Double The Lines With Half The Luck

Saturday, April 30th 2011

It was a gorgeous, sunny day out on the water with South Broward High School. We were using a smaller boat than usual so although there was a limited amount of room, things went smoothly throughout the day. We headed out to our reef site which is deeper than most of our other sites. This means that the ropes attached to our drumlines are doubled so that they are twice as long. Luckily, some of our high schoolers were more than willing to help us pull in these lines. Our first shark of the day was a good-sized Sandbar shark. We brought the shark up on the side of the boat, placed the water pump in its mouth so it could continue to breathe, and set to work taking muscle and blood samples, and placing tags. We put two tags on the shark: an orange roto tag on the dorsal fin and a yellow spaghetti tag at the base of the dorsal fin. The shark was released in great condition and the drumline was re-baited and placed back on its site.

RJD intern, Leann, reading the spaghetti tag number off the Sandbar shark. Click to enlarge.

The rest of the day was fairly slow. One of the teachers from South Broward spotted a Hammerhead’s dorsal fin near one of our other buoys. Quickly, we set out a bait in order to try to catch the shark but after a few minutes without a bite, we continued to pick up drumlines. Near the end of the day, we pulled in a Scalloped Hammerhead. This beautiful animal had another Scalloped Hammerhead following it as we brought the one on the line up to the boat. The second shark swam away as we pulled the hooked one onto the boat. The same steps were taken as with the Sandbar shark: the water pump was put in place and muscle and blood samples were taken. The shark was also outfitted with a satellite tag so we can track its movements and collect important data regarding its mating and feeding grounds.

RJD intern, Robbie, holding the Scalloped Hammerhead in place. Click to enlarge.

Although the day only yielded two sharks, it was still a great day out on the water. Catching only two sharks at a comparatively productive reef site is yet another sign that shark populations are in decline worldwide. It reinforces how important it is to continue to educate people on the plight of sharks and what they can do to help.

Much sharky love,

Kyra Hartog


5 replies
  1. Sara Ann Pelse-Livi
    Sara Ann Pelse-Livi says:

    I went on this field trip, we caught a Sand shark, and a Scallop Hammerhead shark. This was a great experience for me. I plan to become a Zoologist and i’m trying to get myself out in the nature as much as i can. The program at my school, and the program you guys run is fantastic, even though i got sea sick 🙁 i had an amazing time, and i learned many new things from many of the people of my boat. I’ve never seen a shark that big either, thank you so much for the experience!

  2. Jimylee Camacho
    Jimylee Camacho says:

    Going on this field trip was amazing, i had such a good time. the UM students on there were so friendly and helped us “newbies” out on understanding what they were doing. Even though we only caught two sharks i still had a great time. It was the first time i seen a shark up close THEY were 7 FEET long each, the sand shark and hammerhead were beautiful. By the way we caught that hammer with my lucky kiss on the bait :D. this program you guys have running is really helping the shark community out. i can wait to go next year and i am going to try to go on all of them. THANK YOU guys for having this program and allowing my school to come and help out.

  3. Marina Armas
    Marina Armas says:

    This was my first trip and it was amazing. When we caught the sand shark, and the scalloped hammerhead, it was such a cool experiance. I couldnt believe seeing a shark that big up close! Everyone was so nice, and helping us understand what they were doing. Going swimming was alot of fun too! I learned so muh on the trip, and it was better than i could have ever imagined. I think the program is so important, and amazing, and thak you so much! 🙂

  4. Emily Hall
    Emily Hall says:

    This was my first shark trip and honestly if i hadn’t gone on this one i wouldn’t have joined the entire program. The help that we got from the UM students was amazing and i am hoping to continue the shark trips with you guys. This experience only comes once in a life time, and i am glad i was able to join this trip. 🙂 you guys are the best

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