Members of the Irish Basking Shark Project research team are involved in a new endeavor to establish Europe’s largest telemetry array. Launched in 2019, the SeaMonitor Project is a unique, conservation-driven effort funded through EU INTERREG VA programme. Its aim is to use animal tracking technology to improve research and protect marine life in the northeast Atlantic. Nine project partners (including institutions from the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom) are joining forces to monitor the populations of 5 different groups of organisms: cetaceans (whales and dolphins), seals, flapper skate, salmon, and of course, the basking shark. By the end of its tenure in 2022, SeaMonitor will deliver a spatial model for the basking shark (in addition to others of the aforementioned animals) in this part of the world. This will provide critical insight into how shark populations move between Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Ideally, such information can be used to develop models and management plans for this species, both in Irish waters and elsewhere. In conjunction with this larger data set, those of our researchers involved in SeaMonitor will be monitoring shark hotspots along Ireland’s western coast and exploring basking shark behavior in these locations. The group will be posting updates via the website and our social media platforms, so stay tuned! For more information on SeaMonitor specifically, you can follow this link: https://www.loughs-agency.org/managing-our-loughs/funded-programmes/current-programmes/sea-monitor/.
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