Tomlinson Furniture
March Madness 2019

How to tag a tracking device on a shark

“To tag a shark it takes a lot of patience and a lot of skill because ultimately the welfare of the shark is most important,” said Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Project Manager Jessica Harvey.

She said you don’t see too many tiger sharks in Cayman waters which is why tracking those that are swimming nearby is important.

“Here in Cayman we go out with a crew at night predominantly in North Sound to catch tiger sharks if and when we catch them because they are few and far between. It takes multiple rounds of fishing to actually tag one,” said Ms. Harvey.

Not just any shark can be tagged they must meet certain requirements.

Ms. Harvey said, “This is quite a big tag and so the dorsal fin needs to be able to support it in order for us to be able to tag it and get the information out.”

She described the process of tagging like giving a shark a very industrialized earring.

“We make sure that it has ample water flow over its gills so that it’s getting oxygen from the water and then we use like an 8 minute process. We use a drill with a template… you attach it to the fin, drill the holes in and then put the tag on through and then it’s secured with a series of washers and locks so that it wont come off,” said Ms Harvey.

She says animal lovers have no reason to worry about the process injuring the shark.

“Sharks are made of cartilage so there’s no major nervous system up there that we are impeding,” said Ms. Harvey.

The batteries last over 3 years and come in at a cool $2000 as they need to be robust enough to work at depth… a bit different than those in your TV remote.

Interestingly enough his location only pops up on the satellite when he breaks water.

As for where he travels underwater before surfacing we don’t know as the tracking device can’t send a signal under water.

Kirk Freeport – March 2019
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