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New tagging project: Sharks in de Wadden Sea!

Kick-off for new shark tagging project in the Netherlands.

The numbers of sharks caught in the Dutch Wadden Sea seem to be growing. More and more frequently, smooth-hounds and tope sharks are caught by recreational and professional fishermen.

To know if this is a real increase in numbers, which species are involved and why they visit or stay in the Wadden Sea area, two shrimpers will be tagging the sharks.

De Dutch Waddenvereniging, Sportvisserij Nederland, the Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging and the Dutch Shark Society hope to get more information about the development and growth of the shark populations in de Wadden Sea.

A shark is carefully lifted into a net to be tagged

A shark is carefully lifted into the net

Before the seventies, the Wadden Sea and the coast north of this area had a healthy shark population, mostly consisting of (starry) smooth-hounds and tope sharks. After the seventies, the number of sharks decreased dramatically. Biologist Wouter van der Heij of the Dutch Waddenvereniging, “Their return would be great news, as they are the key predators in the food web”.

The current monitoring programmes are not sufficient to track the presence of sharks year-round. The initiating parties also want to know, if the sharks feed and/or breed in de Wadden Sea.
The collaborating prawners will attach a tag in the dorsal fin of each caught shark. There will not be any targeted shark fishing, the sharks are bycatch.

From next spring on, the (re)catches will be posted on the website

The Dutch Shark Society has already contributed photo and video material for press and project.

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