Stan Warren, who founded Requiem Fishing, said his crew does everything it can to avoid fishing around swimmers — including fishing mostly at night — and he emphasized that his anglers are drawing the sharks into an area, just catching the ones already there.

“These sharks are here whether we are fishing for them or not. We don’t lure them into swimming areas with a hunk of bait. They are already there,” he said. “I think it’s important for people to know that, and I think it also shows how uninterested sharks are in humans.”

Aside from the thrill of hooking, fighting, and landing a creature that few humans ever see up close, Requiem team members also participate in a tagging program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Apex Predator Program. This program helps scientists and biologists gather information on sharks’ behavior, migration patterns, travel routes, growth rates, mortality rates, and abundance.

Anglers take a shark’s measurements — a daunting task considering the shark is beached and obviously wanting to get back to deep water. Warren said this is one time when teamwork really comes into play. 

“We have a very limited amount of time to get the shark back in the water before it dies, so we have it down to a science,” said Warren, whose team can photograph, measure, take and release a shark in less than two minutes. It’s a quick process when everyone works together, and the data they are sharing with NOAA is invaluable.

If you catch a tagged shark, do your part to help by recording the tag information and visit www.nefsc.noaa.gov.