In an effort to promote shark conservation, the Long Island Aquarium is partnering with Southampton and Bridgehampton school districts to offer a shark tagging event at the aquarium on Thursday, May 17, at 4:20 PM. During the regularly scheduled shark feed and lecture session, a male sand tiger shark named Shredfin will be tagged with a wildlife recording device called CATS-Cam.
Because pressure holds the device on the shark, it won’t hurt him, and will eventually be removed. After being tagged, the shark will be rewarded with a fish to eat.
In the wild, tags stay on the sharks for at least 24 hours before falling off to be retrieved by scientists using GPS technology. The data collected includes information on the shark’s velocity, swim pattern, and tail beats.
“That is why we are so excited about having these tags,” said Greg Metzger, a Southampton High School science teacher who will tag Shredfin. “We are going to possibly be the first in the Atlantic, and in some species possibly the world, to collect this data.”
Metzger will tag the shark along with Bridgehampton teacher Jeff Neubauer. The duo is holding the tagging presentation in preparation for deploying CATS-Cam shark tags on great white, thresher, and sandbar sharks in the local region of the Atlantic Ocean this summer. The project will be done in collaboration with the South Fork Natural History Museum’s Shark Research and Education Program.
This information will help scientists understand how sharks such as threshers, young great whites, dusky, and sandbar sharks behave in their habitat, which is the waters surrounding Long Island.
Practicing on the unassuming Shredfin will help Metzger problem solve and prepare for the deployments of the tag on sharks in the wild. The team has already successfully gotten one tag on Shredfin to get initial data. This second deployment will enable adjustments necessary for a successful tagging session this summer.
The Long Island Aquarium is privately owned and features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, and butterflies from all over the world. It is located at 431 East Main Street in Riverhead.