How to Tag and Release a Bamboo Shark?
Posted by: | on May 30, 2012
In light of our new experience releasing bamboo sharks, we want to dedicate a post educating people how to do it properly. It was very good that Manila Ocean Park’s event before the actual release was very good and informative. There were several talks made before the actual bamboo shark release on “How to Rescue Stranded Sharks” delivered by a representative from the BFAR-NFRDI and also updates from the Calatagan LGU officials on their local environment conservation and preservation activities.
How was the bamboo sharks released in the recent Back to the wild bamboo shark release program? Manila Ocean Park Program Development Specialist, Jappy Lim, prepared these guidelines for us to follow:
Bamboo shark release guidelines:
- Take the bag containing the shark and immerse it in the water.
- Clutch the top of the bag as it is immersed. For divers, release the top of the bag only upon reaching the release depth and location. Do not tear or puncture holes into the bag.
- While immersed, tip the bag sideways; do NOT, at any time, attempt to pour the shark out of the bag!
- Roll the opening of the bag from inside out, with the opening oriented away from you and towards the release area. Do this until the shark swims out of the bag.
- If the bag has been rolled halfway and the shark still does not swim out, gently nudge the shark from the other side. Turning the bag all the way inside out is also an option.
- At no point should the sharks be grabbed or held, unless by Manila Ocean Park staff.
- Once outside the bag, do not prod or harass the shark; however, pictures and video may be taken.
- Be sure to stow the plastic bag away. Hand these to MOP staff later. Do not dispose of the bags out at sea.
- Exercise caution while exiting the area, since other sharks are also being released. Be aware of your surroundings to avoid stepping on and injuring unseen sharks.
Special Education Philippines was also given an opportunity to tag a bamboo shark. Tagging a fish is done to be able to monitor the fish’s growth and development over time. To tag a shark, the first thing we did is to remove the shark from the container. Hon. Mark Leviste, Vice Governor, Batangas Province asked representatives from BFAR-NHRDI how long will the sharks tolerate to be out of the water during tagging. Since the sharks cannot stay long out of water, we had to act fast during tagging. There are three important thing we have to do during the tagging of bamboo sharks:
1. length of the shark
2. tagging the shark
3. documenting the tag name of the shark in the manifest
Since the bamboo sharks released during the Back to the Wild Program are still juveniles, we will have to wait at least three more years before they are fully grown and sexually mature. The goal is for these sharks to propagate so that they will increase in number. As a diver it is rare to see sharks during a dive especially in day time since sharks are nocturnal predators. Hopefully with this program, it will generate more visits from divers and more researches to conduct their study in the area with the presence of a viable community of white-spotted bamboo sharks.
Below is a video of Hon. Mark Leviste, Vice Governor, Batangas Province and Hon. Sophia Palacio, M.D. Municipal of Mayor Calatagan, Batangas tagging two of the ten bamboo sharks that were tagged thanks to the help of BFAR-NHRDI and Manila Ocean Park. These sharks were released in marine protected areas in front of the CAP-Oceans resort.
To read more about this Back to the Wild Program, you can also read my related posts: