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27-Jul-2014
Thresher Shark Performs Double Breach off Douglas Head!

Graham Ashton was leisure fishing on the 25th July 2014, catching lots of mackerel when he was astonished to see a 10' long thresher shark jump not just once but twice. He reported this to Manx Basking Shark Watch that it was about 500m offshore from Douglas Head a short way along Marine Drive

Graham said "It was not a whale or basking shark, it was quite a large thresher shark, easily 10' in length. it jumped out of the water twice within 200m of our boat, completely clear of the water, no mistaking the long tail of the thresher, never seen one on the Island in my 20+ years of boat fishing, spectacular and unforgettable!!

Graham and I (Jackie Hall) discussed this at length because young slender basking sharks can look a little like thresher sharks when they breach but Graham had taken the precaution of looking at footage of breaching thresher sharks and he said that he was certain that it was a thresher. Also, thresher sharks eat mackerel and Graham and his companion were catching lots of them so we decided that his identification was correct. To see more information about thresher sharks and an an excellent video of thresher sharks jumping and underwater footage of them swimming see:  http://www.arkive.org/thresher-shark/alopias-vulpinus/video-00.html

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26-Jul-2014
Mister Tailor Update: Tag Signal Weak but Readable

Mister Tailor, the 5.5m long male basking shark we tagged on the Isle of Man 411 days ago has been heading gradually northwards heading generally towards the Isle of Man. His tag was generously sponsored by Dong Energy.

Mister Tailor was about 50km south of the Island a couple of days ago. Although I am getting signals from him they are not of the very best quality and they are, therefore, not mapping on Wildlife Computers (see http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129183). I thought that you might want to get a rough idea of where he is and I therefore attach a Google map of his approximate whereabouts over the last couple of months. This relatively poor signal may be due to the tag tether being slightly twisted or it may have become fouled with seaweed or barnacles. With luck it may sort itself out soon, as King Orry's tag seems to have done at last. He is in NW Scotland. See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129182.

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25-Jul-2014
ITV News Story About Our Project on Tagging Basking Sharks and Some amazing Risso's Dolphin Footage.

A big thank you to Amy Mulhern and James Proudfoot for making this excellent news story. See the news story on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ManxBaskingSharkWatch?ref=hl. Also at http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2014-07-25/isle-of-man-basking-shark-numbers-low/

 

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23-Jul-2014
'King Orry' in Western Isles, 'Finly's' tag still Floating in Midwater
I am delighted to report that 'King Orry', the male basking shark who's tag is sponsored by the isle of Man's Steam Packet Company, has sent us signals from waters in the Western Isles of Scotland. He is well offshore between islands. We have had no signal from Mister Tailor for a while but Finly's tag is still floating free. We hope that it hits land soon and we can then refurbish it and use it again next year. Follow all the basking sharks tagged in British waters by both Dr Matt Witt's team from the University of Exeter and those tagged by Manx Basking Shark Watch by registering to receive updates by email at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?species=Basking%20Shark See where King Orry isat http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129182 The picture is of 'King Orry's" characteristic dorsal fin.
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21-Jul-2014
A GREAT Idea: Join the 2-minute Beach Clean Movement
Everytime you are on a beach take 2 minutes to pick up some of the human litter. I will be joining in with this. This is one of those great ideas that could change the look of our beaches forever.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-28373761
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18-Jul-2014
Finly the Basking Shark's Satellite Tag is Off!

Well, Finly and his tag have provided us with truly remarkable and useful information for the last year and a bit but it appears that the tag popped off on about the 10th July or slightly before. This data has been added to the now vast body of information that we have gained about basking sharks off-season movements. Amazing to think that we know so little about them until a few years ago.

I am sure that we will stand a very good chance of retrieving Finly's tag once it comes ashore and maybe we can refurbish it and use it again! Many, many, thanks to Isle of Man bank for so generously donating this tag to Manx Basking Shark Watch and to the children of Bradden School, especially Keira, for naming him. Keira, I owe you a trip out on the boat. Please get your dad to contact me via this website.

