East Coast Shark Populations See Improvement

Cutting the line to release a tagged white shark. Credit: Joe Mello, NEFSC/NOAA.
Cutting the line to release a tagged white shark. Credit: Joe Mello, NEFSC/NOAA.

According to a NOAA Fisheries press release, the agency has completed its 2015 field work in the longest running coastal shark research survey along the East Coast. The field work involved the capture and tagging of more than 2,800 sharks, the most in the survey’s 29-year history.

“We caught fish throughout the survey,” reported Lisa Natanson, a scientist at the Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and leader of the coastal shark survey.

“Sandbar sharks were all along the coast, while most of the dusky sharks were off North Carolina. We captured a bull shark for the first time since 2001, and recaptured 10 sharks previously tagged by our program and 2 sharks tagged by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.”

The survey began in 1986 and is conducted every 2 to 3 years. It covers coastal waters from Florida, where coastal shark species concentrate during the winter and spring, north to Delaware, where many shark species migrate during spring and summer as more northerly waters warm. Following this migratory route, at this time of year, makes it easier to survey the whole population.

Read the whole story, see images, and find out about the research team’s daring rescue off North Carolina.