Shark Tagging with Dr. Guy Harvey

Written by on May 6, 2013 in Marine Life, Other News, Sharks
Shortfin Mako caught for tagging.

Shortfin Mako caught for tagging. Photo credit: Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

The Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a collaboration between renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and NSU’s Oceanographic Center. It is one of only a few private organizations dedicated to science-based marine conservation.

Recently, GHRI at NSU headed an expedition off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico to tag mako sharks with SPOT tags.

As a result of fishing pressure (primarily for their fins and meat) mako sharks are listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Being able to track these sharks with satellite tags allows scientists to learn much more about their migration patterns throughout the Atlantic Ocean which will improve future management and conservation efforts.

The process of tagging a mako shark takes only 6 short minutes.

The process of tagging a mako shark takes only 6 short minutes. Photo credit: Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

On his blog, Dr. Harvey describes what the tagging process is like. Once they catch a shark, it goes something like this: “shark tail roped, carefully lifted into the boat, cover the face with a towel put the deck hose in its mouth.” Then the crew holds the shark down while one person attaches the tag to the dorsal fin and with any luck, the whole process takes just a few short minutes before the shark is released back in the water.

Over the course of the expedition, they successfully tagged three mako sharks — the first three mako sharks tagged in the Atlantic Ocean. You can follow the movement of the sharks in real-time on the GHRI interactive tracking website here.

Check out the following video to see some amazing footage of the Isla Mujeres Expedition:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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  1. Tom Burd says:

    Am I right in thinking that the fishing hook was left on that shark when it was released? It’s difficult to tell on the the video but it looks like it. If so then I think that is appalling. I’ve seen enough maimed and entangled sharks without “scientific research” participating also.

  2. Emily says:

    I am not sure if the hook was left on the shark or not. I’ll ask the filmmakers to see if they know and will get back to you ASAP! Thanks for your patience.

  3. Emily says:

    Okay. It looks like the hook wasn’t left in the shark in this video. In general, they remove the hook before release but “if conditions don’t allow for safe hook removal” (like if they can’t get close enough to the shark’s mouth or the seas are too rough) then the hook is left in to prevent injuries to the researchers. However, the hooks are non-stainless so they will corrode quickly in salt water. Hope that eases your concern! Let me know if you have any other questions.