Always a Bigger Fish: Florida Scientists Seek New Angle on Shark Depredation | the Sharks
Many fishermen bemoan the one who escaped. In Florida, the problem is most often fish that are caught but then pulled off by a shark before being hauled back.
A grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will allow scientists at two universities to research and potentially solve the problem of shark depredation, an increasingly common annoyance for 4 million recreational fishermen who fish in the area each year. Florida waters.
The study conducted by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Mississippi State University will look at which shark species are most prolific, what types of fish are most frequently victimized, and where thefts occur.
The researchers also hope to control the economic cost for the first time. The deep-sea recreational fishing industry supports more than 88,000 jobs in Florida and generates annual revenues of over $ 9 billion.
“Few studies have quantified the impact of depredation on recreational fishing,” said Dr Matt Ajemian, senior researcher, assistant research professor and director of the Fisheries Ecology and Conservation Laboratory at FAU Harbor Branch. .
âIncorporating fishermen’s knowledge into a scientific process gives them more confidence in scientific results, fosters confidence and, more importantly, increases the quantity and quality of data.
The Ajemian team will take what they call a citizen science approach, working with and interviewing recreational fishermen and leveraging a Facebook site with 6,000 members that already records photos, videos and footage. Anecdotal tales of sharks snatching fish such as red snapper and grouper.
âThe data we collected from the Facebook group shows the potential benefits of a social media-based approach to involving fishermen in reporting, which revealed the potential scale and complexity of the problem,â Ajemian said. .
Researchers will also take a more hands-on approach, including taking bite swabs from fish remains in an attempt to identify the shark species involved.
Some experts believe conservation efforts have led to an increase in shark depredation.
âNow that these conservation actions have been put in place and these management plans have been put in place, what we are actually seeing is something more natural, healthier,â said Lauran Brewster, senior researcher at the FAU Harbor Branch. the Sun-Sentinel.
“We have to learn to react to this without fighting back against a species that simply lives where it is supposed to live.”
The nearly $ 200,000 FAU Prize is part of an ongoing program of educational grants from Noaa to universities conducting research in certain scientific fields. On Saturday, a page on the agency’s website celebrated National Hunting and Fishing Day.