Racing mako sharks is the latest ingenious idea to come out of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova SouthEastern University, in Nova Scotia (Canada). The race has one simple rule, the shark that travels the furthest in 6 months wins!
Of course that shark doesn’t win anything itself and sadly doesn’t know what a pioneering star he/she has become. But the Guy Harvey Research Institute wins big in that it found a way to fund research into mako sharks, and all it took them was finding an angle to attract investment from companies wanting to take part in this unique race. The lives of the sharks becomes a race with one easy to gauge metric (distance travelled) that is easy to understand and has a visual perspective that is easy to display.
Companies who decide to invest get to own the naming rights of the shark on the Guy Harvey Great Shark Race website. They then can follow the race in near real time. Thousands of people viewing the race will see their name and if they win then they get even more advertising through media but also win a Guy Harvey painting plus a fishing vacation in the Florida Keys for two.
The idea of racing sharks is quite possibly a masterstroke and it would be interesting to see if the idea could grow into something bigger, such as go pro styled camera filming mounted on the shark and other ways to measure the sharks success like weight increase and fish captured. From a viewing perspective it is equally fun to log onto the website and view the paths these mako sharks have taken as well as getting information on their size and gender which could then be used for science projects.
The other added x factor that marks this race apart from just about every other race is that these mako sharks face a very real threat of being captured and in this case we are not talking about being taken hostage. For instance this race is not an anomaly as far as GHRI is concerned as dating back to 2009, out of the 49 sharks they had tagged, 12 were captured. Two of the original starting eleven sadly won’t be finishing the race and as you might have guessed it isn’t because they pulled out due to a flat tire. With a little less than half the race remaining, it will be interesting to see if the remaining “competitors” can cross the finish line.