Miami marine scientists tagging sharks with tracking gear

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

MIAMI (WFLX) - A group of South Florida marine scientists out of Miami are tackling a tough, scary job -- tagging sharks to better understand and protect them.

They tagged about 20 bulls, tigers and hammerheads with satellite tracking gear.

Researchers follow their migration and feeding patterns on the Internet. Scientists say many shark species have declined 70 to 90 percent since the 1950s. Much of this is due to the shark fin trade.

"That's 100 million sharks killed each year. As top predators in the ocean, they help keep the balance and maintain the health of the ocean. They eat the diseased fish, they control the behavior of the animals, and they are really at the top of the food chain," said marine scientist Neil Hammerschlag. "So, everything that happens to them cascades and has a rippling effect down."

It comes down to this: The bigger the shark, the bigger the fin, the bigger the profit.

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