LAND BASED SHARK TAGGING WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Many Shark fishos are turning their hand to tagging. It is a valuable way for scientists to get information and is a great way for fishos to do their bit to help the Shark population. Call your local university to see if they have any programs or contact the Fisheries Dept to get a sample pack.
More information available here.
Speed is of the essence when Shark tagging. Get them in, get them measured and get them back in the water as quickly as possible. There is a special science for handling sharks. Be confident. Don’t make any sudden movements and the whole thing should go swimmingly.
Smaller species like Pup Bull Whalers can be a little aggressive but are easy enough to deal with. Throw one hand around the tail wrist and grab the back, around the gill area, with the other. Don’t be scared to use their gills as finger holes. You can carry them vertically if you need to, it won’t hurt them and your fingers will be well out of harm’s way.
HOW TO HANDLE MEDIUM SIZED
For the bigger beasts, around 6ft in length, lifting them becomes near impossible. The trick is to guide them into the shallows by grabbing the tail wrist, taking care to keep them submerged. This might take a little gentle persuasion. Be firm. Put one hand on the bottom of the trail wrist facing up and one on the top facing down and stay strong and dominant. Tail ropes really aren’t necessary for Shark tagging and can harm larger Sharks.
HOW TO BIGGER SHARKS
For Sharks over 10ft, you will need to lead them into the shallows. When you get the shark close enough, grab the leader line and guide the shark into the shallows. As soon as the stomach touches the sand, run to the other side and grab the tail wrist like you would for smaller species.
The shorter the time spent in the shallows, the quicker the shark will recover from its tonic state. If it is having some difficulty, wiggle its upper caudal fin whilst pushing it forward towards deeper water. It should bring it round and give it the jump start it needs to get going.
SAFETY IN THE WATER AROUND SHARKS
When you are releasing sharks in crocodile infested waters, keep the shark between you and the open ocean. You don’t want a croc to sneak up on you and shut the session down.
Because you are going to be on a secluded beach when Shark fishing, you are much more likely to encounter jellyfish and even worse up the further you go north along the Western Australian coast, the Box Jellyfish and Irukandji are potentially lethal marine stingers, so keep your clothes on. Keep your eyes open for jellyfish and crocodiles while you are tagging and handling the Sharks.
SHARK RASH, CUTS AND NICKS
The biggest issue is going to be shark rash. For this reason, I always wear thick jeans when Shark tagging. It isn’t the most comfortable thing to be wading through the water with, but it’s thick enough that the shark’s skin won’t rip it to shreds. For this reason, I also wear gloves. If you do get any cuts or nicks from the Shark’s teeth. Stop the session and go and get some oral antibiotics. Shark teeth are coated in bacteria and even a small cut can give a pretty nasty infection.
All other safety precautions that come with being in remote areas of Australia should be undertaken. You should have a good understanding of snake bites and first aid and make sure someone knows exactly where you will be in the case of emergencies.
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