Shark Expedition Update #4

Shark Update Morgans Bluff
NOAA Fisheries biologist Dr. John Carlson (left) and Stony Brook University SoMAS biologist Mark Bond (right) affix an archival satellite tag to a subadult lemon shark. Credit: Kelcee Smith, NOAA Fisheries.

Morgan’s Bluff: The expedition continued in Morgan’s Bluff on the north side of Andros from May 30th through June 2nd. While sawfish weren’t found in this area, seven more lemon sharks were sampled, bringing the total to 26 genetic samples. NOAA scientist Dr. John Carlson fitted a subadult female lemon shark with a satellite archival tag, which will yield information on movement of this demographic as well as the efficacy of the tag in shallow water.



Shark Update Fresh Creek
Left to right: First mate Joey Salomone, CEI intern Ian B., NOAA Fisheries biologist Kelcee Smith, and Stony Brook University SoMAS biologist Mark Bond alongside a Caribbean reef shark. Credit: Kelcee Smith, NOAA Fisheries

Fresh Creek: The team returned to Nassau before heading back out to Fresh Creek on Andros’ east side. Fresh Creek lived up to its name’s reputation by being quite fresh, and at a glance, devoid of lemon or nurse sharks. Lemon sharks were spotted outside the mouth of the creek on flats south of the AUTEC U.S. Navy base. Fishing for lemons turned out to be a fruitless effort, so the team headed out to deeper water to try and tackle another project goal: satellite tagging great hammerheads. In deeper waters the team caught several Caribbean reef sharks and silky sharks, but no hammerheads yet.

Thus, the Andros leg of the shark sanctuary survey is concluded. The researchers observed a sawfish along the west side, and collected genetic samples from 31 sharks from four species (26 lemon, two Caribbean reef, two silky, and one blacktip). In addition, an archival satellite tag was deployed on a female subadult lemon shark for the first time. Next, the project continues on to the Berry Islands and Grand Bahama.

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