EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Researchers in Rhode Island are safely catching, tagging, and releasing sharks with the goal of using their movement data to inform conservation efforts.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Atlantic Shark Institute partnered in 2019 to place acoustic receivers in state waters. The receivers log any tagged animal that swims into its range.

Atlantic Shark Institute Executive Director Jon Dodd said the receivers, which cost $4,000 apiece, connect Rhode Island with other states and their research.

“We’ve had situations where folks that are researching in the Chesapeake Bay have called us delighted because there are striped bass that we are actually detecting that they thought never made it out of the Chesapeake Bay,” Dodd said. “And now they found out they’re here, they’re in Rhode Island.”

Local waters are home to about 12 to 15 species of shark.

“You can run into a great white shark, you can run into a porbeagle shark, you run into a mako shark,” Dodd added. “We’ve got blue sharks, which are gorgeous, long pectoral fins. Blacktip sharks, which are usually a warm-water shark. Spinner sharks. Occasional tiger shark. Hammerhead sharks.”

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