As top predators of our oceans, little is know about sharks and their migration patterns. The Aquarium, in affiliation with Captain Mark Sampson of Fish Finder Adventures, participates in the National Marine Fisheries Service Cooperative Shark Tagging Program. The program is part of a continuing research were volunteers catch, tag, and release sharks in the Atlantic Ocean! Data from tagging provides information on stock identity, movements and migration, abundance, age and growth,mortality, and behavior.
Each year the Aquarium hosts shark tagging trips for both Members and Non-members of the Aquarium. Last year Captain Mark Sampson and 14 Aquarium members fished for sharks just a mile off the coast of Assateague Island. With the weather on our side several reels were set up with tuna scraps ready for biting! In total over three trips 11 sharks were caught.
Species caught and released included Dusky, Sand Bar and a 175 pound Sand tiger shark! Sharks that met the size requirement of four feet were tagged with a number that corresponds to an index card with the same number. The index card was completed with data including weight, species, sex, and location then filed with the National Marine Fisheries. If a shark is ever re-caught in the future, new data is collected and matched up with the old data, then compared.
Since the program started back in 1962 over 171,000 sharks have been tagged and more than 10,000 have been re-caught. This year’s shark tagging event is THIS WEEKEND. We still have a few spots left so come out and join us! Details are available at aqua.org.