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© Irish Basking Shark Group


2008 - Present | Ongoing Project


The Malin Head Survey is undertaken to study the basking shark population passing through Malin coastal waters and to refine survey models and surveying skills for use at the national and regional level. This project is funded by the Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group and the Inishowen Development Partnership (Leader grant). Scientific support is from the Marine Biological School in Queen's University Belfast.


The aims of the Inishowen Basking Shark Survey are:

  • Survey the spatial and temporal distribution of the basking shark on the north coast of Ireland

  • Develop habitat weightings for distance sampling surveys

  • Disseminate knowledge, data and imagery to Inishowen-based tourism providers

  • Develop an appropriate survey model for the Irish marine system

  • Promote and demonstrate responsible interaction with the basking shark to local marine users

  • Raise the general public's awareness of the basking shark


  • Develop and deploy relevant visual and technological tags on basking sharks

  • Sample and monitor hydrological, meteorological and biological characteristics of Inishowen coastal waters

  • Distance sampling : line transect and static point

  • Public sightings databases

  • Visual tag deployment – mark and recapture

  • Photo identification

  • Genetic sampling

  • By - catch monitoring

  • Production of practical, simple and effective advice on shark-sighting probabilities for commercial tourism operators


Emmett Johnston | Project coordinator

Alexandra McInturf | Researcher

Jonathan Houghton| Scientific oversight

Heather Vance | Researcher

Paul Mayo | Researcher

Donal Griffin| Researcher

Rosemary McCloskey| Researcher and outreach coordinator

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