Sharks go Dutch
Sharkatag has developed an identity of its own in angler led shark tagging programmes and is now entering into collaboration with the Royal Dutch Angling Association.
The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) are proud to announce a collaboration with Sportvisserij Nederland (Royal Dutch Angling Association) which will extend their shark tagging event - Sharkatag - into Dutch waters.
Shark stocks in the two countries have opposite records. Due to a historic lack of political willpower and fisheries mismanagement, many of the 20+ Scottish species have been in severe decline, whereas until 10 years ago sharks in Dutch waters were very scarce, but now through an apparent northern migration, increasing numbers of several species are being taken.
As both countries are seeing the results of an apparent northern migration of smoothhound, whether due to decreased competition for food, decreased commercial pressure or warming of the sea, one of the most interesting aspects will be to see if smoothhound tagged off Scotland are recaptured off Holland, or vice-versa.
According to Willie Kennedy SSACN's Events Manager:
"So little is known about the quantity, distribution and migration routes of sharks in EU waters, collaborative efforts like this can only help improve our overall knowledge.
Thanks to all the volunteer anglers supporting our Events, especially Sharkatag, we have been very successful in creating a focus on Scottish shark stocks; Sportvisserij Nederland are confident that Sharkatag Nederland will help do the same for their shark stocks."
Pieter Beelen and and Niels Brevé of Sportvisserij Nederland commented:
"The concept of a Dutch Sharkatag has created great enthusiasm amongst our volunteers, they recognise that working together in this way will not only help gather much needed data on the stocks, but will also create the first ever angler led international tagging programme."
Anglers from both countries are very concerned about shark stocks. Tagging is a non-destructive method of gathering the necessary data whilst ensuring minimum harm to the fish themselves. Sharkatag is run using the following simple principles:
• Sharkatag is not fished as a competition
• All fish are returned alive
• Anglers must follow documented Best Practice and Handling Guides
• A short training course is given to any inexperienced taggers
This year the Scottish Sharkatag takes place between the 15 -17th of June from marks around SW Scotland when the primary focus will be collecting data on tope, smoothound and thornback ray; dates for Sharkatag Nederland, when smoothhound and stingray will be the key targets, are yet to be announced but is expected to take place around mid-August.
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