Massive tiger shark caught and tagged off Dauphin Island - FOX10 News | WALA

Massive tiger shark caught and tagged off Dauphin Island

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DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL (WALA) -

In celebration of the end of Shark Week, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is releasing video of scientists tagging a massive tiger shark caught right here on the Gulf Coast.

It takes a team to hoist the 10-foot-long male shark out of the Gulf. In just minutes, he is measured, studied and tagged before he's released.

Doctor Marcus Drymon and his team caught the shark about 15-miles off Dauphin Island in June.

"We are able to do this in about three to five minutes,” said Drymon. “The whole time, we make sure there is running seawater going over the gills of the shark."

Using the latest technology, Drymon and his team can track the shark in almost real time. They attached what's called a SPOT tag to its dorsal fin, which sends back a satellite signal every time the shark comes to the surface.

Within a week of tagging, the tiger shark moved from the mouth of Mobile Bay to the waters off Mississippi, and then back towards Florida. Drymon says he was last tracked to Pensacola.

Understanding detailed movement patterns for large predators like tiger sharks is critical to ensuring they are adequately managed. Researchers also study the contents of a shark's stomach without having to kill the animal. Drymon explained how many tiger sharks are eating birds.

"The more we interact with them in positive ways, the more we can understand just how unbelievably fascinating they are,” said Drymon.

Click here to follow Drymon and the University of South Alabama Shark Research Program.

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