Confirmed: Sharks Return to Costa Rica for Breeding

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A long and comprehensive research study which has been conducted for nearly two decades confirms that sharks indeed return to the place they were born in order to give birth. The paper for this research was recently published by the Molecular Ecology scientific journal and has been acknowledged by members of Mision Tiburon (Shark Mission), a non-profit dedicated to the protection and preservation of the numerous selachian species that swim in the coastal waters of Costa Rica.

According to Nature World News, the study puts sharks in the same breeding category as other species such as salmon and sea turtles. The study was conducted in the Bimini lagoon near the Bahamas and involved the Negaprion brevirostris species, colloquially known in Costa Rica as tiburon galano and sometimes as tiburon limon (lemon tiger). Experienced divers can tell these sharks by the fact that their two dorsal fins are almost the same size.

The study revealed that lemon sharks have a roving nature, but they somehow can recall their place of birth and that is where females will return to give birth. What is amazing about this study is its scope; not only did marine biologists wait patiently for 15 years for the young sharks they tagged to return -they also tagged 2,000 sharks to make their point!

Speaking to La Nacion, Ilena Zanella of Shark Mission stated that she is pleased with the comprehensive study since it confirms the importance of establishing either no-fishing zones in Costa Rica or restricting catch by size, weight or season. Costa Rica has already been identified as a crucial breeding region for hammerhead sharks. This is a species that breeds near the southern Pacific, specifically in the Golfo Dulce, before they swim away to the Cocos Island National Park.

Shark Mission is currently involved in shark tagging projects that aim to shed more light into the important role that the elasmobranch species plays in Costa Rica’s rich oceanic ecosystem.

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