With few sightings of basking sharks from around the Irish coast and no sightings from the usual Irish shark hotspots of Malin Head and the Blasket Islands in the past weeks, the question is being asked: where have all the sharks gone?
Preliminary investigations suggest that the sharks travelled from Irish to Scottish waters after gorging themselves off Slea head and the Blaskets early in the year. In previous seasons the sharks have passed close by Malin head in mid-May to early June but this year we believe that the sharks as a whole may have travelled further offshore than previous years because the Malin front was pushed further west by unusually prevalent northerly winds in the early summer. The excellent year-to-year tracking study currently being undertaken by Scottish Natural Heritage and the University of Exeter could also suggest this.
July is usually the month when we see a second influx of sharks into the waters around Malin Head, with possible encounters also off the Blaskets in late August. Our research teams are ready and waiting with lots of new initiatives aimed at discovering more about these iconic animals to further our campaign to gain protection for the species in Irish waters.
Remember: if you see a shark, please report it online via the 'Report a Sighting' page.