Porbeagle sharkHALIFAX (CANADA)- One endangered species endangers another species. In the cold Gulf of St. Lawrence researchers saw the eels they were tracking and studying disappear before they were able to see where they would go to spawn. Turns out that porbeagle sharks ate the unfortunate research objects.

The researchers, as part of the Ocean Tracking Network’s investigation to uncover the eels’ pathway through the Gulf to spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea— a journey that has mystified scientists for over a century, hoped to track their eels right into the Sea. So they could precisely document spawning areas. Eight eels from the St. Lawrence River in Quebec were tagged with satellite “pop-up tags.”

All eight tags detached from the eels and surfaced prematurely, suggesting the eels’ untimely death.

Julian Dodson, professor at Laval University and principal investigator, coauthored the study told Underwater Times: “Both species are in trouble, and measures to conserve one may well be at odds with efforts to protect the other. What we really need now are studies to quantify just how important eels are in the diets of sharks and just what impact shark predation has on eel abundance.”

Read more at Underwater Times.