In the News

Shark Talk in the News – Tuesday, June 28

The United States is leading the way in shark conservation. Image via NOAA Sanctuaries.

  • NOAA Fisheries wants you to celebrate shark week with them and learn how the U.S. is leader for shark conservation. The agency will be sharing “shark-tastic science, videos, and myth-busting facts” throughout the week. You can visit their website and follow them on social media for updates.
  • At the end of May, Dr. Greg Skomal from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries predicted to see more sharks this summer. Although each year is different, he said, the general trend has been an increase each year. Last summer, researchers identified 141 individual great white sharks and tagged 24.
  • Researchers spotted the first great white shark of the season (named Scratchy) just two weeks ago and now more are arriving in the area. On Friday, Dr. Greg Skomal from Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, tagged the first shark for the summer season off Nauset Beach. Skomal named the 12-foot male shark “Luke” in honor of a fisherman friend who recently passed away.
  • Yesterday, researchers tagged their second shark found swimming off Chatham near the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. A name for the 11-foot great white has not been reported.
  • University of New England researcher James Sulikowski studies shark reproductive processes and has earned the nickname “Dr. Shark.” Traditionally, to study the reproductive process, researchers had to kill a pregnant shark and perform a necropsy. Sulikowski, however, has adapted human sonogram technology for use on sharks and other fish species. This innovation has greatly expanded non-lethal research opportunities and, additionally, allows scientists to study endangered or threatened species. Through use of the sonogram, Sulikowski’s research indicates that the dogfish gestation period is shorter than previously thought.
  • In management news, NOAA Fisheries recently announced proposed 2016-2018 management measures for spiny dogfish. The measures propose that the trip limit will remain the same at 5,000 pounds, but the agency said it “will consider requests from the Councils and ASMFC to increase it to 6,000 pounds.” The public comment period closes on July 7, 2016.
  • The Environmental Defense Fund published a blog this week discussing the advances that we have made in shark research, such as great white migration and hunting techniques. But the blog particularly focused on what more we have to learn and do to protect shark species. Specifically, bycatch is a major issue for shark populations worldwide. But through cooperation between fishermen, scientists, and managers, we can hopefully develop methods to reduce unintentional catch of sharks.
  • A Southern Fried Science blog asked the question, “Does Shark Week portrayal of sharks matter?” David Shiffman discusses the concerns of sensationalism and portraying sharks in a negative light. Discovery Channel has said that they will not show fake documentaries about sharks, but Shiffman is still concerned about other conservation issues.

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