The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded Mote Marine Laboratory a $192,000 grant to study how sharks fare after anglers release them.
In the study, Mote scientists will record fine-scale movements of released sharks in unprecedented detail, using accelerometers, or tags with motion-sensing technology, which will be attached to the dorsal fins of sharks that are caught. Scientists will collect a blood sample from each caught shark and use the accelerometer to measure stress-related hormones in the sharks’ blood.
The study will help resource managers maintain healthy shark fisheries.
“For the first time, we’ll take a magnifying glass to sharks’ behavior after release — for instance, we’ll look at how strongly they’re swimming after capture and whether they’re rolling or listing,” said project leader Dr. Nick Whitney, a staff scientist in Mote’s Center for Shark Research, in a prepared statement. “These measurements go way beyond ‘dead or alive.’ The vast majority of sharks may survive, but it’s important to know if their recovery time varies with different kinds of fishing gear. Our technique will yield new, hard data comparing standard J-hooks with circle hooks, which are designed to be safer for sharks.”
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