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Tales From The Shark Files

The Megamouth Specialist: Dr. Jose Castro Discusses His Rare Expertise  

Megamouth shark.

Megamouth sharks are one of the most elusive shark species in the world. Since their discovery in 1976, megamouths have been documented between 50 and 60 times; yet only a handful of specimens are on diplay at aquariums.

Exceeded in size only by whale sharks and basking sharks, the large megamouth shark uses its wide jaws to filter for plankton in the deep-sea. Recently, biologist Dr. Jose Castro of NOAA Fisheries had a unique opportunity to help dissect a rare megamouth shark on display at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. More...


Sitting Down With a Teacher At Sea  

Teacher at Sea, Jennifer Daftari, with a tiger shark.

In its 22nd year, the Teacher at Sea program has provided more than 600 teachers hands-on marine research experiences varying from fish surveys in Alaska to tidal research in the Indian Ocean. Upon return, the teachers bring their greater understanding and excitement back to the classroom, giving their students a glimpse into a scientific world that is otherwise inaccessible.

To get a better idea of how these new teachers will bring this experience into their classrooms, we spent some time with an alumni from the 2011 class, Jennifer Daftari. Daftari, a 5th grade teacher at Jay Public School in Jay, Oklahoma traveled aboard NOAA’s Oregon II for two weeks surveying sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. More...

Voices from the Waterfront: Meet Shark Fisherman Mark Sampson   

Fishermen aboard the Fish Finder tag and release a thresher shark for research. (Credit: Mark Sampson) .
Mark Sampson, a charter fishing captain who specializes in shark fishing trips and runs an annual shark fishing tournament. Sampson owns and operates a 40-foot charter boat, the Fish Finder in Ocean City, Maryland.

Long before it was fashionable, Sampson promoted sustainable shark fishing and encouraged the catch and live release of sharks. He recently sat down to talk about sustainable shark fishing and NOAA’s new program that encourages fishermen to log information about their live releases of shortfin mako sharks. More...

A Day in the Life of a Basking Shark

Basking shark.

Have you ever stopped to think about your daily routine? Maybe you start your day with a big breakfast, or a jog through the neighborhood.  Most sharks have routines, too. But a basking shark’s day is anything but ordinary.

When the Southwest Fisheries Science Center first initiated a study on basking sharks off the coast of California a year ago, they were not sure what they would find. More...


Scientists, Anglers Collaborate to Prevent Thresher Shark Tailspin There's An App For That 

Recreational thresher shark fishing.

The nearshore waters off the Southern California coast are a well known hot spot for the common thresher shark, a recreational fishing favorite with a uniquely long whip-like tail that can weigh more than 500 pounds. Its tail, in fact, is exactly why the thresher is now in the center of a ethical fishing dilemma and the reason why anglers and scientists are working together to change the way they are caught. 

In the United States, commercial harvest of the thresher is a federally regulated industry, but recreational fishing for this shark is not. Since the thresher is a challenging fish to catch, this shark has been growing in popularity with recreational anglers in the last 10 years. More...


"There's An App For That" 

Mako App.

NOAA Fisheries' Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division released an app for Andriod phones that allows anglers to share information about catching and releasing shortfin mako sharks. 

The "Release Mako" application was designed using Google App Inventor, and it is the very first federal government tool of its kind. Using the Release Mako app, anglers can now report live releases of shortfin mako sharks in real-time simply by using their Android mobile devices. 

The app uses GPS to fill in location coordinates on shortfin mako live releases and submits information via email by fishermen, quite literally putting their mako on the map. More...