The Inishowen Development Partnership have agreed to support a new research initiative which the Inishowen based basking shark team have developed for 2011. The project aims to link locally based Internationally significant scientific research with practical outcomes for commercial tourism operators.
Building on the team's pioneering visual tagging and survey development research the project will investigate shark-surfacing patterns and link these movements with key hydrological, meteorological and biological drivers. The information will then be made available in practical format to commercial boat operators on the north Donegal coast. If a boat operator can estimate the potential for surface encounters with basking sharks before they leave the pier, the day can be accurately planned.
Lead researcher on the project is local shark biologist Emmett Johnston together with Queens University scientists Donal Griffen and Jonathan Houghton. The TDR project is undertaken with Queens University Belfast as the scientific oversee. Timed Depth Recorders have never been deployed on Basking sharks before and the team is developing two new prototype tags in order to achieve the project aims.
Two types of tag will be deployed:
MK1: short term deployment tag with mini radio transmitter for aid of retrieval MK2: long term deployment tag to be washed ashore and retrieved by members of public.
For more information on the project go to the surveys section of the website.