Scottish basking shark update

This video is called Solstice – Scotland’s Basking Sharks.

From Wildlife Extra:

Second year of Basking shark tagging gets underway off Scotland

The second year of a project to track basking sharks in Scottish waters gets underway

July 2013. Scientists from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the University of Exeter are heading out to the Inner Hebrides to tag another 27 of the huge sharks with satellite tracking tags. The tags, which let the public follow the movements of a number of the sharks online, will collect data that will give the team an insight into their behaviour during the summer months.

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 sustainable management 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 help balance environmental interests with industry and recreation.

The tagging project, which began last July, was set up to find out more about the life cycle of the large numbers of sharks that gather around the islands of Coll, Tiree and Canna every summer.

20 sharks tagged in 2012

Some of the 20 sharks tagged last year stayed in the area between 5 and 57 days before the tags detached, the sharks moved deeper or they swam south. Depth data collected so far has shown that sharks mainly occupy the top 250m of the water column, although two sharks were recorded down at 1000m, off the edge of the continental shelf.

Dr Suzanne Henderson from SNH, who is managing the project, said: “It’s great to be working with Matthew Witt and his team from the University of Exeter again on this fascinating project. The second year of tagging will build on last year’s work, helping provide insights into shark behaviour year on year and identify any trends in the behaviour of sharks in this area. We’re tagging more sharks this year to increase the confidence we have in the results and so we can look more closely at how behaviour differs among individuals.

SNH and UoE are asking anyone who finds a tag around the shores of the UK to get in touch. The tags are silver/grey, torpedo or oval shaped, 15 to 18 cm in length with a small antenna and may still have a plastic tether attached. If found please pick up and contact the SNH office in Oban on 0300 244 9360, or email There is a reward available for each tag returned.

Tag success

“We hope the public will enjoy taking part again by following the progress of 15 of the sharks online. Last year half of the tags stayed on the sharks for over 90 days, with one detaching from its shark (Elgol) after 326 days to the south west of Portugal! We hope this year is just as successful.”

Dr Matthew Witt from the University of Exeter added: “Working with SNH is an exciting opportunity – it allows us to unite our unique capabilities to help improve knowledge on the life history of basking sharks, with the long term aim of delivering a sustainable future in our increasingly busy coastal seas.”

Please report tags

SNH and UoE are asking anyone who finds a tag around the shores of the UK to get in touch. The tags are silver/grey, torpedo or oval shaped, 15 to 18 cm in length with a small antenna and may still have a plastic tether attached. If found please pick up and contact the SNH office in Oban on 0300 244 9360, or email There is a reward available for each tag returned.

Track the sharks online

To track the basking sharks online after they are tagged, click here.

22 thoughts on “Scottish basking shark update

  1. Pingback: Basking sharks of Cornwall | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. The wasteful and cruel act of cutting off a shark’s fin and dumping the body back into the sea – known as shark finning – is pushing many shark species to the brink of extinction.

    Thankfully, the Shark Conservation Act prohibits shark finning in U.S. waters. But an exception to this law for one shark species, the smooth dogfish, allows the fins of some these sharks to be removed at sea.

    This could result in undetected finning of these sharks and other sharks that look very similar. Leaving the loophole intact can have serious consequences for sharks living off our coast.

    Tell the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the Shark Conservation Act needs to do what it was meant to do: protect all sharks.

    Speak up by July 30 and we’ll hand deliver your comments before the NMFS’s public comment period closes on July 31.

    Allowing this exception seriously undermines U.S. efforts to promote best practices for shark conservation internationally. This seemingly minor issue could have a magnified and damaging effect on all shark species in all oceans across the globe.

    Like whales and dolphins, sharks are slow-growing and bear small numbers of young. Some studies suggest their shrinking numbers, driven by human fishing, could have serious negative repercussions for many marine ecosystems. Protecting sharks is an essential aspect to saving our oceans.

    NMFS is asking the public for input. Your voice can make a difference – but only if you speak up by July 30.

    The Shark Conservation Act promises protection to sharks. Right now, it doesn’t deliver on that promise. Tell NMFS to close the loophole and protect ALL sharks.

    Thank you for all that you do to protect wildlife, on land, in the air, and in the sea.


    Liz Bennett

    Vice President, Species Conservation
    Wildlife Conservation Society


  3. Pingback: Sharks in Potomac river, USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: ‘Walking shark’ discovery in Indonesia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: New Scottish wildlife app | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Caribbean whales, dolphins and sharks | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Basking shark near Dutch coast | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  8. Pingback: Big pro-shark demonstrations in Australia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Good basking shark news from Cornwall | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: Millions of British waters sharks caught for soup | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: Giant barrel jellyfish video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. Pingback: New Zealand great white shark research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  13. Pingback: Australian anti-shark killing victory | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Famous dolphin swimming in Scotland | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Irish basking shark videos | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  16. Pingback: Scottish spy base converted for whales, astronomy? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: Marine animals discoveries in Atlantic ocean | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Pingback: Basking sharks can jump high, swim fast | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  19. Pingback: Scottish basking sharks studied | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.