A large (6-9m) basking shark was caught in mono-filament netting off Killala at Enniscrone, Killcullen on the 17th of March 2010. Members of the Bluewater Sub Aqua Club spent an Hour of gallant work removing the netting from the sharks body and fins before attempting to re-float the animal. Unfortunately for all involved the shark died shortly afterwards. The emotive rescue work carried out by Bluewater sub aqua club members was a fine example of how marine users and in particular Divers appreciate the flora and fauna of our native coast.
These spontaneous actions coupled with the more organised projects such as the Seasearch campaign demonstrate the willingness of individuals and clubs to give something back and help conserve the environment they enjoy so much. The basking shark project has enjoyed exceptional feedback from the dive community with the majority of tag re-sightings coming from dive groups. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those sub aqua users who have contributed thus far to the project and we hope that this season which has started on an unfortunate note will enable us to work closer with the Irish Dive community and other marine users.
Lorraine Inglis of the BlueWater Sub Aqua Club writes :
"On 17th April Bluewater Sub Aqua Club gathered on Kilcummin Pier, Co. Mayo, to listen to a dive brief and then head out to the cold waters beyond. One of the local fishermen told us that a basking shark had been washed up by the tide and we went down to see.
The sight was tragic, this beautiful mammal totally entombed in a monofilament net. He was approximately 20 feet in length but his mouth was all cut with the net. After a short discussion, we worked as a team with the local fisherman. All hands on deck, the net was cut, as club members kept water on the shark and we moved to get him back out to deeper waters. The local fisherman used his boat to try and tow the shark and all bodies struggled to get him off the stones and back into water.
It seems successful, after twenty-five minutes of hard work; the basking shark was free of the net and back slowly moving in the sea. We all hoped we had done enough but unfortunately during the morning I could see him making his way back into shore where he died.
I can't describe how sad it was to see the net wrapped around this basking shark. We don't know how long he was entangled in it, but he must have been exhausted in his efforts to escape. The next day when we went to dive at the pier, the local fisherman who had originally sought our help to save the shark, was towing the shark back out to sea, away from the shoreline. The photos tell the story better than any words."
- BlueWater Sub Aqua Club