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Beneath The Waves: Shark Research In Action

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Beneath The Waves:  Shark Research In Action

Shark lads!

Get your shark lads here!

Check out these swashbuckling shark lads from the NGO known only as Beneath The Waves!

beneath-the-waves
Hey you damn kids, you leave that shark alone! But only after you get some samples of blood and maybe some skin to science with.

Beneath The Waves

Want a sweet mission statement on what exactly Beneath The Waves is about? Of course you do!

Beneath the Waves is dedicated to advancing the conservation of sharks and the habitats they occupy through cutting edge scientific research (from About Beneath The Waves).

Recently, I, the ORIGINAL Mr. Homeboy, got to see the research of Beneath The Waves in person and I am here to tell you what that research looks like.

Tools Of The Shark Research Trade

Check out the up-close-and-personal tools of the handsy shark research trade!

In that basket is monofilament line that the sharks can’t bite through (I couldn’t either), bolt cutters for cutting the hooks out of the shark’s mouth, and gloves for doing heavy duty heaving and hoeing. Mmmm, hoeing.
Everything about the barbless hook is designed to causing minimal damage to the shark during the catching process. I tested it out and it was easy to remove from my fat filthy stupid mouth.
The hook/line are attached these waited buoy contraptions. The contraptions are designed so that the hook/line can rotate at a full 360 degrees, which allows a hooked shark to swim continuously. These contraptions are baited and then strewn about areas with lots of sea grass. Lots of sea grass means lots of sharks.

Sh-Sh-Shark!!!!!!

Sooner or later one of the baited hooks hits the shark jackpot. Every shark regardless of size gets reeled in by hand.

In this instance the payout was a 12 foot male tiger shark!

Dr. Austin Gallagher, the CEO of Beneath The Waves, hand-reels in a 12 foot tiger shark. Tiger sharks aren’t super aggressive fighters, but their sheer mass makes them difficult to haul in. Unless you are Austin Gallagher then you can haul their punk asses in like it ain’t no thang.

The crew reels the shark in and lines it along side the boat.

Trust me that the researchers are always super concerned about the shark’s well being. They take great care to gently line the shark up against the side of the boat without the shark ever coming out of the water. By keeping the shark in the water the shark experiences far less stress than it would if it was plopped onto the deck of a boat.

Measurements are taken and blood samples are drawn.

Look at Ollie measuring that beaut!

All sharks get a tag. However, high value targets like tiger sharks get special tracking tags. The idea is to find out where the sharks are spending most of their time.

Yes, they are applied by drill through the dorsal fin. No, that doesn’t hurt the shark as there are no nerves, blood, or muscle in the fins – just cartilage. I had one applied to me via the same fashion. It definitely hurt, but now I don’t get lost looking for my car anymore. Just kidding, I still do.

With all of the data collected it is time to release the shark so that it can go back to murdering sea life!

The researchers cut out the hook and away the lovely beast goes. Yes, there are people in the water with the shark to verify that it swims away under its own power.

Research

With the field work done the real research begins.

Tracking tags pop off of sharks. The data is loaded onto computers and maps are made of where the sharks spend their time. Turns out that tiger sharks often go to very deep water (1,300 feet). The hypothesis is that they are mating down there. I mean, how isn’t down for some deep sea loving?

The blood samples are analyzed to determine the shark’s health and genetic makeup. Yup, Ancestry.com ain’t got nothing on shark family trees.

Do NOT do shots of shark blood! Only use shark blood for science. Otherwise, just leave it in the sharks.

Application Of The Research

The research obviously has academic value. The crew from Beneath The Waves are all scientists and publish their data.

The data is also used to help inform local governments on where they should create marine sanctuaries. It’s a big ocean and only so much of it can be actively protected. Thus, having data to prove certain areas like sea grass beds yield a lot of tiger sharks is valuable information.

How You can Help

If you are a believer in shark conservation and shark science you can donate to Beneath The Waves.

I can tell you first hand that these guys are shark lovers first and foremost. They genuinely care about the animals that they are harvesting data from. So, know that the research is worthwhile, but also that the animals are being looked after. That is important!

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