The Apex Predators Program (APP) is located at the Narragansett RI Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). We are one of three programs in the Population Biology Branch of the Population and Ecosystems Monitoring and Analysis Division. The mission of the APP is to conduct life history studies of commercially and recreationally important shark species. Our research is focused on distribution and migration patterns, age and growth, reproductive biology, and feeding ecology. We conduct fishery independent surveys of large and small coastal sharks in US waters from Florida to Delaware. Biological samples and catch data are collected at recreational fishing tournaments in the Northeast US.
We administer an extensive Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP) in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Mediterranean Sea, utilizing thousands of volunteer anglers. APP staff manages and coordinates the Cooperative Atlantic States Shark Pupping and Nursery (COASTSPAN) Survey, that uses researchers in major coastal Atlantic states to conduct a comprehensive and standardized investigation of valuable shark nursery areas. Information gathered from our research programs provides baseline biological data for the management of large Atlantic sharks.