Data from shark tagging programs, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP), provides valuable information regarding fish movements & migration habits. Shark tagging provides information on stock identity, movements and migration, abundance, age and growth, mortality, and behaviour.
Many shark species have wide ranging distributions, even traversing entire oceans, and as such data collected by anglers using rod and reel (which accomplishes the majority of the tagging for all species combined!) is vital to maintaining scientific understanding of all aspects of shark behaviour and life histories.
Common off the British Isles are species such as the Blue shark (Prionace glauca) and Thresher shark (Alopias vulpine), weighing in at up to around 400lb & 1000lb respectively. However, these are just two species among many that inhabit UK waters – all of which marine biologists require consistent, up to date information on, for example to identify conservation status and stocks of threatened species. Other species around the UK include Dogfish, Mako and Porbeagle sharks, and even the distinctive Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) and majestic Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus).
Boats such as the Out The Blue, owned by skipper Terry Morris of Jurassic Charters, are highly valued by marine biologists as a vital resource for recording information on sharks in UK waters. Without recreational anglers taking an interest in conservation and protection of sharks, tagging programs would not be able to collect sufficient data for rational resource management of sharks, and we will inevitably see an even steeper decline in an already severely depleted class of animals.
BSc Marine Biology
Tuesday 21st May 2013
NOAA, 2011, NMFS Cooperative Shark Tagging Program, [online] Available at http://na.nefsc.noaa.gov/sharks/tagging.html [Accessed 20 May 2013].
UKSTP, 2012, UK Shark Tagging Programme, [online] Available at http://www.ukshark.co.uk/ [Accessed 20 May 2013]
Wikipedia, 2013, Chondrichthyes,[online] Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chondrichthyes [Accessed 20 May 2013]