High school students get hands-on experience at URI’s shark camp

More than a dozen high school students spent the day exploring Narragansett Bay as a part of the University of Rhode Island’s Shark Camp. (WJAR)

More than a dozen high school students spent Wednesday exploring Narragansett Bay as a part of the University of Rhode Island’s Shark Camp.

The students, alongside URI professors and Cap’n Bert crew members, learned about fishing and sea creatures.

URI Marine Biology professor Brad Wetherbee said sharks get a bad reputation and he’s happy to teach the teens about the fish.

“Shark Week this week is a lot of hysteria; if you're on the water, fall in the water, you're going to get attacked by a shark,” Wetherbee said. “But it’s really different in real life.”

He set out with the group to tag and release sharks for research.

"There's a lot of populations that's been overfished and it's important to manage those marine resources in a sustainable responsible way,” he said.

Students were able to catch and release fish, crabs, squids and four smooth dogfish sharks.

The experience was exciting for students like Met School rising senior Melodie Gonsalves, who is interested in marine biology.

“I just want to get into everything as much as I can,” she said. “I know this is something I might want to do.”

Captain Steve Barber praised URI for the opportunity it is offering students.

“This is a huge eye opener and I think URI is pretty much giving students the opportunity they wouldn't have in their own state so it’s just a great learning experience for all of them,” Barber said.

Shark Camp continues this week with trips to Mystic Aquarium and more time on the water.

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