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Leviathans on the move !

Tuesday, 05 July 2011 18:21
Leviathan on the move !
Leviathan on the move !
(c) Emmett Johnston

A basking shark that was tagged in Dingle Bay, Co. Kerry SW Ireland by the Irish Basking Shark Project on the 20 of April has been re-sighted in Scottish waters. The shark was tagged with a green tag number 209 and was re-sighted by an eco-tourism boat at Cairns of Coll, Western Scotland on the afternoon of Wednesday 29 of June along with a number of other sharks. This shark would have travelled over 600km in two months! It is the first international re-sighting for 2011.

Previous re-sighting records have shown that basking sharks tagged in Irish waters have turned up in Scottish waters later in the season. Research scientist Lucy Hunt from the Kerry basking shark team said ‘Generally we see the sharks move north after we have tagged them in the early summer months. Last year we tagged a shark off Cork in May and within 48 days it was re-sighted off the Isle of Muck in Scottish waters. Further tagging research into basking shark migrations is needed to understand the route and waters they use to help conserve this vulnerable and endangered species.’
Two basking shark research teams working off Malin head, Co. Donegal and the Blasket Islands, Co. Kerry have tagged 93 individual sharks this summer. The striking coloured tags have become a significant method in Ireland in the seasonal monitoring of shark movements and behaviour. The Irish teams have deployed over 350 tags since 2008 compared to less than 20 in other oceans. They have had numerous international re-sightings from over 800km away from the tagging site.

The Irish Basking Shark Project are making a special request to all boat users and people out on the coast to keep an eye out for basking sharks and report any tagged sharks. For more information see www.baskingshark.ie or you can check us out on Facebook – Irish Basking Shark Project.