Shark Tagging With Palmer Trinity High School

By Melissa Soto, RJD Intern

It was a warm November morning as the students from Palmer Trinity high school made their way onto the boat. This was my first trip of the semester so I was just as eager as they were to see sharks. After placing all the gear onto the boat, RJD and our guests were off to tag some sharks.

A Palmer Trinity student kissing the bait for luck.

A Palmer Trinity student kissing the bait for luck.

Our trip leader for the day was Christian Pankow, who kindly greeted everyone on board and continued by explaining the work up the team does on the sharks. After a calm thirty-minute boat ride we started deploying the 10 drumlines around Stiltsville, off of Key Biscayne.

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A student carefully released a drumline into the water.

After waiting an hour, we started to check the drumlines and after a three tries, we found ourselves a shark. A female black tip was safely worked up on the platform. The students broke up into groups of five and began the work up consisting of fin clip, tagging, measuring and two nictitating membrane tests. This beautiful shark was 1.65 meters and healthy. Once the work up was completed, the shark was released.

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Students and the RJD crew quickly work up the blacktip.

We continued to check and redeploy the drumlines but they were no sharks. Our second and third sets of deployments were a success. Three more black tips with lengths of 1.67 meters, 1.58 meters, 1.62 meters and a 2.35-meter nurse shark were pulled up. These four female sharks were worked up with the help of the students and RJD.

Another bait kiss for luck.

Another bait kiss for luck.

After pulling up the rest of the drumlines we made our way back to marina and took some group photos. Palmer Trinity was a great group of enthusiastic children and chaperones. We hope that they come out for another trip soon.


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