On Tuesday the 15th March, the well-known Dublin institution 'The Seamans Club' will host Emmett Johnston of the Irish Basking Shark project. Emmett is a lead researcher with the project and will talk on the Basking Sharks and focus on the Irish team's pioneering research including tagging, tracking, genetic sampling and developing survey methodologies. His aim is to discuss the essential role divers have already and can play is assisting to conserve this iconic marine species.
Basking sharks are not protected by Irish legislation and were caught in Irish waters until 2008. Since then an E.U. moratorium has reduced the quota to Zero. However this is not a secure form of conservation and could be increased at any time. The Irish research team is aiming to produce a species action plan, which will provide a read map for the conservation of the species.
To date the team has made a significant impact in the shark conservation and research world. They are one of the worlds leading basking shark study groups with peer reviewed pioneering research to their credit. In 2009 the group was the first in the world to deploy visual tags and receive visual sighting returns. In 2009 the group was also the first to establish scientifically robust population density and distribution figures for any water body world-wide. In 2010 the group was the first in the world to develop an effective genetic sampling method for basking sharks, enabling the tripling of all world-wide genetic samples in one year.
In 2011 the team intend to go beneath the waves and investigate the sharks dive patterns and surfacing frequency. They hope to link this to meteorological and hydrological drivers which will enable them to potentially predict the sharks behaviour during particular weather and geographical conditions. They need divers to assist with this project so come along and hear and see how you and your club can help protect Irelands most iconic marine species.
The Seamans Club is located on Beresford Place, behind the customs house between Busarus and the Irish Life Centre.