While it's fishing in every sense of the word, it's imperative that the sharks are released into the sea unharmed and unstressed.
Chris Fischer and marine scientist Dr. Michael Domeier lead a team of researchers off the coast of Baja, California. The crew uses rod-and-reel fishing techniques, modified to accommodate the hefty 4,000-pound great whites, to get the fish into the boat. The process is documented in Expedition Great White, which premiers on Monday, November 16th, at 9:00 pm on the National Geographic Channel. Check out the VIDEO PREVIEW HERE!
Once caught, various tasks and tests are performed on the great whites.
Tuna is the bait primarily used to catch the sharks. It takes all hands on deck to control the shark and, of course, keep it safe and healthy while out of the water.
“We have to subdue the sharks so we can dictate where they go,” Fischer says. “But at the same time, we have to handle them in a gentle way.”
Dr. Domeier was the first scientist ever to draw blood from a mature great white female.
The blood is tested for hormone levels, which provide information about great white mating and birthing habits.
It takes a special kind of scientist–and person–to boldly put your hands so close to a great white’s jaws.
Satellite tags are attached to the dorsal fins. The sharks’ swimming patterns can be tracked for years if the tags stay attached.
“Great white sharks are one of the most rewarding species I have ever worked with,” Domeier says.
A modified forklift is used to transfer the fish back into the ocean.
While it’s fishing in every sense of the word, it’s imperative that the sharks are released into the sea unharmed and unstressed.

Researchers use catch-and-release techniques to study great white sharks.