Researchers would like school sharks in and around the Wadden Sea to be tagged and tracked with GPS in order to determine how often the northern Dutch waters are used as a shark nursery.
Translation by Traci White
Omrop Fryslan spoke with Paddy Walker, a researcher at the Dutch Elasmobranch Association which studies cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays. Walker says that the group is carrying out research into sharks and rays that are found in Dutch waters and in former Dutch territories abroad.
The school shark, which is also known as a tope, can get up to two meters long and typically lives in temperate waters on most continents except for Asia. The species is considered vulnerable due to the use of its body parts and organs for food and medicine.
In 2015, shrimpers in the Wadden Sea were asked to begin tagging any sharks that they caught in their nets and putting them back in the sea in order to prevent them from being caught again. One of the tagged sharks was recently detected in Scotland.
Researchers believe that the Wadden Sea may be a significant breeding grounds for the sharks, and the GPS tracking method has previously been used in the Caribbean to follow tiger sharks. Walker says that cameras with bait were also part of the project in the Caribbean, and a similar approach will be used north of the Wadden islands: the waters in the Wadden Sea itself are too murky for the cameras to capture good images.
Photo source: Wikipedia