Scottish sharks to be tracked for a second year

March 14, 2013
Scottish sharks to be tracked for a second year
Basking shark feeding. Credit: SNH - Paul Naylor.

Scientists are to extend a popular basking shark tracking project for another year, it was announced today. For the last seven months the public have been able to follow the progress of eight of the giant sharks online, after they were tagged off the west coast of Scotland in July last year. Two of the sharks have travelled much further than expected, with one reaching the west coast of Portugal and the other the Canary Islands, just off Africa, a distance of more than 3000 km.

The project was started by the University of Exeter and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to find out more about the life cycle of basking sharks that gather in around the islands of Coll, Tiree and Canna every summer.

Another 29 sharks will be tagged in the summer of 2013 using a range of tracking devices, to gather more information on how the sharks use the area and where they go in winter. The work is part of a wider programme of marine research led by SNH and Marine Scotland, to help Government and others plan for the of the sea. Results from the tagging project will help the Scottish Government decide whether a Marine Protected Area should be put in place to safeguard the sharks and balance environmental interests with industry and recreation.

Dr Matthew Witt from the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter said: "Sharks play an important role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems hence their conservation is important. In addition to the eight sharks tagged with real-time last year, a further 12 sharks were tagged with technology that stores data on the tag for transmission at a later date. We're looking forward to analysing the data from these over the next few months, once all the tags have detached from their sharks."

Dr Suzanne Henderson from SNH, who is managing the project said: "We're getting some fascinating insights into the behaviour of the sharks from the tagging work carried out last year - it was a surprise to see one swim as far south asAfrica. Another year of tagging will build on the work we've already done, increasing our confidence in the results and giving us more information on which to base decisions."

Explore further: University’s aerial survey finds sharks in Cornwall's waters

Related Stories

Unveiling the underwater ways of the white shark

February 18, 2008

It's hard to study a creature when you only catch fleeting glimpses of it. Up until recently, that was one of the big stumbling blocks for marine biologists and ecologists, but advances in electronic tracking technology have ...

Disappearing act of world's second largest fish explained

May 7, 2009

Researchers have discovered where basking sharks - the world's second largest fish - hide out for half of every year, according to a report published today in Current Biology. The discovery revises scientists' understanding ...

Great white sharks tagged for first time off Mass.

September 6, 2009

(AP) -- Massachusetts officials are using high-tech tags to track the movements of two great white sharks near Cape Cod - the first time the fearsome fish have ever been tagged in the Atlantic Ocean.

3 more great white sharks tagged off Mass. coast

September 8, 2009

(AP) -- A total of five great white sharks have now been electronically tagged off Cape Cod, allowing experts to track their movements and learn more about their migratory habits.

Recommended for you

Head and body lice read DNA differently

July 28, 2015

What makes head lice different from body lice had scientists scratching their heads as previous genetic studies failed to find any substantial differences between the two types of lice.

Plant light sensors came from ancient algae

July 28, 2015

The light-sensing molecules that tell plants whether to germinate, when to flower and which direction to grow were inherited millions of years ago from ancient algae, finds a new study from Duke University.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.