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Rare Find: First Known Birthing Site of Great White Sharks Discovered Off Long Island

Aug 26, 2016 05:04 AM EDT

A team of fishermen and scientists from Ocearch, an ocean research organization, have discovered a nursery and possible birthing site of great white sharks in the waters off Montauk, Long Island on the North Atlantic Coast. The discovery, dubbed as one of the "most significant discovery ever made on the ocean" was made after 26 expeditions aimed at saving the ocean.

"When we started this work... back in 2012, 2013, the real question was where are these sharks in the North Atlantic giving birth? Because that's where they're most vulnerable," Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch and leader of the expedition, told CBS News.

During their discovery of the North Atlantic nursery, the researchers were able to capture nine white shark pups. The researchers applied a tag and took blood sample and muscle biopsy in each pup before releasing them back in the water. The whole process only took less than 15 minutes.

The researchers also made sure that every shark they tagged is in great shape before releasing them back in the ocean. They also rejected several accusations that their research may be hurting the young sharks.

"While I'm getting blood, the acoustic tag is being put in place, and someone else is collecting parasites on the animal," said Harley Newton, of the New York Aquarium, in a report from ABC 7 New York. "Someone else is also measuring the animal."

By applying tag to the pups, the researchers will be able to track them down and gather data for 10 years. The trackers worn by the pups will only activate when their dorsal fins are above the surface.

Shark enthusiasts can also track down the last location pinged by the their tracker in the Ocearch website. Five of the pups that were tagged last transmitted their locations off the coast of Long Island. Researchers expect them to stay in the area until they reach the age of 20, which is considered to be the age of shark's adulthood.

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