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Researchers Prepare For Ambitious Shark Tagging Mission Off Cape Cod

BOSTON (CBS) - Shark researchers have great white ambitions as they set off to hunt the mysterious animals in the waters off Cape Cod for the month of August.

Tuesday, the OCEARCH research vessel left Woods Hole with a crew of shark fishermen and scientists on board, including one from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Last year, they tagged two sharks. this time, they have enough equipment to tag 20 great white sharks, and special permission from the state to work closer to shore.

Expedition leader Chris Fischer says there's no need to chum the water, since there are an estimated 15,000 seals on Monomoy Island off Chatham. "We're going to snuggle up right in on the beach on the seals that are already there, already creating a natural chum slick," he says.

Their goal is to bring the animals up onto a platform for no more than 15 minutes at a time. That's long enough to attach tracking tags and take blood samples. This time they even plan to perform ultrasounds on females, "to determine a) if they're pregnant and b) at what stage are they pregnant," explains state marine biologist Greg Skomal. "It also gives us more information relative to patterns of behavior that are important for beach managers to consider," he says.

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