Sound transmitter tags were placed on sharks in the Man of War Shoal Marine Park on Saturday, by researchers from the IMARES Institute of Wageningen University, members of the Dutch Elasmobranch Society and Nature Foundation. The tags will aid research about the migration pattern of sharks in the territorial waters of St. Maarten.
“This research is very important in order to determine the movement pattern of sharks in our territorial waters. We will now learn where sharks frequent, where they swim to feed and if they swim to neighbouring islands which is important for us to know given recent incidents regarding sharks being killed on neighbouring islands,” said Tadzio Bervoets of Nature Foundation.
The research, conducted under the Save our Sharks Project of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, is part of a three-year study where sharks and their importance to the ecosystem is being studied.
“Sharks are some of the most misunderstood and maligned creatures on the planet. They are also some of the most important animals in the ocean’s food chain and keep the sea in balance,” said Bervoets.
“Over the last decade, we have lost almost 99 per cent of sharks on a global scale as well as on St. Maarten, and they are now some of the most endangered animals on the planet. Through this project of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, of which the St. Maarten Nature Foundation is a part, we hope to change that through science and education,” he said.
The research is carried out by Shark Acoustic Expert Dr. Erwin Winter of the IMARES Institute of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Similar research will be carried out in St. Eustatius, Saba and Saba Bank.