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Dutch sharks love to travel!

The Dutch have always sailed the world, and research has indicated that Dutch sharks are travelers too. Well, Dutch… maybe just European! This year, the first small smooth-hound sharks were caught near Hastings  in England, and only a few days later, the first ‘Dutchies’ were caught near Neeltje Jans, the entrance to the Eastern Schelde.

  • In 2011, 212 sharks were caught and tagged, of which six have been recaught.
  • In  2012, 520 sharks were caught and tagged, of which 18 have been recaught.
  • In 2013, 268 sharks were caught and tagged, none have been recaught yet.

Weir fisherman Piet den Boef carefully releases a tagged smooth-hound shark back into the water

The smallest shark was 11 cm, the largest 130 cm. Recreational fishermen are still catching sharks for ‘tag & release’, and it is expected, that there will be an incredible total number of around 1500 tagged sharks end of this year!


Map caught sharks

The most northern smooth-hound shark was recaught near Stavanger (Norway), the most southern near the Gulf of Biscaye (Spain).

Data indicate that larger females travel up the Eastern Schelde to give birth, and this sea arm could be a breeding ground for smooth-hound sharks. This makes the ‘Zeeland Delta’ even more biologically important!

And sharks are slowly returning to the Dutch waters. Last year, the first tope shark (Galeorhinus galeus) catches were recorded by the Dutch weir fishermen from Tholen in the Eastern Schelde. This year, there was more targeted fishing for tagging and numbers were higher. Total numbers are not yet known, but the largest tope shark caught was 150 cm!
In the near future, participating fishermen will also collect genetic samples for genetic research, that is carried out at Salford University in the United Kingdom. Samples from North Sea sharks are already collected.
Watch the video below to see a tope shark in the wild!


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