See Finly's journey, or the bits of it that he disclosed to us! athttp://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129185

Keira's winning picture of Finly is shown below. 

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18-Jul-2014
One Basking Shark in Douglas Bay! Risso's Dolphin Jumping Displays off Peel and Bradda Head

I am delighted to report that we have, at long last, on the 16th July, had a basking shark sighting from a Mr Keith Podmore of Port Erin--but it was in Douglas Bay! We hadn't had a single sighting since the 29th of June! I am sure that most people who are interested in basking sharks in Manx waters know how vanishingly rare this is but having spoken to Keith he is totally confident that it was a basking shark. He lives in Port Erin, a well known basking shark hot-spot so he knows a shark when he sees one! 

We have had previous experience of basking sharks in Douglas Bay and this normally seems to happen when we are not seeing sharks in the normal hot-spots. My best guess is that the basking sharks are not finding their preferred food in the normal hot-spots so they are searching for it elsewhere. We have done several boat surveys recently and have seen no basking sharks at all,

When we were out on Happy Jack yesterday, 17th July, however, we saw 2 pods, one pod of at least 8 animals including 2 juveniles off Peel and one pod of, again, at least 8 individuals including one very small juvenile and another juvenile off Bradda Head. The ones off Bradda Head were in a particularly playful mood. They were very calm swimming around our boat, diving down and then coming up again after a few minutes in a normal pattern for Rissos when, to our delight, they swam past us in formation and then put on a delightful show of multiple jumps. Thinking as a biologist rather than just a delighted spectator they may have been doing this to as a show of strength to show that they were strong enough to protect their infants but I couldn't help but feel that they did it for our delight! I attach one photo. More will be on our Facebook page shortly.

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16-Jul-2014
The Dead Minke Whale Washes Ashore at Glen Maye
The dead Minke whale that we found floating offshore of Bradda Head on friday whilst we were filming with Oxford Scientific Films (see news story below) has caused quite a stir in the news after it washed ashore on Glen Maye beach and had an autopsy done on it. See news stories on the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/28302734
and Isle of Man news http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/minke-whale-washes-up-on-isle-of-man-beach-1-6729969
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14-Jul-2014
Manx Basking Shark Watch Filming with Julian Cleary and Oxford Scientific Film

Julian Cleary and Oxford Scientific Films have been filming our beautiful Manx coastline and marine wildlife for  a new series on ITV called 'Nature Nuts'. The teams on the Manx Basking Shark Watch research boat 'Happy Jack' and Bob Taylor's boat 'Gemini' worked together to help them find some of our remarkable marine wildlife. The basking sharks didn't cooperate but the weather did and they were able to film Rissos' dolphins, harbour porpoise, a dead Minke whale, grey seals and the lovely breeding bird colony on the Sugarloaf. I believe that the series will be shown late this year. The photo shows, from left, director Charlie Bingham, presenter Julian Cleary, the MBSW crew Rowan Henthorn, Jackie and Graham Hall and cameraman Matt Norman.


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14-Jul-2014
Finly, King Orry and Mister Tailor at the Surface: SPOT Tags from 2013 Working Well.

I am delighted to report that all three of the basking sharks that still have their SPOT satellite tags on from last summer have been on the surface in the last week and that none of them are far away. 

 Finly is surface-feeding a lot near Stranraer,  King Orry popped up briefly about 90km NNW of the northern Irish Coast and Mister Tailor is still popping up occasionally in the middle of the Irish Sea about 120km SSW of the Isle of Man. Have a look at their individual positions on the Wildlife Tracking website http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?project_id=864 where you can register to have updates of their latest positions.

The photo shows King Orry's magnificent dorsal fin. His tag was generously donated by The Steam Packet Company. 

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11-Jul-2014
King Orry up at Last! Finly Still Surface-Feeding and the Zooplankton Situation Improves.

