Although there has not been much online activity in the past year, the group have not been idle. With the completion of the field work element of the 2010 -2015 research program, the group’s members have been focused on writing up the individual research projects and undertaking the data analysis for the publication of the research undertaken thus far. It takes time to put together scientific papers and get them accepted for publication. The group has to learn new skills and undertake complex data analysis to do justice to the quality of data we have collected and the animals with which we work.
We also feel that making constant demands of you the public for sightings and support wears thin over time and we as a group felt it was important to let things settle for a while before kick-starting a new round of research and outreach programs in 2018. You will be happy to hear that we plan to soon uncover some of our new plans for the 2018-2022 period.
Basking sharks remain unprotected in Irish waters and we hope that the publication of elements of our research will begin to apply pressure on the appropriate authorities for a change in our legislation to allow protection for one of Ireland’s most iconic animals. Accordingly we are aiming to gain protection for the basking shark by 2019; that is, 10 years after the first national conference for this species in Greencastle Fisheries College, 2009. We know that we now possess sufficient information to prove the importance of Irish waters for the species both regionally and globally and to show what practical measures can be undertaken to ensure their protection when they are on our watch. Watch this space for updates on our research over coming months.