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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.

The new Phase I report has just been published detailing the initial analysis of the tagging data (this updates the interim report). Basking sharks showed high levels of fidelity to the Sea of the Hebrides in both 2012 and 2013, spending much of their time at the surface feeding. Daily vertical patterns of movement in the sea were also uncovered, showing sharks utilize deeper water too. From autumn onwards the Irish and Celtic seas represent an important migration corridor for basking sharks. Read more in our Commission Report.

Another 10 sharks were successfully tagged in 2014 - please follow the link external site to view their tracks.SPLASH tags have been used this year whichprovide information on the position of the shark each time it comes to the surface, in addition torecording temperature and depth. These tags also record GPS locations each hour, so combine all the technologies used previously into a single tag.

Two of the sharks tagged in 2013 have been tracked back toScotland this summer; Soki was swimming around the Outer Hebrides until her tag detached, whilst Finn has returned to the waters around Coll and Tiree where he was originally tagged. You can view his journey external site online.

If you would like to help the project team name the 10 new sharks please email your suggestions to

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 - contains computer generated footage

Last updated on Wednesday 13th August 2014 at 10:01 AM. Click here to comment on this page