The Inishowen based schools led community awareness project has successfully completed the initial shore stage and the students are now preparing to go on the water and put into practice their newly developed skills.
This week marks the end of the three month in class learning and creative art for the students involved. Each class has completed their piece of the life size shark model. They have also successfully developed their knowledge to include the necessary skills for undertaking field surveys for basking sharks on their local stretch of coast. A diverse range of skills is needed to prepare students for undertaking scientific surveys from basic marine biology to practical safety awareness and a working knowledge of frontal formations, sea conditions, position fixing and transect observation techniques.
Phase two of the programme will see the students test their new skill sets on their local pier before heading out on the water to undertake actual shark surveys. It is only now that shark sightings are starting to occur that the communities will be able start reporting sightings and the competition will begin to see who can gather the most shark sightings to win a trip on a Clipper race yacht.
Each school must also prepare a name for their appointed shark which will soon be tagged with a satellite tracking tag and followed over the web based google earth tracker currently in development.
April should see the sharks established on our coast and the programme organisers intend to ratchet up the project to peek in line with shark sightings at the start of June.
Have you seen a shark? – report it and help your community win a trip on a Clipper ocean race yacht.