Site gives public ability to track sharks around Maui

For the first time, the public will be able to track the movement of tiger sharks tagged in waters around Maui by checking a Web page launched today.

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System Web page,, allows public access to tracking of tiger sharks that have been tagged in Maui waters, an announcement said. While the tracking system does not provide real-time monitoring and is not to be used as a warning system, it does allow the public to track a tagged tiger shark’s movements over time.

A research team commissioned by the University of Hawaii visited the Valley Isle last month and reportedly caught, tagged and released 15 tiger sharks in waters off Maui’s south shore. Eight of the sharks were equipped with dorsal-fin mounted satellite transmitters that intermittently track the shark’s location over time when its dorsal fin breaches the surface of the water, according to the announcement.

The Web page also will include sharks tagged in the future as the study progresses.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources launched the $186,000 study in August, after

an unprecedented spike in shark attacks around Maui this summer. One attack led to the death of 20-year-old German tourist Jana Lutteropp.

DLNR plans to use the results of the study to guide future decisions regarding management of shark populations in Hawaii, state officials said.

The shark research team, led by Carl Meyer and Kim Holland, plans to return to Maui and tag more tiger sharks, possibly later this month depending on the weather, Meyer said.

“We watch for multiday windows of very light winds, as calm conditions are needed for precision attachment of our tracking devices,” Meyer said in an email.

Six of the 11 shark incidents logged this year by the DLNR-sponsored website Hawaii Sharks occurred around Maui. Hawaii island reported three incidents; Oahu and Kauai reported one each.

* Eileen Chao can be reached at