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expeditions/August/September 2007/Tagging sharks
7 - Tagging large sharks
by Carlie Wiener
here to see where the Hi'ialakai is now.
here to see current data from the ship.
Another day of dive operations at Pearl and Hermes atoll.
The weather was very stormy and I was not looking forward
to facing the ripping current and strong winds. Today, was
a special day as it was my birthday, and I got to spend it
in one of the most unique places in the world. Dr. Meyer
allowed me to come out with his team today to implant receiver
tags in large apex predators. These species include sharks,
ulua and other sizeable fish. We began the day checking out
the west side of the atoll and hit a major storm squall.
After battling seven foot swell and a long, bumpy ride, we
let out the long lines to attract fish and sharks.
Dr. Carl Meyer pulls out the long lines to catch
apex predators for tagging, Carlie Wiener.
are bated with other fish which are put on the lines right
from the boat. Almost immediately, we found several Galapagos
sharks and a few ulua. Dr. Meyer assessed each animal by
taking body measurements, identifying the sex and then implanting
a tracking tag with a small incision that was easily sewn
I get to hold the satellite tag while Dr. Meyer preps
the shark, Carlie Wiener.
After a few sharks were caught and released we headed
down wind of the storm into the sheltered lagoon of the atoll.
This was the first time I have seen land since leaving Oahu.
On the maps the atoll looks so large, that you would expect
to see a significant land mass. In fact, only a small spit
of land is seen with most of the atoll submerged underwater.
Upon our transition to the other side of the atoll we were
very fortunate to have caught a twelve foot tiger shark.
I could not believe how large the shark was, it was quite
the challenge to stabilize the shark along side of the boat.
Jon Dale stabilizes a tiger shark for tagging, Carlie
Dr. Meyer and the team worked diligently taking measurements
and implanting several satellite tracking and identification
tags. The shark was surprisingly docile once immobilized
and had really smooth skin. The other research teams were
also very successful today, with the Maritime Heritage group
discovering a new wreck in the lagoon. A brief investigation
was carried out and they determined it to be a more modern
wreck. Dr. Karl and his team continue at their patch reef
site as well, plotting transects and observing coral, while
Dr. Toonen and his researchers continue their sample collection
of marine invertebrates. The evening is somewhat quite as
everyone tries to enter their data from the day and prepare
for tomorrow. There is always work to be done, and an exciting
adventure to be had the following day. From Pearl and Hermes
Atoll a hui hou!
here for maps of the region