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Field Update: Delaware Shark Research

Last month, staff from the National Aquarium joined our research partners at the University of Delaware to survey sand tiger shark populations in the Delaware Bay.

Published October 11, 2016

National Aquarium Captain Andrew Pulver kept a log of the shark-tagging expedition. Here’s an excerpt:

It has long been said that the first big tropical storm to pour through Delaware Bay chases all the large elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) out into the Atlantic on their migration to winter grounds down south. We decided to test that theory post-Hermine, and indeed she had done just that. There were no sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus) to be found from the middle of Delaware Bay all the way to the Indian River Inlet.

National-Aquarium-boat-docked

As the lack of sand tigers threatened to diminish our team’s spirit, we suddenly had an amazing surprise encounter with a juvenile common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus)! A very rare catch so close to shore inside the mouth of the Delaware Bay. We jumped at the opportunity to tag such a young thresher, hopeful about the data it will provide in the future.tagging-sandbar-shark

Throughout the course of the day, the team tagged 12 sandbar sharks, one Atlantic sharpnose shark and one common thresher shark.tagged-shark-release

Stay tuned for more updates on our shark research project!


Special thanks to our partners at Yamaha and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for supporting the National Aquarium's shark research and conservation initiatives. Learn more about how you can support our mission, here.
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