All attempts to keep a great white shark in captivity prior to August 1981 lasted 11 days or less. However, that month a great white broke previous records by lasting 16 days in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego before being released into the wild.

In 1984, shortly before opening day, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California housed its first great white, which died after 10 days. In July 2003, Monterey researchers captured a small female and kept it in a large, netted pen off Malibu for five days, where they had the rare success of getting the shark to feed in captivity before it was released. It was not until September 2004 that the aquarium was the first to place a great white on long-term exhibit. The young female, who was caught off the coast of Ventura, was kept in the aquarium's massive 1 million-gallon (3,800,000 litres) Outer Bay exhibit for 198 days before her successful release back to the wild in March 2005. She was tracked for 30 days after her early morning release. On the evening of August 31, 2006 the aquarium introduced a second shark to the Outer Bay exhibit. The juvenile male, caught outside Santa Monica Bay on August 17, had its first official meal in captivity (a large salmon steak) on September 8, 2006 and as of that date, the shark was estimated to be 1.72 metres (5 ft 8 in) and to weigh approximately 47 kilograms (104 lb). He was released on January 16, 2007 after 137 days in captivity.

A Great White Shark on display in an aquarium in Monterey California

On display at the Monterey California Aquarium

Probably the most famous great white to be kept in captivity was a female named "Sandy", which in August 1980 became the first and only great white to be housed at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco, California. She was returned to the wild because she would not eat anything given to her and constantly bumped against the walls.


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