WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Sharks are making a comeback — at least in the coastal waters off the East Coast of the U.S.

“The number of fish this year was amazing. We captured and tagged more fish than ever before,” said Lisa Natanson, a scientist at the Narragansett Laboratory of  NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

She led the longest running coastal research survey along the East Coast.

After completing the field work for 2015, the research team captured and tagged over 2,800 sharks, the most in the survey’s 29-year history, reports NOAA.

“Sandbar sharks were all along the coast, while most of the dusky sharks were off North Carolina,” explained Natanson. “We captured a bull shark for the first time since 2001, and recaptured 10 sharks previously tagged by our program and two sharks tagged by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.”

About 1,800 sharks were captured and tagged during the last survey in 2012.

Wildlife officials are ecstatic over the news.

“Sharks are very vulnerable. Even though they are at the top of the oceanic food chain and can live for decades, they are fragile in the sense that compared to other fish they grow very slowly, reproduce late in life and have only a few offspring,” explained Karyl Brewster-Geisz with NOAA Fisheries Office of Highly Migratory Species. “An increase in the numbers caught and tagged during each survey indicates a slow climb back. It is very good news for shark populations and for the ecosystem.”

The survey, which began in 1986, covers coastal waters from Florida north to Delaware, following shark migratory patterns.

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