First Basking shark Sightings of 2007

16th Apr 2007 IWDG have received two separate basking shark sightings on consecutive days, both were of small specimens in the Irish Sea.

The 1st basking shark sighting of 2007 was reported by IWDG member Phillip Cooper who observed a 9-12ft specimen between Lambay Island and Rockabill off the north Dublin coast between 14:00 -17:00 on 15th April.

The 2nd sighting was made this morning 16th April, just 60 miles up the coast by marine biologist, Prof. Savidge of Queens Lab, Portaferry. This land- based sighting was at the Narrows, Strangford Lough, Co. Down, and was also of what appears to be another very small specimen.

These are the 1st validated basking shark sightings of 2007, and may herald the development of local plankton blooms, as water temperatures start to increase. The recent settled "high pressure" weather system has brought very calm seas around our coast, which can provide excellent viewing conditions for this species, which is the 2nd largest fish on the planet; second only to the tropical whale shark.

Although the IWDG focuses on cetaceans, we do accept and validate records of basking sharks and certain other species of marine megafauna.

Thanks to all of you who have reported your sightings in recent weeks. We hope to have these validated and uploaded to www.iwdg.ie in the coming week.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator