Coast KZN

09 Nov 2017

Researchers appeal to anglers to handle sharks, skates carefully

Kamcilla Pillay (The Mercury) Picture: Researchers measuring the length of a blacktip shark in shallow water. (Photo Credit: SAAMBR)

The Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) has appealed to anglers to handle sharks, stingrays and skates carefully as they are often targeted during the summer months.

These fish, they said in a statement on the Facebook page, were vulnerable to injuries sustained during capture and landing.

“By simply improving handling practices these injuries can be minimised and will improve the overall survival rate of released animals.”

They said: “Removing any fish from the water after a fight is equivalent to a human being running a 300m race and, on finishing, dunking their head under the water.”

This was why, they said, it was important to take the time to revive tired, stressed animals.

Researchers said it was important to never drag a shark or ray over the rocks or sand.

“This can damage the internal organs, which are not accustomed to the effects of gravity. Furthermore, dragging a shark or ray by its tail can cause damage to the vertebral column which could later cause death.”

If possible, they explained, it was preferable to keep the shark or ray in shallow water, remove the hooks and release it as quickly as possible.

“In the case of large, potentially dangerous sharks, great caution needs to be taken to avoid being bitten.

If you do have to remove the shark or ray from the water, try supporting it with the help of two or more people. Avoid holding a shark up by its tail and preferably do not use a gaff to assist in landing.”

When landing a stingray, they said, fishermen needed to avoid the poisonous spines which were located on the tail.

“Never place your fingers in the spiracles (holes behind the eyes used for breathing) to land a stingray or skate and never turn it upside-down.”


Online Article