No shoes, no service: Shark tagging with the MAST Academy

by Stacy Assael, RJD Intern
October 14th, 2012

Today the RJD team and I had the pleasure of fishing with Miami’s own MAST Academy, and the one and only Greg Markham. Expectations were high as we set out to the same spot from the day before where we caught 5 sharks. We were heavily staffed so the ride out to “Curt 1” (Captain Curt’s top secret fishing spot in Everglades National Park) went smoothly as bait crates and drumlines were prepped in record time.

Time to Fish. Upon arrival at our fishing site we deployed our first ten lines. I looked at my watch, it had taken all of 15minutes to deploy two sets of gear (Note: 1 set=5 drumlines). This left us with plenty of time to enjoy our 10:30am …lunch ?

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A new RJD record: 11 nurse sharks in one day!

Sunday, February 26th

From the looks of the weather, the mast academy and the RJD interns didn’t think we were going to have a shark filled day. There were scattered clouds, choppy waters  and the group was set out to go to the edge of Hawks Channels where the waters were a bit calmer.  Captain Curt, James, David, Julia, Virginia, LeAnn, Fiona,  Laurel and set out the first drumlines. The spirits were high and everybody had one thing on their mind, sharks.

A couple drumlines were reeled in and the first nurse shark was on the line. The students and interns were able to gather data for the program by taking measurements, a fin clip, and insert a spaghetti tag. We kept rolling in the drumlines and the sharks just kept coming.

Captain Curt pulls in a beautiful nurse shark so the team and the mast academy students can gather some data.

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Not a Very Sharky Day


The University of Miami’s research team traveled to Key Largo to jump on Captain Slate’s boat for a hopeful day of shark tagging. A group of eager sophomores from MAST high school joined us on our expedition. It was a beautiful, sunny, and clear day; the water was clam, and it seemed like our odds were in our favor to catch a jubilee of sharks.

Daniela, Julia, Evan, Fiona, and I, led by our fearless leader Austin, released the first ten drumlines. After pulling in a couple lines, we got our first catch of the day! A large adult nurse shark was brought on board. The MAST high school students were delighted to conduct research, interact in the sampling process, and observe a shark so close up and personal. Everyone on the boat had high spirits and was ready to tag more sharks.

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