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Basking shark tagging project

Scottish Natural Heritage and the University of Exeter external site have joined forces in an exciting new tagging project which will help to solve some of the mysteries aboutbasking shark behaviour.

  • How long do basking sharks remain feeding in certainareasin Scottishwaters?
  • How arethe sharks using theseareaswhich are important to them for feeding and potentially breeding?
  • Where do basking sharks go after their summer feeding in Scotland's seas?
  • Do the sharksremain in deeper watersoff Scotland over winter?

These are some of the questions we hope this project will helpto answer.

Many of you have contacted us with your own queries about the basking shark tagging project, so we have produced a list of the most frequently asked questions  PDF document .

The first Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Research Report on the project is now published: Basking shark satellite tagging project: post-fieldwork report. Results from 2012 are to be published shortly.

In 2012, 20 basking sharks were tagged off Scotland's west coast and used 2 types of tags. A further 27 sharks are being tagged in summer 2013, 15 of these tags (SPOT5) will display sharks' movements online in near-to-real time. Please follow the link external site to join us as we monitor the basking sharks' tracks! A further 12 long-term tags (PAT) are also collecting data on movements of sharks during the winter, including how deep they have swam, but will not provide information until Spring 2014.

Scroll down towatchashort video taken during the tagging phase of the project.

We would like you to help us name the 15 sharks that will be tracked online this summer. Please email your suggestions to Last year the sharks were named Elgol, Solas, Cearban, Gill, Marna, Cailleach, Roy and Fionnlagh.

What do you call a shark basking in Scottish waters?

How can you help? Return any tags you find!

You can help the project by returning any detached tags you come across. The tags are designed to eventually detach from the sharks and they can get washed-up onto the beach. The tags will provide us with a lot of information whilst attached to the sharks but if we can retrieve them after they fall off we can learn even more. If you return a tag you can also claim a reward  PDF document !

Please keep an eye open when you are on the shore for tags (see photo). If you do find a tag, please contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Oban Office on 0300 244 9360, or email -

basking shark clip

Last updated on Wednesday 5th March 2014 at 14:14 PM. Click here to comment on this page