Fin-tastic stuff! Shark swims 17,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean - smashing the previous record almost six-fold

The shark, nicknamed 'Genie' was first spotted near Wolf IslandResearchers tracked its epic voyage, which was spread out across 546 days

Move aside, Michael Phelps – there's a new record-breaking swimmer in town.

A silky shark has broken the world record after swimming a staggering 17,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The shark, nicknamed 'Genie', was first spotted near Wolf Island to the north of the Galapagos Marine Reserve on July 2021.

Researchers from the Charles Darwin Foundation then tracked its epic voyage, which was spread out across 546 days.

'Understanding the migratory pathways of silky and other threatened pelagic sharks is crucial for developing effective management strategies to revert ongoing global population declines,' said Dr Pelayo Salinas de León, lead author of the study.

Move aside, Michael Phelps ¿ there's a new record-breaking swimmer in town. A silky shark has broken the world record after swimming a staggering 17,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

Move aside, Michael Phelps – there's a new record-breaking swimmer in town. A silky shark has broken the world record after swimming a staggering 17,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The shark, nicknamed 'Genie' was first spotted near Wolf Island to the north of the Galapagos Marine Reserve on July 2021. Researchers from the Charles Darwin Foundation then tracked its epic voyage, which was spread out across 546 days

The shark, nicknamed 'Genie' was first spotted near Wolf Island to the north of the Galapagos Marine Reserve on July 2021. Researchers from the Charles Darwin Foundation then tracked its epic voyage, which was spread out across 546 days

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Genie was tagged by scientists before embarking on its journey, which covered more than 17,000 miles (27,666km) over 546 days.

To put that into perspective, that's the equivalent of crossing the US from coast to coast approximately four times!

Its journey included two significant westerly migrations – halfway to Hawaii – extending as far as 2,900 miles (4,755km) from Wolf Island into international waters.

The journey smashes the previous movement record almost six-fold, according to the researchers.

Dr Salinas de León said: 'Sharks have been roaming the world's oceans for hundreds of millions of years and the map boundaries we humans have established on paper mean nothing to them.

Genie was tagged by scientists before embarking on its journey, which covered more than 17,000 miles (27,666km) over 546 days.

Genie was tagged by scientists before embarking on its journey, which covered more than 17,000 miles (27,666km) over 546 days.

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'Their long migrations through heavily fished international waters expose them to significant risks, highlighting the need for a coordinated global response to ensure the survival of this highly threatened group of species.'

Silky sharks are currently classified as 'vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are particularly vulnerable to overfishing thanks to their slow growth and late maturity.

The researchers hope that Genie's journey will highlight the need for international cooperation to protect silky sharks.

'Obtaining shark tracks with good location resolution for over a year is difficult at best,' said Dr Mahmood Shivji, co-author of the study.

'In this case, we were able to track Genie for 1.5 years, revealing unexpectedly consistent, repeated travel pathways of massive distances going far offshore, well beyond national management and current marine protected areas.

'This finding is a call to action for all stakeholders involved in marine conservation and fisheries management to work together to protect these iconic species and the oceanic ecosystems they inhabit.'

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