Massive tiger shark ‘biggest ever tagged on East Coast’


Bryan Frazier tags Chessie. Photo: Chip Michalove

Researchers off Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, have tagged "the biggest tiger shark ever tagged by anybody on the East Coast,” according to Capt. Chip Michalove, whose vessel Outcast was used during the recent capture.

The 1,200-pound shark, nearly twice as large as the average tiger shark spotted in the area, measures 12 feet, 2 inches, and is nicknamed "Chessie" after the Chechessee River, which empties into Port Royal Sound.

The capture was made close to shore, near the river mouth.

"Her head is as big as a great white's head," Michalove told the State, explaining that the shark was landed after a 2-hour battle, and tagged with the help of Bryan Frazier of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Michalove stated on Facebook:

"Took the biologists out and hooked into this 1200lb behemoth. We put two tracking devices on her, took blood, DNA, and shoved her off. She’s already pinging like a maniac about 4 miles off HH and can now be seen on the free Ocearch shark tracker App."

Chessie joins dozens of sharks around the world that have been tagged by the non-profit group OCEARCH, in the hope of learning more about their movements and habits.

Tiger sharks, which can measure to about 14 feet, are found in tropical and temperate waters and generally prefer murky coastal areas, such as those where runoff occurs.

They're second to great white sharks in the number of reported attacks on humans, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. But most attacks by tiger sharks, as with white sharks, are believed to have been cases where humans were mistaken for prey.

Said Michalove: "We've never had a tiger shark attack in the Carolinas and as close as they are, that shows we're not on the menu.”

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