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Manx basking shark watch spot tagging 2015-16

A project of Manx basking shark watch in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Celtic Scuff Basking SharkAdult2015-08-072016-09-04394
DONG Megladon Basking SharkAdult2015-08-072016-08-20379
Flowrider Basking SharkAdult2015-08-072017-10-19804

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.


Over the last 11 years the Manx Basking Shark Watch has been collecting and analysing data on basking shark ecology. The Manx Basking Shark Watch started life as a public sightings database in collaboration with the Manx Wildlife Trust.

Recent research has focused on consolidating all known information about individual basking sharks by the creation of shark “passports”. Each passport contains an individual shark’s size, sex, fin identification photos alongside records of DNA samples and satellite tags. In this way, all encounters can be logged and individual sharks tracked and re-identified, providing further vital information to study basking shark ecology whilst leading the way for greater collaborative efforts between organisations.

This 2015 study has the potential to further basking shark research by providing an accurate and updated log of basking shark movements using new SPOT5 satellite tags designed by Wildlife Computers This will enable real-time tracking of the sharks Click Here whilst collecting additional information on population dynamics and genetic exchange between populations from continuous collection of shark passport data. Such research will increase our understanding of these dynamic endangered animals and aid conservation and education efforts.

2015 Aims

• To deploy 3 satellite tags to enable real time tracking of sharks over the course of at least a year.

• To develop a new, less intrusive, fin-mounted attachment method

• To continue collection of basking shark “passport” information including: gender, length measurements, photographic identification, genetic slime samples and tagging data

• To map and analyse satellite tagging data to assess basking shark movements both spatially and temporally

• To raise awareness of the endangered basking shark and local threats

• To use the data collected to help local management strategies


The data collected will be summarised and submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Click Here

to aid management of Manx waters and provide information on any potential conflicts i.e. placement of offshore wind farms and marine protected areas. Such data will also help on public outreach events to engage the local community and aid discussions to promote conservation.


-To create an improved and updated tagging dataset on basking shark movements in national and international waters

-To provide better understanding of basking shark biology and ecology to help understand and conserve this endangered species

-To inform local policy and marine management

-To increase awareness of topical marine issues within the local community.

Crew of Happy Jack, the Manx Basking Shark Watch research boat:

-Jackie Hall: Manx Basking Shark Watch Coordinator (MBSW).

Jackie, a marine biologist (MSc, BSc, BA), started MBSW in 2004. She aims to raise the public profile of basking sharks whilst scientifically investigating their population dynamics, movements and behaviour. She wants the information obtained to be as openly available as possible, allowing informed marine management decisions to be made by government and enthusing the general public about basking sharks. She coordinates the entire project, fund-raising, strategy planning, web writing, conducting scientific research on the research boat 'Happy Jack' and interacting openly with other scientists to make best use of the small MBSW budget.

-Graham Hall: Manx Basking Shark Watch Engineer and designer.

Graham is an engineer (MSc) he maintains Happy Jack, the MBSW research boat and designs and wields all of the equipment used by MBSW, including underwater pole cameras, DNA sampling equipment, tagging poles and much much more. Captain Graham is an expert shark spotter and our key DNA sampler and shark tagger. Graham is developing a new method of attaching satellite tags to the shark's fin. Rebecca Lunnon is our student volunteer for 2015. She is studying at Plymouth University. She is studying the interaction of micro and megaplastics and basking sharks.


Project Sponsors

-The Manx Lottery Trust

Click Here

-DONG Energy

Click Here

A few words from our sponsors:

The Northern Irish Sea is becoming increasingly developed and Centrica/DONG Energy’s Celtic Array proposal, just outside Manx waters, is one of the biggest potential wind farm developments to date. To ensure the best scientific evidence for impact assessments, Dong Energy is sponsoring 3 SPOT tags for the Manx Basking Shark Watch in 2013. Paul Childs, of DONG Energy, said, "In order to apply to build an offshore wind farm, years of detailed environmental assessment has to take place. Celtic Array is very pleased to support the Manx Basking Shark Watch in tracking basking sharks in Manx waters, and beyond. We want to make sure that our environmental surveys in the project area are thorough, and being able to support a scheme like this is both of benefit to the project, and hopefully towards helping to monitor and protect this species. We believe that this is a great way to ensure that all the potential risks to basking sharks are adequately taken into consideration as they move forward with the Celtic Array proposal."


  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without explicit written consent.
  • For more information please visit the project website.
  • If you have questions or would like to request the use of maps or data for this project please contact

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