Sharkatag – An initiative of Dutch anglers helps gather scientific data about sharks

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23 May

“Sharkatag" is an initiative driven by the Dutch sport fishing association, Sportvisserij Nederland, a member of the EAA. It is part of an international shark tagging program in which recreational anglers catch, tag, and release sharks off the coast of Zeeland. This initiative contributes to valuable research on the migratory behavior of these extraordinary creatures along the Dutch coastline.

This year again, Sportvisserij Nederland will charter several boats on a fishing trip to catch, tag and release sharks. In the past, this experience has demonstrated that in just a few days, anglers can tag more than 100 sharks. All sharks are released alive right after being tagged or simply registered (for smaller specimens). The tagging is external and causes no pain.

In 2019, a total 4500 sharks were tagged, which gave very valuable information about the population, the individuals’ growth, distribution, migration routes, spawning and growing areas, etc. Concerning migration for example, this work helped understand that male sharks migrate to Scotland while females go to the Gulf of Gascony. Indeed, female sharks migrate to warmer waters in winter and then return to the North Sea to reproduce.

These findings have been published in scientific journals and have brought new knowledge about sharks. This information is now used to protect sharks and their ecosystems in the North Sea and to better inform recreational anglers.

This year, Sportvisserij Nederland will also invite government and elected officials, NGO representatives and scientists to join in some tagging outings, to raise awareness about anglers’ work and shark conversation. 


As often said, recreational anglers are the eyes and ears of the aquatic environment. They act as whistleblowers and play a key role in the conservation of fauna and flora. The Sharkatag is a great example of this key role played by anglers.


Access to the website: here

Access to the video: here


Pictures credit to Sportvisserij Nederland

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