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About the Project

In Puerto Rico, the nurse shark – locally known as ‘tiburón gata’ – has been protected from fishing since 2004 by the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) Fisheries Regulations. However, given the difficulty to monitor and regulate catch-and-release, and the lack of landing statistics due to the fishing ban, the status of nurse shark populations in Puerto Rico remains unknown. Despite over 12 years of protection, there is no baseline estimate upon which trends in abundance can be established. Thus, this project seeks to provide an estimate of the nurse shark population in Puerto Rico. 

 

To achieve this, nurse sharks will be tagged with highly visible yellow ear tags for re-sighting and then their aggregating populations will be monitored over the course of the project. In June 2021, eighteen nurse sharks were successfully tagged . Shortly after, a tagged shark was spotted in Guayanilla using Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV) cameras. Using this method, and with your help, this project will continue to monitor nurse shark populations in various places around the island.

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Expected Results

The sightings and counts of nurse sharks obtained in this project will be used to evaluate their population numbers in Puerto Rico.  We anticipate that the resightings of tagged sharks will help us determine how far these sharks travel to visit the aggregation site. Your help with re-sighting these tagged sharks is critical to the success of the project! Please report any tagged nurse shark that you encounter on our Report page.

Shark Aggregations

Nurse sharks concentrate their reproductive output during the same time each year, often returning to the same location to meet their shark mates.  These mass gatherings are called aggregations and other marine animals like groupers and snappers also form these groups for the purpose of reproduction. But because these aggregations are predictable, they can be easily overwhelmed by human harassment and fishing.

If you witness nurse sharks aggregating, do not disturb them! This process is important for the long-term sustainability of their populations. 

 

Please do not harass the sharks.

Please do not feed the sharks.

WHAT OTHER SHARKS
ARE OUT THERE?

We are also interested in knowing the different species of sharks that are seen around Puerto Rico.  Have you seen a shark while diving, fishing or enjoying another activity in the ocean? We want to know what you saw! Help us document these sightings by submitting it on our Report page. Please share this website with your friends and family so that more people can contribute their shark sightings!

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