News and Events
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.
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
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
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
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
See the map of where Ami travelled below.
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.”
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!