Charter fishing boats aren’t the only ones being robbed of their catches by sharks, judging from a video released by shark researchers in Maine.
The Sulikowski Shark and Fish Research Lab captured the below-the-surface images Friday, showing what happened when a relentless spiny dogfish shark butted into one of their experiments.
“We were dogged out today. Spiny dogfish were all over the water column, chasing hooked groundfish to the surface... and shredding our tackle,” the Maine-based lab posted. “The tenacity and voraciousness of this species is incredible.”
Marine Scientist James Sulikowski told McClatchy the video was taken at Jeffreys Ledge in the Gulf of Maine, as his lab collaborated with NOAA Fisheries on porbeagle shark research. The study is collecting data on their movement patterns and habitat use.
The hooked fish seen in the video was intended to be “fresh bait” for a porbeagle shark, he said.
“On our recent trip, the dogfish were so thick throughout the water column we could not set our gear without catching them almost immediately,” he told McClatchy.
Spiny dogfish, an order of sharks, grow to about 4 feet and have a reputation for “chasing down smaller fish in dog-like packs,” according to Oceana.org. They are abundant from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, says NOAA.
Sulikowski told The Charlotte Observer in December that his research in collaboration with NOAA agencies is intended to help scientists unravel a multitude of mysteries involving endangered sharks.
His work has included putting trackers -- known as Birth-Tags -- on migrating sharks to find out where they are giving birth off the East Coast.
The lab, part of the University of New England, received national attention last year when it posted research showing porbeagle sharks “learn to hunt” in the womb, by eating their mother’s unfertilized eggs.