St. Mary’s School shark being tracked

MARTINS FERRY – Students at St. Mary’s School in Martins Ferry can keep up with their marine education in the summer months by tracking a shark named in their honor.

A young Mako shark was recently caught and satellite tagged by the Guy Harvey Research Institute off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The male shark was named St. Mary’s to honor the school.

St. Mary’s was the first non-Florida school to implement Dr. Guy Harvey’s Shark Education programming in science classes this past year, at the suggestion of Harvey’s publicist John Bell, a Martins Ferry native. The innovative program teaches students about migration patterns of sharks, along with threats to various species and their role in the marine ecosystem. St. Mary’s was supplied with posters, documentaries and an educational Skype session with a professor from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Seventh, eighth and fourth graders studied Shark Education at St. Mary’s. Science teacher Paul Steckler previously said the school would likely repeat the program in the 2014-2015 school year with at least one class.

Mako sharks (isurus oxyrinchus) are found worldwide in varying temperatures and depths of the ocean. They’re generally rather small, but will aggressively attack if they feel threatened. Makos are the fastest sharks in the world, reaching top speeds of 60 miles per hour while hunting or migrating. They are also adaptable and can survive in most environments due to their broad appetites; they’re not picky about what fish they eat. Mako sharks are in a vulnerable state currently, as they have been hunted for sport in high volumes.

After being tagged, the St. Mary’s shark was released back into the ocean. To view the shark’s journey, go to Under Mako sharks, click W. North Atlantic. St. Mary’s first transmission was sent May 17, with the latest on June 5.

Warner may be reached at