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Shark Tagging in Miami

October 27, 2011

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Last week during a trip to Miami for the Society of Environmental Journalists‘ conference I joined a shark tagging trip led by the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation team from the University of Miami.

We put out 35 bait traps for the sharks and only caught one! Sharks are in decline across the globe due to shark finning, a practice where fishermen haul sharks on board, cut off their fins and throw them back in the water.

Most of the fins are used for shark fin soup. Because shark fins are made of cartilage, they don’t lend any flavor to the soup–only texture and are seen as a status symbol.

After their fins are removed, the sharks end up sinking to the bottom of the ocean and suffocating. Last week 2,000 dead sharks were found at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Colombia.

But at the University of Miami, researchers are studying sharks’ behaviors in an effort to protect them and hopefully create a shark sanctuary as the Maldives and Palau have done.

This experience tore at my heart and made me feel a level of compassion toward sharks that I didn’t think was possible. The U of M allows people to adopt sharks and the 6 ft. bullshark we caught was named Ben. Ben, this video is for you!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 28, 2011 1:41 pm

    Quite and enlightening article. Not sure I want to adopt a shark–maybe a puppy. Glad you had a great trip.

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