I am delighted to report that King Orry, the 7m long male basking shark sponsored by The Steam Packet Company, has finally popped up 90km NNW of Malin Head on the North coast of Ireland! We tagged him on August 13th 2013 and we haven't heard from him since October. He is obviously a basking shark who likes to feed deep in the water column and the tag will only tell us where he is when King Orry breaks the water surface. Let's hope he stays up for a few days and gives us some valuable information about where he is feeding.

 

Finly, meanwhile continues to feed on the surface and is giving us excellent data. See maps for both sharks on http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?project_id=864

Meanwhile, in Manx waters we are filming with Oxford Scientific Films and we have no basking sharks. However, when we did a plankton trawl yesterday the plankton situation was completely different to last weekend. The sample was hopping with an unbelievable variety of zooplankton. This bodes well for us getting basking sharks over there next few days, assuming that they haven't all pushed off to northern parts in response to the poor zooplankton menu that was on offer in inshore Manx waters last week!

I will post a map of King Orry's location soon. 

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09-Jul-2014
Isle of Man Newspapers Story: Basking Shark Season Off to a Slow Start

Dave Kneale, of Isle of Man Newspapers, talked to me (Jackie Hall) at Manx Basking Shark Watch and Dr Kevin Kennington at the Isle of Man Government labs about why the basking shark season is such an odd one this year. See his excellent article at -

http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/basking-shark-season-off-to-a-slow-start-1-6717282 

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07-Jul-2014
Where's Finly? His Tag Transmits After 365 Days of Radio Silence!

Finly, the 6.5m long male basking shark that had his tag sponsored by The Isle Of Man Bank and who was named by the children of Bradden School, has finally revealed his whereabouts to us after a whole year of being in deep water and sending no satellite signals to us. When his tag first signalled to us again on 4th July he was about 40km NW of Peel, so not that far from where he was last signalling to us.

Wouldn't it be nice to know where he was all that time? Some of the basking sharks tagged with satellite tags in British waters over the last 2 years have gone as far afield as Spain, Portugal, the Azores and the North African Coast. If you register to follow the 3 British projects that have SPOT-tagged basking sharks at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?species=Basking%20Shark you will receive email updates when the basking sharks pop up. One of these projects is ours and two of them are by Dr Matt Witt's team, who are tagging in NW Scotland. Unfortunately we do not know where Finly has been for the last year but we do know where he is now! If it turns out that his tag has popped off, which is possible, it may be that we can recover his tag and get it refurbished, to use again, as we have for the tags from Fricassonce and Neve, both of which are ready to be put back on basking sharks again.

 The information from Finly's tag has so far been invaluable in confirming that the information coming from the Manx Basking Shark Watch public sighting scheme gives a very accurate picture of where basking sharks forage at the surface in the Irish Sea. Once the 5 basking sharks we SPOT-tagged last year left the surface waters off the SW coast of the Isle of Man they did not come to the surface waters to feed again until they were in other known basking shark surface-feeding hot-spots in NW Scotland.   

 

 

 

 

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06-Jul-2014
Visit from Blackpool SeaLife Centre Staff

The Manx Basking Shark Watch research crew were delighted to have two special visitors from Blackpool SeaLife Centre visiting them for four days.

Mike Bond and Dave Bulmer are both aquarists at the popular Blackpool aquarium. They learnt about the various aspects of the work that Manx Basking Shark Watch does and came out on the MBSW research boat 'Happy Jack'. Unfortunately no basking sharks were seen when they were with us.

The visit was the first in a series planned between MBSW and the Sealife Centre. The Balckpool Aquarium are raising funds to sponsor a satellite tag by making a full-scale basking shark fin as a collection receptacle and by various ingenious activities such as a sponsored row.

You can learn more about Blackpool SeaLife here

The photo shows them examining a sample of plankton. It contained fascinating specimens that we later examined under a microscope, including a beautiful miniature jellyfish.

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03-Jul-2014
Why do We Have Minke Whales but Very Few Basking Shark Sightings? Wrong Food on Offer?

