After many months of determined effort all five tags from the Monster Munch Project have been deployed in Inishowen Waters. Colm doesn’t Cill, Bunagee Beauty and Green Marine were all deployed off Malin head within the last week. The Inishowen Development Partnership funded programme a first of its kind strove to bridge the divide between internationally significant conservation research and local communities. While the research is focused on the movement and behaviour of sharks within Malin and Atlantic waters, the local fishing communities of Inishowen will be keen to know where and when their adopted sharks are on the surface.
2012 hasn’t been as straight forward as other years for the tagging teams. Ocean conditions have been different this season with weather patterns passing further south than usual possibly resulting in extremely low shark numbers throughout May, June and July. The tags which are now recording the movement and depth profiles of the five sharks have also proved less responsive to live uplinks than first hoped. Few live uplinks have come through as of yet and it is unclear whether this is due to the sharks spending low levels of time on the surface or that smaller sized sharks than originally planned were tagged. Emmett Johnston the project coordinator explained that the tagging team “had to take what they encountered” with smaller sharks to the later end of the season, this has meant an average size of just 5m for the sharks tagged. It has been previously suggested that smaller sharks ‘bask’ less.
With thanks to all those involved especially the Inishowen Development Partnership these tag deployments will help solve that question and the many other mysteries which surround these elusive creatures of the deep. To see details of the five sharks check out the shark-tracker pages.