Recreational Shark Fishing

Recreational Shark Fishing

Project Objective:

To better understand the biological and social impacts of recreational shore-based shark fishing in Florida, we are working with volunteer anglers to discover the survival rates of sharks released, how many sharks are caught, how often anglers fish for them, and how much they are spending on this activity.

Why this project is important

Global shark populations are facing various threats throughout their ranges, including overfishing. Most research focuses on the impacts of commercial fisheries and very little on the impacts of the recreational sector. Recreational shark fishing in the United States is open access, there is no limit to the number of people participating and catch-and-release fishing can target any species whether they are prohibited from harvesting.

Great Hammerhead (c) Morne Hardenberg/Shark Explorers

Great Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran) are particularly vulnerable to not surviving when captured and released in different fisheries that use various modes of fishing and different types of gear. Great Hammerheads are a popular target for shore-based anglers that practice catch-and-release fishing, however, it is unknown whether this species can survive the stress of capture and release in that specific type of fishing.

This project is the first to determine rates of post-release mortality for shore-based angling of Great Hammerhead sharks.

How this project is conducted

Working with volunteer anglers, we record all the details of a typical fishing event and deploy short-term survival satellite tags that will tell us the behavior of Great Hammerhead sharks after they are released.

This project is funded in part by the Save Our Seas Foundation ™ and Microwave Telemetry, Inc. and the generous donations by the ASC community. This project is also supported by our kind volunteer anglers. We are currently using Lotek PSATLIFE (pop-up satellite archival tags) tags and are operating under a Special Activities License (SAL) authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

ASC scientist approaches a Great Hammerhead in the surf to secure a satellite tag to the animal
Anglers setting up for the night
Anglers releasing a great hammerhead shark tagged with a survival satellite tag