People keep asking me why we have so few basking sharks even though it is right in the middle of what is often the best time of year for seeing basking sharks in Manx inshore waters. Keen wildlife watchers are particularly puzzled because the weather and sea conditions look ideal for basking shark spotting, the weather has been hot, the sea calm and, in places, the sea is full of stringy brown plankton and jellyfish.

The answer is simple, when we are doing plankton trawls on Happy Jack, the Manx Basking Shark Watch research boat, we are seeing mainly plant plant plankton with some areas of very small species of zooplankton, neither of which is the basking sharks preferred food. 

On the bright side, watchers are seeing Minke whales close inshore. On sunday, during the queen festival 100s of people were treated to the sight of a minke whale very close inshore off Port St Mary breakwater. At least 3, maybe up to 6 Minke whales were in the bay then and on the following day, June 30th, the crew of Happy Jack and visiting students from Isle of Man College were delighted to see 3 Minke whales between Langness and the Calf. One delighted and alarmed us by breaching clear out of the water about 100-150m from the boat just before 11am. We quickly left the area to continue our basking shark survey along the coast but we understand that another Minke whale breach was seen from Bob Taylor's boat Gemini at about 1pm. 

So, Minke whales but few basking sharks. Maybe the nature of the plankton will change soon and we will get a late show of basking sharks in numbers, as we did in 2012. 

The photo shows Graham Hall and Rowan Henthorn of Manx Basking Shark Watch looking rather despondently into a very empty plankton net.

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26-Jun-2014
Happy Jack Survey 25th June: One Basking Shark, Some Rissos and A Minke
The Manx Basking Shark Watch Team completed a full inshore and offshore survey of the normal basking shark hotspots on the 25th June. Having had no shark sightings since the 17th we were keen to see what the sea condions were like and whether the plankton situation was improving. We were rewarded by seeing more life than we had seen so far this season. We had a fleeting sighting or two of a basking shark dorsal fin way off Niarbyl. The shark was obviously feeding deep as we did not see it again despite waiting with the engine switched off for a while. Earlier in our survey we had seen a pod of Rissos Dolphin with a charming young one (see photo below), a Minke Whale, several Harbour Porpoise, several barrel jellyfish and a spectacular number of unusually large Aurelia jellyfish in a very large offshore congregation. The water conditions are looking better for sharks than it has in a while. There were some large plankton species visible to the naked eye in the area where we saw this shark.
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24-Jun-2014
Mister Tailor Heading this Way?
Mister Tailor, the male basking shark we tagged last year, popped up again off the East coast of Ireland the other day. Maybe he is heading this way? See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129183
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16-Jun-2014
SPOT-Tagged Basking Sharks Update

In case you don't know, last summer, Manx Basking Shark Watch put a new kind of satellite tag on 5 basking sharks in Manx waters last summer. Dr Matt Witt and his Exeter University team put 15 of the same kind on basking sharks off NW Scotland. Manx Basking Shark Watch is planning to put on up to 7 more this season, sharks permitting!

These tags are called SPOT (spatial position or temperature) tags. The satellite tag is towed behind the shark and when its satellite antenna breaks the surface it transmits a location to the satellite and we can pick this information up.

As those of you who are following last summer's tagged sharks will know, some of them have produced amazing results. You can register to follow all these SPOT-tagged basking sharks at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?species=Basking%20Shark

So, a little update on the 5 sharks tagged by Manx Basking Shark Watch.

'Neve' a 5.5m long female who's tag was sponsored by DONG Energy, fed actively off the Manx coast, giving us invaluable information about local habitat usage, before heading off towards Ireland, and dropping her tag. Her tag has been retrieved, refurbished in America, and it will be used again this season. See a basic map at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129181&full=1&lang=

‘King Orry’ a 7m long male basking shark who’s tag was sponsored by The Steam Packet Company, has been a little more elusive so far, he has obviously been feeding deep and rarely coming to the surface. When he has come to the surface his tag has rarely given us enough information to get an accurate location, most frustrating! However, his tag is still on and transmitting occasionally so it may yet give us some good information once he comes to surface feed once more. See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129182

