11 December 2008 - A mako shark collected as it died in the Mapua estuary, near Nelson, recently will be dissected at an open viewing this Saturday.
The dissection will be lead by Department of Conservation shark expert, Clinton Duffy, one of the country's leading shark researchers.The huge female shark presents an exciting and sought after research opportunity - only one pregnant female mako has even been recorded in New Zealand waters before.
Clinton will examine the shark's reproductive tract to uncover crucial evidence that will help researchers answer questions about the lifecycle of mako sharks. If the shark is pregnant, DNA samples will be collected from the embryos to investigate the possibility of multiple paternity occurring in this species.
The massive size of the shark - over 3.3m long and weighing in at 460kg - means the shark could be close to being as old as makos get. Vertebrae samples could provide much needed clues to help determine the age of the shark. This can then be used to estimate natural mortality, how many pups a female mako can produce in her life time and allows researchers to better estimate growth rates of large sharks.
Members of the public are welcome to view the dissection. The dissection will take place on the car park area near Mapua Wharf (near Nelson), on Saturday 13 December, rain or shine. The dissection will begin around 12.30pm and is expected to take 2 - 3 hours. There is no charge.