17 June 2011

Basking Shark Hotspot - Isle of Man

Basking Shark © Jane Young/Manx Basking Shark Watch. 
Niki Clear, from the Manx Wildlife Trust has kindly written a blog for the Shark Trust, keeping us up to date on all the latest Basking Shark sightings from the Isle of Man hotspot.

"It is well into the season now but we have only had three sharky days out on MBSW's 'Happy Jack'. Very windy and rough weather all through May prevented us from getting out, and June isn't looking much better. Frustratingly there have been a surprising number of sightings from all over the south of the island despite the weather and rough sea. There have been 232 sightings reported since the beginning of May, a whopping 174 between the 28th May and the 3rd June alone.

Happy Jack’s first day out on the 2nd of June, and what a day. Straight away we sighted our first shark on our way out of the harbour. On the west coast of the island we came across 9 sharks by Fleshwick Bay showing some very interesting behaviour; close following, parallel swimming, circling and tail thrashing for several hours. But it’s gone downhill since then, our second and third day we only managed 3 full shark IDs all from small sharks, below 4m. The sharks have disappeared for the last few weeks, this has happened several years now. We are trying to figure out where they go in the middle of the season; so fingers crossed the sharks reappear along the Manx coast soon so we can get some shark slime.

One of our regular reporters sent us shocking photos of propeller damage to one of our beautiful sharks, highlighting the need for all boats around Basking Shark hotspots to take extra care during the summer season. It’s your responsibility to get out of the basking shark’s way, as it will not get out of yours. This isn’t just an isolated incident, as many of our sharks have horrific injuries on their dorsal fins from collisions with boats."