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Record Number of Great White Sharks Tagged
A great white shark swims off the California coast. The state may enact a ban on the possession of shark fins.
Credit: NOAA.

A record number of great white sharks have been fitted with satellite tracking tags near New Zealand.

Scientists outfitted 27 sharks in waters near Stewart Island, located off the southern coast of New Zealand's largest island, with tags that will allow researchers to find out where the sharks go and when, the New Zealand Herald reported.

"Several great white sharks tagged with popup tags in previous years have returned to Stewart Island, indicating that some sharks return to their tagging location after their tropical holidays," principle scientist Malcolm Francis told the Herald.

The scientists used a type of tag that didn't require taking the sharks out of the water a sometimes controversial practice , but one required to attach the type of tags that gather the most comprehensive data but used tags that are attached with the help of a long, spear-like pole.

Researchers from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Department of Conservation and University of Auckland tagged the sharks over the course of a three-week expedition in April.

Great white sharks live in oceans around the world, yet their breeding habits and life history remain mysterious.

Recent studies of great white sharks in waters near California suggest the sharks aren't as numerous as researchers thought.

Worldwide, shark populations have declined steeply in recent years, many fallen victim to overfishing for their valuable fins . Shark fins fetch high prices as a prized ingredient in shark fin soup.