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Manx Basking Shark Watch SPOT Tagging 2013-2014

A project of Manx Basking Shark Watch in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Neve Basking SharkAdult2013-06-082013-09-0589
King Orry Basking SharkAdult2013-08-132014-09-20403
Mister Tailor Basking SharkAdult2013-06-082014-07-24411
Fricassonce Basking SharkAdult2013-06-092013-11-15159
Finly Basking SharkAdult2013-06-032014-10-20504

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.

Introduction



Over the last 9 years the Manx Basking Shark Watch has been collecting and analysing data on basking shark ecology. The Manx Basking Shark Watch started life as a public sightings database, but over the years it has grown into a flagship project for the Manx Wildlife Trust

Recent research has focused on consolidating all known information about individual basking sharks by the creation of shark “passports”. Each passport contains an individual shark’s size, sex, fin identification photos alongside records of DNA samples and satellite tags. In this way, all encounters can be logged and individual sharks tracked and re-identified, providing further vital information to study basking shark ecology whilst leading the way for greater collaborative efforts between organisations.

The 2013 study has the potential to further basking shark research by providing an accurate and updated log of basking shark movements using new SPOT5 satellite tags designed by Wildlife Computers This will enable real-time tracking of the sharks Click Here whilst collecting additional information on population dynamics and genetic exchange between populations from continuous collection of shark passport data. Such research will increase our understanding of these dynamic endangered animals and aid conservation and education efforts.

2013 Aims

• To deploy 10 satellite tags in 2013 to enable real time tracking of sharks over the course of at least a year.

• To develop a new, less intrusive, fin-mounted attachment method

• To continue collection of basking shark “passport” information including: gender, length measurements, photographic identification, genetic slime samples and tagging data

• To map and analyse satellite tagging data to assess basking shark movements both spatially and temporally

• To raise awareness of the endangered basking shark and local threats

• To use the data collected to help local management strategies

Outcomes

The data collected will be summarised and submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Click Here

to aid management of Manx waters and provide information on any potential conflicts i.e. placement of offshore wind farms and marine protected areas. Such data will also help on public outreach events to engage the local community and aid discussions to promote conservation.

Conclusions

-To create an improved and updated tagging dataset on basking shark movements in national and international waters

-To provide better understanding of basking shark biology and ecology to help understand and conserve this endangered species

-To inform local policy and marine management

-To increase awareness of topical marine issues within the local community

Crew of Happy Jack, the Manx Basking Shark Watch research boat:

-Jackie Hall: Manx Basking Shark Watch Coordinator (MBSW).

Jackie, a marine biologist (MSc, BSc, BA), started MBSW in 2004. She aims to raise the public profile of basking sharks whilst scientifically investigating their population dynamics, movements and behaviour. She wants the information obtained to be as openly available as possible, allowing informed marine management decisions to be made by government and enthusing the general public about basking sharks. She coordinates the entire project, fund-raising, strategy planning, web writing, conducting scientific research on the research boat 'Happy Jack' and interacting openly with other scientists to make best use of the small MBSW budget.

-Graham Hall: Manx Basking Shark Watch Engineer and designer.

Graham is an engineer (MSc) he maintains Happy Jack, the MBSW research boat and designs and wields all of the equipment used by MBSW, including underwater pole cameras, DNA sampling equipment, tagging poles and much much more. Captain Graham is an expert shark spotter and our key DNA sampler and shark tagger. This year, Graham is developing a new method of attaching satellite tags to the shark's fin. Watch this space!

-Natasha Phillips, research assistant:

Natasha graduated in 2012 with an MSci in Marine Biology from Southampton University. Following this she has worked for the Natural History Museum London, written articles for the Shark Trust and the Marine Conservation Society and is currently aiming to find a PhD in shark movement ecology. During the 2013 season, Natasha is undertaking photo identification of the sharks and researching their movements. This is her second season crewing for MBSW.

-Haley Dolton, research assistant

Haley graduated in 2011 from Oxford Brookes with a degree in Biology. Since then she has been volunteering for NGOs, working at Oxford University Natural History Museum identifying their shark collection and she was a prize wildlife blogger. Over the summer Haley is collecting preliminary data and hoping to undertake a PhD in shark genetics at Aberdeen University.

Project Partners

The Manx Wildlife Trust

As the island's leading nature conservation charity, we work hard to protection of the island's precious, unique environment, both on the land and in the seas that surround us. Whilst we are a fully independent Manx charity, we also benefit from our partnership with 46 other Wildlife Trusts throughout the British Isles. One of our main aims is to acquire and manage nature reserves and safe sites for wildlife, conserving some of the best habitats and species on the island. The Trust has a small staff and a group of trustees. We're lucky to be able call on a dedicated group of volunteers who help out with a number of tasks, from office work to practical conservation tasks, we are very grateful to them for their support.

Project Sponsors

The Manx Basking Shark Watch would like to thank all of its' sponsors:

-The Manx government's Department of Environment Food and Agriculture

Click Here

-Tower Insurance Douglas

Click Here

-The Isle of Man bank

Click Here. Isle of Man Bank have chosen to sponsor a tag as part of their community Investment Programme and John Lindon, Head of Community Investment said "As the Isle of Man is leading the way in basking shark research and conservation, Isle of Man Bank is proud to support such an important conservation project".



-The Manx Lottery Trust

Click Here

-DONG Energy

Click Here

A few words from our sponsors:

The Northern Irish Sea is becoming increasingly developed and Centrica/DONG Energy’s Celtic Array proposal, just outside Manx waters, is one of the biggest potential wind farm developments to date. To ensure the best scientific evidence for impact assessments, Dong Energy is sponsoring 3 SPOT tags for the Manx Basking Shark Watch in 2013. Paul Childs, of DONG Energy, said, "In order to apply to build an offshore wind farm, years of detailed environmental assessment has to take place. Celtic Array is very pleased to support the Manx Basking Shark Watch in tracking basking sharks in Manx waters, and beyond. We want to make sure that our environmental surveys in the project area are thorough, and being able to support a scheme like this is both of benefit to the project, and hopefully towards helping to monitor and protect this species. We believe that this is a great way to ensure that all the potential risks to basking sharks are adequately taken into consideration as they move forward with the Celtic Array proposal."