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What do I do if I catch a tagged shark?

There are three types of tags currently in use by the Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP). The most common tag is a dart tag, composed of a stainless steel dart head, monofilament line, and a plexiglas capsule containing a vinyl plastic legend with return instructions. These dart tags, in use since 1965, are implanted in the back musculature near the base of the first dorsal fin. More recently, Hallprint tags and fin tags have been used on a limited basis on small sharks in nursery areas.

When you catch a shark with a tag in it, we ask that you record the following information as accurately and completely as possible:

  • Tag Number
  • Species and Sex
  • Date of Capture
  • Location Caught (Latitude and Longitude preferred)
  • Length and/or weight, and whether it was estimated or measured
  • Type of length (fork or total) and/or type of weight (whole or dressed)
  • Fishing method (rod and reel, longline, etc.)
  • Whether you kept the shark, or released it alive - if released alive, was it released with the same tag, a different tag, or no tag
  • If you are keeping the shark, please see our Request for Backbones of Recaptured Sharks
  • Be sure to include your name, mailing address, daytime phone number, and email address

There are several ways you can report this information to us - please do one of the following:

  • Call 877-826-2612 Toll-free
  • Email us at
  • Use our online form to report this information.
  • You can fill in this form and send it to:

    Cooperative Shark Tagging Program
    NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
    28 Tarzwell Drive
    Narragansett, RI 02882

After receipt of the recapture information, you will receive a report on the original release and a hat to thank you for your participation.

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