This research team is involved in a catch, tag and release program involving a fish that is widely feared for being an ocean predator. But these scientists say sharks are an important part to Gulf Coast waters. In the past year these researchers have studied all kinds of sharks. It is part of a long-term monitoring program at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast research lab. They are taking inventory, one fish at a time and recording information such as where large populations of shark are living along with their health and reproductive habits Those are really important components that need to go into a stock assessment to make sure that their populations are maintained and in turn, help maintain the populations of those other species that our fisheries are relying on The group takes day long expeditions to the deepest waters of the Gulf to long line for larger sharks. We may average we may get twenty sharks per set everything that comes up we tag and release for future work so we can look at tags we capture and we have fisherman that turn them back in in case we ever recapture them, we know about what the population is and what they are doing Hinton says their research project relies heavily on citizen scientists to be successful The commercial fishermen, the recreational fisherman if they’re all aware and they recapture a fish with our tag in it we love it when they give us a call we provide them with a recapture report giving them a map of where a fish moved so it’s really trying to get the public involved in our science as well. Science that starts with a shark but ultimately tells an even bigger picture about the entire ecosystem of our coastal waters. From The University of Southern Mississippi I’m Layla Essery.