Councillor Mickey Grant got a shock last week when he was discovered lying on the shore near Malin head. The councillor or his name sake had been attached to a 6 meter basking shark which was feeding at the bottom of Inishtrahull trench for a number of days before releasing itself and floating to the surface. The Timed Depth Recorder Tag was one of 10 sponsored by the Inishowen Development Partnership and Councillors Mickey Grant, John Ryan and Charlie McConalogue.
The prototype tags were developed and deployed by the Inishowen based Basking shark study group in partnership with Queens University Belfast marine lab. The locally based shark research team have been investigating the movements of the iconic sharks off Malin Head for the past number of years and in that time Malin head has been established as an international shark hotspot
The newly developed tags are looking at aspects of the shark's behaviour which has puzzled scientists for decades. Why do the huge sharks "Bask" at the surface? and what are they doing at a depth of 90m in Inishtrahull trench? Getting three tags back is like winning the Lotto for the research team who are busy conducting analysis on underwater path the sharks took when the tags where attached. Local man Phillip Glackin recovered this tag from the shore near Malin head and made contact with the projects coordinator Emmett Johnston, who was delighted with the find.
There are still 9 tags floating around out there, including the ones named after councillors Ryan and McConalogue. With a 50 euro reward offered for their return be sure to keep a keen eye out for the 2 foot long yellow floats on Inishowen's beaches.
To find out more information and see underwater video of the tagged sharks go to the found a tag and galley page links on the home page