NEELTJE JANS (THE NETHERLANDS) – The number of sharks on the Dutch coast has been increasing the past few years. Yet a research project called Shark-a-Tag found less sharks this year than before.

School or Tope Shark. CC:Flickr Al and Marie
School or Tope Shark. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Al and Marie.

Three days of tagging saw only 54 sharks, while last year that number was 210. In 2012 101 sharks were tagged.

Why this year there is such a small number of sharks is hard to explain says Sportvisserij Nederland, the association of anglers that help to tag the sharks. The few days before the research industrial shrimp fishermen were active in the area. Small sharks are often bycatch in their nets and don’t always survive it.

sharkatag[1]The decrease in tagged sharks prove the need once more for a policy on shark protection on the North Sea shores. This cold dark sea is home to about twelve species of sharks, six of them have become rare. The most common on the Dutch coast are the starry smooth-hound, small-spotted catshark and the tope or school shark.

A total of 2000 sharks have been tagged so far. Some of them have been caught as far as Spain or Norway.