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Greenlit: Shark Wranglers, History

Shark Wranglers – World-class fishermen and ocean explorers risk life and limb doing a job no one else on the planet has even attempted – conducting hands on research of massive Great White Sharks in a dangerous, high stakes attempt to save them from oblivion. Pre-eminent ocean explorer and elite fisherman Chris Fischer is on a quest to decode the secrets of the deadliest creatures in the ocean as he chronicles the most ambitious shark expedition in history. The crew must track down the world’s most deadly – yet threatened – sharks, maneuver them onto the cradle of their 126-foot boat in rolling waters, and tag each one – by hand. Their goal is 50 sharks in 40 days – a near impossible mission that will test the team’s resolve as they battle through every conceivable setback.

The setting for the expedition is South Africa, home to giant great whites. Fischer and his elite team are the only people in the world who tag sharks this way. Once they hook a shark, they maneuver it onto a watery platform next to the ship, then risk life and limb jumping into the water with the shark and raising the cradle so the shark can be tagged and studied. This hands-on approach allows them to attach transmitters that deliver data for years instead of months. The various studies include one that could help develop antibiotics for shark bites, potentially decreasing the fatality rates from secondary infection. The process puts Fischer and his crew in danger, as they must steer clear of the shark in its own domain, while working quickly to protect the shark itself.

The information Fischer collects will help solve the worldwide puzzle of where Great White Sharks and other large sharks gather en masse at various times of the year. This data could allay the fears of nervous swimmers by telling them when Great White Sharks are cruising off their local beach, but it will also protect sharks from shark-finners who kill up to tens of millions of sharks of all species every year. If this trend continues, Great White Sharks and other species could soon be gone, causing complete havoc to the ocean’s food chain. Fischer wants to find out where sharks spend their time so those areas can be protected from finners.

Channel: History Channel

Producer: Fischer Productions / Undertow Films

TX: 1st July 2012

Source: History Channel press release (via TV by the Numbers)

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