1st tagging and sampling of basking sharks in 2016

15th Apr 2016

Report III April 14 2016

Successfully tagged five basking sharks off Kilkee, Co Clare on Wednesday with individually numbered coloured tags. Also obtained samples for genetic analysis. Check out youtbe video of tagging attempt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMYFs6pPrGA


More footage of tagging and sampling basking sharks off Kilkee, Co Clare with the Irish Basking Shark Study Group, including underwater footage of tag in shark


Please keep reports coming in .....

Report II update April 11th 2016

On Monday 11th April, Andrew Power reported impressive feeding aggregations of up to 20 basking sharks in a 3km area from the cliffs to the south of Kilkee, Co. Clare. At the same time Nick Massett was watching another off Slea Head, Co. Kerry. So with inshore sightings now reported from Counties Cork, Kerry and Clare in the past two weeks, it seems that basking sharks are now widespread along the Irish southwest. Basking shark off Kilkee, Co Clare

Report 1, March 31st 2016

Juvenile basking shark, west Cork 31st March, by P Whooley, IWDGA commercial whale watch trip with yesterday 31st March with Cork Whale Watch produced the 1st reported basking shark record of 2016 in an area southeast of the Kedge, West Cork.  A pre-trip scope from Cloghna Head by IWDG Sightings Officer produced another possible basking shark sighting in the Rosscarbery Bay area, but it was too distant and brief to be 100% confident at the time. But the subsequent boat based encounter makes it more likely that the initial land-based sighting was indeed a basking shark. The images taken from the Holly Jo by IWDG personnel confirm this animal to be a young specimen with an estimated length estimate of 3-4M. The timing of this 1st of year record is about average for this species, as in the past 10 years almost all 1st records have been between mid March and mid April, and so there is nothing particularly unusual about either the timing or location of this sighting event. 


It is however great to see this species return inshore, and we look forward to receiving sighting reports of this, the North Atlantic's largest fish and shark species. IWDG has always made an exception for basking shark sighting records, as we consider them to be something of an "honorary whale", and so these sighting records are treated in the same manner as any cetacean records. For more information on basking sharks and the latest research on this species in Ireland visit www.baskingshark.ie

By Pádraig Whooley


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