Shark Tagging with South Broward High School

By Jon Dorsey, RJD Intern

Today the RJD crew met at the dock nice and early to welcome our shipmates from South Broward High School and special guest Steve Cooke. Despite the long bus ride and early arrival time, the Reef Dogs were in high spirits once they arrived on the dock and boarded Captain Curt’s boat. We had a long trip ahead of ourselves to a site named the Middle Grounds in Everglades National Park, but without the blazing sun beating on us and the cooler weather coming in, it was more than enjoyable.

Anticipation was high as we anxiously pulled in 6 empty lines, but of course on lucky number 7 the timer was popped! Leann did a great job pulling the Lemon Shark up onto the platform and the team immediately went to work. The students took turns collecting data and measurements for the team and before we let the little guy go we got the opportunity to sneak in some pictures.

The crew bring the final lemon shark of the day on deck to pose for a group shot.

It must’ve been a lemony day because we soon after pulled in 5 more Lemon sharks, all different sizes and colors! We caught some darker gray lemons, and our last one had an especially light brown color. All of our sharks cooperated perfectly with us and students which made our jobs a breeze.

The surprise of the day came when we pulled in one lemon shark that already had an RJD spaghetti tag sticking out of its dorsal fin! At first it looked very similar to one that we tagged earlier in the day, but when we examined the spaghetti tag it had a different identification number and had algae growth on it! It’s always warming to see a recap that is in good condition and doing well!

Guest, Steve Cooke, and the crew hold a nice lemon before its release.

After all the drumlines were back in the boat, we headed back to the docks after a successful day. I could not of have asked for a better day, we had beautiful weather, an amazing crew, and 6 healthy lemon sharks that were all released in good condition!

5 replies
  1. Sierra Sonora
    Sierra Sonora says:

    As a Senior in high school this year, I am so grateful to partake of these awesome shark trips that the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, as well as the Marine Magnet Shark Club at my school, provides for us students. To be able to contribute to the research being done to help prevent the shark population from decreasing any further. Sharks are vital and having been around for millions of years, are true survivors. Thank you for taking the time to take South Broward High School out on your trip! And to the Lemon Sharks we caught- Marlo, Delilah, Arya-ezra, Mira, Fiona, and Ya-ya!

  2. Sarah Kramer
    Sarah Kramer says:

    Had a wonderful time, thank you to the R.J. Dunlap crew! We caught 6 beautiful lemon sharks, one male and five females! We named all of them so here are the names:
    1. Marlo (male)
    2. Dehlila (female)
    3. Fiona (female)
    4. Ariya Ezra (female)
    5. Myra (female)
    6. Ya-ya (female)
    Once again thank you for the amazing experience! 🙂

  3. Ashley Shanor
    Ashley Shanor says:

    This shark trip was so amazing! Eveytime I go on one I have more respect for these awesome creatures! And each time I also learn so much more about them! It feels great to be part of something bigger than yourself. Helping these sharks by collecting data is not only a great way to give back to the community but also a great way to give back to the sharks.

  4. Brad Norris
    Brad Norris says:

    This shark trip was my best one yet! We caught six lemon sharks, one which had already been previously spaghetti tagged by the RJD crew. We caught these sharks in an area called the middle grounds in Everglades National Park. This area was nutrient filled which made it a nice estuary for these sharks. Thanks R.J Dunlap Marine Consevation Program.

  5. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    This was my first shark trip! And it was a great experience for me! I’m glad to know that i helped with shark research for the university of miami, my dream collage and i hope to go to more shark trips and learn even more about these amazing creatures! This trip was just that little “push” i needed to realize that i really can make my dreams a reality. Thanks rj dunlap for an unforgettable experience!

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