JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Work is underway in Mayport where new docks will be built for the OCEARCH research vessel and other ships. Crews started pulling docks out of the water last week.
Jacksonville University formed a partnership with OCEARCH roughly two years ago.
Dr. Quintin White, the executive director of the University's Marine Science Research Institute, said the new docks and nearby land will be used for OCEARCH offices and living spaces, along with educational outreach and other programs.
"Part of the idea behind this building is we'll eventually turn it into a display center," White explained, referencing one of the existing buildings. "Whether we do something more involved initially or leave it as more of a pavilion, we are looking at the details.”
OCEARCH is a professional shark research group. According to its website, they’ve tagged more than 400 animals to date. White said Mayport is an ideal location for their research.
“It’s right at the ocean. If you’re downtown, you’re 18 to 20 miles away, so here, we sit right at the ocean. We can do day trips, we can do short term expeditions, if you have a weather window in the wintertime, you can go for two or three days,” explained White.
The project is expected to take roughly two to three years to complete. At this time, there is no estimate on the cost.