What's worth getting up at 4:30am for? This is!
It is 4:30am, mid-April on a lonely island called Curieuse. You would expect everybody to be asleep during these early hours, especially on Curieuse where only a handful of people live. This does not apply to the GVI Camp. Here people are getting up and ready for the unique adventure on schedule today. By 5:00am we leave the camp carrying gigantic and various types of fishnets and other gear needed for this survey. We walk to the turtle pond on the other side of the island at a fast pace since we need to be there before dawn. On arrival staff and volunteers immediately set everything up. Everybody is involved, nobody wants to miss this. The different nets get cast out across the Turtle Pond. Hooks on lines get thrown into the water and once everything is set up we take our positions. Then it is time to wait and be patient. In silence we watch the waters for a potential catch. We don’t want to catch just any fish. We want one specific, very special species. Time passes, the sun rises and gives the hills of Curieuse a beautiful red tint. Hanna, a volunteer from Sweden, feels a pull on her line but thinks nothing of it. Her hook has probably just gotten caught in sea-grass again….right? As she pulls her line back in, we all see it. We have caught a shark at last! Everybody runs over. Allan, one of the Science Officers and the resident shark expert, gets it off the hook. We measure it, weigh it, take a DNA sample and inject a PIT tag into it. She’s a young Lemon shark, less than a year old. Lemon sharks in the Atlantic Ocean have been well researched in the past, but this is a different species – the Sickle-fin – that had never been studied in Curieuse until this joint GVI and SNPA project was established, with funding from the Seychelles British High Commission. By capturing and tagging them we hope to monitor the population in order to find out more about them. After all the information has been recorded, Hanna releases the shark, by which we have all been incredibly fascinated, back into the sea. We all felt proud because we just actively contributed to the research of the Sickle-fin Lemon shark on Curieuse Island. And who knows, maybe we’ll see this same shark again some time in the future!
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