Shark Wranglers, Death Halts OCEARCH Mission

A shark attack that killed a body boarder threatened the expedition during the latest episode of Shark Wranglers. The So. African government pulled the OCEARCH permits.

The History Channel’s adventure series Shark Wranglers delved into political intrigue and what false information was spread about the mission/

After a 19 year-old man was killed by a Great White, fingers pointed to the OCEARCH despite the ship being more than 130 miles away from the site of the attack.

Gossip about how the crew over-chummed the waters, causing sharks to attack humans put the entire research project in jeopardy of being shutdown for good.

Getting correct data out into the online community and local So. African media was a tough job, even with the help of a government official on board.

Two environmental agency employees that lived with the crew fpr more than 100 days of the mission did their best to assure the public and their superiors that the chum put into the water each day did not exceed the 50 lb. per day limit.

Exaggerated reports of the crew using 50 tons of chum circulated and expedition leader Chris Fischer along with chief scientist Ryan Johnson were worried.

After weeks of being unable to work, Fischer and Johnson were called to a meeting with the So. African Dept. of Environmental Affairs & Tourism. The crew’s permits were reinstated.

Fischer’s concern was that if the mission was called off, despite evidence that the OCEARCH was in no way culpable or involved, it would be difficult at best for any other country to grant them permission to perform their research.

“The So. African shark academic community has dedicated six months of their lives, developing the protocols on this research program.

To have it suspended for a reason we play no role in is heartbreaking ,” scientist Johnson told the panel.

“This is the largest white shark research project in history. At the end of this project, So. Africa is going to be the world’s leader in understanding the lives of Great White sharks and having the ability to protect the public and the sharks’ futures,” added Chris Fischer.

With renewed permits in hand, the men got back to the ship, thanked the crew for withstanding the long delay and uncertainty and immediately caught three sharks to tag and release on the same day.

To celebrate, they played OCEARCH Frisbee.

Capt. Brett McBride flung the Frisbee into the air from the deck of the OCEARCH as a small speed boat with crew members took off to catch it. Laughs and applause all around lifted everyone’s mood.

It was time to get busy and the men wrangled the largest shark yet. If you missed any of the action, full episodes of Shark Wranglers are available at the History Channel website, here.

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Written By James Huliq