‘Mister Tailor’, a 5.5m long male basking shark who’s tag was sponsored by DONG Energy, has been rather more informative! Like ‘Neve’, he fed actively in Manx waters. He, however, then headed up to NW Scotland and fed actively there for some time until September. He then went deep for many months until May 25th when he suddenly popped up off Wales! His tag is still on and active so keep watching. See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129182

“Fricassonce’ a 7m male shark also gave us superb information about his feeding pattern in Manx waters before heading northwards. His tag, sponsored by Tower Insurance of Douglas, them came off and has been found and refurbished ready for being used again this season. See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129184

 Last but not least is ‘Finly’ a 5.5m long male basking shark who’s tag is sponsored by the Isle of Man bank. He was named by the children of Braddan School. The data obtained about his feeding bef=haviour in Manx waters is excellent, just what is needed to help understand how basking sharks use Manx waters. His tag is still attached but we haven’t heard from it for a long while. Fingers crossed that he will pop up and give us more information before the battery goes flat! See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129185

The 15 SPOT tagged basking sharks that were tagged off NW Scotland did spectacular things. Several went down to Spanish and Portugese waters and some are now surface feeding off the Western Irish Coast, one is currently off the south coast of England. See http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=839

 Some off the basking sharks tagged in NW Scotland in 2012 went even further afield, ending up near the Azores and off Africa. See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?species=Basking%20Shark

This research is providing us with a remarkable insight into the behavior of one of the world’s most elusive and mysterious creatures.

 Thank you to everyone who is involved in this work and especially to those who have so generously sponsored the tagging. Special thanks need to go to the Manx Lottery Trust who have so generously sponsored innovative work by Manx Basking Shark Watch.

 

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14-Jun-2014
Basking Shark Research Assistants 2014

Rowan Henthorn and Jade McKinley have completed their induction training as part of the Manx Basking Shark Watch research team for 2014. Now all we need are some basking sharks! Although some basking sharks have been sighted the plankton that we are seeing is not what the basking sharks prefer to eat. Let's hope that the zooplankton situation improves soon before the sharks move off to find a better feeding spot! Photo is of Jade (left) and Rowan (right) on Happy Jack.

 

 

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14-Jun-2014
A New Series 'Ireland's Ocean': See Video Trailer

RTÉ are going to broadcast a new series 'Ireland's Ocean' from Sunday June 22nd at 6.30pm for four weeks. The first programme will be on dolphins and features the work of the IWDG and Celtic Mist.

RTÉ are really getting behind it and momentum seems to be building, a trailer which has been running since last weekend https://vimeo.com/user28957796/videos

Please pass and encourage peole to watch show RTE commission more programmes on whales and dolphins in the future.

RTE PRESS RELEASE
PROGRAMME 1 – DOLPHINS

There are 27,000 common dolphins living in Irish waters and half the European population of bottlenose dolphins, and yet we still have limited knowledge of things like their diets and breeding habits.

In this programme we follow scientists Dr. Joanne O’Brien and Dr. Simon Berrow as they unveil the secrets of dolphin social groups and look at the welfare of dolphins in Irish waters. Simon investigates what may be causing dead dolphins to wash up at an alarming rate on our Atlantic shores.

Dusty is a solitary bottlenose dolphin that has been living off the Clare coast for ten years. In the summer of 2013, she made global headlines when she attacked severalswimmers, causing serious injury. We meet people who have built their lives around developing a relationship with Dusty and hear from Dr. Simon Berrow what exactly might be going on with these interactions and what the consequences may be.

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08-Jun-2014
Manx Basking Shark Season Well Under Way + An Irish Video to Whet Your Appetite.

