Shark Wrestling Camp and How You Can Help Save the World
Yep shark wrestling and it’s in the name of science! Florida based Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy (CMERA)offers week long camps dedicated solely to catching sharks and rays, measuring them, tagging them, and releasing them, all in the name of science. You need no experience, just pay up and they’ll put a shark in your lap, or a bunch of sharks in your lap.
Why would I want to catch a shark?
Because it’s freaking awesome, that’s why. (Duh)
The cool thing is, anyone can sign up. You don’t need any experience to become one of their students and they let you do all the hands on research. The academy’s goal—to tag every shark in the world. They’ve done quite a job so far. Their students have tagged the following sharks:
bull sharks, tiger sharks, nurse sharks, great hammerheads, bonnetheads, atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and blacknose sharks.
How do you “wrestle” a shark?
It’s more like catching sharks than wrestling them. It’s probably not a fair fight to wrestle them, since they’re out of the water when you do all the research. They literally catch them either through netting them or with a fishing pole and plop them (gently) right on the deck of the boat. You measure them, take a dna sample, determine the sex, tag them, get an awesome selfie with them, and then release them back. Some of their tags even have satellite tracking so they can keep track of them wherever they go.
Question: What do you call someone who puts his right hand in a shark’s mouth?
It’s not just shark wrestling though. It’s actually an intensive week that includes catching and tagging sharks, but also includes lots of educational training and lectures on the ecology of sharks, our oceans, reefs, and more. Basically it’s a week long summer camp for adults to go out, fish, net, tag sharks and then when you’re not on the boat, you’re attending lectures or on the beach snorkeling/scuba diving.
And the data you collect is actually used by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Why am I writing about this?
This to me just looks like one of those things that is so obscure and so unusual and so awesome. I would have never come across this from a google search. I came across this because I met the director of the program on the boat that I drive at Pier 39. He was a normal guy with a short sleeved t-shirt that said, “Shark Wrestler.”
“You got me,” I said. “What’s with your shirt?”
He told me all about it, how they take students out, give them hands on research, and of course my thought was, I wanna do that, but I’m not a student. Turns out, regular people can do it too and it's for a good cause-to help researchers better understand sharks and how they contribute to our healthy oceans. So that definitely piqued my interest and put Shark Wrestling or shark studying on my bucket list of things to do before I die.
Here's their website where you can learn more if you're interested. Or you can just email them directly too at email@example.com. If you do it, please send me a message and let me know what you thought!
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