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Brazil hosts OCEARCH Shark Expedition

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PARK CITY, Utah, July 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OCEARCH is bringing its unique research vessel to Brazilian waters to study great sharks with Brazil's top shark scientists, along with a team of collaborative researchers and crew aboard the M/V, OCEARCH's laboratory ship with a length of 126 feet (37 meters), to find answers to questions surrounding the unusually high rate of fatal shark attacks in the area of Recife and other coastal regions of Brazil. The expedition is scheduled to take place July 21 through August 14, 2014 and is funded in large part by Caterpillar Inc. as part of a multi-year partnership to impact ocean sustainability.

More than a dozen scientists will participate from 5 institutions, including Dr. Fabio Hazin, well known in the international shark research community for his work with tiger sharks and other species. "Leveraging OCEARCH's unique capacity for working with large apex predators will enable a far better understanding of Tiger shark movement and migration, in addition to identifying critical habitat areas, which are of the utmost importance for the implementation of conservation plans worldwide," explained Hazin.

The resulting data from the expedition will enhance conservation planning and fisheries management in the South Atlantic, where there is a lack of studies utilizing the advanced combined technologies for which OCEARCH is known. The lack of such studies has led to a general lack of knowledge of the biological and ecological parameters related to Tiger sharks, who have moved in recent decades into coastal areas. This has led to an unusually high annual rate of fatal attacks, particularly in the 20 kilometer stretch of coastal area known as the Metropolitan Region of Recife.

The research expedition, led by OCEARCH Founder and exploration leader Chris Fischer, is the first of its kind in Brazilian waters. "I am honored for our organization to deliver the data to Brazilian scientists and public safety officials that will help solve problems all too common in areas of the world where beach and ocean users are coexisting with a threatened species capable of impacting public safety," said Fischer.

The study of the life history and behavioral ecology of potentially aggressive species is critical to better determine the framework for the biological component in the measures for mitigating the attack rate. In addition, this information is valuable for several other applications, namely the management and conservation of fisheries resources and marine ecosystems, and also for the socioeconomic development of coastal regions.

The OCEARCH laboratory ship is driven by three Cat® engines and powered by two Cat generator sets. "The 3412 propulsion engines along C6.6 and C4.4 generator sets move the shop at sea, as well as its hydraulic elevator and research platform, providing to the team the necessary strength to deal with great sharks", explains Gustavo Sepúlveda, director of Power Systems for Sotreq, an exclusive dealer of the Cat® brand for the region. Sotreq is responsible for technical support for the OCEARCH ship while the vessel is in Brazilian waters. The partnership between Caterpillar and its dealers across the world has been vital for the OCEARCH global expeditions for the conservation of the species, public safety and the economic strength of communities such as those in the coastal regions of north Brazil. Sotreq, through the Sotreq Social Institute, also mobilizes local layers in Recife, Aracajú and Natal for activities such as presentations at schools, visits to the ship, and a site for exchanging knowledge with the expedition team. "Our commitment towards sustainability drives us to contribute our technologies and solutions for the preservation of the planet", said Suely Agostinho, director of Governmental and Corporate Affairs for Caterpillar Brasil.

The organization

Having previously tagged over 100 sharks in multiple areas of the world including South Africa, the Galapagos Islands and the East coast of the U.S., OCEARCH's mission is to enable local scientists to perform crucial fieldwork needed to increase the body of knowledge. Once the captured sharks receive an electronic tag, the Brazilian expedition specifically enables scientists and the general public to track the movements of these predators for up to 10 years.

The general public is currently following tagged animals in near real time on the Global Shark Tracker, powered by Cat. The Global Shark Tracker site is the only one of its kind in the world serving the public, researchers, public safety officials, teachers and students. It also functions as the backbone for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational curriculum. The free STEM education tool, launched in the fall of 2013, is being developed by Landry's Inc. and hosted at OCEARCH.org. The results of future expeditions will be integrated into the Tracker and used in the development of further educational material within the STEM curriculum.

OCEARCH brings together professional mariners, world-class scientists, and socially responsible companies, like Caterpillar, to enable pioneer collected data to be shared on the Global Shark Tracker with the world for free - enabling students and the public to gain access to information that was previously only available to researchers.

About OCEARCH



OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented ocean-based research on apex predators such as Great White Sharks, supporting leading researchers and institutions seeking to attain groundbreaking data on the movement, biology and health of sharks to protect their future while enhancing public safety. The researchers OCEARCH supports work aboard the M/V OCEARCH, a 126' Cat-powered vessel equipped with a 75,000 lb. hydraulic research platform, where the ship serves as both mothership and at-sea laboratory.

About Caterpillar

For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making substantial progress possible and driving positive chance on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2013 sales and revenues of %55.656 billion, Caterpillar is the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three segments - Resource Industries, Construction Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.

About Caterpillar Brazil

Caterpillar Brazil is celebrating 60 years of market leadership in the industries it serves. The national product line includes 40 different machine models, including hydraulic excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders, motor graders, backhoe loaders and compactors, manufactured in the factories of Piracicaba (SP) and Campo Largo (PR). Caterpillar Brazil also manufactures generator sets in the range from 32 to 9,000 kVA, as well as special tools and accessories for its equipment. The company is the main Brazilian exporter in its industry and the 25th in the overall country rank. The company has 5,800 employees and is known for the quality of its products, socially responsible initiatives and respect for the environment, as well as for being the only Brazilian company for seven years among the top five Best Places to Work For, a ranking prepared by the Great Place to Work Institute. You can find more information at the addresses: www.caterpillar.com.br and www.cat.com

About Sotreq

Exclusive dealer of Cat® brand machines, equipment and services, Sotreq serves the Southeast, Center-West and Northeast regions. The company is active in industries such as light and heavy construction, mining, energy, oil and sea. Sotreq's corporate group also includes the companies Somov (material transportation), Soimpex (foreign trade), Sitech (technology and monitoring), and MDPower (master distributor of Perkins).

About the Sotreq Social Institute

The Sotreq Social Institute (ISSO) is a nonprofit association created in 2005 by the Sotreq Group. The Institute aims to contribute towards integration with the job market, through professional training and updating, developing actions for the preservation of the environment and social assistance, in the national territory.

A photo accompanying this release is available at:
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=26804

CONTACT: OCEARCH - Fernanda Ubatuba | UT/EUA 1 (435) 645.6990 | press@OCEARCH.org Caterpillar Brasil - Department of Corporate Affairs: Renato Sanchez (19) 2106.1082- 2106.2450 | rsanchez@cat.comSource: Ocearch