Well, the basking sharks are here, but not in great numbers. There have been sightings all along the coast in the usual hot-spots, the largest number reported as being seen at once was 4 off Peel. Have a look at the latest sightings at-

http://www.manxbaskingsharkwatch.com/recent.aspx 

 Also, have a look a this brilliant video taken in Cork, Ireland this May. I want one of those!

 http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1yohzy_basking-sharks-off-irish-coast_fun 


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29-May-2014
Mr Tailor on the Surface in Cardigan Bay!
We now know where Mr Tailor is, a couple of days ago he surfaced about 30km south of Bardsey Island, in Cardigan Bay, off the Welsh coat. This is excellent news as we know that his tag is still on and functioning well. It should still have plenty of battery power left so, hopefully, when he comes to the surface more over the next couple of months, we should get some good locations for him. See the map below for his position on the 25th May 2014.
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24-May-2014
Mr Tailor Is on the Surface: But WHERE?

Mr Tailor, a 5.5m long male basking shark we satellite tagged on the 8th of June 2013, has just given us tantalising evidence that he is feeding very near the surface.

We tagged him off Peel on the Isle of Man on with a SPOT tag donated by DONG Energy. See a video of him just after he was tagged here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zc4NVtJm3s&feature=youtu.be

He travelled from Manx waters up to NW Scotland. We have had excellent data from him and we know that he fed on the surface off the Isle of Man for some time before sinking beneath the waves and re-appearing off NW Scotland and feeding at the surface there for a long time. We hadn't heard from him since the 1st of September. This means that he has been swimming deep since then. We do not yet have enough data about where he is to get an accurate location of where he is now but we DO know that his tag has just broken the water surface so watch this space!

 See http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129183&full=1&lang= to see more information about Mr Tailor and where he has been.   

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22-May-2014
Basking Sharks Spotted off Derbyhaven and Glen Maye/ Dalby
Excellent! We now have a minimum of 2 basking sharks as one has been spotted off Derbyhaven 2 days running and we have multiple reports of a basking shark in the Niarbyl/ Dalby/ Glen Maye are. SO, we either have 2 sharks total or 2 up at any one time and lots lurking underneath just waiting for some sunnier weather to bring their food, the zooplankton, to the surface where we can watch the sharks feeding on them. Fingers crossed for a great basking shark season! Great photo of the Derbyhaven basking shark from Peter Christian.
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21-May-2014
First Basking Shark of 2014 Spotted off Niarbyl on May 19th!
I am delighted to report that Jen Adams of The Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch spotted the first basking shark of the year off Niarbyl on 19th May at 11:00. It was 1.5km offshore and they watched it for 40 minutes. May there be many more!
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19-May-2014
Basking Sharks: Here Any Day Soon?
This time last lear we had started the first early flush of basking sharks and, given the warm sunny weather we've had for the last few days I would have expected them to have started popping up to the surface this week. No reports yet but let's all keep looking! They should be here soon.
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12-May-2014
A Little Video About Marine Plastics
https://twitter.com/SeasAtRisk/status/465168996686635008
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12-May-2014
The Basking Sharks are Off Cornwall and Tagged Sharks are off the Irish Coast: Here Next?

THE BASKING SHARKS ARE BACK!!!!

We expect our first basking sharks in Manx waters in the next week or so. I am scanning the seas at the moment.

A large group  of basking sharks has been seen off Cornwall see-

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/conservationists-rejoice-as-cornwall-is-awash-with-basking-sharks-9346820.html

Also, some of the basking tagged by Dr Matt Witt's team, in Scottish waters, last summer have returned from southern waters and are off the Irish coast. See the following links to see maps of where 4 of his tagged sharks are

WOMBLE is in the Celtic Deep http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=129445&full=1&lang=

SUMMER is off the West coast of Ireland  

http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=129448&full=1&lang=

GUMMY was last up off the south coast  of Ireland 

http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=129439

SOAY last up off South coast of Ireland http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?tag_id=129444&full=1&lang=


 

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29-Mar-2014
More Excitement about Scottish-Tagged Basking Sharks Going South
As you can see if you go to http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=839 some more of the basking sharks that have been tagged by Dr Matt Witt and his team have surface way sown south off France, Spain and Portugal. This is presenting a very interesting picture of how these basking sharks that feed in Scottish surface waters in the summer, use European seas in the winter and spring months.
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21-Mar-2014
Irish Video of Fin-Mounted Camera on a Basking Shark.

