“Jaws” in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium dies after three days in captivity

A 3.5-meter long male great white shark was exhibited at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu on January 6.


January 7 and 8, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

A great white shark has been exhibited in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Great white sharks account for the largest number of shark attacks against humans and also appeared in the American film “Jaws”.

The shark was a male about 3.5-meter long and was caught in a fixed fishing net set by the Yomitan Fisheries Cooperative Association on January 4. It was brought to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium on January 5. According to the aquarium, there are several cases of captive juvenile great white sharks but this was the first time in the world to keep an adult in an aquarium. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium was the only facility in the world to have a great white shark at this time.

Masanori Nonaka, a team leader at the Aquarium said, “Keeping records for the shark are limited throughout the world so biological detail is not known. We wish to obtain important records by looking after the shark.”

A great white shark had been kept in captivity in Monterey Bay Aquarium, the United States, for a few months, and in Shimane Aquarium, Japan for only four days. These sharks were a little over one-meter long. A great white shark is very difficult to transport and keep in captivity because it needs to keep moving in the sea to survive.

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)

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Death of the shark under investigation

According to the aquarium, the great white shark died on the morning of January 8. It was for three days that the shark survived in captivity at the aquarium. The shark was in a stable condition enough to swim on January 8. But, during the morning of January 8, the animal’s condition worsened abruptly. It was unable to swim and was lying on the floor of the tank. Staff and a veterinarian moved the shark into another tank for treatment, but the rescue efforts could not save it. At 9:32 a.m. on January 8, the death of the shark was confirmed. The aquarium is investigating the cause of the death.

“It’s very regrettable,” a public affairs spokesperson at the aquarium said. “Many people visited to see the great white shark. We would like to collect data from the body, which will help keeping great white sharks in the future.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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A 3.5-meter long male great white shark was exhibited at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu on January 6.

A 3.5-meter long male great white shark was exhibited at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu on January 6.

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