Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Migratory patterns and habitat use of the sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) in the western North Atlantic

Shara M. Teter A , Bradley M. Wetherbee A B E , Dewayne A. Fox C , Chi H. Lam D , Dale A. Kiefer D and Mahmood Shivji A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Guy Harvey Research Institute and Save Our Seas Shark Research Center, Nova Southeastern University, Dania Beach, FL 33004, USA.

B Department of Biological Sciences, University of Rhode Island, 9 East Alumni Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA.

C Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, 1200 N DuPont Highway, Dover, DE 19901, USA.

D Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.

E Corresponding author. Email: wetherbee@uri.edu

Marine and Freshwater Research 66(2) 158-169 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF14129
Submitted: 13 May 14  Accepted: 27 June 2014   Published: 20 October 2014

Abstract

Globally, population declines for the sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) have resulted in calls for informed management of populations, including in the western North Atlantic, where they have been listed as a Species of Concern by NOAA Fisheries. However, information on movements and habitat use, critical for informed management of this sand tiger population, is limited. We investigated horizontal and vertical movements of sand tigers along the US east coast using pop-up archival satellite transmitters, supplemented by acoustic telemetry. Thirteen sand tiger sharks were tagged with satellite and acoustic transmitters in Delaware Bay in late August and early September 2008. Ten of these provided satellite data for horizontal tracks using a Kalman filter. Males left Delaware Bay in autumn and moved south along the continental shelf until reaching waters off North Carolina. Females moved east to waters near the edge of the continental slope. Average depth of males was positively correlated with shark size. All individuals spent at least 95% of their time in waters of 17–23°C. Sand tiger sharks appear most susceptible to fisheries in November and December. Slight expansion of the boundaries and timing of an existing shark-directed bottom longline area closure would likely reduce by-catch of sand tiger sharks and enhance recovery of the stock.

Additional keywords: acoustic telemetry, essential habitat, satellite telemetry, vertical and horizontal movements.


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