piece of the sword of a swordfish was stuck! I collected these photos and delivered to the researchers at Icram, Italy’s Marine Research Insitute. It turned out it was a “big-eye”, specimen n.6 in the mediterranean.
Back to us. Our new Turkish friends told us about a large shark caught a few months back. Given our interest in “everything shark” in the area, they offered to show us the tail of the animal. Now, it’s very difficult to tell shark species apart just by looking at a tail… unless you are facing the extremely long tail of the thresher shark, almost as long as its owner’s body. Ever since the Tavolara episode, every time I hear about the capture of a threseher I immediately ask wether it had normal or very large eyes. The answer has always been the same: normal. Until now! We now also have a photo, taken right after landing, to prove beyond doubt it was a big-eye (and a little piece in its tail that sets it apart from the other two species of threshers)



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