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New great white shark haunt to be revealed with conservation in mind

July 1, 2009 |  3:13 pm

Check out the white shark video to try to determine the location: (a) Guadalupe Island; (b) South Africa; (c) South Australia; (d) Farallon Islands; or (e) none of the above?

The answer is "e."

It's a newly discovered white shark aggregation site and news of its existence is sure to pique the interest of scientists and documentary teams.

An announcement regarding the site will be made this weekend by Shark Divers, a company that used to be in the commercial cage-diving business but now specializes in working with film and television crews.

For now, its code name is Oceana and Shark Divers CEO Patric Douglas, who labels it the most exciting white shark site discovery since Mexico's Guadalupe Island in 2001, would only confirm that it's a very remote island in the Southern Ocean.

Douglas said a limited number of crews will begin visiting the location early next year and that it remains unclear whether a commercial cage-diving operation will be established.

Cage-diving operations are beneficial in that they allow the general public to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the embattled apex predators. But they can also be harmful to sharks--especially those that accidentally get caught between cage bars--and some charge that chumming habituates the sharks.

Because aggregation sites are so few, they do need to be protected and diving operations need to be regulated. "These sites need to be protected with everything we've got," Douglas said. "Now that the site is known, we've  got to get the public behind it so the local government can say 'Yes, we need to turn this into a special place.' "

--Pete Thomas

Video courtesy of Shark Divers