It's a beautiful, calm Friday morning on Davis Bayou in Ocean Springs, a perfect day to hunt for sharks. Dr. Eric Hoffmayer and his team of scientists at the Gulf Coast Research Lab head out with high expectations.
"We got a pretty good shot of finding a shark out here. We've been sampling here for a couple of weeks, ever since the hurricane, and we've collected a number of small sharks right out here," Hoffmayer said.
Within moments, someone notices a splash inside the net.
"That's a shark. That's a bull shark," Hoffmayer said.
The scientists quickly get to work on the baby bull shark. They begin by measuring it.
"OK. It's 67. It's a standard," Hoffmayer said.
The next step is the tagging.
"We pop a hole in the dorsal to put a rotor tag in."
He then attaches an acoustic tracking device on the fin. Hoffmayer says his crews have been finding more baby bulls in the bayous since Katrina.
"They're out here. But the concentration we've been seeing is rare. We've also seen something from Lake Pontchartrain. There's also a nursery area in Louisiana. With all the contaminants being dumped into the water, they may be moving into our area."
Within 30 minutes, three sharks have been caught and tagged. Now, the real work begins. The scientists will track the sharks to find out where they're going and how far their moving.
The crew uses an underwater receiver and headphones to monitor their movements. It's a process that will continue until winter.
"It was a little hectic in the beginning, yeah. But it's very successful. We'll go out and spend the rest of the day following the shark, and hopefully pick it up the next couple of weeks and re-track it."
You may remember, Bull sharks were blamed for those violent attacks in Florida last summer. Scientists say the baby Bull sharks found in Mississippi are about two to three feet long, and they are not aggressive.