Shark catchers share their story with New Bedford students

Shark catchers told their tales Monday night to school children in New Bedford.{}

Crew members from OCEARCH -- the great white shark taggers NBC 10 has reported on for nearly a year -- talked about their work before leaving on their next mission off Cape Cod this week.

"We leave right here to go on the most ambitious white shark expedition in American history, and we really don't know what's going to happen," OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer said.

The kids in attendance ate up the presentation.

"I thought it was awesome," said Rachel Perry of New Bedford.

She, and most of the students at the event, are the students at Sea Lab, a marine science program run through the New Bedford Public Schools.

"Sea Lab has just attracted me to the ocean and marine biology and everything in the ocean," Perry said.

"Usually, one of the questions we ask is, 'If you could be any marine animal, what would it be?'{} And most of the students answer a shark. So, I think it was very exciting for them to actually be able to meet the people who actually have expeditions," Sea Lab facilitator Simone Bourgeois said.

The crew at OCEARCH, with their online shark tracker, often talk about the educational value of what they do.

"It's important to get out here to the kids to help them understand what's going on, that modern day exploration is alive and well right off their beaches, that we're doing it for them, so they have a robust future for their ocean," Fischer said.

The OCEARCH team tagged two great whites off Chatham last year.{} They hope to tag 20 over the next month.