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..."