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Tournament Sampling

Shark Tournament

Historically, species-specific landings data from recreational fisheries is lacking for sharks. In an effort to augment these data, the NEFSC has been attending recreational shark tournaments continuously since 1961 collecting data on species, sex, and size composition from individual events; in some cases, for over 45 years. In addition, these tournaments provide a source of samples for pelagic and some coastal sharks to aid in our biological research. Analysis of these tournament landings data was initiated by creating a database of historic information (1961-2009) and producing preliminary summaries of one long-term tournament. The collection and analysis of these data are critical for input into species and age specific population and demographic models for shark management. In 2009, biological samples for life history studies and catch and morphometric data for more than 200 pelagic sharks were collected at 10 recreational fishing tournaments in the northeastern United States. Participation at recreational shark tournaments and the resultant information is very valuable as a monitoring tool to provide long-term data that can detect trends in species and size composition, provide valuable specimens and tissue for life history and genetic studies, provide outreach opportunities for recreational fishermen and the public, and finally, to provide additional information on movements that complement the NMFS Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP).

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