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SHARK TIDBITS, INSPIRED BY SHARK WEEK

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Shark week was in full swing last week and, at The Post, we received an informational email detailing many different facts about sharks. So if you are interested in learning facts about sharks in Texas, the best way to catch and release these animals or the top five Texas sharks, read on. All of the information for this article was taken from the email, which was sent to us by the Texas Parks And Wildlife Department. The majority of the credit for information and pictures goes directly to them. Other sources will be linked at the end of the article.

So first, facts about Texas sharks. While it is safe to assume that there are so many interesting shark facts, about sharks in Texas and sharks in general, the TPWD discussed—what they believe to be—the top three facts. Did you know that “whale sharks are the largest fish in existence?” Because they are. Did you know that “shortfin mako sharks are the fastest sharks on record?” Because they are, and can go at 46 miles per hour. Oh, and one more thing. I wonder if anyone of you knew that, recently, “two 300-million-year-old supershark fossils” were found in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This information was gained through PHYS.ORG.

So I didn’t realize this, but apparently there are people who catch sharks? That being said, there are a few shark species that are prohibited from being caught. According to the TPWD, these sharks include: Atlantic Angel shark, Bigeye Sand Tiger shark, Bignose shark, Galapagos shark, Silky shark, White shark and more. The TPWD also explained the proper way to release a shark, should you catch one that is prohibited or if you simply want to release it. You must use sturdy gloves, wet towels, pliers, wire cutters, a hook remover, bolt cutters and a camera for your release. Important processes you must follow consist of: handling the shark properly, keeping it in the water as much as possible, removing the hook immediately and placing it in the water so it can swim away. You can find more detailed information at one of the links posted below.

Now, according to the TPWD, there are “40 shark species found in the Texas waters of the Gulf Of Mexico” but the five most common are: Atlantic Sharpnose sharks, Blacktip sharks, Bonnethead sharks, Bull sharks and Spinner sharks. Furthermore “anglers in Texas are allowed one shark per person per day with a two-shark possession limit.”

Lastly, the TPWD recently released an article on Harvey the shark—named after sportsman, Harvey Weil—who “traveled far into the Caribbean Sea and back two years in a row, clocking more than 14,000 miles in all.” And we know about the number of miles he travelled, thanks to a satellite tag that was attached to the shark, which registered each time the shark broke surface and sent out a signal. The article explained how tracking played a big role in identifying “critical areas to protect” with the number of sharks declining. According to the TPWD, thousands of sharks have been tagged since 2012 and 94 have been recaptured.

And, for a more exciting piece of information, you can enjoy a delicious treat in the form of a shark watermelon! According to watermelon.org, the materials you need are: one oblong (seeded watermelon), a dry erase marker, a large knife, a smaller utility knife, a large spoon, a pairing knife, two large marbles (you can also use a circular fruit, such as a blueberry or grape), toothpicks and Swedish fish candy. The instructions for making this watermelon shark, taken from watermelon.org, are:

“Wash and dry the watermelon.

Cut off 1/3 of the watermelon at a diagonal angle.

Stand the remaining 2/3 upright on your work surface and use a dry erase marker to draw the mouth line and eye sockets.

Cut out the mouth. Trim back a ½” line of the green part of the rind for the teeth area.

Use a large spoon to scoop out the watermelon flesh, leaving 3″ intact at the base.

Cut out the teeth, using a smaller utility knife.

Use melon baller to cut out the eye sockets that match the size of large marbles. Then use a paring knife to trim the green area around the eyes. Insert marbles.

Use the carved out rind from the mouth to make the dorsal fin, shape as shown in the picture. Attach the fin using toothpicks.

Fill the mouth with triangle shapes of watermelon, accented with Swedish fish.”

Although shark week is over, it’s never a wrong time to learn something new—whether this is facts about sharks or how to make a delicious summer treat. Whatever it may be, I hope you enjoyed this little informational article.

Sources:

https://www.watermelon.org/Carvings/Shark?utm_campaign=govdelivery-email-fishing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery-sharkweek2018 (this website shows how to make shark watermelon and even includes a video)

https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/fishing/shark-regulations/shark-limits?utm_campaign=govdelivery-email-fishing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery-sharkweek2018 (this website discusses regulations for shark fishing)

https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/fishing/catch-release-tips (this website explains the proper way to release caught sharks)

https://tpwd.texas.gov/regulations/outdoor-annual/fishing/shark-regulations/prohibited-shark-species?utm_campaign=govdelivery-email- fishing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery-sharkweek2018 (this website explains a list of prohibited sharks)

https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2018/jul/ed_2_gulf_sharks/index.phtml?utm_campaign=govdelivery-email-fishing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery-sharkweek2018 (this article is about Harvey the shark and shark tracking)

https://phys.org/news/2015-10-million-year-old-supershark-fossils-texas.html?utm_campaign=govdelivery-email-fishing&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery-sharkweek2018 (this article explains the discovery of supershark fossils).

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