Expedition Journal

April 16, 1996
Tagging the Shark

Today I enjoyed, tagging, tracking, and fishing for the sharks. It was a lot of fun watching and recording data as the scientists reeled in and tagged the Carribean Reef Shark that we caught around 9:30 a.m.

We started off by heading out to Sand Island, a little part of the Molasses Reef. We began by chumming, throwing out the guts and blood of fish to attract sharks by their sense of smell. After about twenty minutes we through out some fishing lines with buoys to help them float. After about two minutes of waiting the shark struck and took the bait. Randy, a scientist from Mote Marine Laboratory, fought the shark (reeled him in). From there we brought the shark to the side of the boat. I recorded the species name, weight, length, sex. The scientists tagged the shark with a prod which inserted a little white tube, which sends out a signal. We then took a stick with a loop at the end and took the hook out of the sharks mouth.

From there we began following the shark, by listening to the little pings the transmitter was giving off. We put on headphones and listened. If you heard a louder ping to which ever side, you go the direction of the louder ping. If it is equal and strong you are right above him.

We tagged a male Carribean Reef Shark. It was approximately 160 cm long. We followed the shark all day and it seemed to by going in circles. It generally stayed a mile from Sand Island, where we originally tagged it. At one point in time we passed a bouy and about two hours later passed it again going the other way.

As we followed the shark around we started to fish. I was really excited when I reeled in a 13 lb. King Macarel. I had a lot of fun on this trip and wished I could go again.

Willy LaCruz

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 19 April 1996