REFLECTIONS ON A RARE BASKING SHARK ENCOUNTER
Dr. Simon Berrow narrates his experience with basking sharks in the fall off West Clare. The species is often seen feeding in this area in the spring - but the seasonal timing of this experience was not the only unusual component...
© Irish Basking Shark Group
2012 | Completed Project
The Monster Munch project aimed to engage the fishing communities of Inishowen and develop a working relationship between local people and the scientific community undertaking research on the Inishowen coast. The project delivered an educational programme promoting the Basking Shark and into five coastal community primary schools on the Inishowen peninsula: Malin Head, Glengad, Culdaff, Greencastle and Buncrana.
Students were given homework tasks that included learning more about their local marine resources and the historic connection in this area to the sea. Students had the opportunity at to put their skills into action via 2 field trips to the coast and out on boats, and produced an art project showcasing their learning. Each of the 5 schools were tasked with naming and "adopting" a shark tagged with a satellite tracker and followed the progress of their shark over the course of the project.
KEY ELEMENTS OF THE PROGRAMME
Three day educational programme – at sea safety, maritime heritage, marine biology and conservation
A community Art project involving the construction of a single life size basking shark made from willow by the 5 schools
Field trip to school's local pier to practice shark survey protocols and plankton sampling
Field trip on licenced boat to survey for basking sharks in the community school's local waters
The deployment of five satellite tracking tags on basking sharks off Inishowen coast. Each community will adopt a shark and track their movements via the google maps web tracker.
A competition on reporting of shark sightings to promote community engagement.
A final presentation day in Greencastle Maritime Museum, to include an unveiling of the lifesize shark model and talks by students and marine professionals
The Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group secured 75% funding from the Inishowen Development Partnership and match-funded the remaining 25% of the project with personal donations
Each of the five communities had a satellite-tagged shark to name. These tags (Wildlife Computers PAT10F Fastloc ARGOS system satellite tags) had not been deployed on any shark species before and, once deployed, were able to transmit the sharks' locations in real time (2- 3 day relay time). The students and communities gave their adopted sharks meaningful names and were able to follow their adopted sharks via the internet mapping system on the website www.baskinghark.ie.
Check out the tracks here!
PRESENTATION DAY AND ART PROJECT
To complete the project, a presentation day was held in Greencastle during which the pupils' art project was showcased in the form of a life sized willow basking shark and presentations were given from professional marine biologists who have a local connection. The basking shark is now a permanent display at the Greencastle Maritime Museum.
Artist Brendan Farren
prepares the basking shark willow
frame with students from Buncrana
For full details from the project you can download the final report here.