SC Aquarium reeling in sharks for new exhibit

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hitting the water to catch more sharks, the South Carolina Aquarium is stocking up for a brand new exhibit coming next spring. It will be called "Shark Shallows."

Senior Biologist Arnold Postell said, "We've been getting out a couple times a week over the last couple months."

Anchored out about 5 miles from the Charleston Harbor, staff members from the South Carolina Aquarium were on lookout for one kind of shark.

"We're out here to catch one Blacknose shark and it could take anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours," said Postell.

The group used several kinds of bait.

Postell saide, "We have a really oily, bloody fish called Amberjack. We also have some squad, probably some menhaden."

After 5 hours out on the water the staff seemed to catch everything but what they were looking for.

They reeled in a lot of Atlantic sharpnose, the most abundant shark species in our area.

"In the last couple months when we have been catching, we've probably been hitting a dozen of those before we hit the one species that we're looking for," said Postell.

Sharpnoses don't do well in captivity, so the group threw them all back in. They were sure to keep a record of all shark species caught during the trip.

Postell said, "We actually file a report to the federal government. It's one of multiple ways they can gain data of what's out here."

The aquarium follows slightly different rules and regulations than the average fisherman. They are issued both state and national permits.

"We're not really limited on size as much as we are limited on numbers of species," said Postell.

Every year they have to submit a permit to the federal government stating exactly how many of each animal they would like to catch.

"Which is usually a huge wish list of more than any animals we would ever want," said Postell.

The permit offers flexibility, so when they catch something unexpected, they can choose to keep it or like much of Wednesday, return it to the ocean.

The staff wasn't able to catch any blacknose sharks this time around but the aquarium already has three.

Tuesday those sharks were moved to a different holding tank to make room for the new exhibit.

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