Scientists aim to study tiger sharks in Port Royal Sound

Scientists aim to study tiger sharks in Port Royal Sound

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - Some scientists believe the Port Royal Sound in Beaufort County is home to the largest concentration of sharks along the East Coast.

They will be soon start satellite tagging dozens of tiger sharks in an effort to study their movement.

Many fishermen and Charterboat captains agree, Port Royal Sound is the deepest, most natural harbor on the East Coast thanks in part to its high salinity levels.

"Two high tides and two low tides and you have a lot of water coming in and a lot of water coming out and that's why it makes it a very good area for sharks looking for food to eat," said Waldo Phinney, Captain of the Seawolf VI.

But the big question is how many sharks are there in the Port Royal Sound?

DNR marine biologists and OCEARCH, a non-profit organization, will be satellite tagging dozens of tiger sharks to better study them.

"I see more tiger sharks than any other sharks I guess," said Phinney.

With 38 years of experience, he said he's the oldest offshore captain in Beaufort County.

Phinney says he caught a 13 foot tiger shark in the Port Royal Sound last year but he released it.

"There's a lot of sharks that are endangered, and they should not be kept but a lot of people don't know that," he said.

Others agree it's not uncommon to see tiger sharks in this area, some of which easily weigh about a thousand pounds.

"The last three years, I saw a big tiger shark on the Seawolf swimming right beside the boat, we hooked him up one time but he got away and took out about 2,000 feet of line," said Joe Vido, Senior First Mate of the Seawolf VI.

Phinney said the shark population has been reduced significantly since he first started fishing in 1947 because of delicacies like shark fin soup.

Through this research, he and others are hoping it will help revive the shark population.

Scientists and fishermen say the shark population is highest during the summer months in the Port Royal Sound.

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