Have a look at this excellent video from Emmett Johnston's group in Ireland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hrYBSlD-7s 

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19-Mar-2014
Update on Basking Sharks Tagged in Scotland: One off France, One off Portugal

More and more exciting! It's looking more like last years pattern every day. Local schools, some long-distance travelling.

See http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/index.shtml?project_id=839

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17-Mar-2014
Basking Sharks Tagged in Scottish Waters Pop up off France
How exciting! Two of the basking sharks tagged by Dr Matt Witt's group off NW Scotland lat summer have just popped up off the French coast, echoing the patterns of the previous years tagging work, where most of the basking sharks stayed local but a couple headed south at this time of year. As the basking shark tagging data set size grows the pattern SEEMS to be getting clearer. See Dr Witt's latest maps at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?project_id=839
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10-Mar-2014
Great White Shark's Epic Ocean Trek

Scientists have tagged a great white shark that has nearly crossed the Atlantic from Florida, she is heading this way! They have put several tags on her including a SPOT tag like the ones that we use. We do not have to catch the basking sharks to do this, as they do the great whites. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26467037

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04-Mar-2014
Beach-Clean Primary School Children Find Basking Shark Tag on Welsh Beach.

Excellent and surprising things happen sometimes. In this case the urgent need to clean up all the plastic rubbish from our beaches has met with another urgent conservation need, to find out more about our endangered basking sharks.

On the 15th July 2009 the Manx Basking Shark Watch research team put an archival MK10 PAT tag on a beautiful 7m long female basking shark who was nick-named Ami by her sponsors, Tower Insurance of Douglas. Ami had recently been engaged in a romantic tryst with a male shark we named Romeo. She carried her tag until September, staying very close to where she was tagged.

I am delighted to report that a group of primary school children from a Welsh school, 'Ysgol Crud Y Werin' have just found this tag on Aberdaron beach in Wales whilst engaged in a beach litter pick organized by ‘Keep Wales Tidy’. They will receive a reward of £50 for the safe return of the tag. If we are VERY lucky the tag will be in very good condition we will be able to download the entire information dataset of where Ami travelled and to what depths. This will add a considerable amount of valuable scientific data to our understanding of the way that basking sharks use the Irish Sea and help us to further protect them.

 Many congratulations to the children for finding the tag and a big thank you for helping to clean our beaches. Basking sharks get their noses stuck in plastic rings and their fins cut and tangled in fishing line and ropes so well done to you all on behalf of the basking sharks and all other marine creatures!

 See the map of where Ami travelled below.


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13-Jan-2014
Fricassonce’s Tag is Found!

I am delighted to report that Fricassonce’s satellite tag has been found near Ravenglass by Emma Jackson. Her mother Gill said “It gave her a real buzz to find it, the tag was found on our caravan park because we live next to the Irish Sea and we had a big storm on the 3rd of January 2014 which flooded our caravan park. My husband John was clearing the large piles of seaweed that had washed onto our site when he found the tag.”

Luckily Emma realized that it was something special, saw the address on the tag and contacted Wildlife Computers in America. They told her that it was a Manx Basking Shark Watch tag. Emma will receive a £50 reward and we will send the tag back to America in the hope that it can be refurbished in time for us to track another basking shark this summer. Emma found the tag on her 22nd birthday so that will be an extra birthday present for her.

As you may know, basking sharks are being satellite tagged in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. This information is invaluable as it is helping scientists to piece together how basking sharks migrate seasonally between several important feeding zones around Britain. You can follow some of them by registering to do so at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/?species=Basking%20Shark 

Fricassonce, a 7m long basking shark, was tagged off the Isle of Man’s west coast on June 9th he surface-fed there for several days before moving off. If you look at http://www.wildlifetracking.org/index.shtml?tag_id=129184&dyn=1389636431 you will see that we tracked him travelling up to NW Scotland. His tag came off on November 16th and we have been tracking it, hoping to retrieve it so we are VERY pleased. Thank you Emma!


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Manx Basking Shark Watch 2007