How To:

(LBSF) Shark Fishing 101: Tagging Your Catch

Author: Reel Smooth Fishing Team

How To Get Involved In Tagging Sharks

If you can help a good cause while doing something you love with little to no extra effort, why wouldn’t you? Sharks are some of the oldest species on this planet, and for a good reason. They are apex predators. There is no other animal in the sea that poses a true threat to them. They keep everything else in the ocean in check. They do have one threat though: humans. And there is also one way to help restore them back to healthy populations: humans aka YOU. 

Unfortunately, we don’t know much about these animals as the ocean is huge, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to access most of it. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association), however, runs a shark tagging program to learn more about these species, where you collect data on your catch. This includes the shark’s gender, length (fork and tail), estimated weight, location and date caught, and condition released in. The tag you put in the shark has a number in a plastic tubule which corresponds with the number of the paper with all the shark’s information which you send to NOAA and they put in the database.

(Learn About How Tag Information Is Actually Used)

The next time an angler catches that shark, or if that shark were to wash up dead somewhere, the information gets reported back to NOAA (if the angler knew what the tag was for), and ideally, the second angler would report the new data, to see if the particular animal grew, where he was caught (to examine migratory patterns), and what condition he was in. If you report a tag, you get a free hat from NOAA, which is incentive to report the tags you may stumble across. Here is the site where you can request tags:

On the top-ish right side of the page there is a phone number and email address. I’d recommend calling as they can make sure they get all your information without having to send multiple emails back and forth because you missed something. It takes less than 5 minutes, and they will send you a tagging kit with all the corresponding information, such as what size sharks you should be tagging, how to identify if the fish is male or female, how to identify different sharks (i.e. Spinner vs Blacktip), and how to insert the tag. All you need on your part is a tape measure, a piece of wood or PVC to use as the tagging stick where you attach the metal piece to insert the tag into the shark, and that’s it.

The tagging process takes little work on your part, and helps a great cause. Not to mention, it makes shark fishermen as a whole look better than what the news is portraying us to be. Just remember to slap on that Bullbuster, catch some monsters, and help further the research to help protect the animals which let us do the sport in the first place.

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