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Shark fitted with tracking device for first time in Canaries 

PAGE 6 SHARK FITTED

The Loro Parque Foundation and ElasmoCan have fitted a shark with a satellite device for the first time in the Canary Islands.

The project, a pioneer in the islands, has been developed by ElasmoCan scientists thanks to the funding from Loro Parque and is linked to the new Poema del Mar aquarium in Gran Canaria.

ElasmoCan is the Canarian Association for the Research and Conservation of Elas-mobranchs (including sharks and rays). The device fitted to the shark will allow experts to study its range of motion, depth and temperature pre-ferences.

The specimen is a smooth or horned hammerhead shark, whose knowledge in the islands is limited to reporting the presence of two species and there is little information about sightings in social networks. However, hammerhead sharks are easily caught in numerous fishing modalities and, consequently, have high mortality rates. Their swimming capacity and behaviour make this happen in large areas that can cover different countries, which makes it difficult to formulate effective measures for their conservation.

Thus, ElasmoCan has developed the Hammerhead Shark Research research project with the aim of obtaining a basic under-standing of these species and helping in the local ma-nagement of their popula-tions.

The study has focused on tagging campaigns on the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, in places where professional fishermen and commercial recreationalists reported the presence of cornudas for several days. In this way, it was possible to confirm the presence of juveniles in these areas, and to take biological data and tissue samples from the sharks, which will be used in future genetic and trophic studies.

In addition, the project has expanded its research using the telemetry technique, which allows receiving data remotely.

Dr. Filip Osaer, of Elas-moCan and leader of the pro-ject, has highlighted the im-portance of this initiative that uses state-of-the-art and pioneering technology in the archipelago. He explained that the type of device used is PAT (Pop-up satellite Archival Tag), which stores information on temperature, depth and light intensity.

As a point of interest, the instrument will detach from the shark and will float after six months, with the aim of transmitting information stored by satellite. For the person who finds the transmitter, and gives it to ElasmoCan, a reward has been prepared.