Secondary school students from around Inishowen are taking part in a two week ‘Shark Camp’ internship with the Irish Basking Shark Study Group designed to let students experience what it’s like to walk in the shoes of a shark biologist.
This Inishowen Development Partnership funded initiative not only provides hands on training in marine sciences and shark biology, it also encourages young people to think about potential careers in the marine field.
The 10 lucky interns of the summer camp are gaining knowledge about their marine heritage and coastal fisheries. One of the key tasks for the Interns in the camp is to undertake training in shark and fish survey methods at sea, and amazingly their first survey trip resulted in an encounter with over 10 basking sharks 1 mile North of Malin Head. The Interns assisted local shark researchers in the deployment of visual tags, photo I.D. and effort based shark surveys within sight of their local pier.
“Enabling local youths to experience marine biology first hand and in particular seeing a magnificent creature like basking shark within sight of their home pier is a great way to not just teach but show communities what is on their doorstep. It’s easier to relate the importance of sustainable management of that resource for future generations to enjoy when one has experienced it first hand” said Emmett Johnston the Shark Camp organiser.
Throughout the duration of the camp the group will also be tracking the movements of a Basking Shark tagged off Malin Head, via the ARGOS satellite system- the worldwide wildlife satellite tracking network.
Interns will be encouraged to learn and explore more of their local marine environment and what sharks can teach us about the health of our oceans. By the end of the two weeks the interns will produce a message about what they think the future might hold for Ireland’s marine resources and small coastal communities. The Shark Camp Education facilitator Rosemary Mc Closkey said
‘The camp is not just about sharks, it’s about getting young people who have an interest or family connection with the sea to think about ocean citizenship. Sharks provide a great example of why we need to manage our oceans sustainably because if these apex predators are overfished and mismanaged it can upset the balance of the ocean food web’
To find out more you can check out the surveys section of the website