Recaptured sharks set three new records

2011-03-04 00:00

The KZN Sharks Board (KZNSB) has reported two more exceptional recaptures of sharks that have been tagged and released previously.

In October last year the KZN Sharks Board reported on the recapture of a tagged ragged-tooth shark (Carcharias taurus) that had been at liberty for 20,7 years, the longest recorded time for this shark species in southern Africa, and possibly in the world.

Since then, two more exceptional recaptures have been reported, said senior scientist Sabine Wintner.

“A ragged-tooth shark tagged near Southbroom after being released from the shark nets in 1990 was recaptured by an angler at the mouth of the Great Fish River in January this year, making this the second longest time at liberty (20,5 years).

“Another shark, tagged by KZNSB snorkel divers in 1995 at Leven Point in the St Lucia Marine Protected Area, was recaptured at Richards Bay in February after 15,1 years at liberty. These three sharks replace the previous record holders of 13, 12,9 and 12,8 years.”

The KZNSB has been tagging sharks and rays since 1976 and to date has tagged over 6 000 of the creatures. It has been an active member of the South African National Tagging Programme since its inception in 1984. The programme, which is administered by Durban’s Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI), is one of the longest operating tagging initiatives in the world.

“Since the late 1980s the KZNSB has tagged all shark species found alive in protective gear … These remarkable recaptures highlight the value of long-term tagging projects such as that run by ORI,” said Wintner. — Witness Reporter.

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