24 August 2011

Basking Shark Hotspot - Ireland

Basking Shark © Mark Harding on the 26th June Inner Hebrides.

Lucy Hunt MSc., research scientist on the Irish Basking shark Project, updates us with the latest sightings in Co. Kerry, SW Ireland.

"Basking Shark sightings are few and far between at the moment around the Emerald Isle although there was a good spate of the leviathans off the NW coast earlier on in the month. This allowed for Emmett Johnston and Donal Griffin, both Irish Basking Shark researchers to deploy Time Depth Recorder (TDR) tags and further coloured numbered tags to help us identify what the sharks are upto around the coast. We’ve had two returns on our coloured numbered tags, one shark tagged in Kerry and another in Donegal earlier in the season, both sharks were re-sighted in Scottish waters. We’ve also had one shark re-sighting from fin photo ID twice this year and once seen in 2005. We’re looking forward to using the Shark Trusts new fin photo ID catalogue, which has just been distributed, and collaborating with other Basking Shark groups on this endeavour. The Irish Basking Shark Project webpage has just been updated with lots of HD videos and pictures of sharks seen around Ireland, check it out at http://www.baskingshark.ie/. Also some of you might have seen the Irish Basking Shark Project on tv last week on BBC2 with Monty Halls, where Monty worked alongside the Irish Basking Shark Project and Irish Whale and Dolphin Group last summer here in Ireland. We’re not sure what the rest of the summer will bring; the weather has been mixed and so have the Basking Shark sightings with most sightings so far coming very early in the season. We’ll keep you informed if anything changes!".

* Irish Basking Shark Project Website
* Irish Basking Shark Project on Facebook
The Shark Trust

* The Shark Trust Basking Shark Project

Basking Shark Hotspot - Scotland

Basking Shark © Ian Judd.
Sarah Erring, volunteer for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) keeps us up to date with sightings from the west coast of Scotland.

"During July there were 20 Basking Shark reports with 145 animals in total, almost half the number of those reported in 2010. The highest concentration of 20 Basking Sharks were sighted off Clabbach-Gallanach on the Isle of Coll on 1st July. The Isle of Coll (and adjacent Tiree) remains one of the Hebridean hotspots for Basking Sharks.

Mid-way through August and we have already had 201 sharks reported. On the 3rd August 53 Basking Sharks were reported at Muldoanich, just off the Isle of Barra. During the August period in 2010 over 380 animals were sighted, so the rise in sightings this month is encouraging news in comparison to the relatively low numbers recorded over the past few months."

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust

10 August 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. 
‘Luke’ tagged on 14th July off west
coast of IOM. Photo by Niki Clear
"In more usual years July is our busiest month, but this has not been a usual year. For the whole of July we have only had 46 sharks reported! The majority of these were in the first week, with 35 reported in 5 days. 

On our research boat, Happy Jack, there have been a lot of miles travelled all around the south of the Island with no sharks but we won’t give up. There was one very lucky break while a TV crew from Germany was filming on-board.  Amongst the diving gannets, hundreds of Manx Shearwaters and feeding minke whales, we chanced upon a cooperative 7m male shark with a very distinctive fin. The visiting film crew got unique footage of the whole encounter, including the tagging, from the roof of the boat. We are looking forward to seeing the finished film called ‘Men of the Sea’ which will be broadcast in Germany soon. And finding out where this male shark called Luke travels to over the next 9 months.

But since we haven’t had much luck on Happy Jack, a combination of rough seas and a lack of sharks at the surface has made this a difficult season. We are still hopeful we will be able to get a few more encounters, and get our remaining tags on at some point this season. There have been a few sightings trickling in since the 1st August so this could be a sign of another wave of basking sharks to Manx waters. Another boat trip tomorrow and we are ready for anything..."