Sharkland Night 1 is always refered to as "The main event". It is in this nursary that we catch the most sharks, and usually have a very high number of baby lemons caught in the first night. This year however it was not so! We caught 48 sharks, however 2 mortalities before they got to the tagging boat puts the number of worked up sharks to 46, where as in the North Sound 49 were caught (with one escaping the first night to put the number at 48). Lemon sharks pup (aka give birth) every 2 years. The lemons that come to Bimini tend to be on an odd year cycle, as in the big years are in the years ending in an odd number. With this being an even number year it was not expected to be high, however we all thought it would be more than what we got! 25 were recaps, and 21 were new captures. We had 16 young of the year, 24 males to 22 females. Net 1 caught 10, net 2 caught 4, and net 3 caught 34.
Sharkland night 2 started on a sad note, as the tagging boat got to the main pen a mortality was discovered. However all the other babies were doing fine so that was a good sign. Another steady night catching 21 sharks. 1 mortality in the pen before it could get to the tagging boat, so 20 were worked up that night. 2 also passed away in the main pen after trying to revive them with bilging. 14 sharks were recaps, 6 new captures including the largest of the nursary at 128 cm! Since size wise that shark is a sub adult and not a juvenile, we released that shark a ways away from the pen. Small patch of storms passed through but that was all the crazy weather we had in the evening. 12 males to 8 females. Net 1 had 7, Poor net 2 had only 1, and net 3 had 13.
Juvenile lemon in the pen
June 15, 2012
Sharkland Night 3 started off with some ominous clouds in the distance. Not long after setting Emily came on the radio saying there was a small band of nasty weather coming through but it should pass quickly.
The approaching doom
The first round did pass, but what no one saw (as the internet went out at the lab, so they could not check the radar) was the giant blob of bad weather coming in after it! It gave a spectacular lighting show for about 4 hours, with lightning lighting up the sky every couple seconds. The rain however lasted about 6 hours. It did not rain hard the whole night, but rained enough to get everyone wet and miserable. The winds changed directions every so often so the storm just sat over us for quite some time. All the boats retreated to the mangroves for shelter to get away from the rebar in the pens. Transport boxes were used as umbrellas, people hid in the anchor wells...you get creative when trying to stay dry!
Chelsea utilizing the transport box
Kristyn doing her best turtle impersonation
We got a slight break for dinner though. Tagging boat went to the ferry dock to collect the delicious lasagna dinner the home crew had prepared and in that time the weather decided to be kind for a little bit and not make everyone eat lasagna with a side of rain water. However the rain did pick back up after! The night gave us 8 sharks, however 2 were released after a brief workup at the net pen. Since they were not doing well we decided to release them in hopes that they would recover and we would catch them another day. 2 were recaptures, 6 were new captures. 5 males to 3 females. Net 1 and 3 split evenly, each catching 4 sharks. Net 2 was skunked.
June 16, 2012
The night of the 16th was a rest night, as in no fishing. We set a deep line in the morning in hopes of catching a big shark...and we did! A 3.90 m Tiger shark! This made everyone's day and all the volunteers got to get in and get their picture taken with her before releasing her back to the deep.
Oh hello there!
June 17, 2012
Night 4 of Sharkland which means new crews on each of the boats to rotate everyone around to ensure everyone gets to try a little of everything. The night brought us 7 sharks. 2 of which were new caps, and 2 young of the year.
June 18, 2012
Night 5 of sharkland brought us 12 sharks! 6 were recaps, 6 were new captures. 7 males to 5 females, and 5 young of the year!
June 19, 2012
This is it! The final night of PIT and mother nature made sure we knew it. Some rain showeres popped up through the night but nothing major and nothing like the lightning storm from a few days prior. We had 4 sharks total, with 3 recaptures. The final shark of PIT was a little Neo, young of the year that needed a PIT tag! A fitting way to end PIT. Plus she was one that had been released prior due to a poor showing in Net 3's pen. However now she was doing fine and we all got a picutre with the little girl.
Here are the counts for Sharkland:
100 catches in total (this includes those that had to be released before a work up. Also includes the shark possibly caught twice so may only be 99. Only the DNA will tell!)
6 mortalities in the nursary
46 new captures, 54 recaptures
32 young of the year
55 males to 45 females.
net 1: 25, net 2: 11, net 3: 64
It was a slower year in Sharkland, one of the lowest number of sharks and neonates since 2002. Perhaps we lost a few mothers before they could come give birth, or the juveniles did not live until PIT. We can only speculate...
The fishing is over and the PIT 2012 Juvenile Lemon Shark Census is complete.
To see some of the data collected this year and get a review of the project please see The Rundown