Instead, they found something much worse than expected.
Sulikowski and members of the Sulikowski Shark and Fish Research Lab in Maine managed to get a shark to follow their mating line to the bait. They wrapped it around to secure it next to their boat so they could begin the sampling process.
They had landed a 7-foot puffer shark with a plastic strip around their necks.
"I knew right away that something was wrong when we pulled her in," Sulikowski wrote in an e-mail.
The plastic was wrapped around her gills and cut through her skin and into her muscles.
"We do not know exactly where the plastic came from, but it seems to be similar to commercial fish bait boxes," Sulikowski said.
He could have cut and removed the plastic, and he thinks the shark would have died if he had not. He believes that it has been there for years and wraps around her neck when she was younger and burrowing as she grows.
After collecting some samples, the research team attached a satellite tag to the shark's dorsal fin and released it, hoping to heal their recovery.
"Given the nature of her injury and her strength to not give up, we called her Destiny because she's definitely a survivor!" Wrote the research team on Facebook.
"The Porbeagle shark is considered to be threatened with global extinction Canada and is considered a candidate species, which is classified in US waters as endangered," said Sulikowski. "Because of the state of their populations, we work with the fishery to obtain updated information on shark biology, ecology and movement patterns, and it is hoped that this work will provide information that will help better manage and preserve it." species.