Greg Skomal, a shark researcher with the Massachusetts Division of Marine and Fishery, was with a crew from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy Monday afternoon off Chatham, Massachusettes, when a shark he was filming decided to chomp down on his GoPro camera.
"I had the camera on a pole in the water and the shark was swimming and I’m thinking, 'I’ll get a great view of the face of the shark and that will help us identify it.' It kept coming and then opened its mouth and bit it," Skomal said.
It was a four-second tug of war he was hoping not to lose. Skomal said he’s put a camera in front of hundreds of sharks but never has a shark bitten the camera.
Skomal believes the 11-foot female shark was taking an exploratory bite, meaning it was just trying to figure out what the camera was. Had it been a predatory action, Skomal said she would have destroyed the camera.
"This is new behavior for us," said Skomal. "I hope we know this shark. I’d like to know what the behavior of this particular animal is."
Skomal added that this shark was not one of the 110 sharks in the area that were already tagged by his team for research. So scientists will now review the video to look at her markings and determine if she’s brand new to the area or if she is one of the 300 sharks his team has named and keeps records of.