NOAA study points to returning numbers of sharks
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 10 September, 2015 - This spring a record number of sharks were tagged along the US East Coast - 2,835 to be exact. Compare this to the previous survey which found 1,831 sharks and evidence would suggest there’s an increase in populations.
The survey, conducted every three years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was first done in 1986 when shark were on the decline due to the popularity of shark fin.
The numbers have increased in each survey since 2001, and point to steady population gains, NOAA spokeswoman Shelley Dawicki said.
U.S. protections for sharks in a fishery management plan went into effect in 1993. The plan banned fishing for certain sharks and limited fishing seasons for others, among other rules.
"I think that's what turned it around - effective management. Just the decrease in fishing pressure on these species has helped quite a bit," said Lisa Natanson, a scientist who leads the survey at the Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA Fisheries' Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
For the survey the NOAA group caught mostly sandbar sharks, but were surprised by a few others.
“Sandbar sharks were all along the coast, while most of the dusky sharks were off North Carolina. We captured a bull shark for the first time since 2001, and recaptured 10 sharks previously tagged by our program and two sharks tagged by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.”