As enormous as the great hammerhead shark may be, many of its behaviors have remained elusive to researchers for years. But recently, scientists have found a hammerhead shark nursery for the first time ever that may lead to a clearer understanding of the species.
Great hammerhead sharks swim in oceans all over the world, from Australia to Africa’s west coast. However, the places where they mate and give birth to their young have always been a mystery that seemingly couldn’t be solved until now.
Researchers believe they have finally located a hammerhead shark nursery in Florida. Great hammerheads often frequent Florida’s water, but there had been no evidence that they were breeding in the area.
Surprisingly, the newly discovered shark nursery is in Biscayne Bay, one of the busiest and most populated spots along the state’s southeast coast.
Biscayne Bay has heavy fishing traffic, and hammerhead sharks tend to be common targets.
In 2018, the director of the University of Miami’s Shark Research and Conservation Program, Catherine Macdonald, and her team unexpectedly caught a baby hammerhead shark while surveying other shark species in the region.
At first, they thought it was a fluke, but over time, they continued catching great hammerheads.
Great hammerheads give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. For the first year of their lives, the baby sharks swim in shallow waters, feeding on small fish. As more young sharks were seen year after year, Macdonald concluded that Biscayne Bay was possibly a great hammerhead shark nursery.
Biscayne Bay is already the site of a national park that is focused on the conservation of coral reefs and islands, but now, scientists are pushing for even more protective measures in the area.