The Atlantic Shark Institute announced Friday that they have deployed all 15 acoustic receivers, in partnership with the RI Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Marine Fisheries. These deployments officially kick off the 2022 shark research season. The receivers, deployed in strategic locations, detect pings from tagged sharks and other marine animals that come within 1,000 yards of each receiver. Each tagged shark has a unique ping, allowing researchers to determine exactly what shark it was, the species, when it was tagged, who tagged it and more. The detections form the foundation of several studies being conducted by the Atlantic Shark Institute in collaboration with the RI DEM. These receivers, combined with another 16 deployed by RI DEM, create the largest and most extensive acoustic array ever deployed in RI waters.
Adding additional receivers also allows researchers to see the fine-scale movements of sharks in our waters as they move from receiver to receiver around Block Island or along our coast. “The difference from 2019 to 2022 is almost immeasurable” shared Jon Dodd, Executive Director of the Atlantic Shark Institute. “With more receivers deployed, the more detections we are getting and that allows us to not only confirm what is present, but also how these sharks move around our waters, and at what pace. It’s really remarkable data and far more valued than just two years ago” he added. Fewer than 400 great white sharks have been tagged in the NW Atlantic using this technology and that makes many of these detections all the more critical.
“As we continue to expand the receiver array and gain new data each year, thanks to the many scientists that are actively tagging fish, we are getting precise, fine-scale data on when and where species occur” shared Dr, Conor McManus, Chief of RIDEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries. “This information has been paramount for a variety of fisheries science and management questions. Without the array, we would not be able to capture this type of critical data. I am grateful for the RIDEM Marine Fisheries Team and the Atlantic Shark Institute for their dedication toward this work.”
To date, the acoustic receiver array has detected more than 20 great white sharks, along with many other species such as striped bass, river herring, Atlantic sturgeon, winter skates, and smooth dogfish.
To learn more about the Atlantic Shark Institute and this important research, please visit www.atlanticsharkinstitute.org or you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
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