The Atlantic Shark Institute (ASI) on Thursday announced that they were contacted earlier in the week about a large Sand Tiger shark that was found on the Southwest Point of Block Island, RI. The shark was discovered by a beachgoer who happened to be exploring the rocky shoreline along that area of the island.
Sand Tiger sharks are considered critically endangered worldwide by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and they’ve been a prohibited species for decades according to Jon Dodd, the executive director of the Atlantic Shark Institute. “We really appreciate being notified about these sharks as otherwise, we wouldn’t have a good sense of where, when and how often these events occur”, shared Dodd.
According to the IUCN, the population of these sharks is in trouble and have been decreasing for decades. Thus the reason they’ve been listed as a species of concern, a prohibited species and critically endangered. “We hate to see such a beautiful and protected shark end up on the beach like that and worse, we weren’t able to get samples for NOAA’s Apex Predator Lab in Narragansett”, added Dodd. The Atlantic Shark Institute dispatched a volunteer who has expertise in taking samples for study but he indicated that the shark was no longer present due to tide and winds that likely reclaimed the shark. Sand tiger sharks can grow to about 10 feet in length and weigh several hundred pounds. If you’ve visited an aquarium you have probably seen one as they keep well in captivity and have a mouthful of protruding and intimidating teeth.
Rhode Island is a place that is rich in marine life and this is just another example of that. The Atlantic Shark Institute is currently conducting studies on great white, mako, thresher, blue and porbeagle sharks in and around Rhode Island waters. They also have an array of receivers around Block Island to detect sharks tagged with acoustic transmitters.
“The value of being notified of these discoveries both on and off the water is critical, and we really appreciate the public’s help on findings like this one”, Dodd concluded.
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