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© Irish Basking Shark Group


2010 - present | Ongoing


The first basking shark tagged in Ireland was off of west Kerry in April 2008, with a coloured number tag. Since then, we have deployed over 100 coloured tags and two satellite tags in this region. The main focus of the research around the hugely productive waters of the Blasket Islands (a basking shark hotspot) is tagging sharks and slime sampling for DNA work. Genetically, the latter method has shown that sharks in west Kerry are a discrete population compared to sharks sampled elsewhere in Ireland and the United Kingdom. However, those sampled later in the year are more similar to these other populations than those sampled in early months. Such population structure is not unusual, but had not yet been reported in basking sharks prior to this project. 



Starting during the summer months of 2010, land-based effort watches are taking place from headlands as well as boat-based surveys in County Kerry. During boat surveys, plankton samples will be taken to determine plankton diversity and abundance and the relationship of this prey field with presence of basking sharks.


  • Assess spatial and temporal distribution of basking sharks in the region

  • Assess plankton abundance and association with basking sharks

  • Gain experience and training in survey techniques & equipment

  • Raise awareness of basking sharks in Irish coastal waters

  • Deploy visual tags for mark re-capture studies

  • Take slime samples for genetic studies

  • Take good quality fin photos for Photo-ID database


Simon Berrow | Project coordinator

Nick Massett | Researcher

John Collins | Researcher

Various contributors| Researchers

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